Lower Keys Fishing

By Capt. Nate Wheeler

June started out this year just a little rough with about a week of straight rain and over cast. Of course my trips during this timeframe were all based on sight fishing on the flats. Let’s just say it was difficult. I finally threw in the towel and started live bait fishing in the channels which produced a surprisingly good tarpon bite even though they were not rolling on the surface. Eventually the sun came out and the Florida Keys stated looking like the Florida Keys should look in June. With that came seeing fish. Seeing is believing.

There was a great bite on the offshore side. Rain and overcast did not have any effect on the Dolphin. It was a fantastic month for big dolphin. A lot of fish in the 10-30lb range, with multiple fish over 50lbs caught throughout the Keys. The great thing was the fish were not out too far. One of my trips produced a 30lb fish in just 250ft of water. A fish over 50 was caught in 500. I guess the moral of the story is you don’t always have to run 3 hours to catch big fish. Outside of the dolphin there was some very nice wahoo catches. This time of year if you find one wahoo, usually there are a few others nearby so don’t be afraid to make multiple passes in an area.

The craziness of spring has passed, time to slow down and enjoy the fruits of summer. Of course I am talking about permit. Early spring is great, but every die hard permit fisherman knows the deal. The deal is July. Permit spawn on the reefs and wrecks offshore mainly during May and June and can tend to be scarce on the flats. By the time July rolls around, the spawn is mostly over and the big fish return to the flats for the only reason these fish come to the flats, to feed. Best time of year to get a big fish to eat a fly. Low tides early in the morning and late in the afternoon will provide best tailing action.

Offshore can be a bit tricky this time of year. Early morning starts are defiantly important. Mid day lulls during the hot summer can slow fishing down a bit. Snapper fishing is usually the main target. Yellowtail, mangrove and mutton snapper will be schooled up all summer. If its real calm and hot, try fishing late evening into the dark. Dolphin fishing can be real hit or miss with many many small schoolie size fish. In between all the small fish, the big fish still lurk, mainly feeding on the small dolphin. This is a favorite meal for marlin, so always have that in mind. If you did want to target marlin specifically, this is a great time of year to do it. Be careful in the sun and drink lots of water! For more information, you can contact me at (305) 394-2177

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

Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine