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Islamorada?

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My wonderful wife has arranged for us to spend a family vacation there the end of this month. This will be my first trip, (not counting a visit while I was in college, a completely different kind of trip). It sounds like a lot of youse guys have been there, or may even be there. I have already booked a backcountry fly excursion with Capt Len Roberts. What else can we expect? Of course I'm hoping to flycast to snook and tarpon off the beaches, but whatever, it beats this cold and rainy *****. Any good restaurants? I'm looking forward to the World Wide Sportsman, kind of saving my pre-trip shopping spree until I get there. What about renting a boat, any good places to go?

 

Thanks in advance for your kind advice. Long live the Salty Dogs.

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John, I was down there last spring, and there are a number of spots you can fish without a boat, all of which see daily fishing pressure and are populated by Phd holding bonefish. It was my first bonefish trip, and it was a humbling I won't soon forget. I don't remember the different spots offhand, but i'll check my logs and try to get back to you on monday with some details.

 

I've heard that a lot of places do rent boats, but we didn't end up taking that route, so I won't be of much help on that front.

 

Worldwide Sportsman was something else, but don't miss Bonefish Bob's in Islamorada either, it's a small place and Bob is a great guy with a lot of good info.

 

There aren't really any beaches per se in Islamorada, so I wouldn't expect to find any snook from shore, but fishing under the bridges at night can be productive for tarpon- you should be able to hear them rolling if they're present.

 

Matt

 

ps One word of caution, if the 'circle K flat' is recommended, leave the kids at home. There is some decent fishing there, especially for big 'cuda, but when we were there we also ran into a large number of naked men sunbathingupck.gif- you've been warned.

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John,

Robbies rents boats, and i have a freind that would probably cut you a deal if you wanted to go out i can e mail you his number if you want, flats or offshore or reef,... which leads me to the last point , if you have a family and kids that wanna try their fishing hats on charter a boat for a half day and go fish on the reef it can be a lot of fun with the potential for some very interesting catches smile.gif

I would also check out the bridges at nite but the snook are kinda smart there as well but it never hurts to try especially when you find an open window wink.gifwink.gif

I can guaruntee you that if you chum at nite and fish bait you will catch a shark, it may be a nurse shark but a shark none the less with some size too boot ( my personal best nurse was 115 lbs on 17 lb mono bu the tea table relief B&M's) there are man y opportunities and if we have a nother SDOW meeting beforehand i'll make sure to talk to you about it.

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Islamorada Fish Company, next to World Wide Sportsman, is one good spot for dinner. Sit on the dock out back, have a Corona and conch fritters, watch the sun set (and yes, I did see the "green flash" there a few years ago) and have the nurse sharks, grey snapper, etc. begging for scraps a couple of feet behind you.

 

Another spot was called--I think--Sloppy Joes, right at the south end of the island, across from Bud & Mary's.

 

Speaking of Bud & Mary's, you can rent boats there--or go across the bridge to Robbie's Marina (on the right heading south) where you can not only rent boats, but also toss fish scraps to the "tame" tarpon that take handouts from people on the dock. It's a lot of fun seeing the big herring up close, and if you have kids, they'll love it.

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Dio, excellent call on Islamorada Fish Company. I'd almost forgotten about that place, their conch chowder is amazing. When i was there in the spring there was a large tarpon laid up in the small area by the outside tables.

 

Matt

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The bridges always produce something. You can always get the cudas interested by throwing out something There are lots of spots to wade out and fish the flats but it takes a few trips to find the ones you will like best. Here are some tips. live.

 

A real good flat you can wade is at Henry Harris County Park in Key Largo. It is on the Atlantic side a few miles back north of Islemorada. When you enter the park go to your left where you will see a boat ramp. To the left of the ramp is a rock pile/jetty. There is a channel to it's right and the flats are to it's left. At the end of this rock pile you can usually chum in bones by breaking live shrimp into pieces and throwing a few pieces out now and then. Either fish a whole shrimp or a bonefish bucktail sweetened with shrimp. If this is not for you wade the flats to the left. If tide is low enough you can sight fish bones. If to high do not be afraid to wade out in waist deep water and blind cast. I have taken many bones this way. Almost all tackle shops sell live shrimp along with "tourist" bait buckets. Tie the bait bucket to your waist if fish live shrimp.

 

Another nice spot is Bahia Honda State Park. If is about 30 minutes south of where you are staying. First off let me tell you this is the only pure sand beach in the Keys. A good place to spend the day with the family. Once again while on the Atlantic side walk left a few hundred feet of the last parking lot. The flats here offer lots of opportunities for sight casting to bones.

 

Now for the fun part....you are going towards the peak migration of tarpon. If you can spend some time looking out at first light or last light. You should see dozens of poons rolling. The bridge will hold some but they are real tough to beat from a fixed position. If you were going to rent a boat and try for them remember they feed best at first and last light although a bite may last all day depending on the conditions.

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Islamorada is no doubt a fisherman's paradise...I have fished there many times the latest trip this St. Pats wekend....I highly recomment bud and mary's....great capts. and full service marina etc. check out their site at www.budandmarys.com good luck.....

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Sloppy Joes is in Key West.

 

Papa Joes is accross from Bud n Mary's and it's a good place to hang out and get some good eats and drink a cold Becks with the guides.

 

Personally, I love Morada Bay Restaurant. It's just north of Worldwide Sportsman....basically next to the parking lot...

 

Islamorada's awesome......don't have too much fun down there!!!

 

Seahoze

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Your going to LOVE World Wide Sportsman. Also be sure to stop at Sandy Moret's place, Florida Key's Outfitter's as well as the Red Bone art gallery. They have some unbelievable prints at the gallery. Have fun.

 

Kevin

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John,I am going to Islamorada April 16th and 17th.I went last year for the first time. I caught a double digit bonefish on my first cast(beginners luck) and it was the last one I caught for the day. The next morning at first light I caught a small tarpon in the 40# class. The guide called it a little rat,but I was thrilled to death.I will let you know how I made out when I get back.

If you get a chance take a ride down to Key West with your family. It is a very interesting place.Every evening there is a street festival as people gather to say goodbye to the sun. You can visit Sloppy-Joes bar and restaurant where Hemmingway used to hang out.The beaches are beautiful and I saw a bonefish tailing while I was driving around the island. I think the Keys were created by the fishing gods.

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I'm going in about a month to Duck Key, a small key between Islamorada and Marathon. It's approximately at mm 65. I'd like to do some inshore fishing for snapper, grouper and dolphin. Does anyone know some good techniques to use to maximize my efforts?

 

Can't wait to go and get out of this weather!!

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Don't I envy you. My wife & I spent 10 days in Islamorada last december. She booked me a offshore trip on the Catch 22 out of Bud & mary's Marina. Caught my first Sailfish. What an experience!!!! One, I will never forget. Great crew & captain. I won't waste time telling U of eating places. Looks like U have enough to choose from. Salt water Sportsman is a must see. Good luck & have a great trip. roger

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John: another good restaurant is Shuckers in Marathon. If your looking for a change of pace from seafood, the barbecue joint directly across the road from WorldWideSportsman is a very good inexpensive family resaurant.

 

MNW: fish the canal that goes around Duck Key. A live shrimp on a 2/0-3/0 hook, wire leader and a little egg sinker - I've caught grunt that get nailed by baracuda as your reeling them in. This set-up works anywhere in the Keys. You'll need a boat te get out to get dolphin.

 

Key West is worth the ride - you can see large tarpon sucking up shrimp at night from the lighted pier at the end of Duval Street (the main street in Key West)- over by Turtle Kraals (great food) one of the restaurant workers was feeding the tarpon fish parts (after fileting) by hand while having a cigarette - must have been 7 or 8 in the 20-40lb class!

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PeterO thanks for the info. I forgot to mention my friends brother who we're staying with has a 25ft CC. We'll use that for the dolphin. So shrimp is the way to go regarding bait there. OK

 

Mike W.

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