Florida Keys Fishing Reports

Key West Pro Guides - Back Country Report - Spring 2024
By: Capt. Paul Tryon

April, May & June Back Country Fishing Report 2024

For today's live action call 305-747-4650

Our KEY WEST Fishing is Exploding!

Spring is full on Tarpon and Permit season in Key West.

Here are some helpful insights to anglers interested in targeting these iconic sport fish.

Tarpon are pursued in shallow waters primarily in our "Back Country". Night Tarpon charters begin around April 1. Tarpon feed nocturnally therefore early morning and late afternoon/sunset, are the most productive time frames...

Permit have arrived on many of the hundreds of wrecks and reefs to also start their massive spawn. These normally hard to catch fsh are much easier as their guards are dropped, and they are super easy to hook with a live crab.

Back Country:

Anglers take note: We have recently added a number of Hybrid Back Country boats to our fleet. Hybrid's are the next generation of leading edge technology and design for the shallow water enthusiast. Hybrid boats retain the back country experience yet provide additional "creature features aboard such as an enclosed marine head (potty), T top for shade, some carry additional seating and a second elevated station for the captain so helpful when sight casting to elusive sport fish in the shallows. These larger vessels have the ability to comfortably fish our slightly deeper "patch reef areas" as well depending upon the conditions of the day.

Always a fun and productive trip, the back country this time of year remains an excellent choice for fast paced action while targeting a very wide variety of species. Anglers will appreciate our calm, crystal clear waters now filling with behemoth Tarpon. The overall population of Tarpon in the back country continues to grow throughout the month joining with several additional sport fish species, edible fish, and predators to target. Redfish are all but done by months end as our water temperatures begin a seasonal rise. Snook are a bit "hit or miss" in early spring, but are improving so better targeted in April. The numerous schooling species will continue to provide non-stop action most days and the list is nearly endless again in the spring that keeps the younger anglers happy with the super-fast bite of schooling fish. It remains a productive time to pursue Speckled Sea Trout and several species of larger Jacks. A perfect trip for the hard-core light tackle angler to the novice angler or the family.

Tarpon time is exploding. The population of Tarpon will continue to increase daily until about mid-April. The spawning migration that brings adult Tarpon to Key West is well underway and the activity and productivity on Tarpon is rising towards seasonal highs. Tarpon fishing in Key West by May is becoming prolific. These behemoth sport fish should be on every saltwater angler's "bucket list" and rightfully so. Key West now offers the angler a high level of success to landing possibly the largest fish of a lifetime. We begin seeing the sunset Tarpon feeding activity increase in early spring most years, so we begin offering our Sunset Tarpon trips. These trips are spectacular when conditions (primarily the tides) are optimal.

Tarpon are pursued in shallow waters primarily in our "Back Country". Night Tarpon charters begin around April 1. Tarpon feed nocturnally therefore early morning and sunset are the most productive time frames...Let's go fishing!

The ½-day to ¾-day trips continue to produce well as the afternoon water temperatures are still far from high so the later part of the day with good tides can be awesome. Good Cobia fishing continues and can produce some quality fish and action in the back country. The Mangrove and Yellow Tail Snapper fishing continues to be very good in the back country in spring. For a serious "table fare" harvest we certainly recommend the reef & wreck trips now but to include a few "keeper" fish for lunch or dinner will not be a problem in our shallows. The predator fishing continues. Giant Barracuda and several species of Sharks in the shallows are on the hit list.

Our Monster Shark charters are awesome and continually produce multiple larger sharks even on the 1/2-day trips. Remember where you find large Tarpon schools you find feeding sharks. Spring remains predator time, especially in the Marquesas so anglers can count on these aggressive species to be ready to go “head-to-head”. We "highly recommend" a back country charter this time of year and especially for those guests looking for a shorter than full day trip in calmer waters.

Back Country …..Target Species:




Pompano…”Good but slowing”

Redfish…”Good early to fair by months end”



Snook…”Fair early but better by months end”


Trout…”Good but slowing”


This is a time of more stable slowly rising water temperatures so fishing conditions in general will settle in and improve, friends. We still recommend fishing morning trips if going shallow as they remain the most productive over the later afternoon hours for the serious angler but again the afternoon trips are good. The PM half-day trips have improved and can be quite enjoyable, especially for those people just looking to stay in calm waters and enjoy a few fun hours catching fish. Sharks are plentiful and active. Pursuing these heavy weight monsters on light tackle is challenging to say the least and talk about something you cannot do at home!

Let's go Fishing!

Call Key West Pro Guides today to book your charter 305-747-4650 daily 8 AM to 9 PM.

Remember 2-4 weeks in advance is recommended for peak fishing season dates December through June. April, May and June are the busiest months of our entire fishing calendar! Our legendary guide team is always in high demand. We look forward to your call!


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