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Gentlemen,
I am going down to the keys for the first half of March to kayak, fly fish and camp. We will spend most of our time down in the lower keys (actually north of there in the backcountry). Does anyone have experience down there? (I lived on Marco Island as a kid but did little flyfishing, ie. My brother and I snagged a bunch of big Mullet under our dock and put them in a five gallon bucket for my mom to cook dinner with one day....I think we had KFC that night ;) )
I am not going solely for the glamour species (Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish). In fact, most fish will put a smile on my face; cobia, shark, and barracuda are supposed to be prowling the flat edges this time of year. Who knows? Does anyone have any contacts down there that I might be able to get in touch with? I am still a student and can't afford a hotel, much less a guide. It's a close-knit community in the keys and any inquiry about fishing techniques or kayak camping etc. simply gets a "Well, if you fished with a guide...." response. Guides need to make money too and I would gladly give it to them if I had any. I will chronicle my adventure when I get back with plenty of pictures and stories to help you through the last bit of cabin fever.
Thanks,
Chris
 

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Even campgrounds are wildly expensive if you can find a vacancy. There used to be one just as you get onto Big Pine (I think). There aren't many and the State Parks are typically booked. Backcountry camping is essentially non existent unless you like camping in a mangrove tree. There are a few very small keys that get storm swept and might work (I've never tried it). One is on the ocean side of seven mile near the west end. There are some sites available by reservation in the upper keys in Everglades NP.

As for fishing you are on the right track. If you forget the glamour species in the lower keys there is superb fishing for barracuda and mangrove snapper. Barracuda are in most of the likely looking spots which down there means almost everywhere. The snapper concentrate in a few places. Undercut current swept ends of islands are best. Look for deep water right up against the mangroves. On the oceanside flats, sharks are available. Forgetting the glamour fish is a really good idea. A good kayak launch with fish nearby is at the end of blimp road in the vicinity of Summerland.

Good luck and be careful. Tides and current can be fairly strong and beyond my ability to predict.
 

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I agree with Billx there, Ill actually be heading down myself in March, and Ive been there the past two years as well. Just be weary of the winds, March is a very windy time in the keys, with winds regularly 20-30 out of the east a norm. Just look for the mangroves with deep water around them and youre sure to find grouper, snapper, and cudas.
Hope you find some good fishing.
 
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