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Flats & Backcountry Fishing Reports

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

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

October is here bringing cooler water temperatures to our near shore waters. Fantastic action is in store for the shallow water Key West angler.

Back Country: Always a fun and productive trip the back country this time of year also offers an abundance of visible marine life and tropical birds on the Mangrove Island shorelines with mirror calm, crystal clear waters. The overall population of fish in the back country remains large with several sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target. A perfect trip for the hard core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family or groups numbering up to 4 anglers. If you are not certain about which charter to reserve…this trip checks off all the boxes and is our number 1 most reserved charter.

Tarpon time is over in the back country as the migration away from Key West of adult fish has taken place. Remaining is our resident population of primarily juvenile Tarpon and these fish are super sensitive to changing conditions and become very "hit or miss". Some Tarpon are still here but we typically do not target them now! Consider a Tarpon in October as a wonderful "bonus" fish.

The 1/2 day to 3/4 day morning departure trips continue to produce well however the afternoon water temperatures are not as high now so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome. Permit can be pursued on the shallow patch reef and isolated shallow wrecks and the bite is good on quality size fish most days. Snook on the given day continue and we would place them in the "good" range. Cobia fishing continues again in the "good range". This is a time of fast paced "excellent" action from the schools of BIG Jacks including some huge Yellow Jacks which continue to be red hot with the larger fish going north of 25 pounds…an absolute blast on light tackle and top water! Towards the end of October we should see the ramping up of both Redfish and Trout fishing. These along with the schools of Pompano are the first of the fall, cooler water temperature, species to signal the transition from summer time angling.

The Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper fishing remains excellent in the back country. For serious "table fare" harvest we always recommend the reef & wreck trips but to include a few fish for lunch or dinner this is never a problem in our shallows.

The outstanding 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. This is predator time! These aggressive species are always ready to go “head to head” so you adrenaline junkies out there could be sight casting top water lures to cruising Barracuda one moment and a live bait offering to a cruising shark the next! The Bonefish population in the back country has been fun lately on the deeper flats especially to the west of the island, and we should continue to enjoy this bonus back country action for all of October before slowing somewhat. For the serious Bonefish angler the flats are still your trip but to include the possibility of Bonefish on the back country trips for a while yet is reasonable. We "highly recommend" a back country charter this time of year and especially for those guests looking for a shorter than full day trip. Note...if you have fly fishing in mind...head to the flats, we do not recommend hard core fly trips from our bay boats.

Flats: Bonefish continue to provide excitement for the patient angler willing to work for his prey. The Bonefish action during all of October can produce quality size fish ranging from 4 to 8 pounds and occasionally larger yet but the number of fish shows to be slowing. Permit typically will provide another 30 days or more with good results on the flats but the Permit is always more abundant in slightly deeper waters. The flats angler should absolutely include Barracuda and sharks on his hit list as well. 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. If Bonefish are on your angling "bucket list" this is a good time to book your trip with one of our legendary flats guides. Fly fishers...flats is where you need to be in October.

Understand that flats fishing is a highly technical form of shallow water angling. This is not a trip for the angler looking for fast paced action or a wide variety of species to target. Flats fishing requires a skill set that includes the ability to make long, accurate casts to typically moving targets. For the interested fly fisher, understand we do not 'teach fly fishing" fly fish the flats and be successful you must have the ability to make longer casts with a limited number of false casts to a target on the move. Our talents flats guides are knowledgeable fly guides and are more than willing to assist the angler with a few "pointer's" along the way but you cannot learn to fly fish and have reasonable expectations for success on the same trip.

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!

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