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Key West Pro Guides - Flats/Back Country Report - March 2019
By: Capt. Paul Tryon

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March Flats & Back Country Fishing Report— For today's action call our "live line" at 866 259 4205

KEY WEST Fishing is ON! March kicks off our Tarpon season in Key West. Here are some helpful insights to anglers interested in Tarpon fishing.

Tarpon are pursued in shallow waters primarily in our "Back Country" although the "Flats" angler can target them as well. Night Tarpon charters begin around April 1. We do not recommend more than 3 anglers to a back country boat with Tarpon as a primary target. Tarpon feed nocturnally therefore early morning and sunset are the most productive time frames...Let's go fishing!

With March's arrival the fishing action explodes in Key West! We are entering a time of some of the best fishing action of the entire year. Tarpon have begun to arrive and are flooding into shallows of the back country. This becomes our fastest paced action trip with a wide variety of sport fish and predators for the light tackle angler to pursue. Sailfish are offshore, Bonefish are cruising the flats and the bottom dwellers of the reef and deeper wrecks are gathering in numbers. It's a time of exceptional action when fishing the waters of Key West!

Flats: Our Bonefish action continues to improve...although still not at the levels of April, March can be a productive time to fish the flats for the patient angler. Permit have been scarce on the flats but the action is coming to us better now. Tarpon are still primarily found at home in the back country but do begin to venture out onto the flats in later March. The flats angler should certainly be including Barracuda and sharks on his hit list. Just a remainder that we provide a true "flats fishing experience" and this should not be confused with the back country fishing. These are two totally different experiences and if you are unsure of the differences call us at 866 259 4205 for more insights. Fly fishers are welcome on our flats skiffs designed with the fly caster in mind. Note Flats skiffs ate two passenger maximum vessels and we will fish one fly-caster at a time with the second angler "backing up" with spin gear if they choose too.

Notable: This is a time of transition in regards to our water temperatures so fishing conditions in general are improving, friends. We still recommend fishing morning trips if going shallow as they remain the most productive over the later afternoon hours for the serious angler but again the afternoon trips are good. The PM half day trips only continue to improved as the population of fish in the shallows grows. The afternoons can be quite enjoyable especially for those people just looking to stay in calm waters and enjoy a fun few hours catching fish. Reef trips in the afternoon fishing slightly deeper waters along with the patch reefs can be very good trips for later in the day departure times. Sharks are plentiful and active. Pursuing these heavy weight monsters on light tackle is challenging to say the least and talk about something you cannot do at home!

March Primary Species: Barracuda -- "excellent"

Bonefish -- "good" Permit -- "good - excellent" (better as we move towards late March)

Shark -- "excellent" (slightly smaller species from Bonnet-head to Nurse to occasional Lemon)

Tarpon -- "excellent" (better in back country until later March) March Fishing Report—For today's live action call 866 259 4205 With March's arrival the fishing action explodes in Key West! We are entering a time of some of the best fishing action of the entire year. Tarpon have begun to arrive and are flooding into shallows of the back country. This becomes our fastest paced action trip with a wide variety of sport fish and predators for the light tackle angler to pursue. Sailfish are offshore, Bonefish are cruising the flats and the bottom dwellers of the reef and deeper wrecks are gathering in numbers. It's a time of exceptional action when fishing the waters of Key West Back Country: Anglers take note: We have recently added a number of Hybrid Back Country boats to our fleet. Hybrid's are the next generation of leading edge technology and design for the shallow water enthusiast. Hybrid boats retain the back country experience yet provide additional "creature features aboard such as an enclosed marine head (potty), T top for shade, some carry additional seating and a second elevated station for the captain so helpful when sight casting to elusive sport fish in the shallows. These larger vessels have the ability to comfortably fish our slightly deeper "patch reef areas" as well depending upon the conditions of the day. Rates are slightly higher for these larger vessels that can accommodate families up to 6 total. We do not fish 6 adults from these vessels.

Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year remains an excellent time for fast paced action while targeting a very wide variety of species. Anglers will appreciate our calm, crystal clear waters now filling with newly arriving migratory Tarpon. The overall population of Tarpon in the back country continues to grow throughout the month joining with several additional sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target. Redfish are slowing as our water temperatures begin a seasonal rise. Snook are improving but remain hit or miss in March with the last of the fast moving fronts passing over the island Snook action is typically better when targeted in April. The numerous schooling species will continue to provide non stop action most days. Just a few of the schooling species remaining in our bays now are Trout and Pompano but their days here are numbered now. The ever present Jack, Lady Fish, Blue Runners, Grunts, Porgies...the list is nearly endless again in March. A perfect trip for the hard core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family.

Tarpon time is here. The population of Tarpon will continue to increase daily throughout all of March. The spawning migration that brings adult Tarpon to Key West is underway and the activity and productivity on Tarpon is increasing. Tarpon fishing in Key West becomes prolific. These behemoth sport fish are on every saltwater angler's "bucket list" and rightfully so. Key West now offers the angler a high level of success to landing possibly the largest fish of a life time. Tarpon are pursued in shallow waters primarily in our "Back Country" although the "Flats" angler can target them as well. Night Tarpon charters begin around April 1. We do not recommend more than 3 anglers to a back country boat with Tarpon as a primary target. Tarpon feed nocturnally therefore early morning and sunset are the most productive time frames...Let's go fishing! We do not fly fish from back country bay boats. Fly fishers interested in pursuing Tarpon are welcome on our flats skiffs designed with the fly caster in mind. Note Flats skiffs are two passenger maximum vessels and we will fish one flat caster at a time with the second angler "backing up" with spin gear if they choose too.

The 1/2 day to 3/4 day trips continue to produce well as the afternoon water temperatures are still far from high so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome. Good Cobia fishing continues and can produce some quality fish and action in the back country. Snapper fishing continues to be very good in the back country in March. For serious "table fare" harvest we certainly recommend the reef & wreck trips now but to include a few "keeper" fish for lunch or dinner will not be a problem in our shallows. The predator fishing continues. Giant Barracuda and several species of Sharks in the shallows are on the hit list. Our Monster Shark charters are awesome and continually produce multiple larger sharks even on the 1/2 day trips. Remember where you find large Tarpon schools you find feeding sharks. March remains predator time especially in the Marquesas so anglers can count on these aggressive species to be ready ready to go “head to head”. We "highly recommend" a back country charter this time of year and especially for those guests looking for a shorter than full day trip in calmer waters.

March Primary Species:

Barracuda -- "excellent"

Cobia -- "excellent"

Mangrove Snapper -- "excellent"

Mutton Snapper -- "excellent"

Permit -- "excellent"

Redfish -- "excellent"

Shark -- "excellent" (Blacktip-Lemon-Bull)

Snook -- "fair" (activity begins mid to late March and builds)

Speckled Sea Trout -- "excellent"

Tarpon --"excellent" (population continues to grow)

Yellow-Tail Snapper -- "good"

Let's go Fishing!

Call Key West Pro Guides today to book your charter 866 259 4205 daily 7 AM to 9 PM. We look forward to your call!

www.keywestproguides.com
866-259-4205

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