Best Fishing In The Florida Keys Calendar: Winter

There are always fish to catch in the Florida Keys. This guide to the best fishing In December, January, and February should help you choose what type of fishing you want to do.
There are always fish to catch in the Florida Keys. This guide to the best fishing In December, January, and February should help you choose what type of fishing you want to do.

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A Florida Keys fishing guide by season; whether you plan to visit during winter, spring, summer, or fall we have you covered. You will also find all of our favorite fish recipes to help you prepare your fresh catch!

Best Fishing In The Florida Keys In December

Winter is here in the islands. December is definitely one of the cooler months in the Florida Keys and the temperatures fluctuate. The ocean water is cooling down significantly and new fish are coming around. The average high temperature is 79, and the average low is 69.

Best Fishing Spots In The Florida Keys

Reef Fishing

Reef fishing is great with yellowtail and mutton snapper, mackerel, and jacks. This is the last month for grouper; seas can get rough.

Flats Fishing

Flats fishing is good when a cold front is not set in. Warmer days can really get the sport fish excited.

Backcountry Fishing

Backcountry fishing is awesome and continuing to focus on tarpon, but it is easy to reel in snapper, mackerel, jacks, sharks, cobia, barracudas, and grouper. Shallow wrecks and reefs for sportfishing are still an optional destination.

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing is great for marlin only and other fish can be spotty.

This is a list of the best fish species to catch which you can use to plan your fishing excursions.

  • Amberjack – Fair
  • Barracuda – Excellent
  • Blackfin Tuna – Excellent
  • Blue Marlin – Possible
  • Bonefish – Fair
  • Bonito – Good
  • Cero Mackerel – Excellent
  • Cobia – Excellent
  • Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi) – Possible
  • Grouper – Excellent
  • Jack Crevalle – Excellent
  • King Mackerel – Excellent
  • Lionfish – Excellent
  • Mackerel – Fair
  • Mangrove Snapper – Slow
  • Mutton Snapper – Possible
  • Sailfish – Excellent
  • Shark – Excellent
  • Swordfish – Good
  • Wahoo – Good
  • Yellowfin Tuna – Fair
  • Yellowtail Snapper – Excellent
In December, The Barracuda Are Biting In The Florida Keys

Best Fishing In The Florida Keys In January

Cooler temperatures and sunny days make this month a terrific time to fish in the Florida Keys. You can expect temps to be in the mid-70s with an occasional cold front that might drop the days into the high 60s.

Best Fishing Spots In The Florida Keys

Reef Fishing

Reef fishing is very good and yields yellowtail and mutton snapper, kingfish, mackerel, jacks, and the occasional sailfish. The weather can become very windy so conditions matter if seasickness is a factor to you and your group.

Flats Fishing

Flats Fishing is generally terrific in January when it is not too windy. The Flats is one of the best fishing spots in the Florida Keys.

Backcountry Fishing

Typically great and it is easy to reel in snapper, mackerel, jacks, sharks, cobia, barracudas, and grouper.

Deep Sea Fishing

This month focus deep-sea fishing efforts on sailfish, mahi-mahi, tuna, and wahoo. Windy days can be challenging for fishermen and women who experience motion sickness.

This is a list of the best fish species to catch which you can use to plan your fishing excursions.

  • Amberjack – Good
  • Barracuda – Excellent
  • Blackfin Tuna – Excellent
  • Blue Marlin – Slow
  • Bonefish – Fair
  • Bonito – Good
  • Cero Mackerel – Excellent
  • Cobia – Good
  • Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) – Fair
  • Grouper – Excellent
  • Jack Crevalle – Excellent
  • King Mackerel – Excellent
  • Lionfish – Excellent
  • Mackerel – Good
  • Mangrove Snapper – Slow
  • Mutton Snapper – Good
  • Sailfish – Excellent
  • Shark – Excellent
  • Swordfish – Good
  • Wahoo – Good
  • Yellowfin Tuna – Fair
  • Yellowtail Snapper – Excellent
yellowtail snapper in Florida keys in January
A Bucket Of Yellowtail Snapper After A Day Of Fishing In The Keys In January

Best Fishing In The Florida Keys In February

Just like January, cooler temperatures and sunny days make this month a terrific time to fish in the Florida Keys. February sometimes sees more cold fronts and is the coldest month of the year in the Keys just like in the rest of the United States. The average high temp is 79, the average low is 68.

Best Fishing Spots In The Florida Keys

Reef Fishing

Reef fishing will bring in yellowtail and mutton snapper, kingfish, some of which can be very large. Mackerel, jacks, and sometimes sailfish can be found munching on plentiful bait around the reef. Again, the weather can become very windy so conditions matter if seasickness is a factor to you or anyone in your group.

Flats Fishing

Flats fishing is good in February and you can expect barracudas and sharks.

Backcountry Fishing

Backcountry fishing is excellent and is usually the best choice during this month based on typical conditions and the variety of fish that can be found. Snapper, mackerel, jacks, sharks, cobia, barracudas, and grouper are all likely to land in your boat.

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep-sea fishing is really nice and can find huge kingfish, sailfish, mahi-mahi, tuna, and wahoo. Generally, you do not have to go out very far but motion sickness can be an issue on the windy days.

This is a list of the best fish species to catch which you can use to plan your fishing excursions.

  • Amberjack – Excellent
  • Barracuda – Excellent
  • Blackfin Tuna – Good
  • Blue Marlin – Fair
  • Bonefish – Fair
  • Bonito – Good
  • Cero Mackerel – Excellent
  • Cobia – Excellent
  • Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) – Good
  • Grouper – Excellent
  • Jack Crevalle – Excellent
  • King Mackerel – Excellent
  • Mackerel – Excellent
  • Lion Fish – Excellent
  • Mangrove Snapper – Slow
  • Mutton Snapper – Good
  • Permit – Excellent
  • Sailfish – Excellent
  • Shark – Excellent
  • Swordfish – Good
  • Wahoo – Excellent
  • Yellowfin Tuna – Fair
  • Yellowtail Snapper – Excellent
Man holding a fresh caught grouper fish while on a boat the Florida Keys
Enjoying A Fresh Caught Grouper – Straight Out Of The Ocean!

Try some of these delicious recipes for dinner, snacks, and cocktails inspired by fresh from the island seafood.

Peace, Love and Vacations,

Martie, Kim and Layla the hunting poodle

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