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

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

February arrives bringing one of our most productive early season periods for offshore angling. The shallows of the back country remains fast paced with the widest variety of sport fish and predators for the light tackle angler to pursue. It's a time of "options" fishing the waters of Key West! Back Country: Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year remains an excellent choice for fast paced action while targeting a very wide variety of species. Anglers will appreciate our calm, crystal clear waters with non technical fishing while enjoying an abundant marine life and sea bird population. The overall population of fish in the back country continues to grow with several sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target. Numerous schooling species will provide non stop action most days. Just a few of the schooling species in our bays now are Trout and Pompano, Jacks, Lady Fish, Blue Runners, Grunts, Porgies...the list is nearly endless in February of these mangrove island shoreline fish. A perfect trip for the hard core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family. NOTE: We have recently added a number of new state of the art, larger "bay boats" (26'-28' footers up to 6 passenger max vessels in some instances-perfect family boats/trips) we refer to as "Hybrids". This is the future for Bay Boats/shallow, near shore angling). Boats are fully loaded, complete with enclosed marine heads, additional comfortable seating arrangements, t-tops, many with second stations in short towers yet these boats retain the ability to fish shallow as well as the mid point reef & shallow wrecks via GPS controlled Trolling Motors, Power Pole anchoring systems, Garmin Electronics and more. All of the necessary attributes of a stellar shallow water boat but with the creature comforts that have been missing until now. Tarpon time is still not quite here so generally speaking Tarpon will remain hit or miss in the back country during early and mid February however on the given day the bonus Tarpon shows up more so towards the end of February. In our back country waters in February there is a small resident population of mostly juvenile Tarpon and the angler needs to keep in mind these fish are super sensitive to changing conditions and become very "hit or miss" with a fast moving front, or cooler winds on the surface being enough to turn them off. Tarpon are here but we typically do not target them until about the first of March. The 1/2 day to 3/4 day trips continue to produce well. Afternoon water temperatures are not as high now so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome. The Redfish action during February is as good as we enjoy in Key West. In fairness we are not the Redfish fishery of the Everglades and upper keys but the Reds we have are typically good "slot size" fish. The Redfish numbers this year have markedly been greater than recent years. Good Cobia fishing continues producing quality fish in the back country especially near shallow structure and cover. Snook are certainly not super active with our cooler water temps of late but we do have those rare days of mild air temperatures and calmer winds that can bring the Snook to life in the back country as we move through the month things will be on an upswing for Snook activity. The Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper fishing improves greatly in the back country in February. 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 improves greatly for February. 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. February is predator time especially in the Marquesas Atoll where anglers can count on these aggressive species to be ready ready to go “head to head” if you are willing to make the long runs to this fabled remote location. Few guides can match the Key West Pro Guides teams knowledge of and experience fishing the Marquesas. 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. The back country is relaxing, serine and far from crowded...paradise and just maybe what Key West is all about. Flats: Periods of "improving" Bonefish action continue for the flats angler in February. This is still early in the flats fishing year so maybe not typically a "banner" month for the flats. Permit will be scarce on the flats and Tarpon are completely out of action on the flats for a little longer. The flats angler should now include Barracuda and sharks on his hit list. This is the perfect boat/guide combination for the fly fisher...the only trip we recommend when fly casting becomes part of the game plan and considerations. Understand flats fishing can be challenging but great fun. Experience and/or a skill set that includes casting accuracy to moving targets at some distance is a huge benefit. You will be sight casting from smaller 2 passenger maximum vessels referred to as skiff's. There will not be a rest room or shade on any true flats skiff. This is where the fly fisher is most at home. Flats fishing is not about catching numbers of fish or fast paced action...it is the challenge of working in concert with your guide to stealthily move across mere inches of water in pursuit of elusive sport fish. The true flats experience appeals to hunters often times as the "stalk" is a huge part of the flats experience. 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.

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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