Spring/Summer 2017 Fishing Report

All of March thru April the winds have blown steady out of the North East.This makes for a little tougher fishing. March came in like a lion and left like a lion.April wasn’t much better. Despite windy days I had good luck with the Tarpon.Most these fish were on the Gulf side and not the ocean. Those fish usually show up later in the season when migrating Tarpon start showing up.May fishing is now starting to produce more fish. It’s been a slow start, many of the big migrating schools of Tarpon are just now starting to show.The winds have finally slowed and turned towards the south.This morning we hooked two big fish around a 100 lbs. and a nice Permit.There were schools of rolling Tarpon pretty much every where we fished. I’ve been doing this for 45 years. It’s just as exciting to me now as the day I started. To get close up on these rolling fish and cast into them.Well it’s an experience that words can not explain. Every turn of the reel,every strip of your fly.Gets your adrenaline pumping in anticipation of getting a strike.When it happens, it happens big! As long as the weather hold steady fishing will steadily improve. Permit fishing is on the up swing. For the past month these fish have been in deeper water. This time of year they start moving back on the flats.We hooked one this morning but pulled the hook right at the boat. Talk about heart break.Nice fish around 30 lbs.Also got into a few Cobia. These fish will hit a plug,or fly and put up a great fight.May thru July is the best of the best. If your looking to get in some good fishing this is the time to do it. This time of year I get pretty booked up.Don’t wait till the last minute to book.For reservations call 305-296-9794 or 305-744-8985. e mail works,but please no texting. Thanks Captain Rick Mager Flats Fever

Fall/Winter 2017 Fishing Report

Hi! This is Captain Rick Mager on Flats Fever here in Key West, Florida. Here is an update on fall and winter fishing.

After fishing Key West for more than 40 years, it’s still hard to pick my favorite season. The beautiful part is the variety of fishing the backcountry offers all year round.

Fall fishing provides anglers with some of the very best permit and bone fishing. I’ve seen a few schools of bone fish. A lot of these fish work the shallow edges along the cut through channels which crisscross through endless miles of flats. If the tide is right, chances are good you’ll see some tailing fish. Me, I like the beginning of the incoming tide. Like salmon waiting for the rains to flood the rivers, these bonefish follow the tides like clockwork. As the tide pushes back up on the flats so do the bonefish. Always looking for a tasty shrimp or a crab, these stealthy hunters make a living on the flats. Not a bad way to live!

Permit fishing has held its own. These fish cruise in a little deeper water, usually 3-5 feet. Permit do school up sometimes, and if you are lucky, you can see large schools of fish moving across the flats at one time. Although many of the shots my anglers get are at one or two fish at a time, sometimes you can find a school of permit held up in one spot and all you see is tails bobbing up and down. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Last trip out, conditions were right on, and the permit were everywhere. A five-knot, northerly wind with 72 degrees of water temperature set the scene for some laid up fish. The water was glassed out and there were tails everywhere. Schools of permit sitting in three feet of water seemed to be everywhere. This is not an everyday sight! Casting into tailing permit is enough to get anyone’s heart racing. Watching these fish moon right in front of the boat is an adrenaline rush for any angler. This is as good as it gets. Only thing better is hooking one. Seeing a permit eat your crab or take a fly and then make screaming long runs across the flats is enough to keep anyone coming back for more.

Fall weather along with north winds have definitely cooled things down. Water temperatures have dropped some, bringing in a whole new array of fish into shallow waters. As long as the water holds around 72 degrees, you’ll have shots at tarpon, permit and bonefish all winter long, depending on the severity of cold fronts. Wintertime fishing also includes trout, bluefish, Crevalle Jacks, pompano, big barracuda, and the occasional redfish. When conditions are right, you can get shots at all these fish.

I’ve also seen some laid up resident tarpon. These are local fish and will not migrate. As long as the water temperatures hold, these fish will hold up in the favorite spots. Most of these tarpon are smaller than the migratory fish that flood the Keys in the early spring. These tarpon usually clock in from 20-40 pounds. To me, the smaller fish are a lot more fun and a lot less pain than the bigger fish. Nevertheless, seeing these beautiful fish rolling in casting range is always a sight to behold. By the way, my formula for fighting time is 1 minute per pound — you do the math!

I’ve been fishing Key West waters for most of my adult life. I’ve done every kind of fishing you can do down here. To me, there’s nothing like fishing calm, crystal clear water using the lightest tackle against the biggest fish.

Captain Rick Mager
1420 Washington Street
Key West, FL 33040
flatsfever@yahoo.com
305-296-9794 or
305-744-8985