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 

Warmer days with the passing of last weeks cold front!!!

Conditions 

Hello to everyone from the staff at The Saltwater Angler.
With this warm weather finally here, we should see a more active back-country. The winds are still typical for February, so with these sunny days it is considered a blessing. 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 will much better this week with the fish tailing in the shallows and feeding around coral heads in the deeper water. Even though we've been having cold fronts the past to weeks consistently the water temperature hasn't gotten that cold, so once the front passes the fish tend to return to the shallow water fairly quickly. 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.
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 back-country. The biggest mangrove snappers I've ever caught have been in the back-country 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. If it's just a straight drop off, however, they usually won't be there. 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 seems to work the best, but for whatever reason, the big ones are hard to catch on fly. The back-country is definitely an overlooked fishery and can really save the day when the weather is less than ideal. From all of us at The Saltwater Angler we wish you tight lines and fish boat side.

Must Have Flies 
Premium Bonefish Selection tan 2 Buy from Orvis.com
Softy Minnow Chart/white 1/0 Buy from Orvis.com
Orvis Tarpon Bunny tan, olive 3/0,5/0 Buy from Orvis.com
Barracuda Fly white, chart 2/0 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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