hey guys....my soon to be wife is wanting us to take our hunnymoon in the keys! we were thinking the party scene in key west. but now im wondering what bite is happening in the first week of may maybe in islandmorda or marathon or south? she is letting me take a charter so was wondering WHERE the bite is the best the first week in may. maybe dolphin? snapper,? sharks? wahoo? tuna? cobia? tarpon? never caught a tarpon. chum the reefs? offshore, inshore? i dont know. any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! im from virginia and love to fish.
and if any charter captains read this, drop me your number. looking for some pullage!
well hopefully you explored the sticky at the top of this forum....that said... I just moved from Marathon to Las Vegas..( may go back in a few years) .but the fishing should be great...most everything is turned on right now...20+ sailfish is a common thing this time of year...check out Buddy LaPointe at Duck Key Marina..( 305-289-0161) .he keeps people on fish and does a huge repeat business...lots of good places to eat in Islamorada and Marathon...I spent a lot of time at the Wreck and Galley on the north end of Marathon and at the Island Restaurant and Tiki Bar (huge tiki hut)...for a Honey moon it would be hard to beat Hawks Cay ( right at Duck Key) Cheeca has reopened but may be booked at this time since it was closed due to fire for so long...if you want a small "keys" place I'd heavily recommend White Sands in Marathon...I stayed there and know the people...really nice people and a clean comfy place away from the hub-bub (such as it is) in the center of Marathon...Rachel, the owners daughter a 6ft brunette is a true sweetheart (oops sorry forgot this is your honeymoon) also has a wadeable fishing area should you be so inclined...I really liked this place and would go back in a moment...
Big Time tackle just south of Vaca Cut and Capt Pips down near the 7 mile bridge do make up charters so that keeps costs down...especially for the off shore...gulfstream is usually only 12-14 miles out and the reef litterally teams with fish...you can also do some really great fishing from the bridges...chanel 2 bridge and long key bridge really offer some of everything, Tarpon, Sharks, Cudas, Snapper, grouper and more and all it costs is bait...and ice...visit Bahai Honda beach...voted one of the best in the world...NO NAME PUB on NO Name Key ( ya gotta LOOK for this place) just don't hit any Keys Deer huge fine for that...really nice restaurant next door to the White Sands at Rainbow Bend..(Hideaway) .has a super steak (hard to find in the keys)...Island Tiki has a good view of the sun sets...good food and decent prices...my Capt Bob Ches Bay License plate hangs there w/ a few select others and my Viet Vets plate in in Porkys Two down near the 7 mile Bridge ( another KEYS place) w/ Rocketman The Pirate playing and singing ...he's just short of a Keys Legend...
Definately Tarpon fishing. You can catch all that other stuff...dolphin, cobia, snapper, etc up north in Virginia. You don't want to "meat" fish on vacation anyway. Catch and release tarpon, bonefish, permit, and you can take your bride with you on a flats boat without worying about big waves. Tarpon bite should be great then with lots of big fish around.
Dolphin and tarpon should be red hot at that time. Also you might want to add sailfish to the list - the World Sailfish Championship is held in Key West in mid April, and I'm guessing some are still around in May and they can be caught in the "green water" just outside the reef. I agree with maestro on the big waves though - on a windy day the waves can get large outside the reef (we had a bad experience with that - wife got seasick in 5-6 foot seas and it cost $600 for a half hour of fishing).
Inshore, there are hundreds of big tarpon all around Key West harbor. It's quite a sight to see 6 foot fish cruising around the docks (not suggesting it's either legal or a good idea to fish for them around the docks). In my limited experience of a few trips, they have been somewhat finicky eaters during the day, but quite aggressive after dark (if you can find them). Having said that, I've only fished there in March...by May they may be less finicky in the daytime. Anyway you might want to ask a guide about that.
Bonefish and permit are much more uncommon, and you might only get a handful of shots during the entire day. Apart from the "big three" inshore glamor species (tarpon, bonefish, permit) there are probably 20 other inshore species that are a blast to catch, in the channels or on the flats...jacks, smaller groupers, snappers, speckled trout, etc.. In my opinion a 5-10 lb jack crevalle pound for pound can outfight just about any other fish outside of the tuna family.