January 26th 2022 – The weather is always a variable for our fishing plans here in Key West. We just had a nice chill down the last few days followed by a warm up today and into Saturday to start closing out the month of January fishing here in Key West. Where does it go from there? Key West fishing next week, Will the weather decide?
Things here in Key West have been pretty slow this past week in fishing. This is one of the slower weeks of the year for Key West in terms of visitors and slow fishing in some of the areas in our fishing report this week.
Deep sea fishing has seen better Januarys. The Gulf Stream this last week was in and out at 3-9 miles off the reef with little help of pelagic species coming through on the current. Due to the slower blue water bite the deep sea fishing charters have been working the reef bite to put some meat in the box for their anglers. I was deep sea fishing on board the “InXS” yesterday. We worked out to 600 ft of water got on a nice weed line right on the edge of the current.. There we saw a few flying fish, no birds to speak of and some great floating debris in the form of a pallet, tree branches and bamboo. Pulling our baits right through these, I was expecting a hit any second.. Nada… Nope.. So back to the reef we went where we managed to find some decent water with a West bound current where we caught some yellowtail snapper and cero mackerel for our people to put together a nice dinner. All the reports were the same. it was a bit tough.
lately the inside patch reefs and were best for reef fishing trips. Lots more free jumping baits getting pummeled by predators. Yellowtail and mutton snapper bite was pretty good as well as the nice sized out of fishing season Red Grouper. From South of Big Pine Key out to South of the Marquesas Keys the bite was consistent with various water qualities.
Going inshore the bite in the backcountry has been very steady. The fishing guides here at Dream Catcher Charters are in the fish daily. Capt. Tommy yesterday managed 12 species of fish and some lunch for his anglers. Windy or not the backcountry fishing charters have been producing bent rods and high fives without beating folks up. I would say backcountry fishing charters held us up well this last week for the most rewarding trips day to day.
I really hate it when the fishing forecast sounds more like a weather forecast but sometimes the weather is what decides Key West fishing next week. The weather looks pretty epic (sporty, nautical, rough, BAD) starting on Saturday. Winds up to 30 mph are in the forecast for Saturday morning as the first front of the week and the last one of the mont of January pushes through the area. Our Temps will plummet from 73 – 55 in 18 hours. This weather will certainly have its lasting affect across the board. Keep in mind we have not seen temps like this since 2018 so I would say, we are going to have a “real” winter on our hands here in Key West. Check out what to expect for the Month of February Fishing in Key West.
Deep Sea fishing trips will be affected at first with a big push of stirred up water out past the reef making finding the blue water to troll in more difficult. Then not to mention the steady 18 – 25 knots of wind forecasted all the way through Friday February 4th. it is going to be a windy week coming up and those anglers that have a hard time in rough seas may want to consider their choices.
Pro Tip– I would really look over the forecast for next 10 days before booking a deep sea fishing charter.
Once it mellows out a bit the reef bite will come on super strong after the howl on Saturday as fish are hungry after a blow and dirty water making it hard for them to find food. I suspect that starting Monday the East winds at 15-20 will fish-able with the West bound currents on the reefs. But be warned…. It will be Sporty through out the forecast period for the rest of the week.
Pro Tip – If you are considering booking a fishing charter for reef fishing I would consult with your captain to make sure he either has a place to go that can still catch fish (closer to shore or in the larger channels) it will be rough.
Inshore fishing has been a great back up plan her in Key West with a load of fish species in the backcountry that are hungry and ready to eat. We just LOVE a cold winter for the backcountry fishing to really come alive with all of its possibilities and winter time cast of characters that come to our area for warmer water and the massive amount of baitfish. Add that to our food fish of mutton snappers, mangrove snappers and lane snappers that enjoy the shallows during the winter. Keep in mind the tropical fish species that live on the flats such as barracudas, sharks and permit will be lethargic due to acclimating to the temp swings but the rest of it will be game on.
Pro Tip – Fishing charters inshore are insulated from the rough sea conditions that the higher winds can provide. A great choice if you want to get your line wet or bend a rod next week with the conditions..
Long Range Thoughts
I always believe a cold winter is best for Key West Fishing many reasons. Mostly, it’s normal and keeps the rest of the season in check and on track time wise. Cooler the water temps the lesser the storms. Tarpon season keeps on track with a cooler winter, we see more cobia on the flats and in the shallows and the sailfish get pushed down to us along the reef in a cooler winter.
Key West is experiencing a very busy 2022 for fishing charters. Surely due to CoVId and the State of Florida being wide open and lots of other places still shut down we are going to be busy. Give us a call and we will go over all your options and possibilities.