Fishing Key West In March

Permit fishing in March
March is great for permit fishing. This angler caught this beauty with me on my 36 Ft yellowfin Reef fishing boat.

March Fishing Contents


 March is the start of our amazing spring fishing. It is our spring break here on the island so the accommodations and the island can be a little crowded. March is considered high season so room rates will be peaked. Night life will be bustling and advanced reservations are the key to getting on the best fishing charters and eating at the best restaurants. It’s the start of the great fishing here in Key West. 

The Weather To Expect

Winter is releasing us from her grip of cooler temps in mid March. Early in the month it can still be a pretty cool part of winter with the last of the hard cold front pushing through. Cold winters can hold great fishing. It can go either way in weather but one thing for certain, it’s our windiest month. The Ides of March are upon us as the Bermuda high establishes itself on the Eastern seaboard bringing the Keys a brisk Easterly wind flow (20+ knots) for many days in a row. Temps typically in the 70s – high 80s. 

Whats Happening Key West

The launch of our spring break was last month but in now in full swing. Room rates are peaked this month with lots of folks in town to party and go fishing. Key West has become less of a college destination and more of an adult playground. Everything is firing on all cylinders with stuff to do and see. 

Fishing Inshore

With the winds the shallows get affected the fastest by temp changes. The flats are the first to warm up and that can have a hugely positive affect for man species we fish for in the shallows. Backcountry fishing and flats fishing charters are certainly the most popular charters this month here in Key West. 

The sky is the limit in March for backcountry fishing. The winds are a bit of a hassle but the fishing can be on fire. First off we officially say it is tarpon fishing season about mid month. No, this is not the migration. These tarpon come in out of the Gulf after winter looking for warmer shallow water and food and tend to run pretty big. We fish for tarpon using live bait as they are deeper the channels at this point but really fun. Backcountry fishing charters are definitely the best way to go to get an early season tarpon.

Jack Crevalle
Jack Crevalle are very popular rod benders in March.

In addition the backcountry holds many other species for anglers that enjoy casting and catching all while enjoying the solitude of nature on the windier days. Barracudas and sharks are a favorite along with some excellent trout and jack fishing. Yellowjacks are in the channels and on the edges of the flats in full force with the surprise mutton snapper or mangrove snapper that invites himself to lunch. Last but hardly ever the least is the possibility of cobia in the shallows. On the less windier days the Marquesas Keys fishing charters are full of extended excitement. Check out the Marquesas day of fishing blog post.  

Check Out My Video – Barracudas and Mutton Snapper fishing Key West. 

Check out my signature “All In Wonder” fishing charters. This is where we go out for a full day and experience all the different types of fishing we can do from a bay boat. Flats, nearshore reef, shallow wreck and tarpon fishing are all part of this adventure. 

Things can get very interesting in March for flats fishing here in Key West. Personally I love it for the monster permit we see up on the flats, in addition the winds prevail out of the East and this makes for easy poling my flats fishing skiff or covering much ground in the hunt using my Yellowfin carbon elite bay boat. Add that to big tides and permit that are getting ready for the spawn in choppy water makes for some great shots at these trophy fish. Some of the biggest permit my clients have caught on the flats has been in March. 

Permit fish Key West
These folks landed a Nice permit with me, flats fishing in March.

On the flats anglers can expect to also have shots at bonefish toward the end of the month when the waters start to warm up. Cobia on the flats tailing rays and sharks are not uncommon and another one of my favorite fish to target are the mutton snapper who will also tail the stingrays and work the edges of the channels. Lastly don’t forget the monster barracudas that lie in wait for an easy mea up in the shallows. All in all, besides the windier month March can be very good on the flats. 

Booking ahead is a key feature.
Flats fishing guide schedule gets filled up fast for March – Call 1-305-292-7212

Fishing Offshore

Remember the part earlier where we mentioned the high winds? Here is where you will notice it most. Booking a deep sea fishing charter in March is a great idea for the fishing, it can be truly EPIC! However, if you get seasick on fishing charters do take precautions and maybe want to roll the dice with availability and  wait till last minute to book after seeing what the weather does.  Thats out of the way.. The fishing in March can be incredible. 

Working the winds along the reef line just 6 miles South of Key West the winds and current will stir up a nice color change that can hold many different species of fish. Mahi Mahi, blackfin tunas, bonito, kingfish, sailfish and wahoo. The fishing is worth the seas. Many of us use live bait and kites to fish deep sea waters, this adds to the thrill and technical nature of the fishing. Most of the deep sea fishing charters troll for the bite.

Reef Fishing

Most of the reef fishing in March targets the species such as sailfish, blackfin tunas, mutton snapper and yellowtail snapper in the Atlantic. Reef fishing boats do not have to travel far to get into some tasty fish as many of the snappers are on the nearer shore patch reefs. This is a nice feature as I mentioned earlier, it can be windy and finding calmer waters are a bonus.

I personally love shallow water fishing for snappers this month, it can be very rewarding. Using mostly artificial lures I have developed a really fun way to fish for them throughout the years. Check out my backcountry fishing charters and book a 6 or 8 hour trip to really enjoy this fishery with me. 


Mutton Snapper Mark Johnson
My Friend Capt. Mark Johnson holds up a nice mutton snapper he caught fishing artificial with me in the Marquesas Keys.

For the offshore reef fishing charters – watch the weather before booking here because as I mentioned, it can be windy. However this practice can cost a good charter as most of the center console boats we use for reef fishing will be sold out weeks before the dates anglers might want to go. Roll the dice.

Call My Office and check on availability — 305-292-7212

Gulf fishing

In March the gulf fishing heats up a bit with the addition of more permit orbiting the wrecks, cobia are still around and blackfin tunas traditionally start to show up on the shrimp boats. King fishing in the gulf can also be a ton of fun as well with live bait. Remember, the winds can be brisk but the Gulf often holds better seas than the Atlantic. 

Big Cobia
The Wrecks Can Hold Big Cobia

 A charter boat has to have federal permits to fish for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico with a charter. 

Pro Tips - Key West Logistics

Key West will be slam busy in March. Especially this year 2022 as the rest of the country buckles in for COVID. With travel restrictions abroad folks are eyeing Key West as a destination. 

Book Ahead. Hotels, restaurants, activities and your favorite Key West fishing guides and charters. They get sold out fast in March. 

Check out for more tips. 

The Key Wester Has been helping folks find the better parts of Key West since 2000. Your guide is Island Genn. She can help make the most of your Key West getaway in her blog posts about the best restaurants, activities and places to stay. She also has the schedules of many professional fishing guides in Key West. 

yellowtail snappers marquesas Keys

Pro Tips - Fishing Charters

As I have mentioned above, March can be a very busy time for Key West and a bit windy. For fishing charters it is one of the busiest months we have. Booking ahead is important so you do not wind up with the last charter at the dock. I recommend to book your backcountry fishing and flats fishing as soon as you know your dates and have a place to stay. For deep sea and reef fishing booking early is a great way to get the best boats. Make sure you know the boats weather cancellation policies or contingency plans (plan b) just in case it’s howling.

Seasick Pro Tip – Read this article in The Key West Fishing Report about being and beating seasickness on a fishing charter.

Call my office and speak to Island Genn (my wife) she handles my schedule and in addition works with many of the long time professionals on the island and can help you find the right boat. 

Call Us 1-305-292-7212
Text Us 1-786-847-3808