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I will be in Islamorada late in March with a guide for two days of tarpon fishing. I want to stay a couple of extra days but will have used up the "guide budget" by then. Anyone have suggestions about wade fishing the Islamorada area that time of the year? I'll be checking with the guide and shops but know there's a lot of wisdom on this board. I'm not particular about species, just want to wet a line a few more days.

Thanks
 

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I've been there a few times. If you are thinking about wading the back country water (what we would consider the bay side of the island) think again! There are so many sharks back there in the mangroves and shallows that you will surely loose a leg. I was in the back water fishing sea trout and red fish and we caught quite a few. But in the same water we also caught some 4 to 6 foot bull sharks as well. Stick to boats.
 

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Bridges are very good.. Give me a few hours and I'll think of them specifically. If you can find No Name Key, theres a small Marina that rents boats ther for under 200. Or you can fish toff the No Name Bridge which isn;t bad. The best thing you can do is fish a incoming tide. It probably won't align to your schedule, ( it never does for me) but incoming is the best. There is a head boat out of Bud and Marys, if you can deal with head boats. Key there is you can buy your spot on the boat. Very important to get to the rear. They do catch some decent yellow tail. I go down every year, in March, I'll be down there from the 6th to the 20th this year. I rented a 24' Cobia for ten days. I;'m gonna get a little bit more adventurous this year. Heres some pictures of last year, I hope....
 

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I am heading down mid Feb will let you know what I find. I have heard the same cautoun about wading. I will rent a boat too.
Brian is that a new sub species of spanish mackeral?
 

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Another option is to go to Flamingo,Florida might be about 1.5 hours from islamorada. There you can rent a boat in Everglades national park for all day for about $150. The boat is pretty nice as far as rentals go, it is a 40Hp center console. You can catch some nice size
redfish, snook,etc... I can send you more info if you are interested.
 

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I am heading down mid Feb will let you know what I find. I have heard the same cautoun about wading. I will rent a boat too.
Brian is that a new sub species of spanish mackeral?
Skip, yes Wino told me it was a Cerise Mackeral, which he siad was amuch better eating fish. Should have known,because the MUCH larger Cuda loved his tail. That fish was off the stern I was just about to grab him and SPLASH. Before I knew what the f happened all I see is a cloud of blood and half a fish...
 

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Another option is to go to Flamingo,Florida might be about 1.5 hours from islamorada. There you can rent a boat in Everglades national park for all day for about $150. The boat is pretty nice as far as rentals go, it is a 40Hp center console. You can catch some nice size
redfish, snook,etc... I can send you more info if you are interested.
Please send me more info, while I'm gonna be more adventurous in the OCean I wanna do some back bay stuff also.
How lucky am I my wife loves to fish ?
 

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Please send me more info, while I'm gonna be more adventurous in the OCean I wanna do some back bay stuff also.
How lucky am I my wife loves to fish ?
You are definitely a lucky man. Up until this past sunday, my wife had the record for largest rockfish in our house. One trip with Skip, and I replaced her 25" fish with a 40".

As far as the back bay stuff goes,
To get an idea of the area look at chart # 11433
http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/AtlanticCoastViewerTable.htm

The way it works is you drive down to flamingo through Everglades national park, and you can rent a boat at the marina.
Now with the boat you rent you can only go up the "wilderness waterway", and not into the ocean, because there is a lock,dike something like that, on the canal.
If you rent the boat for the day you can make it to the part north of coot Bay and still have lots of time to fish.
There are several ways to fish the area, but I have had the most success with having one person drive the boat up and down the mangroves and the other cast to the mangroves, with some sort of plastic bait, ie pink and white grub, DOA rootbeer terroreyez,etc..
Last time I went we picked up redfish on the DOA lure , and I picked up a nice size ladyfish on a buzzbait.
The area is all pretty shallow, ie under 6', but is amazing the diversity of fish that you can catch.
You can also look for current, and other fishy looking places. The main theme is keep moving if you aren't catching anything, and pay attention to the tides.
There is also a guy that guides out of the marina,and he is very good. My dad and I did
a guided trip with him one day, and did ok in not the best conditions.
Send me a bmail, right before you go down there and I will give you some specific locations I have had luck at.

Jason
 

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Love that website, thanks. My chip for lower keys came in two days ago I need to load it and play around. Skip ya gotta show me how to use this thingy.. Any time next week ?
 

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Cero Mackerel, S. Regalis, very plentiful down there. They run a little bigger than the spanish, can be hard to tell apart sometimes, the kings S. Cavalla which grow much bigger, sometimes mix in in the same size, we've caught all three from the same slick down there. We were down in late September, and there were lots of Macks on the reef. As far as wading, I would (and have). You'll see, and catch sharks for sure, most will be under 100 lbs, but I wouldn't worry, unless you plan to have a cuda fillet in your pocket:D There are a lot of options as far as bridges and boats, shoot me a bmail in March, and I'll put you in touch with some of the best guys down there. We'll probably be down in Feb. Good luck.
 

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There are no boat rentals or gas pumps at Everglades National Park since Katrina and Wilma. There are no plans in the works for boat rentals as dealing with the feds is not an easy task. The lodge is also closed. http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cach...lamingo+Florida+park&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=8 Most of the travel websites that featured the park in the past have not been updated and like most forums are full of bad information.

While wading in the keys unless you are carrying a bucket of chum and dragging a stringer of dead fish no sharks will bother you.
 

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There are no boat rentals or gas pumps at Everglades National Park since Katrina and Wilma. There are no plans in the works for boat rentals as dealing with the feds is not an easy task. The lodge is also closed. http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cach...lamingo+Florida+park&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=8 Most of the travel websites that featured the park in the past have not been updated and like most forums are full of bad information.

While wading in the keys unless you are carrying a bucket of chum and dragging a stringer of dead fish no sharks will bother you.
Sorry Captain,
No crappy information here.
My dad and I rented a boat at Flamingo Marina in Everglades national park on
December 22, 2006. The boat was an approximately 17ft center console with a 40Hp motor.
I don't think the lodge was open when we were there, and the shop doesn't sell live bait
anymore, but they definitely rent boats.
 

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I stand corrected mind68. I called the marina and they do have 3 skiffs for rental. Apparently they just started before the Christmas holiday.

Guess it proves my point that there is lots of bad information on forums.
My bad
 

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Skip, yes Wino told me it was a Cerise Mackeral, which he siad was amuch better eating fish. Should have known,because the MUCH larger Cuda loved his tail. That fish was off the stern I was just about to grab him and SPLASH. Before I knew what the f happened all I see is a cloud of blood and half a fish...
its cero mackeral, would tell you more but I just spent the last week in the cape caneveral hospital with a bleeding ulcer and am to weak to type.
 

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There's a place called CapT Pips in Marathon ( where I now reside 24/7) They have nice rooms and the rental includes the use of a boat during your stay ( not if ones avail...they designate one thats yours during your stay) all you pay extra is fuel and gas, check out boat rental rates then look at Cap pips, really nice people if you go tell barbara I sent you, I always appreciate a free beer...Marathon Laday head boat hits the reef and its north of Marathon about 3 miles, others sail from near the 7 mile bridge,,,late spring and early June the Bulls come in to breed...VERY TESTE...there is a good shop for info in MArathon called World class Angler, go to KEYNOTER.com the local paper, check out the fishing info there and there are numewrous fishing papers down here also and they are free...
hope this helps some
 

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Here's a few spots for you, none of them secret so I'm not spot burning. I lived on Lower Matecumbe (a few keys south of Islamorada) for a while and these spots were always worth a look and accessible from shore:

Oceanside flat MM 74 near Sunset Drive, just north of Channel 2 bridge and Caloosa Cove Marina. I've caught loads of bonefish on that flat, live shrimp, small bucktails.

Channel 2 bridge, could be tarpon that time of year. You can fish the shoreline in several spots.

Craig Key (south side of Channel 2 bridge), fish the deep oceanside edges for barracuda. Try the shoreline on the gulf side near the two big estates out there, I've taken big jacks in there. If you're feeling brave, the oceanside flat that ends at Channel 2 can be waded at the low half of the tide. You've got to slog through 100 yds of muck first, but the outer flat is hard sand and can be full of bonefish. Not for the faint of heart.

Long Key State Park, ~MM 68, go in to the picnic area on the ocean and start wading north. Grass and sand flat, some areas of muck that you'll have to traverse, but this flat goes forever and has some of the largest bones I've seen down there. Also sharks, barracuda.

Have a great trip!
 
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