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Capt. Ralph Delph
January 20, 2010
Key West - Saltwater Fishing Report

If you have been keeping up with our recent fishing reports and blogs, referring to the recent cold water and fishing conditions, you might ask yourself, "How do he know?" But if you live long enough, history has a way of repeating its self. This is the fifth time that I have seen major fish kills in the lower keys, due to cold water conditions. This time however, the cold weather lasted longer than anytime in the past 130 years. Fish fatalities have included, but are not limited to, BONEFISH (one of the greatest kill off's in history), SNOOK (again, devastating), BARRACUDA (including large cudas), MUTTON SNAPPERS (large numbers in shallow water), GOLIATH GROUPERS (up to 100# fish reported), GROUPERS (shallow waters up to 30 feet deep) as well as GRUNTS, PARROT FISH, NEEDLEFISH etc. The areas most affected by the kill include, but are not limited to, Florida Bay, lower Southwest coast of Florida, Southeastern Gulf of Mexico (waters north of Key West) and the shallow waters along the south shore line of the islands of the Keys. However, as previously predicted, the south side of the Keys and Key West are exploding with action. COBIA, KINGFISH, SPANISH MACKEREL, CIRO MACKEREL have moved south into Hawks Channel and along the reef line. The COBIA have been slow to eat but this will be changing as the water warms up just a little. The latter will keep you on your toes, re-rigging and using wire due to cut off's. MUTTON SNAPPERS have moved over the outer reef in great numbers. You can catch them most anywhere offshore using live bait as well as chumming and fishing with cut bait. Check out our "CATCHES LAST WEEK" at www.delphfishingcharters.com . GROUPER are also gathering in the areas of the muttons, but must be released. YELLOWTAIL SNAPPER have been less cooperative due to the presence of the large number of smoker KINGFISH along the reef. Offshore in the middle keys, anglers have been enjoying great SAILFISH action while here in Key West, the action has been very good with SAILFISH, BLACKFIN TUNA, LITTLE TUNNY and WAHOO.

Water temperatures on and around the flats remain in the mid to low 60's, depending on the tide. The flats are dead, so stay away until your guide informs you that the water has warmed to over 70 degrees. I expect this action to be very limited for some time to come. With gulf waters muddy, the sun will not be able to warm them above the lower to mid 60's for some time. When the water does clears, expect the action to be slow. On the other hand, as the basins begin to warm up, expect some good action with POMPANO, JACK CRAVALLE, LADYFISH etc. in the muds.

That's it for now. Tight lines and good fishing.
Captain Ralph Delph

Key West Fishing Forecast:

This is the first of a great explosion of action that will take place for the winter season in Key West due to the cold water to the north. Expect GREAT offshore action as well as reef and wreck fishing.

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Contact Info:

1 Riviera Drive B.C.K.
Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305-294-6072
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