My wife and I will be down in Key West pretty much all of April. This is our 6th year going down, and we fish most days so we have a fair amount of experience, but we're still learning. We will be fishing out of our 24' bay boat w/ trolling motor, power pole, jack plate, and side scan sonar.
On rare days when the seas are calm we'll head out past the reef, and we had some good days out there last year. However, my wife gets seasick if the seas are much over 2.5 ft, so as a result we probably spend 80% of the time fishing the backcountry channels, flats, basins, KW harbor, and occasionally the patch reefs.
Last year we got pretty dialed in on the tarpon in the harbor, to where we got multiple hookups each. We got into some good 50 lb AJs and a couple 10-12 lb muttons on wrecks, found a few "mullet muds" on the flats and caught lots of fish there, did a little yellowtailing on the patch reefs, caught a 7' lemon shark, caught some redfish in the Marquesas, and generally caught hundreds of snappers and small groupers.
This year I'd like to try yellowtailing on the main reef at least one or two days. I also borrowed some kite rods from a friend - hopefully it will be just windy enough to try that one day without getting my wife seasick. I also need to learn to throw a cast net. I've watched the videos, but right now I pretty much suck at it. Consistently finding and catching bait (other than pinfish) is one of the more difficult aspects of fishing the Keys, at least for me. I can catch some ballyhoo too but it takes a while sometimes.
Four years ago I caught a sailfish by drift fishing out past the reef, and would love to repeat that, but as warm as it's been I hear they are scarce this season so my hopes aren't that high for sails. However, the warm weather should be great for tarpon and mahis.
In general we're not looking to stock the freezer, although sometimes we'll keep a couple. Mainly though we're always trying to find whatever is biting. I really like the variety of Keys fishing and trying different techniques.
We're from MD and usually fish out of Chincoteague, VA during the summer. We fish the back bay, and out about 10 miles in our boat on calm days. I also go offshore on a friend's boat for bluefin, sea bass, mahis, tilefish, etc.. (mainly vertical jigging, wreck/bottom fishing, running and gunning).
Anyway it might be nice to meet up with some mid-Atlantic folks or perhaps go fishing if the stars align.
We met one guy from Ohio last year who was into walleye fishing and had never fished saltwater (let alone the Keys). All he had was freshwater walleye trolling gear with him. Anyway we took him out and showed him a few things and had a pretty good day fishing the backcountry channels.
I'm not looking to tie knots, bait hooks, show someone how to use a spinning reel, or remove 10" snappers from someone's hook. I will gladly show somebody a new knot a few times, but we're more interested in meeting people who are already into fishing and want to learn more about the Keys (or maybe people who can show us a few things too). I'm also not really interested in fishing with people who give up after an hour of not catching. Especially in the Keys, there are so many types of fish that multiple species are *always* biting...it's just a game of figuring out where they are. But I don't mind someone using my tackle if they're competent and respectful with it.
We have family and friends during most of the latter part of the month, but 4/2 - 4/12 and 4/18 - 4/20 are looking open at the moment. Anyway drop me a note if you want.
My wife, buddy and his Fiance will be down there from 4/5-4/15.
I've got a 24' hydrasport and get out and about all over the chesapeake from the susky to point lookout.
My buddy and I were out fishing last fall and got fed up with the cold, so we're making the trip south.
We're flying in and won't have any gear, but could rent some. We'd definately be interested in hooking up with you - and you won't have to take the fish off our hooks either - well we might for his fiance.
Get back to me if your still open - we're looking to go out as much as possible - he and I are anyway - either with someone like yourself of charter.
Just curious - are guys you familiar with Key West or fishing in the Keys?
So you have a party of 4, plus my wife and me makes 6... Not sure if you're suggesting we all go out? The boat fishes 4 OK, but I've never tried more than that, so not sure how well that would work. I suspect it would be awkward, but perhaps we could give it a shot on a short trip and see how it works.
The boat is a Triton 240 LTS, which resembles an oversized bass boat with center console and T-top. It's good to fish out of - it has a good amount of deck space front/back and the gunwales are low and wide, so it's easy for me to walk on the gunwales while grabbing the T top to get around someone. It's probably the most versatile style of boat for fishing the Keys.
I hope you have your own licenses because FL makes it too expensive to get a rec. boat license to cover everyone. It's literally around $2000. I guess they're doing that to make it hard for people to share boats, to support their charter industry. That same boat license in VA is like $58 or something.
We will have plenty of gear... a variety of rods and reels (mainly spinning outfits, Stradic 4000s and heavier, but a couple of conventionals too) and tackle.
I'm headed down tomorrow... my wife is already in SC to pick up the boat, which is getting minor work done.
BTW - My wife is an avid fisherwoman. She used to fish largemouth bass tournaments. She hauls the boat to FL with her dually pickup (which she also uses to haul horse trailers). She's also the captain. I'm better at navigating, locations, species, baits, tackle, and anything offshore, and have done a lot more research on the Keys. But when we start fishing, she can figure out what the fish are doing and catch them as well as anybody.
Weather's looking nice and calm to start the month...hope it stays that way. March was windy.