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Do It Yourself BoneFish around Marathon /Long Key?

Pate55Pate55 Posts: 122 Deckhand
Once a year in September myself and,3 friends travel down to Conch Key for a week of outdoor adventures.

Last Year I read a couple websites and Articles and tried to apply for my own "do it yer self " bone fishing excursion. I first tried a spot across from the annex building on Matecumbe Key. We hit it on an incoming at first light. No fish spotted however we did catch a fine Boxfish and a couple Baracuda !!

We then went to Long Key State Park where I had a hell of a stalk and cast on a fine school of Mullet.:banghead We called it quits around 11 never seeing the first bone.

I am an experienced fisherman and I think I know what i am doing.I would greatly like to catch a Bone to scratch it off my "Bucket List" Just wondering if anyone has been out lately. Any helpful hints will be greatly appreciated. We will be there from September 15- 22.

I Know I should get a charter but don't want to because I want to try and do it from shore. Please PM me if you have any spots or general area's I should concentrate if you do not want to publicize on this thread.

Thank you for your Time,

Pate

Replies

  • centaursailingcentaursailing Posts: 32 Greenhorn
    you could try Curry Hammock State park, just north of Marathon, it has a good flat for walking and deep water nearby. I only fished it once and caught snapper but it looks like bonefish territory. I have caught bones on three flats in the keys over the years and they are only accessed by boats but im sure some of the flats accessible by land produce but i have not put in the time. If you want to drive a little further south of Marathon there is a flat accessed from shore that looks good at little duck key just passed Bahia Honda key. Pull into Veterans park. Good luck
  • ClassifiedInfoClassifiedInfo Posts: 71 Greenhorn
    Pate55,

    I found this while searching this forum. http://www.threebone.com/index.html

    This basically walks you through the many different flats that you can fish going down to Key West. It tells you not only which flat, but how and when to fish them. It's a pretty comprehensive guide.
  • swordfizhswordfizh Posts: 177 Officer
    Here are some pics from DIY wade fishing down in marathon.

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    Mostly my successful trips were by Annes Beach. I have waded a lot of flats down there and came up empty handed, and yet have seen a LOT of crazy **** as well. I have yet to catch the slam (bonefish, permit, Tarpon) due to tarpon following but never eating the flies. Usually people have trouble getting the permit to commit, for me it was the tarpon lol! The permit I found were never huge, but as far as bones, I have caught them up to 10lbs out there. Mostly on a crazy charlie in pink. I usually chased them in the summer months due to non windy dawns being the prevalence... I can tell you that lots of times these fish are sitting right next to where people bathe, I have seen them tailing all the way up to the sandy shore, within feet of my parked car while I was waiting for the sun to peek out so I could see where I was going.

    It is a lot of trial and error, your casts have to be on point, and you cannot hit fish in the head... You must lead them and if bonefish strip so that the fly kicks up mud or sand. Permit are a little different... They almost always hit the fly on the drop, since they know that when a critter reaches the grass or sand they are GONE! If you spot multiple fish, then you are in luck, they compete very hard and most times the bigger fish in the school will be the one to muscle their way to your fly.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is, never give up! Perseverance will pay dividends out there! I would usually go around 5am (driving from Homestead, FL.) and get there just in time for sunrise. Fish till 10am or so, then go chill in a shaded area till 4pm or so, when the sun starts shinning behind your back (if youre fishing the east side) so that they become a tad easier to spot than when the sun is in your face.

    I guided a few people to some nice fish out there over the years, however with every successful day came 2 or 3 where we would not see anything...

    Finally, keep in mind, this is hunting more than fishing... These fish are AMAZING at blending in and I have had them swim in front of my face many a times before, just to vanish as quickly due to the expert camouflage skills they have honed over the millions of years of evolution. Oh, before I forget, be VERY careful walking out there, there are MANY stingrays, mostly over sandy bottom, a barb through the foot WILL ruin your month! Also, when near channels, be careful for deeper sand holes AND bull sharks, they tend to get VERY upset when you stumble upon them. I have had to hit them on the head with my fly rod a time or two when they were coming towards me without realizing I was there.

    Good luck, and tight lines!

    -swordfish
    fishy.gif

    "The definition of Insanity is to continue to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different outcome, thus by definition, fishing is insanity, we are all insane!"
  • Gauz ManGauz Man Posts: 45 Deckhand
    Go to the 7 mile bridge the flats on the south side are loaded with bones and the ocassional permit. Best way to catch em is by leaving a shrimp casted out on the flat during an incoming tide, this is the best way for a sure hook up. After you have a few fish under your belt you can walk the bridge and try to sight cast for the fish.
    Ocean Kayak Pro Staff - Member of Team Ocean Kayak Florida
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