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Key West Offshore Fishing Forecast January 2012

Hi, this is Capt. Chuck Butler with Charter SeaClusion, operating out of Key West Oceanside Marina, where we offer a variety of different fishing charters aboard my forty-six foot Bertram sportfish “SeaClusion”. Well the New Year is on us with more strange, weird and downright ridiculous rules and regulations – Happy New Year! The good news is that there are plenty of really nice fish out here waiting to be caught. The winter season is in full swing and Kingfish are one of the top fish in January. They call them smokers because of what they can do to your reel, not because they are so tasty smoked. Kings are found along the reef and over wrecks and rocks. The Gulf is really hot but with a two per person limit that gets to be a long trip for not many fish. Their cousins Spanish and Cero Mackerel are abundant on the reef chasing schools of Ballyhoo. Trolling dead Ballyhoo requires a stinger hook or as I prefer rigging the single hook to exit the body at the rear of the bait. This is a little tricky, but a rigging needle and tying the bait to the wire is quick and easy with a little practice. It also catches Mackerel instead of getting bit off. Sailfish, especially juveniles are on the reef and near the edge of the reef. Bait schools are obvious with birds and bait showers. Look for this action to come and go fast. The sails will be on bait for ten to fifteen minutes and then they are gone. They move on as the baits get too scattered and look for easier pickings. And no discussion of offshore fishing in Key West is complete without talking about Tuna. Whether chumming with live pilchards, trolling dead or live baits Blackfin Tuna are being caught. They prefer early morning, late afternoon, and cloudy days for surface bites. During midday when you mark a school use vertical jigs to pick up these tasty fish. Tom's Key West Wahoo On the full moon (the 9th) if the weather is reasonably calm, and the water is clean and blue Wahoo should be hot again. This month the bite was good just did not last. The Vandenberg was particularly hot with free divers mixing it up with trolling boats . They really should put up flags. Also coming into the full moon is an excellent time for Swordfish. The fishing at night is solid with most being just legal and a surprise once in a while in the 250 plus class. With calm evening breezes I will be there. Well good luck and Happy New Year.


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