Southbound Sportfishing Key West Report April 30th 2011
Everyone wants to have a good day when they go fishing, so many customers ask me “what’s the best time to fish in Key West?”, and while we have good fishing all year round, I always tell them April is one of my favorite months. It’s a “big fish” time of year. Sailfish, Tuna, Wahoo, Cobia and Hammerhead sharks can usually be found along the color change* and big amberjacks on the wrecks. This April has lived up to expectations. We’ve had a good Sailfish run and it’s still going on. Strong east current is continuing to cause a strong color change to form up and sailfish are still migrating along that edge. Live bait has been the most effective, but trolling baits are starting also working.
Sailfish are not the only fish found along the “change” this time of year. Lots of big Hammerhead Sharks are cruising through. Hammerheads are the most common shark to see swimming on the surface and lately it’s not uncommon to see 5-6 a day. Yesterday we caught and released a scalloped hammerhead that weighed about 200lbs on 50lb test line. Even of relative heavy tackle, it took over 45 minutes to land the fish.
Black Fin Tuna are still migrating through and there have been steady catches also along the color change. Occasionally, schools of fish can be seen on the green side of the color change and have been cooperative when presented with a jig or live bait. Most of the bigger tunas are being caught on the blue side with live bait. I haven’t caught any over 30 yet this year, but most are in the mid 20lb range and we had one right at 29lbs on Monday
Amberjacks spawn on the wrecks in March and April and right now the wrecks are loaded. On one of the wrecks I fish, the schools of jacks were so thick, my depth sounder marked them as bottom . I was in over 200 ft of water and the bottom machine was saying the bottom was 90ft down. That’s a solid mass of fish to mark that strong. Bites on live bait are easy and jigs seem to be working well also. Most of the fish we’ve been getting are over 50lbs with some in the high 60lb range. It’s a hell of a fight on 30lb tackle. Most people don’t want to catch more than a couple before their arms need a rest.
*The color change is where two bodies of water having different clarity and current meet. Commonly a strong east current, usually the Gulf Stream, pushes in close to the reef and the green inshore gulf waters push out. Where the two meet can be a pronounced edge: Green water with little or no current on one side and deep blue water with 1-3 kts of current on the other side.