Islamorada May Fishing Report

Hello Fisherman,

Well I’m happy to see the month of May finally here, but at the same time sad.  The last few weeks of April have produced the best catches of sailfish and cobia the Florida Keys has probably ever seen.  The reason is due to a beautiful color change on the inshore edge of the Gulf Stream.  With the help of a strong 4 knot current against east winds, the tailing condition has been remarkable.
We’ve been seeing double digit sailfish for nearly a week straight.  Some days they bite better than others, but that’s why we call it fishing.
With some good light, sight fishing with light spinning rods is a blast.  It’s about as much fun as you can have with your pants on.   Last Wednesday and Thursday were truly amazing. On Wednesday we spotted over 75 sailfish tailing in the powder blue water. Luckily all the fish weren’t biting for us, or we would have run out of hooks.  We did manage to catch an even dozen along with a big tuna and 3 nice cobia.  On Thursday the wind dropped a little, so we didn’t see the numbers.  But the sailfish that we did see, were biting like mad dogs.  We landed 18 out of 22 bites and saw another 5 or six we couldn’t get to because we were already hooked up with a few fish. I expect the sailfish to continue as long as the color change persists.
And if the color change falls apart,  I would suggest targeting other species like dolphin.  May is the start of the true dolphin run off the keys.  The main reason is that the birds have finally migrated here from the Caribbean.  Working birds make the hunt for dolphin much more productive.   There are a huge number of flying fish out there for the dolphin to feed on as well.   With all the flying fish,  frigates and terns are more likely to work over the feeding fish.
If the dolphin fishing isn’t paying off, the reef and wrecks is usually a great bet this month.  All of the snapper and grouper are in a spawning mode.  So that means they are super aggressive and hungry.  Quite often you can target both while anchored on the reef line. a good chum line will draw in both yellowtail and grouper.   It’s best to try and find a reef that has off-color water and current behind the boat. This condition will produce the best bite.
May also has outstanding wreck fishing.  Lots of jacks and sharks forage around wrecks during the late spring.  A large blue runner or small bonito are great baits to help hook up these hard fighting fish.  And don’t forget to remember to take some crabs.  There are lots of big permit.  I sure hope you got a chance to get out fishing last month, but if you didn’t get out and go in may.  It’ll be a great month for catching.