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Hot Mutton Snapper Fishing!

Capt. Ryan Van Fleet
February 11, 2019
Key Largo - Saltwater Fishing Report

It's been some crazy winter already with some gnarly sea conditions in the Florida Keys since my last fishing report. The "Polar Vortex" brought some cooler weather and a strong North wind to the Florida Keys. After a strong frontal system the wind clocks back around and leaves us with a strong easterly breeze. When it blows from the east the conditions get rough outside the Florida Keys reef, but it is all part of the natural balance. We need that strong east breeze in the winter months to fire up the pelagic fish, like the Mahi Mahi and Wahoo.

The large sport boats that did venture out beyond the reef in the "gnarly January conditions" caught a few sailfish, but not as many as expected and very few wahoo. If you are going to fish in that stuff, you want to have a solid day to make it worth it, but that is just my opinion.

Getting beat up and not catching takes it toll on a client that is not used to the oceanic conditions so to keep my clients comfortable we have been fishing inside the reef and utilizing our new Seakeeper 2. Our lightweight Seakeeper 2 is built for 27 to 32 foot vessels, but we have the only Seakeeper 2 in the installed in a 24ft boat! Check out what clients are saying about our Seakeeper 2 on our Trip Advisor Page. The shallow water patch reef fishing has been very good this winter. We are catching some nice Mutton Snappers and good size Yellowtails on the patch reefs this season. I highly recommend you check out podcast Episode 21 How to Fish the Florida Keys Patch Reefs as I talk in detail about patch reef fishing on my charters.

Check out the recent Tavernier patch reef catches below. We are not going very far from home to catch these fish either and enjoying comfortable fishing conditions. Fishing beyond the reef can be "over rated in the winter months". Using the right tools and techniques, an angler can catch big Muttons and Yellowtails in just 15ft of water only couple miles from home in the winter, not to mention anglers get to cast and set the hooks on these fish and you get to catch a many different species of fish! The "meat" can add up quickly on the patch reef charters.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

We have a lot more bait here this winter than in the past, bait meaning Ballyhoo. The King Fish are thick this year in the Florida Keys and are of decent size. They are a heck of a lot of fun to catch. Allison who is BDOutdoors.com Woman Angler booked a charter with me last week. She is a very good angler and has fished with some top captains along the east coast of Florida. She has several tournament wins and recognitions. Check out her IG @ Reellovefl and check out here profile and list of accomplishments on BD Outdoors.

She wanted to knock a wahoo off her list, but her "King Fish Mojo" was just too strong :). We aborted the Wahoo mission and hit a few wrecks late in the day. Ended up was nice w/ a Mutton Snapper and released this beautiful Red Grouper as the season is closed in the South Atlantic.

Along with the King Fish we have a lot of Spanish mackerel on the patch reefs, more so than I have seen in the past as well. This past week I heard reports of a few Mahi Mahi caught, which is a good sign that spring is on the way.

Valentine's Day Week should bring a decent push wahoo and few Mahi Mahi as we have a good breeze from the east. If clients want to target large pelagic this will be a good week to do so on nicer days.

Planning Ahead

I am already looking ahead to spring and summer 2019. It looks like many of my clients are thinking the same thing and that is that this spring and summer fishing in the Florida Keys is going to be good. Regular clients are calling well ahead this year for reservations. I am very excited to have them back. A good angler plans well ahead when it comes to fishing and is flexible with what Mother Nature gives them as far as the weather. I cannot predict "wind" or late winter /early spring "cold fronts". March and April can be windy, just saying. My die hard regular clients are getting dates booked ahead of time as hotels are filling up fast. In addition they know I will be putting them on fish this spring and working hard to get them a trophy fish as I always do.

Florida Keys Live Bait

If you are visiting the Florida Keys and want to buy the absolute best live bait for your offshore dolphin trips then contact Ernie below.

Feeding Frenzy Live Bait

Florida Keys Live Bait Supplier The best live bait supplier in Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada Pilchards, Goggle Eyes and Cigar Minnows Owner Ernie Piton. For live bait orders call 305-522-3207

If you're an "Instagram Fisherman" or "Facebook Fisherman" or waiting for my fishing reports or weather updates, I highly recommend just going with your "instinct" like a good angler does and just plan a fishing trip. "Cyberfishing" and "High Expectations" can only burn you. The guys that have the best luck fishing with me just plan a fishing trip and let me take care of the rest and I appreciate that!

Thank you for taking the time and reading my fishing report. I welcome your comments or suggestions. You can email me at [email protected].

Check out my podcast on the Stitcher App, I Heart Radio or my website - Good Karma Sportfishing. It's free and hopefully good information.

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Remember, anytime you're fishing "It's All Good."

Capt. Ryan
Good Karma Sportfishing

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Tavernier and Key Largo Fishing charters aboard Good Karma with Capt. Ryan. We offer offshore and reef fishing charters(1-3 persons) Key Largo and Tavernier. Located at Tavernier Creek Marina. Visit www.tavernierfishingcharters.com further details and booking information.

Contact Info:

Good Karma Sportfishing
90800 Overseas Highway
Tavernier, FL 33070
Phone: 305-619-2126
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