April Has Epic Flats / Backcountry Fishing

April Looks Great for Backcountry | Flats fishing in Key West

April 19th 2018 – I dont want to jinx any whatever mojo we may have with the weather Gods right now. Its my fishing superstition that talking about the perfect weather we are having and will have in the forecast for the next two weeks that I can see might result in a change in that weather – kind of like bananas in a boat for some. In my fishing reports I have to talk about the forecast so that I can convey to people what to expect for conditions when they come fishing Key West. So here goes…. The weather is EPIC! I have not seen an April this nice in ages. Calm winds, cool temps and just incredibly perfect days on the water. Today being an exceptional one.

Fun Fact: Did you know that today April 19th will be the first time since Harry Truman that a sitting President of the United States has visited Key West. I dont care where you stand politically – Thats A Big Deal! and we are all very excited to have the President here. I just wish he would get on the bow of my boat and take a few minutes to see just how pretty our islands are from the water and catch a fish. And, we might discuss a few things that I think might be important. Welcome Mr. President to our little islands, thanks for stopping by, though some might not show it, we are happy to see you.

Backcountry Fishing


What a great shot! Capt. Tommy put this angler on this Monster barracuda while flats fishing North of Key West last week.

The name of the game on consistency this week for fishing Key West has been the backcountry fishing. Read my article about the difference between backcountry and flats fishing. Tarpon season is in swing with the last two weeks of resident and Gulf of Mexico fish before they get mixed in with migrational tarpon. We have seen some fish along the beaches indicating some early comers for the migration but the numbers are yet to come. My guess will be the first week in May just after the full moon that the Tarpon Migration will go full swing. Key West Tarpon fishing is a lot of fun.

With the cooler temps the tarpon are not the only thing to fish for here this week. We have had a great number of catches of trout this late in the season with our mid 70s water temps. Some of the biggest trout I have seen in Key West for sure. Added to that is the monster amount of finger mullet just swimming around waiting to get eaten. That brings in the big yellow jacks, cobia and jack crevalles to take advantage of the buffet. Of course when you have that much bloody mayhem going on there is always the Bull sharks, lemon sharks and the black tips looking for an easy fix and they are fun to fish for too.

Typically this time of the year I steer folks to backcountry fishing because it is so windy offshore and its more affordable especially after paying the in season prices at the accommodations here in Key West. This year winds are down and the fishing is great so I am, again… advising backcountry fishing for the anglers who want to have little travel time, shot at a big fish, more hands on fishing and keep the rods bent.

We also have some room in our schedule to fish with our outstanding Key West fishing guides to get you on some fish.

Flats Fishing


Found this bonefish in the Marquesas Keys in the beginning of April flats fishing on my skiff.

Being on the flats Fishing in April can be a long day typically out of Key West. The tarpon are not in the shallows just yet (with a few slight exceptions) and the permit are definitely out on the reef spawning so your sight fishing opportunities are a bit limited unless you fish the deeper (3ft or better) waters for tarpon. We Call that backcountry fishing. That Said, the bonefishing this year has already been outstanding. (See Image Of Me With Bonefish). Sight fishing for bonefish on the flats is something I can get behind as a great target for our light tackle and fly fishing enthusiast.

Check Out This Video — Fly Fishing for Bonefish.

Please keep in mind.. When you book a flats fishing trip this time of the year, note that most of the flats fishing guides will want to go tarpon fishing. Tell them you are looking for a shallow water flats fishing experience or just book a backcountry fishing charter and be more comfortable on a bay boat catching those same tarpon in the same places.

If you are coming to Key West to go fishing. I highly recommend a day in the backcountry. You won’t regret it.
Call my office and see what we have available.

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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