All in One Day Fishing Key West
I love fishing in the winter for a good number of reasons.. First, I am one of those weirdos that loves the winter hours and shorter days. Get up before the sun, the cooler temps and a solid 10 hours of daylight to get it done. Not bake my brains out and totally catch the hell out of fish. Give me a nice day on my 36 ft Yellowfin my collection of over 2700 GPS numbers West of Key West, my high end DAIWA fishing tackle, some determined anglers and some fuel – And It’s ON! This fishing report is mostly about one particular day last week fishing with a nice couple Erika and Chase from the great state of Texas where we filled the box with a number of different species on my “All in one day of fishing Offshore” .
Hit The Wrecks
There are so many wrecks within reach of a full day charter it’s incredible. Chances are they are some of them are holding cobia. Chase and Erica had cobia on their bucket list for light tackle. So I shot to one of my favorite under water objects that is known to me to hold cobia after checking a few of the “Community” spots that everyone goes to. Sure enough a good number of nice size cobia were laying there waiting for a snack. I was armed with pin fish and used my mono rigged DAIWA Saltiga spinning rods for our advantage. The first cobia was hit on the drift, then we anchored to catch a release a few more. We are allowed to keep 2 per boat these days. At 30lbs thats a lot of meat.
Also on the wrecks I am always looking out for a friendly group of permit or African Pompano on the deeper wrecks. There is always a good sized barracuda that is willing to entertain us with a hard core surface strike. Seems like we always see a monster bull shark like we did this day and they are generally being tailed by more cobia. It’s a great way to start off the day when fishing the all in one day charter with me on my 36 ft Yellowfin center console.
The Reef Fishing
The reef holds many treats as you have seen. When the conditions are right things will explode out there. Monster kingfish I the winter are huge fun. I use mono 12lb test and light rods with very brave gladiator blue runners for bait in certain places that hold great fish like the one above. Anchored I also enjoy using poppers for explosive top water action. The Kings just crush it! Let’s not forget the cero mackerel as well. They are not only great fighters on light tackle but the best tasting of all the mackerel we catch here in Key West. I did not get the photo because we were releasing them but Erica caught some nice 8lb ceros on this day using (of all things) cut bait on super light tackle. Usually I have my folks using artificials for them but last week they just wouldn’t eat anything else.
There are a dozen ways I fish the reefs deepening on the type of reef. Patch reef, barrier reef or deep reef. Snapper are the tasty targets in the spring. Anchoring and chumming, or drifting and casting. Depends on what the folks I am fishing with want to do. the results can be more species on the list. Yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, mangrove snapper for the box in less than 150 ft of water. Then the deep reef can hold an additional number of more species. Still all attainable in the same day.
By catch on the reef can include sailfish that are chasing baits up on to the shallows. This can add to the fun sight fishing for them and tossing live “pitch baits’ to them using light tackle.
Working outside the box is one of my favorite ways to fish. I dont mind live baiting but sight fishing is such a huge thrill. Putting the hunt back into fishing like I do when I am flats fishing. Going out past the reef West of Key West running into some blackfin tunas popping on the surface is not uncommon. Ripping a cast to them to eat a jig is pretty awesome.
You never know who will show up for the party. If the tunas are eating then there is plenty of food around. So we keep our eyes open for any other species. Sure enough they were there. As we kept working the tuna schools I came across a group of bait that were being chased differently. I knew that was probably a Mahi – dolphin. We put the buck tail to work. After ripping the cast we hooked up on a good looking cow to add to the box. Watching her jump I knew she was not alone so I readied another Saltiga Spinner and sure enough the Bull was right behind her. Wham! he ate and then – we ate..
Interesting Note.. While we were casting to these fish an interesting thing happened that I will not post image of. One of our offerings were destroyed by a very large American Red Snapper. We were in about 250 ft of water and ARS are bottom species. I could see them down near the bottom with my GARMIN sonar. I was impressed they came up so far in the water column to eat. The current was light so maybe this was something to do with it.
All In One Day Fishing Charter
I started the All In One Day Fishing Adventure I like to call it the “All In Wonder” back in 2006 when I first switch from flats skiffs to bay boats. I had so much versatility to do anything with many different species. To this day it is one of my favorite Key West fishing charters. Since then I have learned that it takes experience from all of the areas I fish to do this trip right. Skills from my sight fishing on the flats, numbers and skills from my wreck and reef fishing and digging into my deep sea fishing experience. Add that to a complete arsenal of tackle with a boats that are custom built to do this to wrap it all up in one huge fishing adventure for my clients.
I offer the All In Wonder in two forms. One, on a bay boat where we fish the flats then the reefs and wrecks or whatever the weather allows us to do. OR In my 36 ft Yellowfin Center console for trips just like the one I described here.
The trips are completely weather dependent. I bounce to the conditions and the folks I am fishing with. When folks book this charter we talk about the possibilities and then at the dock we discuss again based on what mother nature has provided us with conditions and species. I will never take anyone out in crappy conditions or charge them when I cancel.
THE ONLY WAY to book this charter is to call us direct. We do not work with any on like clearing houses for fishing charters bookings.
Equipment Notes Pro Tips
I use nothing but the best in fishing gear from DAIWA. Expect to use Saltiga reels and Saltiga or Proteus rods. Loaded with 15- 30lb Samurai braided line. When fishing with me on this trip.