Fishing Reports

Islamorada Fishing is world class. There are not many spots on this planet that can offer the diverse fishing available in Islamorada. Offshore, Patch Reef, Gulf and Bay, Back County, Everglades, the Flamingo, and Bridges are all active destinations for the largest fishing fleet in the world. The species are endless. Some favorites include tarpon, permit, bonefish, redfish, snook, shark, sailfish, mahi, wahoo, backfin tuna, hogfish and many species of snapper. Epic does not even do justice to describing the fishing in Islamorada. Islamorada Times provides the most current and accurate fishing reports in all the Florida Keys.

Fishing Report 09/25/2020


Some crazy weather we have had here in the upper Florida Keys these past few weeks with all of the tropical activity around.  The fishing has been good, but has definitely had its highs and lows depending on what you are trying to capture.  There has been a slight feeling of fall in the air with a few Sailfish starting to show up, and decent numbers of king mackerel in the area.  Definitely has been a decline in the mahi population up until Wednesday, when a new batch moved in, but it is getting to be that time of year when they should start becoming a bit more sporadic.  This is a transitional time, and that doesn’t mean the fishing isn’t good, it just means that it is a time when the summertime fish start to migrate out of the area and the fall and winter fish start to move in.  This also means that there will be days when they both are here in good numbers, and this will make for some great days of fishing!  The offshore report this week was slow on the front side, except for the tunas on the hump.  The mahi were MIA, but the tunas filled in nicely for the guys that made it out.  As of Wednesday, the fish were back and were all over the place, and it was almost like they never left.  We will see what the rest of the week brings.  The swordfish bite from the deep ledge was silent this week other than one little guy around 30 pounds that was caught.  That is all we have heard of for the week thus far.  We have a trip on Saturday and Sunday, so I’ll report back on how that went next week.


The wreck fishing has been filled with a lot of action this week, as there are plenty of bonita, yellow bar jacks, kings, and sharks all over them.  There are some nice muttons and groupers on the bottom, but it is nearly impossible to get them away from the sharks.  Even the live bottom (reef/ non-manmade structures) is tough to get a fish up to the surface.  These sharks are spawning offshore this time of year, and they are thick.  I often hear that the shark population is being depleted, but I can tell you that I am starting to think these scientists are just looking in the wrong spots!  There are plenty of them down here, and there are no signs of that changing whatsoever.  They are offshore, all over the wrecks and reefs, the humps, weed lines, you name it.  Anyway, the wreck fishing is tough if you want to catch something on the bottom.  The rest of the column seems to be working just fine.  The reef bite for yellowtails has been ok at best.  If you can get some current and the right condition it’s a no-brainer, but if it is off then the fishing is right there with it.  Nothing out of the norm for this time of year, but as soon as we start cooling off a bit the sharks will move around and start migrating and the numbers will be much less and able to deal with.  You know, it is always fun to catch them on light tackle!  Well, it appears that we might get lucky and get another couple/few weeks of the mahi action, when you mix in some great tuna fishing, makes for a great day offshore.  The weather for the weekend looks much less windy, but there are some pretty high percentages of rain and storms.

Gulf and Bay:

The western edges of the Everglades National Park continue to be full of action. Big Trout and Snappers have been keeping anglers busy while casting DOA soft plastics under popping corks or fished closer to the bottom while drifting. Anglers that fished out in Gulf waters reported great action with Trout, Snappers, Sharks and many more. Cobias, Permit and Goliath Groupers have been also caught around the wrecks and bottom structure. This fishery will only get better in the near future.

Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:

The bite in the Islamorada backcountry remains solid with nothing but great catches being reported. Anglers targeting Snook, Redfish and Tarpon have been doing great in the Flamingo area. Working the tides with live baits and artificials has been productive for anglers fishing the island moats and shorelines around Flamingo. The shallow drafted skiffs took advantage of the beautiful weather we had last weekend and put together some great catches working the flats in the same area. DOA jerk shads rigged weed less will not be refused by any fish in your pass. Farther west towards the Cape Sable area the bite has been great as well. Tarpon, Snook, Redfish and many more have been part of the regular catches. Anglers working the shallow flats and banks both bayside and Oceanside around Islamorada have been reporting multiple shots at schools of Bonefish. They have been casting Fly’s and live shrimp with great success. Most Anglers have been reporting some amazing Permit fishing on the deeper edges of flats and banks both bayside and Oceanside. A small crab casted perfectly in their path will get you a hook up.

Around the Bridges:

It’s a great time of the year to live bait fish around the many Islamorada bridges and channels. The bait is plentiful and a live well full of it will guarantee some great action. We have been catching Tarpon, Jacks, Snappers and Groupers on a regular basis while working the tides in the early morning hours with great success. This fishery can be a great option to get out on the water on the stormy days.

Fishing Report provided by: Captain Juan Garcia 305-297-0438 for backcountry charters, and Captain James Chappell 305-803-1321 for offshore charters.

Tailing tarpon

*Please email or call/text 484-919-2133 for referrals and recommendations for the best Captains and Guides in Islamorada and the surrounding Florida Keys.