Winter Time Fishing in Summerland Key!! January 2017

Well, we finally completed the move down here to Summerland Key during the first week of January.  For those of you who don’t know Summerland is located equal distance(about 30mins) from both Marathon Key and Key West.   Being centrally located in the Lower Keys, Summerland is one of the fishiest places I’ve ever had the pleasure of casting a line!   I can be in blue water 6 miles from my dock or I can be in the backcountry in half of that.   Having the choices that we have here allows for a wide range of fishing opportunities….as you will see from the pictures!

One of the best things about this area is the variety you can encounter on any given day.  Have calm winds?  Head out to the Atlantic side to fish the reef for an assortment of groupers and snappers, king mackerel, and various members of the tuna family.  Winds are howling?  Head to the backcountry for trout, mangrove snapper, mackerel, sharks, and Barracuda. 

I’m just going to walk you through one particular day we had about a week ago.  I was busy that morning so the only option we had was a quick afternoon trip.  My buddy Danilo met me at my dock around 3pm and we headed out to the reef to take advantage of the nice weather and calm seas.  Because we didn’t have much time we elected to stay shallow and fish structure in Hawks channel.  We picked a spot that I had marked but never fished before and set out a chum block.   We gave it a minute for the chum to start working and then started sending baits back in the slick.  Armed with a well full of pinfish and a cooler full of various dead bait we were prepared for anything.  One of Danilo’s first baits back was quickly inhaled by a nice quality Mutton Snapper.  Dinner mission accomplished!!  After that was some keeper, albeit small, mangrove snapper.  Then a good thump on a live pinfish turns into a serious tug of war with a keeper, albeit out of season, black grouper.   A couple more just undersized mutton snappers hit the deck along with a 4′ moray eel that couldn’t resist my pinfish on a knocker rig.  Then we started getting cut off….almost as soon as the baits hit the water.  Curious as to what toothy critter was out there eating our gear, I threw a Guides Secret Mucho Minnow on my 5000 series Penn Battle II and casted it back into the slick.  I engage the reel and almost had the rod yanked out of my hand in the same instant!!  A few minutes and one lap around the boat later a 20lb king hits the gaff.  After that it was nothing but pandemonium on the Triton as cast after cast resulted in 20lb schoolie kings on the Mucho.  We quickly caught our limit and, with a box full of goodies and the sun setting, we headed back to the dock.  Total time from pulling away and pulling back into the dock was under 3 hours.  Got to love wintertime fishing in the Florida Keys!!

Until next time….Tight Lines!!

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Comments

  1. Kirk McCarthy says:

    Awesome Captain Ryan… looking forward to be fishing with you this summer. I will be definitely making the trip down from Barefoot Bay… until then. Tight Lines my friend…

  2. Albert Martinez says:

    We miss you in Sebastian. When asked about Capt. Ryan I always comment “you don’t go fishing with Capt. Ryan you go catching…” Miss you buddy.

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