Need keys advice for late April

MudminnerMudminner Posts: 26 Greenhorn
I just learned my sister in law is getting married in key largo on April 26 next year. Probably going to be there for a week or so, any suggestions? My brother in law wants to drive but there would be 3 kids in the car for 23+ hours, probably not gonna happen. I see there are some state parks that can be waded and canoe rentals. I can probably swing a guided trip but would rather figure it out myself if possible. It looks like the full moon will be on May 3. Bringing the skiff down would be nice but that's gonna be hard. From my research, I should be able to catch some bonefish, but what other options do I have. I will bring 2 8's and a 10wt, and I could possibly talk myself into buying a 12. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks

Replies

  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Many years ago, I trailered up to Key Largo to fish with a friend and we caught bonefish and neither one of us had any prior knowledge of the area.....so this means the bonefishing must've been pretty good! I do remember that the flats were perfect up there and the visibility was excellent. The fish were all good sized as well. But then just a few years ago, I had lunch in Tavernier with a fellow forum member and he said the bonefishing had gone to Hell in a hand basket, due to pollution. Sad to hear that. Maybe he will see this and chime in with an update.

    Other than that, you have myriad opportunities in that area. If the wind blows, you can run west towards ENP for snook, trout, tarpon and redfish. But if that happens, I strongly suggest that you think harder towards hiring a guide for the day.

    Definitely bring a 12 wt......with any decent weather, I think you won't regret it.
    .......Rick
  • clampmanclampman Posts: 130 Officer
    What is your saltwater experience, and with what weight rods? Surf casting? Good double haul? etc.
  • MudminnerMudminner Posts: 26 Greenhorn
    clampman wrote: »
    What is your saltwater experience, and with what weight rods? Surf casting? Good double haul? etc.

    I will be bringing at least an 8 and a 10. I can cast all the line on the 10 pretty easy from dry land. I haven't tried it too much standing in the surf. It would be nice to find a couple of places I can drive the rental car to a few days and hop out to catch bonefish, little tarpon, big tarpon, permit ( I know, highly unlikely), or something like that. It doesn't have to be easy, I understand that not many people want to share there secret honey hole. I'd just like to know if this is something that is possible.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Mudminner wrote: »
    I will be bringing at least an 8 and a 10. I can cast all the line on the 10 pretty easy from dry land. I haven't tried it too much standing in the surf. It would be nice to find a couple of places I can drive the rental car to a few days and hop out to catch bonefish, little tarpon, big tarpon, permit ( I know, highly unlikely), or something like that. It doesn't have to be easy, I understand that not many people want to share there secret honey hole. I'd just like to know if this is something that is possible.

    That is better info. Since you are willing to drive, check out the places to wade in the Keys...a thread in the FAQ at the top of this page. Your 8 wt. will serve you well.

    A problem you might have at this time of the year, is the weather combined with the tourists. Since the water is cooler now, the fish might not show until about mid-morning. Hopefully you will have a mid-incoming tide, because that will be the warmest water. But by then, the tourists will also have shown, so trying to find an isolated location might be a chore. All it takes is one person to send shallow fish fleeing. In any event, try to get as far away from the people as possible.
    .......Rick
  • MudminnerMudminner Posts: 26 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the replies. Sorry for the typical out of state, how to, ****** bag type question. I'm just trying to find out how doable it is or if I'm pretty much wasting my time. I can't stand tourist traps or fishing next to a bunch of drunks with their spinning reels upside down. I looked into going to key west a couple of years ago in May, but it was hard finding a guide. Like I said, I don't mind getting a guide but then you are at the mercy of the weather and not knowing if this guy is gonna be worth a crap. I've been with guides that I thought were a total waste of time and money, including at trip in Hawaii. From what I hear all the good guides are always booked, I could be wrong. It would be nice to be there for a month and figure it out, but I have limited time and resources. I do not however mind paddling 6 miles or walking through mud.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,282 Captain
    You're going to have issues without a boat/canoe/kayak. There isn't much at all in the way of park and wade access down there. I've had some pretty good days on cobia in the gulf side in the early spring, yellowtail snapper on the ocean side. Unfortunately Rick's friend was right, and until you get to the marquesas, the keys aren't much of a bonefish destination theses days. There are bonefish there, and they are relatively huge, but they're the smartest bonefish I've ever seen. It's tough fishing. My suggestion would be to stick to the backcountry, and play with the snook & tarpon. Getting a guide isn't easy either, the only guides I know worth booking aren't taking new clients. You'd be shocked at how many people just move to the keys and start guiding without any prior experience.
  • clampmanclampman Posts: 130 Officer
    I'd quess your chances of hooking tarpon vs bonefish at 50-1 during your time frame in the upper keys. I'd suggest way west for bones. By the end of April, the water temp off the reef should be averaging 78-80 degrees, which is good. Given good sun, near shore water will be considerably warmer. Tarpon should be numerous then.

    PM me mid-April.
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