Lower Keys Fishing

By Capt. Nate Wheeler

August is on its way out the door. So far we have been very lucky to have no tropical storm weather in the Florida Keys. Probably could have used a little more rain but it made for great days out on the water. Lobster dive season seemed to go quite well with plenty around to get your limit. Water temperatures were in the high 80’s so it was quite comfortable. Even though the majority of my time was spent diving I still managed to get offshore a few times with some very good results. All sizes of dolphin were caught, mainly in the 4-10lb range. A few people managed some fish in the high 30’s but mostly required some longer runs offshore. I had some good luck with a few nice wahoo catches in the mid 20’s.

With September coming up the weather will start to make some slight changes. Traditionally September is the rainiest month of the year. This has been one of the driest summers I can remember and could use a little bit of precipitation. Even though it is not usually desired for fishing, some rain and overcast is necessary to cool the water down on the flats a bit from the summer blasting they just received. Fishing in between these conditions will produce a great bonefish and permit bite. I nice low tide late in the afternoon afternoon after a very cool day will produce some of the best tailing action of the year. Considered the slowest month of the year in the FL Keys, I love to take the opportunity to fish areas that may otherwise be quite crowded. Many days it will feel like you are the only boat on the flats.

Offshore the ballyhoo are beginning to stack up on the edge of the reef. Don’t be surprised to see dolphin and sailfish pushing inside the edge of the reef line looking for bait schools. The more wind the better. Near these schools of ballyhoo will probably be some of the larger reef predators such as grouper and mutton snappers lurking around. I have had large muttons eat ballyhoo right off the surface in 40ft before. Just look for the action. Small mackerels sky rocketing 8+ feet into the air will often be the first giveaway.

Captain Nate Wheeler
Waypoint Fishing Charters
(305) 394-2177