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May Key West Deep Sea Fishing Forecast

May is arguably one of the best months of the year for fishing offshore in Key West. So many different types of fish are available that choosing can be the biggest problem of the day.   

By far one of the most sought after fish is the Dolphin, and in May Mahi-Mahi are making their way into the Key West waters in a big way. This is the time of year that the big brutes make their way West. Weed lines are OK but give me a couple of diving birds and I will show you a Bull Dolphin. Debris and weed lines are not what they will be in another month. The big fish this month are moving West into the current. They are eating on the run, hooking up and fighting a fish will usually cost you two or three more as they just keep moving.

Sailfish finally decided to come to Key West around the middle of April and will be here at least thru the first part of May. Sailfish tailing in the Gulfstream and a well full of worms truly defines sport fishing. The action is hot and pitching baits to Sailfish and watching the hook up right behind the boat gets the blood going every time.

Permit are not a fish we see  a lot of offshore, but in May they are still spawning on wrecks and rock piles before they head back to the flats and backcountry. Live crabs and shrimp work great. I have been trying the artificials but the success has not matched the convenience.

No forecast for May would be complete without a mention of Mutton Madness on the full moon. This celebration of the spawn is ritual with many in the Keys. Although the stories are always about the night everybody caught a limit it is not just that easy.  Where is pretty easy the crowds gather at the usual spots around dusk. Pinfish and Pilchards (anybody remember what they look like?) are the baits of choice. Ten per person is a lot of Mutton if you get into them, but fishing at night is always exciting.


Last but not least, GROUPER! The season opens on May 1st and Grouper is on the menu in Key West again. The four month closure is over and we can start fileting instead of releasing these tasty fish. The bag limits are complicated, pay attention, because the FWC is.

So when you figure out what you want to catch, this is the time to get out on the water and enjoy some of the best fishing Key West offers.

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