Fly Fishing The Keys

Keys Trip    Islamorada Trip

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2008 Trip Click Here


February Trip 2007



To speak of the Keys is, well one usually doesn't have to say much because if you fish, better yet, if you Saltwater fish..everyone knows about the Keys!

The trick to the Keys are as you know: the tides, preferably perched up on a boat to see
them coming, little sunshine and no clouds, a good guide and one heck of a presentation,
as opposed to the specific fly you're using many claim.






My trip was somewhat a DIY, we had a guide the 1st day and wish we
could have had one everyday but $600 gets a bit pricey but the most
impt thing I learned was a boat in Mucho importante! You need to be
high up since the bones down flash much, splash or come to the
surface except for tailing.






Areas we hit were Bahia Key (top beach area in US back in 98')
unbelievable! Clear water and decent fishing but more scenic than
fishy. Long Key was great as was Anne's Beach. These are all
stretches outside of Islamorada by 20-40 miles.




We met a guy at the popular World wide sportsman who was also from
Colorado and helped a ton on areas and tides. Tides are much to deal
with similar to that of you guys, 15 minutes down the road it
changes a bunch. We got a boat 1 day, and another day got a sit on
top kayak which was awesome and thankfully we can both cast okay or
else it wouldn't have been a pretty site.

The Bones love that 2-4ft water due to it's warmth and same as the
Barracudas which would hit anything splashing on top. Islamorada is
known for not the numbers but for the size as you can see so not a
ton of fish but what you did catch were HUGE!




Flies: Pat Dorsey's Qwan pattern was a hit, pretty much mostly Crab
patterns, shrimp and clousers. Chartruse/white for all around, crazy
charlies etc...for bones and for Barracudas poppers and teh spin
tackle was great to use. Since fishing for bones and Cudas come, too
tough to switch back forth to steel leaders/flies to chunk out flies
than pull out a slimy green snake looking plug on top as well and
poppers that splash a ton to catch them.




Clark caught during a cast with the perfect Keys sunset!








Fish:

February
Permit fishing is increasingly better. Bonefish are abundant depending on the weather. Sharks and barracuda abundant regardless of the weather.

March
Permit fishing at it's peak. Tarpon fishing is beginning to get good. Bonefishing is reliable and good.

If windy hit the bridges for residential tarpons

 

The new issue of American Angler has a good article on the Keys - you should pick that up. I'd check out Long Key State park if you're without a guide and both ends of the bridge that spans Miami and Ohio Keys.

 

Check out robbies on the South end (bayside), you can hand feed some tarpon!

 

If the weather cooperates there are some huge tarpon coming through the lower matecumbe(sp) bridge very early in the morning. Take a 12wt.

 

Google "Holiday Isle" and "Bud and Mary's Marina". Ground Central

 

Down the lane from the Key Lantern and to your left is the Lori-Lie Restaurant and Dock bar. What a great place for breakfast, sitting out on the water while you have that first cup of coffee. Also pretty nice in the evening for that frozen Pina Colada after a hard day's fishing.
Islamorada abounds with fly shops. All are full service shops and anyone of them can satisfy your needs. If you have the time visit them all as each one has it's own unique flavor and all are friendly and helpful
Bonefish Bob's 81900 Overseas Highway -- Bob 305-664-9420
Florida Keys Outfitters Mile Marker 81.9 -- Sandy 305-664-5423
World Wide Sportsman 81576 Overseas Highway 305-6648512

 

Bars: You'll be right near the famous Holiday Isle Tiki Bar and the Lorelei Cabana Bar (MM 82).

 

Catch a few warm days with light winds and the first tarpon of the year will appear plus bonefish. Its a good time for permit too. But if a cold front blows thru (with strong NNW winds and temps in the 60's) you can kiss the big three goodbye. But that brings out the cudas on the flats. Offshore should be solid with sails, kings, and blackfins. A good bet would also be the Gulf wrecks which should be full of cobia then . I'm a Marathon guy so don't have a lot of guide suggestions for Islamorada but email me if you're willing to head the road another 35 miles.

 

Boat Rentals:
You can get detail here:
 http://www.islamoradaoutfitter....html

http://www.jeffsboatrentals.com

http://www.captainpips.com

http://www.7milemarina.com

 

 

Guides:

 

(Inshore)

http://www.alliecat.com 
 
Backcountry

http://www.brucechard.com/index.html

http://www.floridakeysflyfish.com/#

http://www.floridakeysoutfitters.com/index.htm

http://www.tarponslayer.com/charters.html

If you are looking for bone fish, tarpon, permit, I would recommend Capt. Barry Great TARPON/BONEFISH http://www.flatsguide.com/

 


(Offshore)

Yabba Dabba Do - Steve Leopold http://yabbadabbadoocharters.com/
Gotcha - Mel Walker http://www.gotchasportfishing.com/
Genisis - Curt Deuel http://www.theisle.com/genesis.html
Blue Chip Too - Skip Bradeen http://www.bluechiptoo.com/
Kalex - Alex Adler http://www.budandmarys.com/CaptainListing.htm
Catch 22 - Scott Stanczyk http://www.budandmarys.com/CaptainListing.htm

 

Lodges/Hotels:

 

 

CAMPING:

Bahia Honda

Fiesta Key

 

Camping in the Keys a step away from bonefish.

Long Key Park only step away from bonefish
BY BILL SARGENT - FLORIDA TODAY

ISLAMORADA -- Where in the world can a camper slip out of his or her RV at daybreak, walk 50 feet and catch a prized bonefish? For starters, try Long Key State Park southwest of Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

Sure, there are spots in the Bahamas, or even more remote locations like Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean where bonefish all but knock at your door. But we're talking about a place less than 100 yards off U.S. 1 and a 4-hour drive from Brevard County where your campsite sits literally on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Troy Perez, the well-known redfish guide from Port St. John, has fished in a lot of different places, but he says nothing equals the angling possibilities at Long Key, a state facility with 66 campsites, all at the water's edge. "That's why I camp there every year," said Perez, 40, who was first introduced to Long Key and its fishing 32 years ago during family camping trips with his father, Al Perez. "It's the only place I've ever found where you can catch a 10-pound bonefish right on the beach at your campsite."

Of the dozens of campgrounds and resort parks along the more than 100 miles of the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West, none offer a closer association with the exceptional fishing and boating available in the Keys than Long Key State Park. It is on the ocean side of U.S. 1, at mile marker 67.5. Mile markers are set up every mile noting the distance to Key West.

Like many Long Key campers, Perez and his wife Christine beach their flats skiff at their campsite, and when they're not wading the shallows for bonefish, they run their boat about 300 yards offshore where they fish for big tarpon. "We've hooked tons of tarpon right off Long Key," said Troy. "There are 160-pounders there. I caught my biggest tarpon on a fly rod, a 130-pounder, at Long Key."

Campsites again are packed in late July and early August when the Keys are invaded by lobster divers taking advantage of the two-day sport lobster season, and the start of the regular lobster season.

The McBrides were camped at Bahia Honda State Park southwest of Long Key at mile marker 37. Because of its extensive day-use programs and facilities, including a marina, snorkeling tours, kayak rentals, dive equipment rentals, gift shop, and two beaches, Bahia Honda draws the second highest visitation rate in the Keys, about 400,000 annually, second only to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park at Key Largo. The 524-acre Bahia Honda is one of the few keys with extensive sandy beaches and deep water close enough for swimming and snorkeling.

For campers, Bahia Honda offers 80 sites in three separate areas, two on the Gulf of Mexico bayside, and one on the Atlantic oceanside. Daryl Obenour, the concession manager at the Bahia Honda, has been watching the camping patterns at the park for eight years. "We'll stay busy from now until May," Obenour said last week. "The heaviest influx is from Feb. 15 to May 15, then it slows down until about mid June. Another good time to find availability is from the end of August to mid November."

Key Largo in the Upper Keys is the diving center of the Keys, and the 47 sites for tent and RV campers at John Pennekamp, at mile marker 102.5, stay booked during the summer months. Pennekamp offers scuba diving, snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking, boat rentals, glass-bottom boat tours of the coral reefs, plus guided nature walks and campfire lectures. Another half dozen campgrounds and resort camps make Key Largo the camping hub of the Upper Keys.

The string of keys is broken into three zones, Upper, Middle and Lower keys. Camping is scarce through the Tavernier and Islamorada areas until you get to Fiesta Key KOA, a super resort on the north end of Long Key at mile marker 70, on the bayside.

At Marathon in the Middle Keys another half dozen campgrounds and travel parks can be found in a 10-mile stretch between mile markers 59 and 49. Campsites abound in the Lower Keys to a point outside the city limits of Key West. Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina on Ohio Key at mile marker 39 bayside is a complete camping center. At Big Pine Key, home of the 8,500-acre National Key Deer Refuge, there's Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge at mile marker 33 oceanside, and Breezy Pines RV Estates on the bayside at mile marker 30.

Three of the largest camping centers are northeast of Key West, starting with Venture Out at Cudjoe Cay, where only vehicles with full hookups are allowed. Two large facilities can be found on Sugarloaf Key, the Sugarloaf Key KOA Kampground, and just down the road at Sunburst Florida Keys where almost 100 sites are available.

 

 

Reports:

Bahia Honda is nice! I've always wanted to stay in one of their cabins but they are always booked up. I think it's at mm40 or so. If you're not familiar with the milemarker system, You will be on highway US1 or locally known as The Overseas Highway. Key West is mm0, Bahia mm40, KOA mm70 (Fiesta Key) and I think Key Largo is about mm120. So....when you're in Key Largo you are about 2 hours from KW.

 

 

BRIDGE

MILE MARKER

LENGTH

Jewfish Draw Bridge
Key Largo Cut
Tavernier Creek
Snake Creek
Whale Harbor
Tea Table Relief
Tea Table
Indian Key
Lignumvitae
Channel 2
Channel 5
Long Key
Tom's Harbor 3
Tom's Harbor 4
Vaca Cut
Seven Mile
Little Duck Missouri
Missouri-Ohio
Ohio-Bahia Honda
Bahia Honda
Spanish Harbor
North Pine
South Pine
Torch Key Viaduct
Torch-Ramrod
Nile Channel
Kemp's Channel
Bow Channel
Park
North Harris
Harris Gap
Harris
Lower Sugar Loaaf
Saddle Bunch 2
Saddle Bunch 3
Saddle Bunch 4
Saddle Bunch 5
Shark Channel
Rockland Channel
Boca Chica
Stock Island
Key West

106
103.5
91
86
84
80
79
78
77.8
73
71
65
61
60
53
47
39.5
39
38
36
33.5
29.5
28.5
28
27.5
26
23.5
20
18.5
18
17.5
16
15.5
14.5
14
13
12.5
11.8
10
6
5
4

223'
360'
320'
230'
270'
270'
700'
2,460'
860'
1,760'
4,580'
12,040'
1,270'
1,460'
300'
35,830'
840'
1,440'
1,050'
6'734'
3,380'
660'
850'
880'
720'
4,490'
1,030'
1,340'
1,340'
430'
140'
430'
1,260'
660'
760'
900'
900'
2,090'
1,280'
2,730'
360'
159'

 

 

 

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