I have a 100 questions about Long key up to Islamorada and boating

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  1. #1
    Junior Member shoalcat's Avatar
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    I have a 100 questions about Long key up to Islamorada and boating

    I stayed in Long Key last year and plan on the same this year. Coming back the 3rd week of June with my wife and 14 yr old son. Last yr we guided out of Bud and Mary's. Thought if I start now, I could get all my questions answer. We are dragging our 17' poling flats boat from North of Houston Texas. "3000+ mile round trip" It drafts 5" will run on plain in 3" with no prop below the bottom of boat.

    1. I take it, I can go to Bud and Mary's for bait. Is there other places to get live bait near Long Key?

    2. When we were running from Bud and Mary's. I notice we past some channel markings about 5 foot tall. They were white poles and had small marker colors at top pointing towards the channel. My guide said you must stay on plain but slow down while in these channel's. I have a Navionics P+ on order for Florida Bay. Will these be on the mapping card or is there a paper style map showing these area's. I trully do not wanna mess up a reef or get a ticket.

    3. My son is dying to catch a tarpon. He hand feed some at Bud and Marys with our guides help. I heard Long Key bridge is good for that. I plan on fishing artie's for reds and snook but would live be better for this and any laws I should know?

    4. Boat ramps near Islamorada encase we need to trailer closer up before launching?

    5. Places to eat. I found Outback Steakhouse, and the Hungry Tarpon. There's not much around Long Key. Driving up to Burger King towards Key largo and giving up to eat there was nasty.

    More questions to come. Thank you for any info or help. Anyone coming to the Texas coast, I would be more then happy to return the favor on info. I'm so excited about going back to the Keys.
    Last edited by shoalcat; 04-11-2012 at 09:08 PM.
    Hope and Change to Dope and Strange!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Egrets Landing's Avatar
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    The Navionics P+ does not have any markers except the larger channel Markers and those are close but often not exactly where shown on the map.
    When in the ENP area out back, there are lots of channel markers to help in navigating most of the well known passes and cuts installed by the Park Service but by no means are there enough of them to make running around a simple endeavor for anyone unfamiliar. As a novice, make sure you have good sun if you go exploring around the backcountry.

  3. #3
    Member Piratelooksat40's Avatar
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    Long Key

    You are talking about Long Key, but your posts are mainly about Bud and Mary's which I consider in Islamorada. If you are down at Long Key, you can put your Boat in and out at Sea Bird Marina. It is near the Channel 5 Bridge. They also offer live bait( Crabs, Shrimp, Pin Fish). I would say your best option for Tarpon fishing is Channel 2 and Channel 5 bridge. Some people like long key bridge, there seems to be more sharks there for some reason to me.

    As far as places to eat I would look in the FAQ. Lots of great places to eat. You will have to drive a bit if you are in Long Key. My favorites are:
    Old Tavernier Resuraunt
    Island Grill
    Shula Burger
    Loralie
    Key Colony Inn(Marathon)

  4. #4
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    I fished long key bridge last night there's definitely tarpon there. The sharks and tarpon lay up between the two bridges right in the shadow line on an outgoing tide. They will eat when they're in this position, couldn't get them to eat before the outgoing. You'll have to look for them though.

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  6. #6
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    Tons of really good restaurants in Islamorada. Not like new York or New Orleans but solid dining. LazyDays next to Bud and Mary's is a favorite but there are others up and down the price scale.

    Plenty of family friendly fishing spots on the Gulf/Bay boundary near Long Key. Further into the Park will take some exploring. Tons of life in there though.

  7. #7
    Junior Member shoalcat's Avatar
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    Thank everyone that has reponded. Thank you 91tiger; I PM you back. My son said that person is really nice and alot of good info. Me and my son have been reading and reading Florida Sportman forum's for info for awhile now. So much info out there.

    I am more a steakhouse to a good burger joint person. I will be trying the Hungry Tarpon for breakfast. By some how we just picked a place last year and ended up staying at The Lime Tree Bay Resort. Staying at the new addition there. Found it really relaxing. But it is a drive to most places to eat or POI. If I remember right, about 21 miles back to Bud and Mary's. I guess I name that place alot because I'm comfortable with a starting point. I'm hoping that its not the wrong move being I'm dragging my boat and didn't try a different place near upper Matcumbe Key. I am not worried about trying to explore the back country, just looking for things that will keep me outa trouble or messing up any part of the bay.

    Nothing is more of a true Joy of poling my son around and having him sight cast to a fish and bow up on it.
    Hope and Change to Dope and Strange!

  8. #8
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    I have to agree with Lazy Days and Island Grill both were great! I really like Ma's across from Worldwide Sportsman. Really casual and great fresh fish! We stayed on Islamorada and I really liked Abels Bait shop. Mike was very knowledgeable and a really nice guy!

    I would have to think there is bait closer to Long Key but I don't know. What a great area to have a vacation!

    Dodger

  9. #9
    Senior Member mtd885's Avatar
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    If you fish any of those channels mentioned on an outgoing tide at night you will catch tarpon. Get a couple of floats, 60-80# leader 6' long and hang a crab or a pinfish on a 7/0 Circle hook and hold on. Put Morada Bay on that list of good eats and the Village Gourmet (next to Days Inn) open at 6am serving REAL LATTE's and CAPPUCINO for coffee a holics like me. At VG say hello to Bucko The neatest Golden Retriever who waits tables, well he actually just wants a belly rub.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Sea scout's Avatar
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    Must say all good responses, I have been trailering my boat down to the area for the last 15 years. A few tried and True methods I have found work for me are:
    1. Tarpon fishing using the methods described above is best in the evening. If you do go during the day try live lining pin fish in-between the supports. It takes some good boat seamanship, let your son man the bow and pitch the pinfish in the openings while you control the drift. Obviously you have to respect other boats and I give guides a wide berth..
    2. Buy some pre rigged ballyhoo on wire leaders and troll them behind the boat in the back cuts and along the bridges for barracuda. They are a lot off fun the key is keeping the Bally on top just slapping the top of the water and sooner or later a big barracuda will find you.
    3. Go back by some of the banks like Springer and cruise along till you find some of the pass throughs. Pick one with a nice big opening and anchor up and throw out a chum bag. Bring some live shrimp. Catch the ballyhoo, pinfish and set them back on floats behind the boat in the slick and hang on. Big sharks will find you and lots of runs.. If you really want some action, save one of the barracuda and use that for shark bait. Sharks love barracuda. Just some suggestions... Good luck

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