FIRST CLASS ACTION IN KEY WEST
Capt. Ralph Delph
December 13, 2010
Key West - Saltwater Fishing Report
The winter fishing season has begun with unusually cool weather for this early in the Key West area. Water temperatures along the reef have already hit a low of 70 degrees on occasion, and with the cool water, winter species have arrived in mass.
The northern edge of the Gulfstream is running from offshore Havana Cuba to 15 miles south of Looe Key. The 80 degree Gulfstream is feeding the cooler waters of the Key West with an abundance of pelagic species including DOLPHIN in the 15 pound class, BLACKFIN TUNA in the 20 to 25 pound class as well as a good number of SAILFISH and WAHOO. SWORDFISH are in the limelight again with multiple hookups the norm. The cooler water merging with the northern edge of the Gulfstream is pushing the KINGFISH, CIRO and SPANISH MACKEREL south to the reef edge in great numbers. Live baiting with THREADFIN HERRING from a kite has been deadly for all of the above. Some of the explosive strikes have made this form of fishing an exciting addition to the normal pandemonium associated with the bottom fishing that occurs along the outer reefs of Key West. WARNING! Sharks are everywhere. I mean top, bottom, in between as well as shallow and deep.
Speaking of the deeper reefs, MUTTON SNAPPER are here is abundance in smaller sizes. Six to 10 pounds being the norm, but they are everywhere. The larger fish will be here in January. Yellowtail action has been good along the edge of the reef. Watch for this action to slow somewhat at the smoker KINGFISH make their presents known. Large BLACK , RED and GAG GROUPER are beginning to be taken in good numbers, however due to the gross mismanagement of the fishery, just as they get here in January, the fishery will close for the four months that they are here on the Atlantic side of the keys. Speaking of gross mismanagement, RED SNAPPER are beginning to show in good numbers again this season, but cannot be kept because there is only one male and one female left in the Atlantic according to the NMFS. I believe that a "scientist" that cannot find red snappers in this area are making their notes in a room without windows in order to perpetuate their jobs. But I digress.
In Hawks Channel and the Quick Sands, look for flocks of birds. They are the key to SPANISH MACKEREL and JACK CREVALLE action. Small jigs and popping lures will give you all of the action that you can handle for the day.
With the current front blowing gale force from the northwest, the Gulf of Mexico will be off limits for a week or so. The cooling waters should push the first of the COBIA into the Key West area next week. The cooler waters will drive most everything from the flats and will limit the shallow waters until water temperatures approach the 70 degree mark once again. The current bonanza offshore should hold up for the next week or two, or until another major weather event.
That's it for now. Tight lines and good fishing.
Captain Ralph Delph
SWORDFISH, BLACKFIN TUNA, GROUPER AND SNAPPER
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