Stellar summertime fishing, beginning of fall
Capt. Alex Zapata
September 11, 2018
Biscayne Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
Fishing on the flats has been red hot! I've been bouncing around, all open down the keys, from Biscayne Bay all the way down to the lower keys with a lot of success. The highlight has definitely been the great numbers of small to mid size bonefish around. Baby tarpon fishing has been excellent fishing shorelines and shrimp hatches. Permit fishing has been red hot, with some days hooking as many as 6 fish on live crabs and getting good shots for the fly angler.
Fishing around islamorada has produced stellar fishing for bonefish, permit and baby tarpon. I gotta say that the bonefishing is as good as I have seen it in recent years, pretty much all over the keys. I've been fishing from Biscayne Bay all the way down to the lower keys, witnessing absolutely amazing fishing and finding healthy numbers of bonefish in several places they had almost quit showing from several years ago. Most fish we are catching are between 3 to 7 pounds, not the usual Keys giants but a very welcome sight to say the least. We couldn't be happier to see the bonefish populations thriving.
Fall time is coming and with it, the biggest tides of the year along with the mullet migration. The big tides can make bonefishing challenging (specially around moon tides) but the permit absolutely love them. Snook fishing and baby tarpon also gets on fire in Biscayne Bay once the schools of bait show up.
Fall is also my favorite time of the year to fish for big mutton snappers and grouper in Biscayne Bay. The reason why I like fall time so much is because of the abundance of bait in the bay. I often like to load up on either finger mullet or pilchards and fish the shallow water wrecks and channels on light to medium spinning gear.
When doing this type of fishing you can also count on yellow jacks, barracudas, sharks and Jack crevalle to keep your rod bent. We can also do this type of fishing on the fly rod by raising all the snappers off the bottom with the live chum. A pilchard pattern and a sinking line usually gets the job done. Things get very interesting when you hook up into a big mutton snapper trying to head back to the safety of the bottom!.
I often get asked what's the best time of the year to fish in my area, my answer is always the same: summer through fall. Ironically, this time of the year, is usually not very busy for fishing guides in south Florida and the keys. The weather gets very hot and humid, parents go on vacation with their kids and people from up north generally prefer to stay local and enjoy summer time in their neck of the woods.
Here at home, we the guides take advantage to do all the fishing we were unable to do during tarpon season, explore new water and get some bow time fun fishing with friends.
Once all the big herds of anglers leave south Florida after tarpon season in the late spring, the flats are pretty much empty so you have a lot of water to
yourself, little to no fishing pressure, lots of fish around and very few people to catch them. Summer time also offers the most stable and longer periods of flat calm weather than any other time of the year. Fishing always goes out of control during those extended periods of calm weather.
That being said, if you are serious about fishing and really want to experience the best flats and backcountry action south Florida and the keys have to offer, you should really consider to be here during the summer and fall, You'll be glad you did.
Tight lines, fish hard and let's go fishing
Capt Alex Zapata
Flats fishing guide
IFFF certified fly casting instructor
Miami, Everglades and the keys
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Biscayne Bay Fishing Forecast:
Fishing for bonefish, permit and tarpon will continue solid all the way until we start getting some colder weather by the end of October-November. The mullet run is around the corner, bringing redhot action for tarpon, snook, jacks, barracuda and snappers.
Bonefish, permit, tarpon
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