Florida Keys Flats Fishing Seasons



Capt Luke Kelly

February - April, the winter/spring transition.

An amazing time of year for Florida Keys flats and backcountry fishing. If viewed on an annual perspective, this is when the good fishing starts. Hungry sport and gamefish entering the inshore shallows as water-temps shift from cool to warm.

When temps are on the cooler side the year’s best Barracuda and Jack fishing prevails. When on the warmer side our beloved migratory Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish come out to play. Whatever the weather throws at you, there’s always something to catch this active time of year!

September - December, fall flats & backcountry fishing.

The cool down of our air and water temps bring change to the shallows. Most all large migratory tarpon are gone by this time, barracuda and  juvenile tarpon fishing fill the void. Permit and bonefish numbers decrease the closer we get to winter.

October and November  mark a special time of year for the flats. Variety of fish is somewhat reminiscent of spring making for great action throughout the day. Air and water temps go from a warm to cool transition, sparking yet again perfect conditions for the flats and Inshore Slam potential!

May - July, the summer sportsman season.

Early morning departures in pursuit of the official Inshore Slam. By this time of year air/water temps are stabilized warm. Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish are target species, tides and time of day dictate which, when, and where. A great time of year for anglers who can appreciate the hunt challenge and thrill in sight-fishing!

Many believe this time of year to be very hot. While the busy streets of Key West may be, time spent on the water is quite different. Ocean temps moderate our air temps, whilst those ocean temps rarely if ever reach 90F. In other words, the ocean breeze makes air-temps tolerable when on the water away from asphalt.