Key West Inshore Backcountry Fishing Report

March 17th 2023 – Its windy today but a warmer wind from the South East. After our blip of a cold front the last two days where we just got the wind part and not really the cold it was more annoying than refreshing. But this time of the year that South Easterly can be a good thing. But will it last to bring the backcountry fishing back to what it was a week ago?

Permit backcountry fishing
Capt. Paulette and her angler with a nice sized permit caught in the Marquesas Keys.

Backcountry Fishing Report

The last two days have seriously left a lot to be desired in our backcountry fishing this past couple days. Our fun fish of trout, jacks and lady fish were not even cooperating along with the snappers. The shallows were affected a bit by the cooler temps dropping water temps from 78 to 65 over night in a tide change.. Yesterday on a few tarpon were spotted. In the days before over the weekend our fishing guides here at Dream Catchers were boasting about jumping 4 tarpon a trip on board our bay boats we were also into the nice snappers and the barracuda fishing was fire. Mix that in with a couple of nice sized bonefish caught and you had the making of a great backcountry fishing report… As we have seen this type of cool snap can whack the fishery pretty hard.

How Does Today Look

Better, albeit still breezy a better day of fishing all the way around. The tarpon are laying a bit low yet but the bite has come back on line for the trout, spanish mackerel, snappers and other fun fish. As we expected as soon as that wind comes around out of the South East things can change and most of the time for the better. I will be looking for better tarpon fishing opportunities through the weekend as things warm.

yellow jack
Yellow jacks are a fan favorite of many of our anglers here in Key West. Not just a great fight but also a tasty fish and commonly found in the backcountry. This is Island Genn with her 14lb yellow jack.

Backcountry Fishing Forecast

Tomorrow and Sunday look great with warmer weather and some lighter winds. My guess is the bite will go nuts till Monday where we have yet another annoying little cold front sliding through the area. This will bring Northerly winds for a day with yet cooler temps once again. Later in the week things heat up again as a high pressure establishes itself with a seasonal typical East wind if 15-20 making the backcountry fishing go really well with the typical March tarpon fishing bite. I will also look for a good shot at some nice size yellow jacks and Mutton snappers laying in the channels when I am tarpon fishing. Lastly the permit will be on the move getting ready to spawn so our Marquesas keys trips will be a good time to get a shot at a wreck or reef permit… Next week Will be a good time for all of that.

So in a wrap This week looks good toward the end of the week for backcountry fishing. Definitely a good way to go IF the offshore fishing is rough – which it will be. Also consider that the offshore fishing has been pretty slow and the grass is very problematic for trolling.. Reef fishing has been pretty good for snappers and what not, but again, a little (lot) bumpy and the grass is everywhere.

Backcountry Fishing Charters

Backcountry fishing is a great way to avoid the waves of reef or deep sea fishing. Even in the stiffest breezes we are able to keep folks out of the waves and in the fun while fishing here out of Key West. During this time of the year, especially on warmer days, we start off with tarpon fishing at the first to see if the bite is strong then move out to the more steady bite if need be to bend the rods for our peeps.

Booking a fishing charter is easy, just give us a call and we will go over all the options.
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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