Big Barracudas in Key West Winter Season
The day started with a look at an area west of Key West where bait has been gathering. When bait gathers in the shallows big fish find them and keep them busy. It is a great event to take advantage of, big sharks, Barracudas, Tarpon, Jacks and Permit hang around these schools looking for an easy meal. We set up on the flat close to a large school of bait and started casting lures looking for jacks and cudas. It wasn’t long before we had multiple cudas to the boat on light tackle, some of which over 40 inches. We had some small jacks eat as well but the cudas where the most aggressive. The frantic fights brought in some big sharks that love an easy meal. We had black tips and lemon sharks ranging from 3 feet to 8 feet roaming around the boat all of the sudden and ha to take advantage. I took a small jack about a foot long and hooked him in the back with a wire rig on a balloon to keep him on the surface. The black tip sharks love live bait and quickly came in to give us an amazing show. The jacks are fast enough to escape the sharks for a little bit and all this does is get the shark more fired up. When the shark finally gets his jaws around the jack he sucks the balloon under and the fight takes flight. An amazing visual display that will make any angler yell with excitement. Plus, many people do not realize black tips are acrobatic, so when they are hooked they make leaps out of the water and flip and twirl just like a Tarpon. It is quite remarkable and the runs they deliver are so fast it gets intense quickly as they run in all different directions. We caught one black tip over 6 feet and at that size they are one of the fastest fish in the ocean.
We battled about 6 sharks and landed 3, after that event died down we made a few runs looking for more barracuda flats. We found so many cudas over 45 inches cruising the flats that my angler was getting worn out! We finished the day using live bait to catch big mangrove snappers for dinner and while we were doing so the sharks came back for another feast. We ended up with a lemon shark over 7 foot and lost several others that were to big to stop easily and ended up getting away. The winter time bite is full of excitement, big fish come in shallow to take advantage of the bait and the fisherman take advantage of their hunting. If you want to catch big critters in shallow water this winter come fish with Grateful Dave Charters and see what the keys have to offer. If fly fishing is your game there is also lots of great Permit fishing and cudas on fly are also a blast. Book your trip now and have a great holiday.
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