Long time fisherman, first time poster! I've fished the Keys several times. Last year I trailered the boat down and stayed in Islamorada. I had many first-timers with me and all we did was fish for tarpon. I'm coming down again May 19th and staying for 2 weeks. I have an 18ft center console. Not really built for the flats or offshore. Do you have any recommendations for different areas/species I could try this year?
by May everything should be turned on.
on the Florida home Board STicky there are links to publications that have weekly fishing reports, for Islamorada I'd recommend The weekly Fisherman as it covers the entire keys area...Tarpon right now are lined up like cord wood at the bridges at night chowing down on the shrimp on the out going tide at night so they are definitely here. When I get a Tarpon urge I walk across the street to the canal and put a pinfish down under a float just before the end of the incoming tide, perhaps down isn't the right word, most of the time it gets nailed before it gets to the end of its 4 ft leader, I've even had the Tarpon nailing my float when its being pulled around by another Tarpon.
near the southern part of Islamorada are large flats near the #2 channel and the #5 Channel, there are plenty of deeper water there to fish as well as the edges of the flats, Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, SHARKS in all shapes and sizes, Jacks, Grouper ( I nailed a Goliath at the #2 bridge a few weeks back ( I should say he nailed me, I hurt for 3 days) and of course some really nice Mangrove Snapper all hang in that area...out from the reef on patch reefs you should have Yellowtail, and grouper and some King Mackeral and perhaps even some Dolphin around the Mangroves near the deep water you should find some nice Snook as well just be prepared these are very boat wary Snook, long casts with live shrimp at night will be the ticket for them
hope this helps
Thanks, any help is appreciated. We fished both the 2 and the 5 last year but strictly tarpon. We had big plans to fish for everything that swims, but once my friends saw their first tarpon they were hooked. We usually fished at first light and continued until the bite was over. Live crabs and pinfish. I think we only got 1 tarpon on the pins. All the rest were on crabs. We had a blast! But this year I thought we would try to mix it up a little. We tried some of the patches and such. Also went far outside but neither proved too successful. I didn't try much night fishing being it was my first time with my own boat. Now knowing the area a little better I want to give the snook fishing near the bridges a shot. Thanks again, good luck.
keep checking the report section of the weekly fisherman and go to www.boatlessfishing.com and click forums and find Monroe county,( you can go back to the time LAST year that you will be visiting this year and get an idea of what to expect...) those guys catch Permit and big Mangroves etc from the bridges...lots of info can be gleaned from them...and...if you nail a 4-5lb Mangrove on 10 lb tackle you'll think you're hooked up to a submarine...no blazing runs but a tussle all the same...big Sharks ( SOME huge HAMMERHEADS) around those channels as well if you catch a jack about 5-6 lbs put it out under a balloon for the sharks or on the bottom if you don't mind doing battle with a Goliath if it cruises thru...A LOT OF THE BRIDGE GUYS CATCH BONNETHEAD SHARKS AND USE THEM FOR BIGGER SHARK BAIT