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bassrogue

Questions about fishing in the Keys

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Some friends and I are planning a trip to the keys to fish for some reds and bones. I have never fished for these species before. I wanted to know what lures I could use out of my bass fishing arsenal(and a small selection of spotted trout baits)? I think the trip is going to take place at the end of Feb. I don't know how the fishing is at this time of year, but that's when it has to happen if its going to happen :-/

Thanks,

BR

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Fish top water plugs like the Skitter Walk, Luck Craft Sammy , Zara spook or rapala.  Try using plastic grubs on a 1/8 ounce jig head.  Try flukes/jerk baits also.  Best bet is live shrimp, pin fish or mullet.

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Some friends and I are planning a trip to the keys to fish for some reds and bones. I have never fished for these species before. I wanted to know what lures I could use out of my bass fishing arsenal(and a small selection of spotted trout baits)? I think the trip is going to take place at the end of Feb. I don't know how the fishing is at this time of year, but that's when it has to happen if its going to happen :-/

Thanks,

BR

Redfish will hit anything (spoons, bucktail jigs, grubs, topwaters, etc.), but really if you're fishing the Keys, NOTHING beats a white bucktail jig with a flat head and weedguard.  You can tip it with a piece of shrimp and that will help.  You can also use a red or white jighead with a grub, anywhere from white to white with pink tail, rootbeer, or black.  Rootbeer and white with pink tail are my favorite colors.  Oh, and gold grubs work well too.  You can also use swimbaits (3" to 5") on a jighead.  They sell bucktails and grubs and swimbaits in any tackle shop in S Florida.

If you're going for bonefish, use a live shrimp or crab with a splitshot.  Bonefish are the spookiest fish you'll ever see, so if you're able, you need to make really long casts and have someone pole you around very quietly.  Incoming or outgoing tides are the best, and early morning is also best before the wind picks up.  You'll see them tailing on the flats as they search for crabs and shrimp.  Cast well ahead of them, let your shrimp/crab settle on the bottom, and wait for the bone to pick it up.  They'll smell it from far away.  Make sure you're using a reel with a quality drag - you'll need it  ;D

While you're there, you HAVE to fish for tarpon.  Islamorada area is arguably the best tarpon water in the world.  I'd also try to catch some snook if I were you.  White bucktail jigs are fine.

Have a great time, and make sure you post a report and pics when you get back!

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Thanks :)

Looks like I have alot of stuff I can use ;D I even have some rootbeer swimbaits left over from a trout fishing trip.

Do I need heavy tackle to fish for Tarpon or just a good drag and patience?

BR

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Do I need heavy tackle to fish for Tarpon or just a good drag and patience?

BR

It depends on how big the tarpon are you're targeting.  You could catch a 5 to 30ish pounder on pretty light bass stuff, but if you do use bass gear, be prepared to hook into a big fish that takes all your line with it and never comes back, if you can keep him on that long.  Of any species I've ever caught, the tarpon is by far the craziest  ;D.  As soon as they realize they're hooked, they just totally freak out and jump and do flips and everything.  Seeing a huge tarpon clear the surface by 3 or 4 feet while turning 540 degrees and doing a double flip is in a league of its own.  If you're lucky, you'll land 10% of the tarpon you hook into.  If you are able to get a big one, don't take it out of the water.  Leave it in the water for the pictures and make sure you resuscitate it until it swims away on its own.

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