Key West fishing Q and A with Capt. Michael O’Brien

My favorite fish are Permit, bonefish, and tarpon. Our permit fishery is the most consistent year-round, followed by bonefish, and then tarpon.

The best permit fishing can be in February, March, and June-November. The permit seems to show up any time there is a steady barometer and consistent winds. Our best bone fishing is from April to November, and don’t tell anyone, but some of our bones are easier to catch than ones in the Bahamas! Our tarpon is migratory and can be found between February and December, and at any time, there are warm and relatively calm conditions. The best run of big fish usually happens from April to June.

During the colder months, we get a lot of big barracudas, sharks, and jacks on the flats. Some people might consider these fish as “garbage," but they are out of their minds. For example, a barracuda will hit a bait, lure, or fly at speeds in excess of 30mph and will come flying out of the water up to 10 feet high. A shark is an apex predator and will wear you out. Jacks are about the hardest fighters in the sea and will hammer anything from a big plug to a small fly. Garbage, my a$!

Fly fishing is definitely my personal favorite. There is just something super special about fooling a fish with a fly. It is the apex of the sport, but it is not easy. I know guys who have spent years trying to learn, and I believe that the learning process is the best part. Fly fishing is not nearly as productive as spin fishing for the average angler, and this is why bait fishing can be the best all-around bet. I love to teach people how to fly fish and welcome anyone from a beginner to an expert aboard my boat.

I offer a 4-hour half day, a 6-hour 3/4 day, and an 8-hour full day. A full day is recommended, as the tides dictate the fishing. The longer we have together, the better the chances we will have to find fish while they are feeding. I also offer nighttime tarpon trips, which can be an awesome way to catch a tarpon on bait or fly. My boat can accommodate up to 2 anglers at a time; I can arrange as many boats as needed to accommodate larger groups. My rates vary, so contact me for the most current rates.

I will provide a cooler with ice and all the tackle you will need to catch fish. Feel free to bring whatever food and beverages you would like to have. I like to make sure that all anglers have a good pair of polarized sunglasses (as we primarily sight fish), some rain gear, and sunscreen. If you have your own rods, feel free to bring them.