Florida Keys

Tip of the week 
Techniques 

Be able to side cast and comfortable with the "double haul". This will help you punch into the wind and lay your leader out better.

Seven-day forecast 

Mid 70's for the next 7-10 days with winds 16-22mph

Conditions 

Hello to everyone from the staff at The Saltwater Angler.
The strong winds we have been seeing are typical for January, so if we can get some sunny days it can be considered a blessing. The water temps have dropped some and despite the wind, the fishing did pick up this week with barracuda finally waking up and acting like they're supposed to. The windy conditions made them far less spooky, and although you could get close enough to cast a fly at them, the tube lure on a spinning rod was the weapon of choice. One little trick while reeling the tube in quickly is to try and keep your lure under the surface instead of allowing it to skip across the top of the water which will often deter cudas. The permit fishing has been "good" with the fish tailing in the shallows and feeding around coral heads in the deeper water. The jack crevalle fishing has continued to be solid with some fish in the 20lb class being taken in shallow water. Pound for pound the crevalle is the hardest fighter on the flats, so hooking up to fish that big is no walk in the park. With the temperatures expected to get back in the high 70s during the day this week's fishing should get better and better.
Even though we've been lucky to have a mild winter this year, there are days when it's overcast and windy, and sight fishing on the flats is not an option. On days like these, an alternative is to try visiting the backcountry. The biggest mangrove snappers I've ever caught have been in the backcountry here in Key West. The fish tend to inhabit underwater structures, and dead trees are almost always a sure thing, and are my favorite area to target. Mangrove ledges can also be very productive as long as the water is moving through the trees. Most people would recommend a live shrimp as the best bait for a snapper, but you will catch so many little ones that way that you're better off using something bigger. A small to medium live pinfish is great bait to use if you're searching for the big one. A live pilchard will work too but their bodies are so streamlined the smaller fish can get his mouth around it. If you're using a fly rod, a chartreuse clouser works the best, but for whatever reason, the big ones are hard to catch on fly. The backcountry is definitely an overlooked fishery and can really save the day when the weather is less than ideal.
Offshore has continued to produce an abundant of Tuna, King Mackerel and Spanish mackerel! With a little turn in the wind to a NE will also push a lot more bait toward the reef line and really keep the big Yellow Tail Snappers thick as well. We are still seeing a lot of Snapper action in just 60 -100 feet of water. Be patient with the really big Flag size yellow tail. They don't get that big without being smart. If having trouble hooking up, try dropping down a size in your leader. This sometimes makes all the difference. Sailfish are starting to move in as well. Venturing out on a windy day can be tough, but getting the chance to battle these beautiful fish is well worth it! As always wishing you tight lines and fish boat side from the Saltwater Angler!

Must Have Flies 
Peterson's Spawning Shrimp tan 2 Buy from Orvis.com
Bluewater Softy Minnow Chart/white 1/0 Buy from Orvis.com
Floating Tarpon Toad tan, olive 3/0,5/0 Buy from Orvis.com
Barracuda Fly white, chart 3/0 Buy from Orvis.com
Grassett's Flats Minnow various colors 1/0 Buy from Orvis.com
Grand Slam Crab tan 1/0 Buy from Orvis.com
The Saltwater Angler
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