Paddling the Florida Keys with a little fishing

bugdocbugdoc Posts: 421 Officer
Took the wife down to Conch Key Cottages, MM 61, for a few days of paddling and exploring. She let me fish a little. The hotel is right on the water adjacent to what should have been good bonefish flats, but I did not see one the whole trip. There were some respectable barracudas to be had. It's nice to be able to roll out of bed and be fishing within 5 minutes.

Employee kayak parking lot

bonefish-free flats next to the hotel

Pet tarpon at Outdoor World in Islamorada

Pet jacks and a tarpon at Robbie's in Islamorada (MM 77.5)

Nice mangrove snapper caught by Lignumvitae Key ( MM 77.5) on a DOA shrimp. Saw a couple of sharks on the flats but no bonefish.

Barracuda at sunset

23-inch cuda. At this size they make some nice, albeit short, drag-screaming runs on light tackle.

Couldn't resist posting this osprey with decapitated fish shot. Located on Indian Key (MM 78)

The shy and elusive Key Deer on Big Pine Key (about MM 33)

Pirate ship

Shoreline of Rattlesnake Key (MM 105). Normally a great bonefish spot, but not on this day.

Southeast Florida kayak launch sites at


  • DogmanDogman Posts: 450 Officer
    Awesome pictures and report. I can only dream of vacationing down there.
    2013 Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5 (Sand) - His
    2010 Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 (Mango) - Hers
    Lost Fishing - You know it's where you'd rather be!
  • yakhunteryakhunter Posts: 127 Officer
    We stayed at the same place a few weeks ago, and the wind was blowing 20 mph +, which severely limited our kayak fishing possibilities. But we caught barracuda on splashy topwater plugs along US1 on the ocean side, which was a blast. And we discovered that the little lagoon in between the resort and road holds some 12-14" snapper and decent sized porgies. Cool place.
  • bugdocbugdoc Posts: 421 Officer
    Wish I knew the lagoon had some eating fish in it. Since it was completely enclosed I figured it was just a kayak training area for those who can't deal with the current well.

    Southeast Florida kayak launch sites at
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,209 Moderator
    excellent pics!
    I've got some adventurous family visiting in may, perhaps I will take them to this area.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • jumboshrimpjumboshrimp Posts: 820 Officer
    Great pics, looks like a fun trip :thumbsup
  • fishingkid315fishingkid315 Posts: 1,927 Officer
    Wow looks great and nice fish!
  • yakhunteryakhunter Posts: 127 Officer
    That lagoon actually has a small opening on the Conch Key side, a tiny bridge pass for a driveway to the private homes near the resort. The snapper were biting on the incoming tide as the water came into the lagoon under the bridge. I had to work hard to get the bigger ones, which were very wary. But with the windy conditions it was the only game in town. Your pix are great.
  • NSByakNSByak Posts: 424 Officer
    Very nice. Wife and I and some friends are headed down to do the same thing in two weeks. Can't wait! Great pictures too, especially the osprey.
  • bugdocbugdoc Posts: 421 Officer
    The Lignumvitae and Indian Key paddles are great short trips. You can launch from Robbie's for $5 (free if someone in the group rents a kayak), or launch free off the causeway. The flats around Lignumvitae are a problem at lowish tides, so if you can time it to head there an hour before high tide, then ride the falling tide out to Indian Key (and then fight the current back to the launch) you can do both keys in one trip. Shell Key, just north of Lignumvitae, actually has a better bonefish/shark flat to the east and north, if you just want to fish or eco-tour (avoid the low half of the tide here as well). I think the guided tours on Lignumvitae Key are only on weekends now, 10AM and 2PM. There is a house tour and for $1 per person a guided nature walk. My snapper was caught by the dock at Lignumvitae- always some there when I've been.

    Southeast Florida kayak launch sites at
  • pdog1966pdog1966 Posts: 167 Officer
    Nice pics. Definitely the best place in Florida to me. Even if you're not catching, it beats being at work.
  • palmbeachpetepalmbeachpete Posts: 2,618 Captain
    Great report and nice pics.
  • levosgienlevosgien Posts: 164 Officer
    Nice pics!
  • skyway andeskyway ande Posts: 2,663 Captain
    Super trip!... Thanks for the report....

    Osprey photo is cool... Enjoyed the Barraacuda too....
    God, save the South!
  • ScaryGaryScaryGary Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    Awesome report, bugdoc. Those pics are wicked. What kind of camera are you using?
  • bugdocbugdoc Posts: 421 Officer
    The better quality pictures are with a Panasonic Lumix ZS9, which is not waterproof. Some of the on-the-water pics and fish pics are with my Olympus Stylus, which is waterproof and relatively cheap, but has poor picture quality compared to my Pentax Optio-90 that it replaced (after I drowned it snorkeling to 8 feet deep).

    Southeast Florida kayak launch sites at
  • THE"U"THE"U" Posts: 22 Greenhorn
    Great report and great pics.
  • angler18angler18 Posts: 2,035 Officer
    thanks for sharing the pics and report. Those cuda's on those flats can be great fun on topwater.

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