The Florida Keys are known for their warm weather all year long, but some days feel like they might be too hot even for the fish. What do you do when the hot weather settles in, but you still want to get out on the water to catch something?
- Lobstering. The hottest months of the year in the keys are also the best time to jump into the water to catch lobsters. “Mini Season” runs for two days on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year. That’s July 27-28 in 2022. The regular season starts on August 6 and ends on March 31. You can find the full Florida rules on the FWC website. Generally, lobsters, especially keepers, are harder to find as the water temperatures cool off, so the warmer the weather, the better for finding lobsters. Where to find lobsters is whole other story, the best spots are closely guarded secrets and even passed down within families. Hard bottom areas, isolated coral heads, edges of sea grass with an overhang are all good places to start.
- Go Deeper. As the water temperatures increase, larger reef fish tend to seek relief in deeper water. Usually deeper means beyond the reef edge or greater than 50 feet. Wrecks and structure over 100 feet deep are good places to start looking for grouper and larger snapper as water temperatures climb into the hight 80s and above. Other pelagic species such as Mahi Mahi can also be found in larger numbers when then weather gets warmer. Summer time means more sargassum weed which act as magnets for these popular game fish. Learn how to catch Mahi with basic gear.
- Go Earlier. If you’re after reef fish during the summer months, you’re best to time of day is before about 10:00 AM. After this time, the bite often slows down to nothing and you end up wasting a lot of bait and chum chasing fish with lock jaw.
- Try Night Fishing. Many local fisherman fish during the night in the summer when seeking snapper. Mangrove snappers congregate on the reefs during mating season and are most active during the nighttime hours. The low visibility also makes fooling usually war snappers easier as you can get away with heavier line and bigger hooks. Operating a boat at night can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know the area. There are many guides and even party boats that offer nighttime snapper fishing during the summer.