May 2016 Fishing Outlook
May has in the past been a wonderful month here in the Florida Keys and this year will be no different. But I’ve gotta tell ya, as I’m writing this fishing outlook for May 2016 that I’m doing so with concerns. Those that have been here in the Keys will agree with me that the past 6 months of weather has been strange to say the least. This has been the wettest, cooler and wind prone weather for a Winter season in many many years, El Nino is to blame they say. The rain caused issues with our environment to the extent that two coastal environments to our North have been devastated and will take years to recover and the unusual weather has brought to light the mismanagement of our environment here in South Florida by our Local, State and Federal Government as well as by the Sugar industry. Im talking about the South Florida Water Management District and the Southwest District and how they hold and or distribute fresh water. I could go on for pages but instead I want you, the reader, to do some homework and Google, Yahoo and talk about the state of our plight here in the Florida Keys. We carry the brunt of the damage to the Everglades and the Historic flow of water that has gone away due to the expansion of civilization here in South Florida. Things in Florida Bay, the Florida Reef Tract and the Everglades all depend on Fresh, Clean, Abundant Water. We here in the Keys live down stream of all the use and misuse of the most precious resource the Florida has … WATER! Without water that is clean, drinkable, plentiful and flowing into our homes, resorts and businesses as well as Florida Bay, we will be doomed as a Island community, we truly are more dependent on clean water here in the Keys than any other community in the State of Florida. So do some reading and research and look to the sources of our water woes and urge those who can make changes to do so. Check out www.EvergladesFoundation.org and www.RestoreFloridaBay.org sides these sources there are many others sites to help educate you on what is going on in our backyards as well all around South Florida. Remember this … We all live down stream!
So with May here and Summer around the corner lets talk about fishing here in the Florida Keys and fishing with children. The offshore favorite this time of the year is Mahi! With a very cool and windy this past April the Mahi bite really never took off as it has in the past, so it stands to reason that May will be the month of the “Slammers” which is to say that the big Bulls and their Cows will be abundant and moving through Keys waters this month. Dolphin fishing is a blast and very accessible to all who want to get in on the fight. We should see a huge influx of schools of all sizes causing offshore in 400 to 800 feet of water this month. The area “Humps” or sea mounts will be the scene of some really epic fish battles as well. Blackfin tuna, Wahoo, Mahi, Amber Jacks, sharks and the occasional Marlin tend to hang around these hot spots to feed on the abundant bait and each other this time of the year. The fact that Mahi tend to school up in size classes makes them a perfect fish for introducing children to offshore fishing. Once a school has been located it is easy to hold their attention, the Mahi and the Kids attention that is, by chumming up the school with cut bait and keeping a hooked fish in close to the transom of the boat. This allows you to teach the kids how to cast baits, fight fish and land fish with great success.
The reef bite has been nothing short of amazing for 2016! Yellowtail and Mutton snapper fishing has been crazy and some of the largest Mangrove snapper catches have been reported out there too. Grouper Season opens May 1st and the catch will be hot, check out www.MyFWC.com for up to date catch and size limits on all species of fish. The best part of reef fishing here in the Keys is this, you just don’t know what is going to show up in your chum slick from one cast to the next. The huge schools of snapper that show up behind your boat make for easy fishing for new anglers and kids. Try rigging with circle hooks in the place of conventional “J” hooks on your next outing and you will be pleased with the outcome for those new to our sport.
The weather has slowed the Tarpon action down here in the Keys so far this year, not to say that they aren’t here yet, but it seems that the bite window has been rather narrow so far. With warmer weather and a winds that should stay more out of the East we will see a huge increase in the hook up rate. Tarpon are omnivores and gluttons, the trick is being there when they go on an eating binge. Mullet , pinfish, pilchards and crabs will all work as bait, once the Solver King puts on his bib and sits down to chow down.
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