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Islamorada, Fl Fishing

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I'm getting married in June and we have decided to take our honeymoon to Islamorada.  I don't want to go down there without going out on the water and trying to fish.  I don't have the money to hire a guide and I know nothing about catching fish in that type environment.  I was thinking of renting kayaks to take out and maybe try out my luck on some fish.  What is the simplest place to fish and have a good time. mostly because I want my women to have a good time and not get aggravated.  If there is any good places to stay also would be nice.  I wish I could go out on a charter but I don't have the money.  Any fun things to do would be good to!!  I just want some simple and fun fishing I just can't imagine going to the fishing capital of the world and not fishing.

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In the Keys all you need is shrimp, all though the Cuda's really seems to go after Rapala's X-rap sub walk lure (black/silver). I've had more success with live bait then fake lures in the Keys. However if you decide to drive towards the Everglades (Everglades National Park) those canals hold peacock bass.

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Were do you fish with the shrimp?  Canals, mangroves, I just don't understand all that stuff all I have around here is marsh.

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There are MANY bridges you can fish. 

http://www.bridgemapper.com/maps/fl/fl_monroe.htm

You are surrounded by water and islands,mangroves... Islamorada is tourist central that time of year, busy and expensive.

If you want less people/traffic, head down towards marathon, big pine key, ramrod or cudjoe key. From these keys, you can rent some kayaks and stay on the gulf side, might be easier for your little lady to manage a kayak. Weather, wind and rain comes and goes pretty fast, so watch the weather outlook.

Here's a little spot that is awesome, a little "canal" that is always full of mullet and snapper, leads right out to the gulf, big flats:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pruitt+Dr,+Summerland+Key,+FL+33042/@24.669672,-81.4157067,391m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x88d0fdf0183292ff:0x46e9f99e9224a04b

 

Another spot you can launch kayaks, hit the flats catch pompano, bones, and tons of other good stuff, might even get lucky and see the tarpon rolling:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Blimp+Rd,+Cudjoe+Key,+FL+33042/@24.6858256,-81.4996156,783m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x88d0ffeca6ab0cc1:0xdffc791da3ece5ac

 

You could just drive down the highway and stop where it looks good. You can't fish everywhere or every bridge, so be mindful.

June is the best time to be down there. Save some $ if you can, get a tarpon charter and you will be hooked!

Good luck!

PS, bring the nuclear powered bug spray, the skeeters and noseeums will EAT U ALIVE!

Nice and cheap(together) are not allowed in the keys...bring your $, you will not regret it.

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There are MANY bridges you can fish. 

http://www.bridgemapper.com/maps/fl/fl_monroe.htm

You are surrounded by water and islands,mangroves... Islamorada is tourist central that time of year, busy and expensive.

If you want less people/traffic, head down towards marathon, big pine key, ramrod or cudjoe key. From these keys, you can rent some kayaks and stay on the gulf side, might be easier for your little lady to manage a kayak. Weather, wind and rain comes and goes pretty fast, so watch the weather outlook.

Here's a little spot that is awesome, a little "canal" that is always full of mullet and snapper, leads right out to the gulf, big flats:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pruitt+Dr,+Summerland+Key,+FL+33042/@24.669672,-81.4157067,391m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x88d0fdf0183292ff:0x46e9f99e9224a04b

 

Another spot you can launch kayaks, hit the flats catch pompano, bones, and tons of other good stuff, might even get lucky and see the tarpon rolling:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Blimp+Rd,+Cudjoe+Key,+FL+33042/@24.6858256,-81.4996156,783m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x88d0ffeca6ab0cc1:0xdffc791da3ece5ac

 

You could just drive down the highway and stop where it looks good. You can't fish everywhere or every bridge, so be mindful.

June is the best time to be down there. Save some $ if you can, get a tarpon charter and you will be hooked!

Good luck!

PS, bring the nuclear powered bug spray, the skeeters and noseeums will EAT U ALIVE!

Nice and cheap(together) are not allowed in the keys...bring your $, you will not regret it.

That was one thing I really wanted to do is get a tarpon charter they are a awesome looking and powerful fish (from pictures and videos).  Yea the mosquitos are extremely bad here to I keep 4 cans of bugspray in my truck.  Defiantly going to have to check those places out.  I'm stupid excited.

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Here's some of our tarpon fun this past June in the keys:

and my boy's first tarpon: this is a good video...some slow-mo jumps

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Here's some of our tarpon fun this past June in the keys:

and my boy's first tarpon: this is a good video...some slow-mo jumps

Sweet!!! Can you buy live or fresh shrimp anywere.  Unless there is an easy way to get them live I know I'm not going to be able to throw a cast net from a kayak

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There are many places to buy shrimp on your way down to the keys. If you have never kayak'd in the keys, you have to be aware of the currents. They can pretty strong. If you have never been down this way before. I would look into a partyboat charter. They are cheaper than you think, they will get you on fish, and you walk away with your catch or give to them either way. Some restaurants will actually prepare your catch for you for dinner. Congratulations, and good luck. 

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Were do you fish with the shrimp?  Canals, mangroves, I just don't understand all that stuff all I have around here is marsh.

All of the above, if it's salt water shrimp has always worked well (cut mullet does well also) . What ever bait shop you go to just ask them where the fish are biting. They will tell you were people have been successful lately and what species is biting.

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yes, you can buy shrimp everywhere. fresh or frozen, shrimp are the go to bait for just about anything. Stop by the local bait shops and those guys will point you in the right direction. Keep the pinfish and grunts you catch...they make good bait too. you will catch a bunch...

Good advice above, the current/tides can be VERY dangerous, especially in a kayak. It's NO joke. Stay away from the passes/bridges in a yak, trust me. You will see when you get down there. If you are going to kayak for tarpon, be prepared to paddle a lot, bring some crabs and hogleg mullet...and hold on, always be prepared to cut your losses, i.e. cut your line, if/when you start getting dragged toward the current/bridge.

Heck, I'm so pumped from this thread, I might head back down there in June, lol.

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yes, you can buy shrimp everywhere. fresh or frozen, shrimp are the go to bait for just about anything. Stop by the local bait shops and those guys will point you in the right direction. Keep the pinfish and grunts you catch...they make good bait too. you will catch a bunch...

Good advice above, the current/tides can be VERY dangerous, especially in a kayak. It's NO joke. Stay away from the passes/bridges in a yak, trust me. You will see when you get down there. If you are going to kayak for tarpon, be prepared to paddle a lot, bring some crabs and hogleg mullet...and hold on, always be prepared to cut your losses, i.e. cut your line, if/when you start getting dragged toward the current/bridge.

Heck, I'm so pumped from this thread, I might head back down there in June, lol.

 

Bridge currents are extremely dangerous. To the OP if you really don't know what your doing you can find yourself in an extremely dangerous situation real quick. Some areas are not ideal if its your first time on a yak. 

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First advice, make your room reservations now.  There are options in the keys, drifts boats head out into the ocean and they supply the tackle and bait, your best chance to catch fish.  Backcountry is my favorite place there but it's a wide open space, it isn't that easy for a first timer without a guide to find fish.  Bridge areas generally hold some good fish, true about current and there can be a lot of other boaters fishing too.  The most economical option is casting off the beach.

It might not be a bad idea to form your game plan before you leave so you can decide on what gear to bring.  I don't recommend buying specific rods and reels for salt because of the expense, take what you have and plan to target the species your gear can handle.  I would suggest a mh rod and a 4-5000 spinning reel if you have it, smaller reel is ok but IMO that's marginal.  Pickup a barracuda tube, probably the most productive for larger cuda, made with wire so you won't get cut off.  Lures and spoons catch cuda too but be prepared to lose a few unless you use a wire leader, that wire leader will curtail strikes on other species.  Bait wise nothing beats live, shrimp and a squid catch about anything and it's real cheap.

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yes, you can buy shrimp everywhere. fresh or frozen, shrimp are the go to bait for just about anything. Stop by the local bait shops and those guys will point you in the right direction. Keep the pinfish and grunts you catch...they make good bait too. you will catch a bunch...

Good advice above, the current/tides can be VERY dangerous, especially in a kayak. It's NO joke. Stay away from the passes/bridges in a yak, trust me. You will see when you get down there. If you are going to kayak for tarpon, be prepared to paddle a lot, bring some crabs and hogleg mullet...and hold on, always be prepared to cut your losses, i.e. cut your line, if/when you start getting dragged toward the current/bridge.

Heck, I'm so pumped from this thread, I might head back down there in June, lol.

. I know about currents but not in a kayak. I fish for redfish and trout here in south Carolina a little bit. Would those places you posted earlier be pretty easy for newer kayakers.

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First advice, make your room reservations now.  There are options in the keys, drifts boats head out into the ocean and they supply the tackle and bait, your best chance to catch fish.  Backcountry is my favorite place there but it's a wide open space, it isn't that easy for a first timer without a guide to find fish.  Bridge areas generally hold some good fish, true about current and there can be a lot of other boaters fishing too.  The most economical option is casting off the beach.

It might not be a bad idea to form your game plan before you leave so you can decide on what gear to bring.  I don't recommend buying specific rods and reels for salt because of the expense, take what you have and plan to target the species your gear can handle.  I would suggest a mh rod and a 4-5000 spinning reel if you have it, smaller reel is ok but IMO that's marginal.  Pickup a barracuda tube, probably the most productive for larger cuda, made with wire so you won't get cut off.  Lures and spoons catch cuda too but be prepared to lose a few unless you use a wire leader, that wire leader will curtail strikes on other species.  Bait wise nothing beats live, shrimp and a squid catch about anything and it's real cheap.

Have you ever been on one of those party boats I'm kinda ify about that Bering I'm used to running my own boat with one other persons with me. I just get aggervated around a lot of people. Also what kind of fish? Luckily I fish salt water here in SC so I have reels.

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Have you ever been on one of those party boats I'm kinda ify about that Bering I'm used to running my own boat with one other persons with me. I just get aggervated around a lot of people. Also what kind of fish? Luckily I fish salt water here in SC so I have reels.

Been on those boats many times.  The target fish vary with seasons, they can catch dolphin if they are running in 150' of water and less (dolphin usually are in deeper water), yellowtail and mutton are common that time of year as cobia, amber jack, bonita, and black fin tuna.  Bear in mind those boats can get crowded and not all the fisher people are experienced.  Not that experience is needed to catch on them but the more seasoned angler will get his/her line less tangled up.

Personally if I were on a budget I'd be casting lures off a beach.

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. I know about currents but not in a kayak. I fish for redfish and trout here in south Carolina a little bit. Would those places you posted earlier be pretty easy for newer kayakers.

Yes, they would be perfect. 

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Yes, they would be perfect. 

Awesome!  I might just forget about the honeymoon and make it a fishing trip

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A couple of non fishing suggestions...

 

To eat - Marker 88 overlooks the bay.  Nice food on the pricey side.  Lazy Days overlooks the ocean and will cook your catch.  Mangrove Mikes is a fisherman's diner for breakfast.  The Lorelei for casual outdoor eats or a drink.  Nice place to see the sunset or watch the inshore charter boats return to the dock mid afternoon.

 

To do - Robbie's Marina to feed the tarpon.  They have rental boats and may have kayaks.  Holiday Isle has the famous Tiki Bar frozen drinks a small beach plus charter boats.  Bud & Mary's Marina for live bait and charter boats.  There are always big tarpon hanging under the fish cleaning table there.  Anne's beach is really not a beach but a place to park and wade.  Your wife will like the Rain Barrell artists village.  

 

Lower Keys - worth a day trip. Enjoy the view from the bridges.  You have the Turtle Hospital on Marathon (book a reservation) Stop in Grassy Key for the Dolphin Research Center at mile marker 58.9.  Take a 1/2 day snorkel trip- I like Strke Zone Charters on Big Pine to see Looe Key Sanctuary.  If you pass through Big Pine around sunrise or sunset you can turn off at the traffic light to see Key deer.  There are many places to eat - 7 mile grill is a classic diner...Square Grouper MM22.6 for a good meal plus many options if you go all the way down to Key West.

 

I'm jealous just thinking about it.

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A couple of non fishing suggestions...

 

To eat - Marker 88 overlooks the bay.  Nice food on the pricey side.  Lazy Days overlooks the ocean and will cook your catch.  Mangrove Mikes is a fisherman's diner for breakfast.  The Lorelei for casual outdoor eats or a drink.  Nice place to see the sunset or watch the inshore charter boats return to the dock mid afternoon.

 

To do - Robbie's Marina to feed the tarpon.  They have rental boats and may have kayaks.  Holiday Isle has the famous Tiki Bar frozen drinks a small beach plus charter boats.  Bud & Mary's Marina for live bait and charter boats.  There are always big tarpon hanging under the fish cleaning table there.  Anne's beach is really not a beach but a place to park and wade.  Your wife will like the Rain Barrell artists village.  

 

Lower Keys - worth a day trip. Enjoy the view from the bridges.  You have the Turtle Hospital on Marathon (book a reservation) Stop in Grassy Key for the Dolphin Research Center at mile marker 58.9.  Take a 1/2 day snorkel trip- I like Strke Zone Charters on Big Pine to see Looe Key Sanctuary.  If you pass through Big Pine around sunrise or sunset you can turn off at the traffic light to see Key deer.  There are many places to eat - 7 mile grill is a classic diner...Square Grouper MM22.6 for a good meal plus many options if you go all the way down to Key West.

 

I'm jealous just thinking about it.

Now this is good info.  I keep hearing good things about bud n Mary's.  Don't be to jealous I promise I will be broke when I get home.  Have you ever seen the Guy Harvey Outpost in Islamorada I think that was the place we were thinking about it seems to have kayak rentals and looks nice from pictures. 

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Tons of places for kayak rentals, some even deliver to you!

Yea I need a delivery were going to be taking her car. I already told her to pack light cause we wont be needing to many clothes lol and need room for my reels and tackle.

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I've always used live shrimp in the keys, and I've fished a hell of a lot of Saturdays down there. I've fished on bridges, under bridges, on party boats, you name it. The most success I've had is under some of the bridges, there is usually some rock, concrete that allows you to fish from. 

 

Also live shrimp can be found at every bait shop. Just keep in mind some of them have tiny, rinkydink shrimp that aren't worth buying. Sometimes you may have to hit a few bait shops before finding some decent shrimp. 

Another thing that does work if you are fishing from the shore, under a bridge is Thread Herring. Or in spanish, Machuelo. http://www.mexfish.com/fish/dbthher/dbthhersnow373b.jpg

Cut the frozen thread herring up into 1 to 2 inch chunks hook it on the line and cast. Mangrove Snappers love that stuff. 

Make sure to take enough hooks, weights, and leader, if you want take some floaters to keep you from getting snagged on the rocky bottoms because this is inevitable. 

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I've always used live shrimp in the keys, and I've fished a hell of a lot of Saturdays down there. I've fished on bridges, under bridges, on party boats, you name it. The most success I've had is under some of the bridges, there is usually some rock, concrete that allows you to fish from. 

 

Also live shrimp can be found at every bait shop. Just keep in mind some of them have tiny, rinkydink shrimp that aren't worth buying. Sometimes you may have to hit a few bait shops before finding some decent shrimp. 

Another thing that does work if you are fishing from the shore, under a bridge is Thread Herring. Or in spanish, Machuelo. http://www.mexfish.com/fish/dbthher/dbthhersnow373b.jpg

Cut the frozen thread herring up into 1 to 2 inch chunks hook it on the line and cast. Mangrove Snappers love that stuff. 

Make sure to take enough hooks, weights, and leader, if you want take some floaters to keep you from getting snagged on the rocky bottoms because this is inevitable. 

 

Very true..... load up on plenty of hooks and weights. When I used to fish the bridges, getting hung up was given. 

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If you do plan on driving to the Lower Keys and are a bit of a coffee junkie you have to stop by Baby's Coffee on mile marker 15 (www.babyscoffee.com). They make Star Bucks taste like poo water imo, I order a few bags every few months.

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