Florida Keys backcountry fishing report February 14 2014

Posted on 2/14/2014
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Hello everyone! I'm sure last weekend and the first part of the week everybody thought it was summer time here in the Florida Keys backcountry. The water temperatures warmed up fairly quick living the fish dazed and confused. Anglers targeting Tarpon on Fly took great advantage of the many pods of fish that pushed through our area probably thinking Spring was here. As long as the water temperatures stay in the 72 degrees or more range this fish are going to continue to push our way making for an early start to Tarpon season. The recent cold front and it's welcome cool down might push the fish back for a while but I don't think it will be long until it warms up again. The Trout bite in the park continue to pick up with some great action fishing mullet muds, deep edges of grass flats and all the regular trout spots. Casting Berkley Gulp shrimp under a popping cork is a good way to find the fish. The Flamingo area keeps being productive specially for the shallow drafted boats that can get in skinny water on the edges of dried up flats on the lower stages of the tides. For the bigger boats try casting live shrimp way up on the runoffs and let it sit for a Redfish to find. Chumming the runoff with small shrimp pieces will help bring the fish to your area. There has also been a couple of nice snook caught this way as well. The bite has been spotty but if you put your time to it you will be rewarded with some really nice fish. Out on the deeper channels cast a shrimp up current and slowly bounced back for Trout and many other rod benders. The Tarpon continue to make there appearance in the same area. If you see the fish rolling around put out some live baits under a cork or fish them dead on the bottom. As the water continues to warm look for this fishing along with the Sharks to get better.
Farther west towards the middle grounds look for a descent bite of Trout, Ladyfish, Bluefish and some Pompano mixed in. Anglers continue to pick at Redfish, Snook, Blackdrum and Sheepshead along the creeks, ditches, and mainland shorelines in the East Cape Sable area. The best action has been working the shorelines from middle Cape up to Shark River. Many anglers continue to take advantage of the Tarpon that are starting to show up in the same areas. Fish live baits or throw Plugs in the area were the fish are holding for a chance at a hook up. As long as we stay in this warming trend the number of Tarpon making their way to our area will keep improving. So if the conditions are right it might pay off big time to do a little early season Tarpon fishing.
The bite in the gulf has been spotty lately, some days the Spanish Mackerel bite is great and others its not. Look for this to continue as Spring time weather settles in. If the Mackerel don't show up no worries cause there are plenty of other species to keep anglers busy. The Shark bite continues to improve as well as the Snappers. Cobia continue to show up around the wrecks and the Goliath groupers are ready to gulp down any bait you throw in their territories. The deeper you go the better the bite has been.
Bone fishing remains spotty depending on the weather conditions. Take advantage of the warmer middle parts of the day and when visibility conditions are at their best. Fish the Oceanside flats and look for tailing fish on the lower tide stages and mudding fish on the higher stages. Keep your eyes on the deeper edges for cruising Permit as this fish make their annual push to the deeper reef and wrecks to spawn.