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While most of the country

is somewhat dreading the onset of winter and the cold weather it brings. I am actually looking forward to it. Fishing, or more accurately, catching fish can depend on the conditions. The fact that we tend to catch certain fish at certain times of year is due to many factors. One of those factors is the weather. The wind direction and the temperature at different times of year have their effect and the “right” wind and temperature are important. If we don’t get the weather, we won’t get the fish. The weather in Key West has been beautiful so far this year. Relatively calm, still warm. Too warm. We need some cold weather.

Now, I moved to Key West almost 40 yrs ago

in part to get away from the cold weather, (and to scuba dive). Wishing for Key West to get some cold weather is a bit of a conflict. Granted our definition of “cold” weather would not qualify most other places this time of year. As I am writing this, I am sitting in my home state of New Jersey. I am here to attend a wedding. It is just below freezing outside. If you live in Key West, that’s extremely cold. (If you live in Maine, it’s probably “brisk”). So while I don’t want weather that is cold by New Jersey or Maine standards, I do think we need some cold weather by Key West standards.

The temperature in Key West has never gotten to freezing.

Ever! I believe the all-time coldest temperature, (depending on who you talk to) is 44 degrees. That would be a “balmy” winter day for most people. Not in Key West. When it gets cold here, (and 50’s is considered very cold), locals get weird. Parkas, Ski caps, gloves and long underwear start popping up all over town. In part, it is nice to finally get to wear your seldom used winter clothes, but when you are “climatized” to the point where you set your AC to a chilly 80′ you don’t want to spend a lot of time outside when it’s in the 50’s.

Yes, I know, we are spoiled!

To be fair to the fishermen,when it’s in the 50’s on land it feels a lot colder on the water. We will still never get any sympathy from our northern brethren. If you are from Minnesota or Wisconsin and you are in Key West in January and it’s 50 degrees, you are wearing shorts and/or a bathing suit.

So we need some cold weather.

The fishing has been pretty good, but we normally get our first cold front sometime in mid-October and it is getting to be mid-November. When we get cold weather, the shallow water cools off first. This pushes the baitfish, (Ballyhoo) out to deeper, warmer water and eventually the reef. Large schools of bait on the reef are like ringing the dinner bell for many of the oceans fish, both reef inhabitants, and the offshore pelagics. Snapper, Grouper, Mackerel, Jacks, barracuda and other reef predators have a feast.

They are not the only ones.

Some of the offshore pelagic fish, Sailfish, Tuna, bonito, and even Dolphin,(Mahi) will come up on the reef to snack on the schools of bait. When this happens, it is one of my favorite times of year to fish. But we need some cold weather for the bait to stay on the reef. If it gets too warm, I think they will slide back into the relative safety of the shallow water. That will make for tough fishing.

So, I find myself wishing for some cold weather.

There is a mild cold front expected tomorrow. but it will hardly be noticeable. The temperature will drop from the mid 80’s to about 80 degrees. The biggest difference will probably be a drop in the humidity. it’s a start, but we need a strong cold front to push through. Yes, I will bitch about the wind, and cold, but we need some cold weather


P.S. My wife always said you could tell when a person moved to Key West by looking at their winter clothes. We don’t wear them often, so we rarely wear them out. I have sweat shirts that are 30 yrs old. If someone is wearing winter clothes that were popular in a particular decade, you can bet that is the decade they moved to Key West.