Look out, spring is almost over and summer time is just around the corner. Unless you live in one of the many places of the world that are getting snow still at this time. Sorry about that. You should set a thaw out date and come to Key West and take advantage of some great fishing the month of May has to offer. Mahi, Marlin, Sailfish, Grouper, Snapper, and Tarpon are just a handful of names that top the list.
The Mahi-Mahi bite has just started to come into full swing as of the last few days. We haven’t yet seen a big push of large Bulls and Cows as of lately, but there are good numbers of schoolies offshore, mainly under birds and flotsam. Look for the bigger fish to make their annual appearance very soon. Lures and baits work well to catch these tasty fish so make sure you have plenty of both. Catching schoolie fish on spinning tackle is a blast so pull out the ultralights and have some fun.
Along with the Mahi-Mahi, we should start seeing some Blue and White Marlin as well. These powerful tackle busters are always hanging nearby schoolies, so wherever you see them there is a good chance your in for an epic battle should one appear. May is always a good month for Marlin fishing in the Keys.
There have still been a few Sailfish moving through as well as Marlin. For the next couple months Sailfish will remain scattered throughout the Keys. Their whereabouts can shock you though, because you may see one on the reef edge in 60 feet of water and another offshore in 2000 feet of water. On the same day! Targeting these fish can be done by trolling natural ballyhoo or by live bait fishing with herring, runners, pilchards, or any other baitfish…shh… they will even eat a pinfish from time to time. Twenty pound test spinning tackle is a lot of fun when it comes to catching these acrobatic artists.
Circle hooks work best for keeping most billfish from being gill or gut hooked, so do your part to help preserve billfish species.
May also marks the beginning of this years Grouper season in the south atlantic. This is a welcome for many of the Keys as these fish bring large numbers of bottom fishermen and women to seek after Blacks, Gags, Reds, Scamps, and many others to add to the list. Try anything from cut sardines, squid, and bonito chunks, to pinfish, grunts, runners, or my favorite; the “Speed-Oh” to put one of these white flaky fillets on the table. Areas of hard bottom with ledges and cracks are some of the best places to look for Grouper, as well as wrecks, and patch reefs. Don’t forget to bring your game, and some extra leader, as these brutes are well known fro getting anglers back into structure.
The Tarpon are biting! The last couple weeks of Tarpon fishing has been nothing short of excellent. Many of the deeper channels throughout the Keys have hungry fish. These masters of the hook-shake are not that picky at times and will turn down everything at others, so don’t be discouraged if fish are rolling around you and your not getting a bite. Remember, they are animals and they do not always eat just because there is a bait near them. Sometimes I am pretty sure they have something other than eating on the brain. Live pinfish, crabs, mullet, or pilchards work very well, as do shrimp and cut bait sometimes. Tarpon are just as much a scavenger as they are a hunter, so don’t discredit a piece of cut bait. Circle hooks are the best hooks for these fish to stay connected, and don’t forget to “bow to the king”.
May you have awesome fishing in May! We sure will!