What a stretch of weather we just had down here in Key West. Mostly sunny skies, warm, light southerly breezes and temperatures around 80 degrees. Now that's why I move to Key West. The calm warm weather started early last week and lasted up to yesterday morning when another cold front pushed through the Keys. Water temperatures increased ten to fifteen degrees to the mid 70's in the afternoons during the outgoing tides. Absolutely ideal conditions. Not only great weather and warming water, a new moon and good tides. The perfect concoction of elements for banner flats fishing and it showed.
Though we had great fishing during this stretch with many great catches and fun days on the water the following three days took top honors.
It was getting late so I hit a couple of bonefish spots on the way back in. At the last spot of the day it finally happened and Jim landed a quality five pound bonefish to complete the Key West Slam.
Sunday February 6th I was fishing with the Steve and his father Merritt. It was our third day and we caught a lot of fish. I was heading to the last spot for the morning when I saw a tail pop up in front of the boat. I quickly rigged a crab and handed the rod to Steve. He made a perfect cast in between the two feeding permit. One of the permit picked up the crab and raced across the shallow flat. As I was pushing after the fish I looked behind me and saw another permit working toward us. I jumped down grabbed my bonefish rod rigged with a flats jig and made a cast. Hopped the jig a couple of times and the permit followed. Let it sit, another little hop and he ate it!! I tapped Merritt ,who was sitting on the cooler, on the shoulder and handed him the rod. He had now idea what just happened and was surprised to be handed a rod with a nearly twenty pound permit screaming line off the reel. A good twenty five minutes later and obstacles and cross overs avoided both permit made it in the boat for a photo.
Finally, Thursday afternoon February 10th I fished with good friend Wild Bill Heindle. We were chasing tailing permit with a fly rod taking advantage of the afternoon outgoing tide. We saw a few permit and were able to spook them really good, not getting any quality shots. We did find one school of bonefish, which I initially thought were permit looking at them in the glare. Bill placed a cast near the school, made a couple of strips and one of the fish ate his fly and tore across the flat with it. I was stunned when I got the bonefish in my hands to see a big 8 - 9 pound bonefish. This bonefish was about 26 inches long (rough measurement) and very thick across it's shoulders.
Warm calm weather during the winter months plus good tides equals great Key West fishing on the flats.