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Florida Keys May 11-15

flyfishdudeflyfishdude MontanaPosts: 5 Deckhand
Greetings everyone,

So my buddy and I will be flying into Miami on May 10, renting a car and staying in the keys until May 15th.  We have hired a guide for the 13th to chase tarpon, will have kayaks the rest of the time but I thought I would throw this out there.  If anyone with a boat wants to take two guys from Montana out for a day or part of a day, we'd be more than happy to pay for gas and beer if you like (we don't really drink much at all) and I'd pole the majority of the day for you just to get a shot at some fish (tarpon :smile: permit lol, bonefish, barracuda, jacks, snook, reds....well you get the idea!  We'd also be more than happy to row you down a western Montana river if you ever make it up our way!  Think about it!!  Thanks in advance....

Replies

  • sunflowersunflower osprey, floridaPosts: 655 Officer
    edited April 2019 #2
    Have you fished in the Keys before during tarpon season?
    In my experience, fly-fishing in the Keys is extremely dependent on tides, wind, and weather.
    Guides will run miles from productive location to productive location, passing what look like many identical spots. They spend years learning to become productive.
    It is different from river fishing, where the fish tend to be in the same spots. these fish are always on the move.
    There are a thousand flats and islands, and only some of them will produce on any given day or hour. Tarpon tend to follow fairly consistent migration paths, and in May I imagine you will find dozens, if not hundreds, of guides and boats staked-out or poling on the best flats and locations. It can be very competitive.
    Specific bridges can be amazingly productive, but that is more of a bait fishery.
    There are resident-tarpon locations that can be great.
    There are few if any snook and redfish.
    Management of rods and lines can be difficult, particularly if it is windy. It would be very difficult to be set up to catch a tarpon, permit, jack, or barracuda at the same time.
    I think you will technically need a fishing license if you are fishing from a boat.

    I wish you well.
    It sounds like a great adventure.
    Let us know how you do.


    Mark

    grace finds goodness in everything ...



  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,461 AG
    Where in the Keys are you going to be?  

    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
  • flyfishdudeflyfishdude MontanaPosts: 5 Deckhand
    sunflower said:
    Have you fished in the Keys before during tarpon season?
    In my experience, fly-fishing in the Keys is extremely dependent on tides, wind, and weather.
    Guides will run miles from productive location to productive location, passing what look like many identical spots. They spend years learning to become productive.
    It is different from river fishing, where the fish tend to be in the same spots. these fish are always on the move.
    There are a thousand flats and islands, and only some of them will produce on any given day or hour. Tarpon tend to follow fairly consistent migration paths, and in May I imagine you will find dozens, if not hundreds, of guides and boats staked-out or poling on the best flats and locations. It can be very competitive.
    Specific bridges can be amazingly productive, but that is more of a bait fishery.
    There are resident-tarpon locations that can be great.
    There are few if any snook and redfish.
    Management of rods and lines can be difficult, particularly if it is windy. It would be very difficult to be set up to catch a tarpon, permit, jack, or barracuda at the same time.
    I think you will technically need a fishing license if you are fishing from a boat.

    I wish you well.
    It sounds like a great adventure.
    Let us know how you do.


    I was just implying that if we happen to catch a ride with someone we'd be more than willing to throw at any species, we're not picky.  We hired the guide for one day to try and get a tarpon but other than that we are just going to kayak around to a little more remote flats and look for moving water, bait being crashed, with any luck at all a tailing fish or two but most likely blind cast to likely looking water.  As for rods, when we're wading we're going to each carry two rods, two 8 wts. a 9 and a 10.  We were also planning on buying licenses, which are surprisingly cheap!

    I will give a report when we get back, hopefully we''ll have something to report!
  • flyfishdudeflyfishdude MontanaPosts: 5 Deckhand
    Where in the Keys are you going to be?  


    We are staying on Geiger key, but being from Montana we're not bothered at all driving hours to fish!  We will have a care and would be willing to meet up with someone anywhere from Key West to Key Largo, even to go wade fishing.  To put it in a little context, I've driven 4 hours to fish for 6 hours and drive 4 hours back home to go to work the next day!
  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,461 AG
    I haven't been down there in over 10 years, but back in those times I fished mainly around the Big Pine Key area.    The right habitat at the right time drives the bonefishing - it's by far the hardest  in that area. Permit are quite common in that part of the Keys, not that they are easily caught. It's rockier/more coral than sand there.  

    Open (surrounded on all sides by deeper water) "pancake" flats on rising tide were the best for me.   There's much to look at for a MT guy; sharks, rays, bones (hopefully), permit, cudas... And of course, tarpon.  

    It'd be hard not to find tarpon in the Keys (or anywhere south of Homassassa) in May. Catching them is another story. 

    I'd use Google maps and those kayaks to set up series of excursions based on tides and locations.  And also just randomly explore.   Don't forget to fish at night.  Throwing a tarpon fly in black/purple around one of the bridges could lead to a very exciting night ride on a yak.  I'd be terrified, because the sharks make the tarpon look like bait.

    It sounds like a very fun trip - having the kayaks will give you a mobility that even boaters don't have (well, they have it but it's just less likely that they'll pull stakes, trailer up, launch 50 miles away, etc.).

    Post up photos/results when you do it.
    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
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