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TOPIC: FIrst Time to the Keys!!!

FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31226

  • Carolinaboy11
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Well for my B-Day My girlfriend and I are going down to the keys for a long weekend. This will be my first time down there so i don't know quite what to expect.
First of all, we wold like to camp, last week in August will the bugs be too bad, or manageable to camp? What park should I camp at?
Next is what key should I try to stay on? I want to fish, snorkel and do some spearfishing.
Please comment on any thing you would recommend we try to do or see.
Also what specific areas might be good to kayak and fish.

Lots of questions, just want to make the most of my weekend!
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31227

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If you are homophobic stay away from Duval st. in Key west. If your not then it's a great place to hang out in the evening hours.

The fishing is really good down there. Cystal clear water. . The locals know where to go just ask around. The island is so small everything is less then 5 minutes away . Have fun :)
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31230

  • hookthis1
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If you want to snorkel take a charter to the John pennekamp (probably spelled wrong) reef. Its off the first key, I forgot which one us the first key but I think its key largo. Its suppose to be the only coral reef in north America. I went with a friend and it was worth the $25 or so that it cost. Besides the coral sw some cool fish including barracudas and triggers and even angel fish. Check it out. That's about all I know of the names of fish I saw. I've fished the first bridge once and caught a bunch of yellow tail snappers most were undersized though. It was my very first time fishing and some guy caught a keeper mahi mahi from that same bridge.
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31233

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If you camp somewhere with electricity, bring a fan or two. The no-see-ums can get bad in the shade if there's no wind, but a fan seems to keep them in check.
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31236

  • barrynfla
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Stop at Robbie's in Islamorada and feed the tarpon! It's something you never get tired of.
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31270

  • artifishent1
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A few things to do are definitely see World Wide Sportsman (Ernest Hemingway's boat inside, or at least a replica) Its awesome. As for feeding the tarpon, there is quite a few marinas that have resident hand fed tarpon so definitely check that out. As for sideshows homophobic comment, if you stay south of Wendy's (yeah the fast food joint) you will be fine but if you go past there, it is pretty much rainbow road, but Duval St. in Key West is so much fun you will have a hard time doing anything early the next day. If you are tent camping I would plan on being hot, real hot. Not much wind for some reason most of the time and it is pretty brutal but a fan of some sort would make it tolerable, sort of. If you are thinking beach, think again, there is really no beach to speak of, unless a resort/hotel has made one. there are lots of places to snorkel by pulling off of the road and just jumping in and the lobster are plentiful, just know your regulations and make sure you have a dive flag and bring your license for all of the species you are targeting...there are a lot of FWC and they give a lot of citations the first few weeks of lobster season. The only place I have alot of experience with is Key West, so I cant give you much more other than this, but Hookthis1 is right the John Pennecamp reef is amazing but there is no spearfishing or lobstering there, just for the "pretty", and Looe Key is the same, amazing sights and wildlife but no harvesting at all. You will have a blast, just relax down there, everyone else does...enjoy and let us know how you did and how much you liked it.
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31272

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I just got back yesterday, if you end up near Marathon and are looking for a beach try Sombrero beach. Look at a map before you go, there is no sign or anything to let you know it's there, just turn down sombrero beach road towards the ocean side. It's the nicest beach I've found down there yet, but I'm sure there are more. It even has a couple of rocky points you can snorkel around and see lots of interesting little colorful fish (and a few tempting Mangrove snapper).

If you're into the party boat thing, consider callling around to see if you can reserve a stern spot on a night trip. Freelining off the back of a party boat at night in the chum slick is usualy a pretty safe bet. Bring medium to light spinning gear with 10 - 15 lb mono, hooks, and a few light jigheads. If there are no stern spots left, do something else.
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31279

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Don't know of any camping there. If you have the time, in Islamorada right next to the Pelican Cove resort is a boat rental. When I was there the guy was good enough to give me a map of where to fish and snorkel. Just as you leave his landing go to the right a bit and you'll see White and Yellow buoys. you can snorkel with-in the white buoys and fish out side of the yellow ones. Just can't fish on the reef it self. Ask them, they will point and mark it on the map for you.

Good luck, have fun and Happy B-Day !!
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31286

  • augiford
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You should be able to camp at Bahia Honda State park before the 7 mile bridge, you can fish around there and their is a beach. Check the state park website. If you wany to spend some $$$, get a charter, sometimes you can luck out if there is a charter that needs 1-2 people to save money. You can always get a boat, but if you don't know the tides in certain areas you can get land locked.
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Re: Picnic Island Park 1 year 8 months ago #31299

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The Keys is really a trip. We've had incredible days there and crappy ones. The cool things are the species you can hunt, and that purrrrrple water just close south of any house there. Dropping into that deep water off that reef is something else.

If I was going to advise somebody on fishing the keys, it is surely a place I would take a guide at least once or twice. The water's so different and the nature of the inshore water such it helps a lot.

If no guide? Some trips would in inshore. There are two kinds of inshore. Fishing the bridges and any cross-over structure with big dead bait you could hook anything from a 300lb jewfish to a 300lb bull shark. Cool fishing, never know what you're gonna get.

Inshore the north side. This is the everglades. Deep mangroves, redfish, and shallow water like you've never seen. This is where I would have a guide take me first. Yakkers are somewhat limited unless you have an electric motor capable of moving you far. batteries. We are gonna show you one soon.

Offshore. Offshore is offshore. If you can do offshore, it's what I would do in the keys. What I love the most. The pelagics there range from blackfin to yellowfin to sailfish to freaken marlin near the stream. I love to fish one place there of all the places in the world I've ever fished or will fish -- and that's the Islamorada hump (or any of the humps, really, but that one's my personal favorite).

But go to a tackle shop and see if you can find somebody that will trade secrets for beer. Beer is good in the keys. It's a drinking community with a serious fishing problem. So I would barter what the locals eat. And that is whiskey.

:)
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Re: Picnic Island Park 1 year 8 months ago #31301

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OH!!!!

One more thing!!!

Bottom fishing. 80' of water is right where the reef starts to drop into deep water (I'm talking Islamorada, now). At night.

You get a chum bag and you get egg sinkers and small hooks. Chunked bait. Anything. Sardines, Pinfish, Shad, squid, anything.

Drop that egg sinker and a 12" leader. Put it next to the chum basket in the bottom in 80' of water.

You will catch yellowtail snapper and mangrove and lane snapper like nowhere in the earth. Nowhere.

Full moon nightime 80' of water. The first dozen times I fished for them I did it with handlines. I love to fish with handlines still. I should really do it more. It's very cool and very ancient. I remember to this day rigging the leads with electric connections, and putting a bobby-pin through the connection to hold the line. When the fish grabbed it, it pulled the bobby-pin from the electrical connector, which was running down the line to the chum basket. So when you dropped the handline it fell ONTO the chum basket, not year it. It hit, the fish pulled, the lead stayed on the line, the fish was freelined, and in the cooler. It was very neat. I could show anybody how to do it now for Mangoes and you would SLAY them.
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Re: Picnic Island Park 1 year 8 months ago #31302

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The thing the lead weight is connected to is a little round electrical connector. You slip the bobby-pin ends into where the positive and negative wire would go if you had it in a circuit. When the fish hits, the bobby-pin drops off, and the leads pile-up on the chumbag line. You pull it up when you run out of leads, you slip them all off the chum line, and start the process again.

It would definitely work on mango snappas.



Handline.png
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31304

  • CharlieCoconut
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Don't pass up the Marathon Lady party boat, great reef trips.

Camping: Bahia is the best

Snapper, the canals in Marathon are full of Mangroves.

Permit; Grassy Key, Marathon canals, and Sisters Creek Sombrero

Snorkeling, Ramrod key out to Loo Key is awesome

Land locked diving with spear/sling, Behind the Airport on Aviation Blvd, deep old basin with lots of structure

Marathon also has cheap dive trips, go to Hall's

Rent boat, head to Sombrero Light and fish and dive just away from it, now protected
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Re: FIrst Time to the Keys!!! 1 year 8 months ago #31333

  • Carolinaboy11
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WOW so much awesome info!!!! Thanks everyone! there is nothing better than first hand info! This is shaping up to be a great trip.
Three-fourths of the Earth’s surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the
lawn.
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