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Discussion Starter #1
decided to bail some pinfish to take to one of the bridges over the next few nights, net some shrimp for the food freezer and perhaps some tarpon which have been feeding on the shrimp in the light of the full moon.,
So I walk across the street to the canal with a 5ft 6# outfit, figure I'll have some fun while I catch the bait...BIG ERROR...MAJOR FAUX PA...Capital W Capital R Capital ONG!!!

In the midst of the pinfish a snapper of about 3 lbs grabs the tiny bait on the even tinier hook..as its swimming back and forth all his bretheren join in the swim....until..MR POON joins the parade about a 5 ft Tarpon comes along the sea wall and inhales the snapper and takes off...he's hooked up sort of..he's got the snapper in his mouth and I'm still attached to the snapper for Oh about 3.56 seconds...he takes off seaward does a cartwheel and spits the snapper and my 6# snaps...so I walk back across the street and get some appropriate gear, I hook up a pinfish under a yellow foam float and set it in the middle of the canal and I go back to the pinfish with heavier gear...about 10 minutes go buy and my bait is going nuts on the surface I know he's in trouble...one tarpon nails my bait and about a 6 ft tarpon goes after my float...he cartwheels in the air and darn near lands in the guys boat across the canal, he's on it doing some thing and the poon threw water all over him when it went back in...mean while the one I have a hook in its going nuts up the canal... it finally thows the hook and my bait so I re bait and put out another "happy" pinfish...a few minutes go by and my bait heads straight at me...and about 5 ft away the float goes down like a russian sub....set the hook...7lb Grey Snapper...inhaled my pinfish on a 9/0 hook...suddenly the snapper is swimming like mad back up the canal and I think what size tarpon would eat that....no Tarpon...about a 7 ft Bull is closing in... the snapper swims close enough on the surface I can swing it up on the sea wall and the shark goes by my feet, right against the sea wall...I swear I could read that sharks mind..."when the ...did snapper learn how to fly?" severarl Tarpon later ( no landings but solid hooks and fights) , the tide comes full flat and everything stops biting even the bait...


tomorrow its load the floating cage with bait and be ready when the tide turns!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
for live baiting with pinfish etc I like a bigger hook as it gives it more room to take a bite in a tarpons mouth, smaller hooks work ok, it's just my preference, the reference to the 9/0 was more for the fact that the snapper managed to get the whole thing AND the pinfish in his mouth! I'll be back across the street tonight...watch the eclipse and see whats biting
 

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Heading to the keys this summer for 7 days. Plan on renting a house with slip/dock and trailoring my boat down. Plan on doing a lot of things, including fishing. Might I ask: what sort of rig/bait is used to catch Pinfish? Squid? Rig on float or rig on bottom?

Thanks.

"Some Days It's Just Not Worth Chewing Through The Restraints..."
 

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Discussion Starter #7
hook and rig

I personally like Owner and Gamagatsu but I also have a lot of Mustad...just be sure they are SHARP and if they do not catch and dig into my thumb nail with just the slightest pressure I hone them until they do. I also hone a three sided point and don't even think about trying to keep it round, the three sided point acts just like a chisel and slices in much easier...try it on a piece of card board like from the back of a legal pad you'll see the difference...my sharpener is just the plain ol file they sell for about 6 bucks has a yellow handle and I think is made by luhr jehnsen any good sharpener works fine.

pin fish are easy targets once you find where they are hanging...basic two hook rig W/#6 hook (actually could use one hook as most are caught on the bottom hook) , I like a long shank makes getting the little stabbers ( why they are called pin fish) off the hook easier
bait with a little piece of squid...if you use shrimp the wrasses and small snappers will be all over it I still catch a few small snappers on squid but its well over 90% pinfish with squid...if you use any kind of cut bait you will catch pinfish but it draws the bigger snappers and little cudas and then the pinfish go POOOOOOF!
 

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Thanks. Looking forward to going.
Do you live there? If so, which Key, or as the conchs might say: which MM?

"Some Days It's Just Not Worth Chewing Through The Restraints..."
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I live in Marathon, Vaca Key, near MM51
 

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Hmm.. may I ask you a few questions about Marathon, the Keyes, and fishing the Keyes?

"Some Days It's Just Not Worth Chewing Through The Restraints..."
 

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Discussion Starter #11
sure ask away
 

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Bob, let me switch gears 180 for a second. Places to eat ? I'll be on Little Torch, doing Palm Island twice, anyother places for good eats ?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
not too familiar with that stretch for food, Ill ask a few of the natives about that, from the North end down to Marathon, lots of neat places, isalamorada Fish House next to World Wide Angler (AKA BPS) is pretty good and its the original which is now becoming a chain, get to feed Tarpon and sharks that hang in the lagoon waiting to get fed, The Whistle Stop in Islamorada has a great Burger for little $, The Hide Away on Grassy Key in Rainbow Bend Resort is highly rated, The Wreck & Galley has good food and lots of different all you can eat specials but nothing really jumps out there, lots of locals there, I like the Island Restaurant on the North end of VACA Key ( marathon) good food and great drinks, good staff also always busy there and I mean ALWAYS...at the end of 35th st GS the Seafood Restaurant ( name escapes me at the moment) has real good fresh seafood and a killer LOBSTER REUBEN...Porkys Bayside just before the 7 mile bridge where RT 1 (Overseas Hwy) goes from two lanes down to one, has really good BBQ and a awesome deep fried key lime pie...plus entertainment everynight ( usually a single person sometimes a duo) you need to pick some places in Key West ( the better ones ARE NOT ON DUVAL ST) and defiitely go to the waterfront for the sunset party ( every night) with booths and entertainers who perform for tips etc. thats a lot of fun. On Big Pine there is the NO NAME PUB on No Name Key, a lot of my friends recommend it, I haven't gotten there yet I was told it has an awesome grouper sanwich...WARNING>>>where you are staying and on Big pine is the refuge for the Keys Deer, a dwarf deer that only lives there, its endangered and protected... (a) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THE DEER its against the law!!(b) if you hit one ...IT"S A FEDERAL OFFENSE... these things are darn near tame and walk about every where ...consider yourself advised...if you even THINK you see one slow down as they will walk right out in front of your vehicle.

There are numerous restaurant guides and such available grab a bunch also get the local paper it will usually have a lot of ads with the restaurants and their specials etc....Bring an extra cooler and bring back some Blonde Giraffe or other brand of Key Lime pies for your neighbors...they will think you walk on water...

There are several Keys channels on the cable and they give good info on places to eat and see etc. Channel 5, 24, are the two main ones

The Hogfish on Summerland ( just before Key West ) has Good food, large portions at reasonable prices...
 

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Been to Porkys, Been to Fish House, Closed No Name Pub, twice. I see a few thou I'll try. No chance in hell I'll go to Key West. In regards to the deer... Whatever.. I travel slow, I see all of the signs. The black fence they put up three years ago probably decreased the mortality rate, so money well spent. I guess. Being the landowner of an acre in Mont Co, and losing thousands of dollars of plantings, deer and I will have to agree to disagree. I'll be more angry my Tahoe is damaged than killing a deer.

Thanks for the advice, if you think of anymore, let me know.
 

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Thanks.

Planning on ging tothe Keys in July (after the 4th) for 7 days. Towing my 17' CC. Looking to rent a house for 7 days - maybe on marathon. Have been looking. It seems that homes on Key Colony offer some things for the wife and kids to do on the days I fish. What's your opinion on Key Colony? Many of the 2 bedroom homes are going for about $900 for 7 days. That includes canal (for boat!!) and access to whatever Key Colony has to offer.

My main plan is to snorkel/sightsee on boat with kids (20 and 15) and the wife a couple of days, fish 2 days, then whatever.

"Some Days It's Just Not Worth Chewing Through The Restraints..."
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Key Colony offers a lot for the $$ if you plan on cooking in the house theres a Winn Dixie and a Publix grocery down near MM50, I like the Publix better than WD, there's a reef snorkel boat that leaves from the Marina next to Porky's bayside, a trip to the Dolphin research center is cool as well its on Grassy key...I'm a member there and the pod know me well enough that they come up on the side of their lagoons and turn on their side to look at me knowing I'll wave and talk to them, they like that, the big sealion has a habit of nipping fingers sometimes and when I did a meet and greet with him he went to nip me and I two fingered him on the nose and he sat back and looked at me with a like hey why'd ya do that but when i went to feed him again he was real gentle...he got the message.
the Visitors center is up near KCB on rt 1 they can help with the day stuff...lots of Taxis if needed and rates are pretty good as most things are close by.
use the fla-keys.com site to pick by key location and then check scheduled events also, around the 4th a lot should be going on..if you've never been in the waters of the keys you need to remember some simple things about the water here...you'll see all shades of blue , green, aqua etc

white white ...spend the night... shallow sand or coral
blue blue ...sail on thru deeper water
green green ...nice and clean deeper water over grass but still slow down to be sure
brown brown...run aground shallow grass...often high and dry at low tide


there are some major penalties if you run aground on coral or damage a grass bed
 

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I don't plan on using guides for snorkeling or fishing.
Any local advise on snorkeling?

I was also wondering - the Keys are fished hard all year long. Do you have any advise you would like to share as far as where someone llike me might try fishing? My favorite fish is Cobia - but they are up here in May/September/October. Is there a resident Cobia population there? If so, where might I find them?

I would also like to tangle with a Tarpon - does not have to be huge, though. I may bring my fly rods and look for Bonefish or Permit, but that's not a given.

Anyhow, looking forward to being there and checking it all out.

"Some Days It's Just Not Worth Chewing Through The Restraints..."
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Tarpon should be coming into your canal in the evening on the incoming tide like they do across the street from me...lots of places to fish close by especially in Hawk Channel and nearby. Unlike the area up there getting hammered down here has almost no effect on the fish, just because there are so many of them and so many places to fish, check out Jimrockfishes post on the Crabbers board...I drove up to the mainland today and just got back so I took a break from the tarpon anad big snappers,,, ( besides I burned thru all my live bait last night and I need to catch more) ask Jim how hard those Snappers fought...


E mail me your address and I'll mail you a free chart they have here and mark some for you...
 

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Thanks, Capt. Bob!! I sent you a B-mail with my E-mail address.

"Some Days It's Just Not Worth Chewing Through The Restraints..."
 

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Places to eat

Echo,
Try "The Square Grouper", I think it's on Summarland or Sugarloaf, well worth the drive, it's my favorite place in the lower keys. It's a little upscale, way nicer that no name, not as expensive as little palm...
 
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