February fishing is like a box of chocolates
February offers a continued variety over Valentine's Day both offshore and in the backcountry around the areas of the Upper Keys.
Some were away out of town, or at the Miami International Boat Show. However, more than a half-dozen guides from Islamorada reported tarpon activity last week in the backcountry. There's been lots of tarpon around lately -- more than I can remember for this time of year. I'm told they're biting so well that they're even eating the fly with regularity! Now that is something very special.
The usual black tip sharks were also found on and around some of the backcountry flats close to Key Largo. Captain Bill Bassett found a big bull shark swimming near Flamingo and caught a nice cobia off of it.
In addition to the big fish excitement in the backcountry, there were redfish caught and lots of Spanish mackerel near Cape Sable.
Offshore, the sailfish action continues. Lately it seems if you put some time in, you can find what you're looking for.
Last week the Catch 22 and Relentless caught and released five fish a piece. A handful of stingrays were found over the sand inside the main reef edge, and a few cobias were caught, some released throughout the fleet of offshore anglers.
Anglers aboard the charter boat Captain Easy did some deep dropping with Capt Bruce Andersen and Mikey Mason recently and did very well with the queen snapper, tilefish and a variety of other deepwater fish, including a sickle-finned pomfret, which is very rare to see as they live on the bottom in 1,500 feet of water.
The reef is alive with king mackerel, yellowtail snapper and a few dolphin. And blackfin tuna have visited the live baits on the riggers, both on the anchor and on the slow troll.
Patch fishing continues to be worthwhile with lots of action happening on the 10-pound spinning gear, including cero mackerel, mangrove and yellowtail snapper, hogfish and a variety of porgies and other rod benders using the knocker rigs -- and fished near or even right on the bottom.
I hope you catch a big one this week!
Capt. Donald Deputy writes for The Reporter every other week. Reach him direct at email@example.com with your personal fish tales and photos.