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Normally I like to leave early by Key West standards.

While many other areas leave at 4,5 or 6 am to get to their fishing grounds, We are lucky here, we don’t have that far to run. So we don’t have to leave as early. Considering the “party” atmosphere of Key West and that the bars close at 4 am, it’s probably a good thing. But that being said, I like to leave at 7 am most days while many in the fleet like to leave at 8. Sometimes that doesn’t work for my customers. Todays people wanted to sleep in. so we decided on a sunset trip looking for Tuna.

We were hoping that the Black Fin Tuna

would bite just before it was time to come in. It is the right time of year and if they are going to bite this time of year, usually right after sunrise or right before sunset is the best time to catch them. Getting out there before Sunrise wasn’t going to work, so we went with the trip finishing up at sunset. The best place to catch them is around a sunken submarine wreck about 16 miles from Key West. It was a 6 hr trip and my plan was to be in that area at the end of the trip.

This was a 6 hr trip leaving at noon.

There was no need to run right to the Sub that early. Sunset wasn’t for a few hours and we had plenty of time to fish our way down to it. We wanted to start out looking for some action so we started on the reef.

We actually had a good number of bites

on the reef, but today was just one of those days where the fish seem to get off more than normal. Nobody was doing anything wrong. The anglers were fine, my mate was to the rod quickly and the hooks are sharp. We just lost a bunch.

Small Cero Mackerel caught in Key West fishing on charter boat Southbound

We ended up with some Cero Mackerel

and one beautiful Mutton Snapper. I’ve talked about Cero mackerel before. Fun to catch and good to eat. I like them, but Mutton Snapper is my personal favorite fish to eat. It’s sort of a shallow water cousin to the Red Snapper. Very similar shape and fin configuration, but they don’t get as large. They are found in much shallower water. Also, they are in season, so we can keep them if we catch them.

Large Mutton Snapper caught in Key West fishing with Southbound Sportfishing

As it got late in the day

and we had dinner in the boat from the reef fishing. We decided to move offshore and see if the tuna would bite. The conditions looked good, it was a bit overcast. and it was relatively calm. I had not heard any great reports of the Black Fin biting, but then again, most of the boats had not been staying out that late.

Fish caught in Key West fishing with Southbound sportfishing

We worked the area hard and did see a few splashes

of what I believe were tuna feeding. Unfortunately, we never got what I thought was a tuna bite. The fish I saw splashing, (or busting) did not look like large fish and there was not a lot of them. We did have a couple of good bites on the deep troll and ended up with one Kingfish, but the Black Fin Tuna did not cooperate. It was worth a try and one of these evenings they will bite. If the chance arises, I will not hesitate to take another sunset trip for Tuna. You just have to keep trying and be there when they do.