Cooler Water Heats Up The Reef Bite

November 11th 2017 – I always look forward to this time of the year. First off its the close of hurricane season and boy we had a doozy this year with Irma so I am glad to get past that. Then its the slower time of the year for most everything here in Key West except the fishing and thats the part I like the most. November means cold fronts and windy weather and all that means to me is cooler waters on the reef and close to shore making my runs easier to go catch quality fish on the reef. Take the good reef fishing with the occasionally sporty weather any day of the week.

Grouper, Snapper

Reef Fishing Charters are a great way to put lunch and dinner in the cooler. Snapper, Grouper and Mackerel are the tasty predators of the reef.

Water temps have come down a bit on the reef and the tidal areas that affect it. Mass amounts of baits are coming on to the reef offering a cornucopia of feeding possibilities for the fish that are coming in to feed on them. Ballyhoo on the reef, pilchards, thread fins and mullet in the shallows being chased along the flats by the birds and predator fish. Predator fish.. Thats the part I am here to talk about. On the reef the predators come in tasty fish sizes that are complete with two very nice filets that make a great dinner. The predators in this case are mutton snappers, yellowtail snappers and grouper. Its hard to imagine that species list being the “predators” but they are. Barracudas and Sharks are not the only predators on the reef. in fact I betcha more bait fish get eaten by snapper and grouper than any other species. So.. its our job to make sure that we are on the other end of that fishing line. And we have been.

We have been finding the mutton snappers on the reefs and the patch reefs making our runs to go catch them easier when its a little windier. The yellowtail snapper are right behind them and ready to eat as well. Underneath all that carnage are the groupers just waiting for a shot at some tasty baitfish. Now, you still have a huge population of some of the largest cero mackerel in the world on the reef right now as well and they add to a tasty box of fish. All of that makes a really fun day on the water with us here out of Key West.

We fish for these fish many different ways but our favorite is by using all artificial lures. We find that when using artificial lures we catch larger fish. We drift a lot so we don’t anchor in one spot and moving around a lot is always a great way to keep getting into new concentrations of fish, protect the reef by not anchoring and keep our anglers busy casting and catching. Its truly a blast. As always below you will find our best kept secrets for you to enjoy what we do on the reef and maybe add a cool thing to your fishing back home.

The reef fishing charters that we run here out of Key West at Dream Catcher Charters are easy 4, 6, or 8 hours on board our 36ft Yellowfin Yachts center console. Rates start at 750.00 for the half day for up to 6 anglers.


Call Us.. 1-305-292-7212
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Some of our favorite plugs we like to use on the reef are listed here below..
I personally like the blue colors for retrieving just below the surface. It looks like ballyhoo and drives fish nuts. A 4″ or smaller plug is great for huge yellowtails that like to kill their prey.


About Capt. Steven Lamp
Dr Catcher Is - Capt. Steven Lamp - Owner of Dream Catcher Charters is a veteran Key West fishing guide for flats fishing, deep sea fishing, wrecks and reef fishing, and fly fishing. An expert waterman and licensed captain since 1986. A Veteran of the United States Coast Guard Heavy Weather Search and Rescue, I.G.F.A. Certified Captain and Standing regional board member of The Florida Fishing Guides Association