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Help me plan Islamorada fishing trip

phinfanfrommdphinfanfrommd Mt. Pleasant, South CarolinaPosts: 23 Greenhorn
First, it's been a while since I've been on the site. Glad to be back. I have finally completed my major relocation from Maryland to Charleston, SC. To be in a fishery like this, I can't even put into words how happy I am!

I am going to the Keys for the 6th time in 3 years at the end of this month. I'm staying in Layton. Because I will now be traveling via truck, I can finally bring all my gear which will change my fishing a bit. I will be fishing from a kayak or wading flats. 

The fish I want to target specifically are mangrove snapper (so the wife can join me and have fun) and barracuda. I hear Yellowtail snapper is good catching this time of year as well. I will as usual buy some frozen stuff, but will also bring the cast net to get some minnows, pilchards, shrimp, whatever.

If anyone has any information on the below, I would appreciate the insight:

1. Live bait rigs/techniques for fishing Barracuda
2. Good fishing holes for Barracuda
3. Yellowtail snapper rigs using live and/or frozen cut bait
4. Any other species to target on kayak or wading flats?

Thanks every in advance for the time.
2003 Boston Whaler 150 Sport
2015 Honda BF60A

Replies

  • jensenjeff1955jensenjeff1955 Posts: 73 Deckhand
    Yellowtail Snapper in shore, are not worth targeting unless you're strictly catch and release due to their size. Better to target Mangrove Snapper holding on structure with live shrimp on jig heads. The coffins bayside off Lower Matecumbe hold lots of different species including Green Jacks, which are delicious.
    Barracuda will typically hold in the same areas but can also be targeted along the channel edges and flats use a bright green tube lure or top water plug that chugs. Wade fishing will be best oceanside just past the Calusa Cove resort. You will easily spot where from the road. Anne's Beach is another good spot to launch you kayak and those flats will hold Bonefish and Permit with the right tide. Shrimp or live Blue Crabs best baits.
    Don't forget to check out the area along the bridges but be mindful of tides as they can be quite strong if you're in a kayak.
    Good luck and have fun!
  • phinfanfrommdphinfanfrommd Mt. Pleasant, South CarolinaPosts: 23 Greenhorn
    Yellowtail Snapper in shore, are not worth targeting unless you're strictly catch and release due to their size. Better to target Mangrove Snapper holding on structure with live shrimp on jig heads. The coffins bayside off Lower Matecumbe hold lots of different species including Green Jacks, which are delicious.
    Barracuda will typically hold in the same areas but can also be targeted along the channel edges and flats use a bright green tube lure or top water plug that chugs. Wade fishing will be best oceanside just past the Calusa Cove resort. You will easily spot where from the road. Anne's Beach is another good spot to launch you kayak and those flats will hold Bonefish and Permit with the right tide. Shrimp or live Blue Crabs best baits.
    Don't forget to check out the area along the bridges but be mindful of tides as they can be quite strong if you're in a kayak.
    Good luck and have fun!
    Thanks brother for the info. Do you have any recommendations for targeting cuda with live baits, I was thinking a meaty pilchard on some sort of rig to let them thrash around?
    2003 Boston Whaler 150 Sport
    2015 Honda BF60A
  • phinfanfrommdphinfanfrommd Mt. Pleasant, South CarolinaPosts: 23 Greenhorn
    If anybody has any other ideas for me on what/where/how to target let me know. I'm only there for 5 days, so I plan on targeting barracuda for at least 2 days (I hear they don't leave the flats in winter). I'll spend at least a day fishing with the wife using light tackle for some snapper and such. 

    What else should I consider on a Winter keys fishing trip?
    2003 Boston Whaler 150 Sport
    2015 Honda BF60A
  • finnaddict98finnaddict98 Posts: 86 Greenhorn
    The tube lures are the best for cuda----live baiting for cuda seems couther productive as they will generally snatch anything you are reeling in!! Cant tell you how many jack heads, grouper heads Ive reeled in over the years!
  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Posts: 561 Officer
    Live Mullet on wire with circle hook.  Slow troll around the edges of channels.  Do the same with a live Pinfish on wire with about 4' of leader and a balloon or bobber.  Free drift them around channels along flats.  Sight cast white spots on the flats with tubes or better live bait.  Tubes can be cast a lot further, but a live bait struggling anywhere around their vicinity will get them chasing.   Yellowtails can be caught at the bigger channel bridges like 2/5, Bahia Honda, 7-Mile bridge.  Lots of chum and live/cut bait.  You will end up catching a bit of everything.  You have to anchor though which can be dicey if you don't know what you are doing.
    Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
    All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/
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