Key West Fishing

by Capt. Mike Weinhofer

May fishing in Key West is the beginning of our summer fishery. The sailfish are still swimming the color change in 120-250 feet of water. The weed lines offshore are full of dolphin and occasional wahoo on debris in the line. The skipjack and blackfin tuna feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon around the small sutty terns. Trolling the weed lines and rip edges at 6.5-8 knots provides constant action. When the dolphin bite stops the boat and break out the chunk baits. It is important to leave the first dolphin in the water to keep the others around the boat until you hook another one in the school. Keep rotating the one you leave in the water, so his color doesn’t change. Once the turn that mustard yellow and forest green color, they tend to scare off the schooling dolphin rather than attract them. The reefs are alive with snapper spawns in May. It is a blast to go night fishing for snapper they tend to get really hungry about an hour before sunset and then about an hour after sunset they chew again. The shallow water wrecks are filled with permit and a blast. Make sure you take enough crabs for sight fishing, until your anglers get used to the bite, they will miss a few. They will mash the crab on the plate in their mouth and you have to come tight before they shell it. You know exactly what happened when you wind your crab back in and there is just an empty shell on the hook.

The flats are in full swing in May the tarpon have migrated in and have filled the channels, the harbor and even on top of the flats. The permit in Key West are abundant but still a fish of a thousand casts on fly. But what an awesome challenge. Anglers sometimes spend years chasing permit once they get hooked.

The gulf is full of blackfin tuna on the shrimp boats and snappers on the towers and wrecks. It is always amazing shark fishing in the gulf and May is no different. The radio towers offshore in the Gulf of Mexico are full of fish. Whether you want to chase permit, snapper, sharks, or cobia.

May is one of my favorite months to fish in Key West.

So break away and forget what you have to get done and just go get your fishing rods and go play. Remember the reason we all leave here is to enjoy the water. What better way than enjoying the flat calm seas of May.

Capt Mike Weinhofer
Compass Rose Charters, 305-395-3474