A day on the Key West flats with Captain John Smouse is an experience you’ll never forget. April 21, 2016Key West Fishing ReportFishing Reports for Key West, Florida - Dream Catcher Charters - Capt.
This week in Key West backcountry waters should be a great week of shots for the silver king.
Traditionally tarpon season does not officially start till March and goes right on through till September. Fishing with us here at Dream Catcher Charters out of Key West we have tarpon fishing charters that start at 425.00 for 4 hours on our state of the art bay fishing boats made by Yellowfin Yachts in Sarasota Florida. Check out our tarpon fishing gallery of photos here at our face book page by following this link.. With heavier seas comes some great fishing here off of Key West IF the anglers, captains and mates want to brave it. Next week winds are set to lay down a bit for anglers to have a great shot at some fantastic winter species here off Key West Deep Sea Fishing. April 4th 2015 – A kinder gentler March followed by the first few days of April being so nice. February 19th 2015 – Freezing up north just means more fishing trips here in Key West and this year has been no different. Last week the deep sea fishing was very good with large gaffer dolphin coming in on the Southerly winds and some nice wahoo and tuna.
I would expect by Monday or Tuesday during the calm before the next front on Wednesday the 25th we should start to see a big trend of sailfish pushing through the area.
March 15th 2015 – If you are looking for a fun time catching snappers, grouper and mackerel this might be your week in March to do it. Although grouper are closed in the waters of the Atlantic and the Gulf they are still lots of fun to catch and release. I have been in touch with many of the fishing guides we work with that are incredible trolling captains and they are buzzing with great fishing reports. Other species on the deep blue will include Wahoo, the occasional tuna, kingfish, mackerel and bonito. December 23rd 2015 – South Easterly winds are established and will prevail through the forecast period for this Christmas week. Typically South Easterly winds mean a summer like or tropical pattern here in Key West for fishing.
Current conditions are offering our deep sea fishing anglers shots at some great dolphin fishing (mahi mahi). Getting the most of your day of fishing is the main goal for many of our anglers here at Dream Catcher Charters.
Here at Dream Catchers I pioneered the use of bay boats before our current competitors even existed back in 2004. A couple hours into the day the sun is high enough to get our anglers fishing the flats and show them some sight fishing for species such as permit, bonefish and barracudas. For those that enjoy catching more volume of fish we head out to the shallow wrecks or patch reefs located close to shore around Key West and the Marquesas Keys. As you can see the All In Wonder is an amazing fun filled packed day of all sorts of different kinds of fishing. Truthfully only a Dream Catcher Charters fishing guide can run a real All In Wonder fishing experience. Mutton snapper for me are without a doubt one of the best eating snappers out there and in my top three list of favorite fish to eat, right up there with true American red snapper and yellowtail snapper. Year round mutton snappers of decent size are relatively easy to harvest for a guy with a few gps numbers and some range. Every year about this time during the May and June (May being best) full moon the mutton snapper spawn off our local reef here just South West of Key West and in a few other locations. In this area there are many predators attracted by the copious amounts of egg and sperm in the water as well as the struggle of caught fish. Where the mutton snappers gather is not a secret spot by any means but a spot that is easy for anyone to reach in just about any boat with enough anchor line to stay put in roughly 60 – 130 ft of water on several locations up and down the reef line of the Florida Keys and in the Bahamas. I feel as though the legal limit is the legal limit and there is no reason why an angler should not be allowed to exercise his right to bag as many fish as the law allows no matter how easy it is or the impact it may or may not have on the species.
So, Regulation seems to be the road we are on with the mutton snappers here in the Florida Keys. The Atlantic facing beaches are all experiencing the traditional flow of fish we get here in Key West every year for tarpon season. With the HUGE full moon over the weekend the fishing was slower than normal in the mornings but the evening tides were NUTS….
As everyone knows, we specialize in backcountry fishing, flats fishing, wreck and reef fishing. Fishing Florida KeysFishing Florida Keys is a fishing charter resource for the Florida Keys and Key West.
If you are interested in primarily flats fishing with a fly rod or light spin tackle, then Capt. We specialize in Fly Fishing and Spin Fishing (light tackle) on the flats, channels and basins of Key West, the Marquesas Keys and the Lower Florida Keys for Tarpon, Bonefish and Permit. Fishing takes place on my flats boat, "FlatsMaster", an 18 foot Action Craft v-hull with a 140 Suzuki motor.
We meet at a Key West or Lower Keys marina at an advantageous time that is arranged in advance. Polarized sunglasses (amber color is best), light weather gear (jacket), billed cap, whatever you want for lunch, sunscreen. Our charters are primarily catch and release, however we will keep Cobia, Mutton Snapper, and Pompano within legal limits. A charter is $550 for each full day (8 hours), $475 for a short day (6 hours) or $400 for a half day (4 hours). Whether you are an experienced or novice angler, you can expect to catch a wide variety of species on a safe, comfortable vessel. We are seeing tarpon in their haunts and with the warmer temps coming up this week I have no doubt that the tarpon will come alive and start to feed.
We generally get a nice push of BIG gulf fish in January and February that make a nice fun way to spend the day pulling on a fish that is quite large and fun to fight. We also have 24 bay boats that are fully equiped with bathrooms as well for the ladies to fish too and have a fun time along with the men. Evening tarpon fishing is a fantastic fun way to avoid the heat of the day and get a second round or GREAT Key West tarpon fishing in the day. We guarantee the best in customer service, professional fishing guides, the best quality boats and equipment. With state of the art boats built by Yellowfin Yachts and powered by Mercury Marine we use nothing but the best in equipment from DAIWA, Orvis, Owner Hooks, Fins Braid, MirrorLure and AFTCO. Steven Lamp January 20th 2016 – The deep sea fishing out of Key West is pretty good this week even in the cooler temps and higher winds.
As we all know the Gulf Stream waters don’t get hugely affected by a few days of cooler temps so the fishing actually improves out there.
Along with shots at tuna there are also many reports of wahoo being caught as well rounding out a nice box of fish. A late shift in Summer versus Winter patterns here in Key West but still offering some great opportunities offshore deep sea fishing. December is a great time to book a trip to the Keys for a weekend or a week as prices are as low as they get right before December 20 that marks the start of our Christmas Week. December looks good for bookings for Key West deep sea fishing trips with lots of availability till December 20.. Island Genn will help you get with any of her professional crews on the water to show you a fun day of sport fishing. We are all looking around the corner wondering where we will have to eventually pay for this nice weather. A late cold front in the last days of March were a great reset for our Key West fishery both inshore and offshore. We are not sure if it is because of the mild weather and so many boats are getting out there or if its due to the great fishing.
No lie, March was evident in that with many catches being reported of dolphin in the 20 – 30 lb range with regularity.
Most o the deep sea guys I am talking to are saying it looks like a late april time frame for the massive push of numerous sailfish to come through the Key West area. Tuna are still on the humps and the wrecks but the great news is that the black fin tunas are already out in the Gulf behind the shrimp boats.
Availability is the trouble this time of the year as everyone wants a shot at those delicious dolphin, tuna and wahoo with a bonus of a sailfish.
While the North East is piled in mountains of the white stuff we are dealing with 50 degree temps and 30 mph North wind and lots of people coming here to get back to normal conditions.
Steven Lamp December 17th 2013 — Occasionally, I hear some folks that come from up North snipe at the fact we have no seasons here in Key West.


Here in the Florida Keys we have great fishing year round; however, knowing the seasons is super helpful. All year long there is a tasty fish to be caught in several of our arenas, but the winter has the monopoly with a smorgasbord of species both inshore and offshore.
Currently, we are coming into winter fishing season and our little island town is filling up. Steven Lamp This young lady Bangs a NICE Yellowtail Snapper on Artificial fishing with me in less than 15 ft of water on the reef.
Although we have had an amazing tarpon fishing bite in the backcountry the reef fishing bite has been very good and with the winds laying down the weather this week will certainly make it possible for even the most seas sick-iest person to enjoy some lip ripping.
Many of our anglers mix it up on our bay boat trips to go after tarpon in the morning then venture out to the reefs for  some table fare.
This year Easter lets go of March and brings in April with a great fishing report for all the folks who love blue water deep sea fishing here off of Key West, Florida.
Its hard to narrow the best boat down to one single boat or captain because they are all doing so well. That means you don’t have to go far from port to smash a great tasting fish and have a fun day.
I am a huge fan of trolling this time of the year as I think its getting into our most productive time for deep sea fishing in Key West.
Warm winds come on the South Easterlies keeping the water temps up and very non typical winter style of fishing. On a warm winter its not uncommon to see dolphin come up to the shallow reefs and nail the copious amounts of bait (ballyhoo) that are there.
Before that Dream Catchers was all flats boats and larger center console reef fishing boats. Also with good weather this fishing charter can include the reefs and shallow wrecks of the Atlantic Ocean side as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Our primary focus first thing in the morning most of the year is tarpon if they are around or in season. Steven Lamp May 28 2013 The mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) spawn of Key West is a yearly event that is attracting more and more attention by local anglers, commercial fishermen, visiting anglers on charter and the feds. The Farther you run West its been my experience the fish get easier, larger and subsequently dumber. It is often said that the protection of the sharks from harvesting has increased the numbers of them on the reef in the last few years with noticeable numbers of fish being intercepted by sharks more frequently when caught adding to the numbers of mutton snappers taken during this event. With some diligence a little voodoo, the right bait and plenty of cooler space a group of four anglers can limit out a boat with 10 mutton snappers for each angler in less than two hours. 10 years ago I really don’t think it was as big an issue as it is today and will be bigger next year and so on. Sure it does, if the rough math that i did for this article is even close, it means more fish in the population making more opportunities for anglers inshore and offshore to catch these fish outside of the spawn time. As the tarpon come across the deep waters of the Carribean they run right smack into Key West as the first place for fishing. Fish were feeding hard and we made good use of that here on the last of the outgoing tides. Here at Dream Catcher Charters our live bait tarpon fishing trips have been very rewarding.Anglers can expect to see hundreds of fish at any given time of the day.
We always release our permit that we catch so they can fight again but a good sized legal cobia hits the ice and later the dinner plate..
This is a perfect time of the year for this trip as the water temps are up and the clarity is amazing, that, along with epic fishing conditions we have a blast all the way around.. Now, these days we are no longer allowed (nor is it a good idea) to bring the fish on to the deck legally. Red Grouper and black grouper up to 15lbs have been taken in filling our complete bag limits each time we go out. However, if there is a request for a third person, then we will consider that on a case by case basis. That includes two of you, all the tackle, iced down cooler with soft drinks, and your fishing licenses. John has guided anglers through the backcountry and the lower keys flats for over 10 years.To book your next charter give us a call at (305) 587-7669 or send us an email. Brice was filling me in on the conditions and shared with me some images of the catches he has been hitting the last few days. On the surface the water has cooled on the reef down to 71 – 75 degrees (71 degrees this am). 15 – 25 mph mostly out of the North East these last few days and expected to continue through the forecast period at least till Wednesday. These sea conditions really stir things up in the deep sea waters changing things over from summer to winter. Traditionally speaking with a warm November comes a cooler December with cold fronts stacking up and the North Easterly winds ushering in a great sailfish bite.
Yes, the weather was windy and even sucked for a while but the pay off afterword was well worth it. April May and June are our big dolphin months where there will be fish up to 60 lbs caught. Good news is that our conditions will improve this weekend and the deep sea fishing will remain strong.
This will bring the awesome dolphin bite back after the water settles from this killer North wind we are experiencing today and tomorrow.
Being a 4th generation Floridian I have never held a snow shovel or had to chip my car out of the ice.
Flats, backcountry, wrecks, reef or deep sea fishing all have great fishing throughout the year.
On the flats we have redfish, and in the backcountry we have pompano, trout and nice sized mangrove snappers all within reach even on a sloppy day (which happens a lot in the winter). The Christmas tree lots are selling out, the Christmas lights are up and there is a cool breeze in the air. Yellowtail snappers up to 4 lbs are being reported and the mutton snapper bite has been very good as well. Looks like the weather is shaping up for a great run of good fishing for this week coming up.
Again just past the reef in the 120 – 300 ft range I think anyone that wants to put in the time will have a shot at a sailfish. Generally in late December we are looking at a strong kingfish bite, wahoo on the moons, black fin tunas on the wrecks and humps as well as some sailfish push through on the regular cold fronts. Many of our regular fishing clients have said that I should write a page about the All In Wonder fishing charter.
We were limited in both directions the flats boats could not go deeper and the center consoles not shallow.
We carry live bait and artificial lures for the tarpon such as the Hogy Lures  See: Fishing Seasons to see if tarpon will be here when you are. Barracudas, sharks, big jacks, blue runners the real possibility of permit (in case you missed one while fishing the flats). Often times we sell out of spots for this trip but are able to offer you a solution with a fishing guide trained by us. Fish up to 26lbs have been harvested here in Key West pretty regular and Key West also holds the world record for these tasty fish of 30.4 lbs that was caught out near the Dry Tortugas. Not difficult for me and my anglers on any given day to put 4-8 nice size mutton snapper in the boat along with some black grouper, red grouper and mangrove snappers to make for a good mix. On these selected humps just on the reef before the deep reef hundreds of thousands of fish come together year after year to the same spot. In fact, many boats are capable of doing this two to three times in a single night making for quite a haul. 40 Fish X 12 lb average = 480 lbs of uncleaned fish yielding down to roughly 192 lbs of filets. As much as I would love to see pressure come off of the spawn of these fish I hate regulation. More regulation means more management that frankly is not being overseen by an already under budgeted and under resourced LEO department of FWC. Maybe A lowered limit to 2 or 3 per person would be good for the mutton snappers during the spawn easing the pressure off the numbers of spawning fish. More and more folks are coming here to get in on the harvest and its becoming a big deal putting this whole thing on the radar for the feds to come in and regulate it.
May anglers have met them there and made use of these opportunities using fly fishing gear and light tackle spin fishing. With the slick waters for this weeks forecast coming up the fishing will be EPIC as the moon wanes..
Fly fishing for tarpon is just now taking off with fish laid up in the backcountry and along the edges out in the Marquesas Keys. The wreck and reef fishing trips that we have been running have turned up some incredible edible catches of NICE mutton snappers and yellowtail snappers.
We provide you with the latest fishing gear from Daiwa, models such as the Certate, Saltiga, Saltist, and Procyon.


This photo was taken a while ago here at Dream Catcher Charters back when we did not know any better..
This encourages the bait fish to be more active and therefore draws the predators right up along the edge for a meal.
This makes for good fishing conditions but can make for tough boating conditions for people not used to the waves. Up until last week we were in the high 80’s and moderate South East winds that ushered in the latest seasonal dolphin bite many of us have seen in years to cap off a great 2015 for dolphin (Mahi Mahi) fishing here off of Key West all together. December is a great time to go deep sea fishing as the fish are right up tight to the reef smashing copious amounts of bally hoo schools and making a mess out of it.
We have private charters for 6 or less starting at 700.00 for 4 hours and split charters also available. Brice Barr on the Double Down here out of Key West on Tuesday hit some nice sailfish on sight casting for one of our customers. In the summer the palm tree fronds are dressed from the South East and in the winter they dress from the North by North East. Call your fishing guide or fuel up your boat and take advantage of the abundant winter season fishing Key West has to offer. The price on this particular fishing charter starts at just 425.00 for two persons for 4 hours. Lighter Easterly winds will keep the blue water bite rock solid through the forecast period. Using live bait and on the troll either way our captains are extremely effective in getting you the shot.
Not the case this month with 80+ degrees and South East winds at 10 -15 Its more like late April early May.
Dolphin are also just outside the reef in less than 400 ft that makes for a short run to catch a tasty fish. A trip that caters to the anglers who are trying to experience a little bit of everything or a lot of a day of fishing, keep it around a budget and see what Key West has to offer in the way of fishing. I knew there had to be a way to merge the two and offer our anglers more.  More diversity and a wider spectrum of fishing by using bay boats. There is much to be learned here and the better skilled our anglers are, the better the results. The shallow water sight fishing is fun but we have noticed that our anglers, although they enjoy the challenge of the hunt get a little bored with this pure form of fishing so then we shift gears to liven things up. Tell us as much as you can about you hopes, dreams and ideas of Key West fishing and we will put a trip together that will focus on as much of it as we can. Personally I really enjoy catching the mutton snappers both for their really good fight and the look of reward on my fishing clients faces when they boat a really nice one.
The females are loaded with roe (eggs) and the males are ready to fertilize this congregation is natures way of insuring the future of the species. Thats a lot of meat for four anglers, it takes a ton of freezer space to keep that much fish properly frozen and hopefully does not go to waste.
So for our bag limit we have about 12 Females on our subject boat of four anglers and a legal limit of 40 mutton snappers. Everyone knows if they have been fishing long enough, when the feds take away, they never give it back even after we have the species crawling out of our ears. However, if that bag limit is kept for the rest of the year it will really hurt the charter fleet not only the nights of the spawn but for the rest of the year. I Wanted to share with everyone about the amazing bottom fishing we are experiencing here in Key West.
We are fishing for these fish in less than 80 ft of water so a release is very easy on the fish. SPIN: Sage and Loomis Spin Rods, Shimano Spin Reels, Ande and Trilene lines, Lures & Bait provided by Capt. Trolling the edges of the reef and the color changes is bringing good shots at sailfish and king fish with a by catch of huge cero mackerel.
Dolphin this time of the year are rare especially in the numbers that we are seeing them here off of Key West fishing.
I enjoy all the the fishing seasons that the Keys have to offer, but in my opinion winter fishing here out of Key West is one of the best times of the year. Throughout the winter here in Key West sailfish are taken on all sorts of techniques on top of and just outside of the reef or color change. Check out our Key West fishing rates web site for more information on the pricing and details about the many different charters we have here at Dream Catcher Charters. Kingfish up to 40lbs are reported right on the reef line just at the drop off a mere 6 miles South of the island chain. Utilizing the latest in technology from Yellowfin Yachts, Mercury Marine, Garmin Marine Electronics, Power Pole Shallow Water Anchors and Motorguide Trolling Motors the whole package came together and it was a hit. Should the tarpon not be around we will move to our winter species such as Speckled Sea Trout, Jacks, Blue fish, Cobia or lady fish to get our anglers warmed up for a nice long day of catching. Whats really fun is the fish that I fish for eat jigs pretty well so I don’t usually have to anchor, making it all that much easier. While this event happens the muttons are not very weary of capture and a usually selective eater turns into a drunken sailor willing to bite at anything. The anglers who know they can only have 2 or 3 of these fish (catch them or not) will not book charters for only that possibility as well as the lowered limits on grouper. Here at Dream Catcher Charters we have been running non stop with all guns loaded and having a great time with our fishing clients catching all sorts of fish. Occasionally we might catch Redfish and Snook, but these species are rarely targeted because of the spotty populations in the lower Keys. Chopping wood also seems a bit arduous, but is that any better than cutting a tree off the side of my house after a good hurricane? I had been fishing and diving the reef as a commercial fisherman since before I graduated high school.
Catching and having fun but there is one more ingredient that caps off the whole experience and thats the outer reef. To catch as many different Key West species as possible, its not uncommon for anglers to catch as many as 15 different species over 18 inches each.
Click here to learn what the current Key West Fishing Rate is for the All In Wonder fishing charter. Throughout my days out there I rarely if ever see or come across another boat, making the day in my opinion all the much better. For the money spent the clients want more harvest ability and muttons are a big part of that draw.
Some boats have reported days of 3 releases on sails on half day trips, lots of black fin tunas in the 20 – 30 lb ranges with a consistent wahoo bite with up to 40b fish from American Shoals light down to the Bar off of Boca Grande West of Key West.
While wreck fishing we can also add cobia to the list this time of year, and one fish can feed an entire village.
Expect 2-4 ft seas with the winds at 10-15 which is perfect conditions for trolling baits for sport fish! I guess my point here is catching mutton snapper throughout the whole year is really not all that hard. I am not sure I see them (the law makers) making a concession for just those days of the spawn.
You will earn it however as I said earlier in this report seas are expected to stay up through Monday the 30th of November. On the wrecks permit make our list as they are the size of barn doors and fight like gladiators. I had no idea I would fall in love with the shallows and stalking fish for my anglers, now I was proficient at both. There we find another huge mixed bag of fish that are not only good eating but also fun to fight. You are in luck with all three species: King, Cero, and Spanish ready to eat anything that looks like a bait fish.
I think 3 per angler is a better number than 2 and the rest of the year a 10 fish aggregate limit like before. Since the inception of this charter I have hand picked a few fishing guides to help me offer this opportunity to our anglers. It is easy to hook up and release lemons, bulls and black tips almost every day in the backcountry in the cooler temps unless there has been a huge temperature change. Lastly, the bluefish, lady fish and jack crevales are all hard fighters ready to pull on the rod for some fun action on light tackle or fly in shallow water. Wrap all that up, put it on ice and you can see that Key West’s winter meat hunting is awesome!



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