The Riddler

Kayak Fishing Florida For Dummies

43 posts in this topic

You could save even more money if you skip the wood and rope and just reach up out the window and hold the kayak on the roof. :point:

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14 mins ago, snapper1 said:

This thread is getting entertaining...

“Entertaining”? I think you mean “stupid”.

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3 hours ago, Flip n Dip said:

“Entertaining”? I think you mean “stupid”.

Well this is the Florida for Dummies thread. 

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3 hours ago, buddha162 said:

 

The only dummy here is you.

 

Thanks for bringing some intelligence to this conversation. 

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I have read this thread with great interest, as i am planning a trip to Florida with my brother in tow. We are or will both be retired, so time will not be an object. Do most of you head to the Everglades in winter, or has anyone fished the Keys? What about the west coast, someone mentioned Pine Island ?At this time might be out of the question because of the hurricane. look forward to input by others.

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5 hours ago, Tx Fly Tyer said:

I have read this thread with great interest, as i am planning a trip to Florida with my brother in tow. We are or will both be retired, so time will not be an object. Do most of you head to the Everglades in winter, or has anyone fished the Keys? What about the west coast, someone mentioned Pine Island ?At this time might be out of the question because of the hurricane. look forward to input by others.

I haven’t been to the Everglades. Areas I have been to are from Jupiter to Fort Pierce, Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and all of the Keys. I prefer the Keys, especially in winter as it will be warmer. One thing to keep in mind in the winter is wind. It can blow 20+ for 24 hours a day for a week straight and turn the water to silt making fishing almost impossible unless you can find some clean water. I was there in January and the wind never stopped the entire trip. Another year in February the weather was beautiful and a ton of tarpon and snook were around. 

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6 hours ago, Tx Fly Tyer said:

I have read this thread with great interest, as i am planning a trip to Florida with my brother in tow. We are or will both be retired, so time will not be an object. Do most of you head to the Everglades in winter, or has anyone fished the Keys? What about the west coast, someone mentioned Pine Island ?At this time might be out of the question because of the hurricane. look forward to input by others.

Just lower your expectations. I would be prepared to bounce if the fishing does not meet expectations. You can easily go from the Everglades gulf to Flamingo and camp down there. The reports on Reds in Flamingo are better than what it use to be. 

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I stay in the Keys, I find the fishing spectacular. We drive down with a small camper in tow, boats and bikes come with us all so. I have caught bone fish, mangrove snapper , yellow tail, grouper, sharks , hog fish, and mackerel are just a few. The Keys are ideal for kayak fishing. Most the places I fish have easy access with a paddle kayak. Gas runs about $600 to $700, camp sites about $4000.00 to $4500.00 for 6 weeks. Sun screen $20. We can almost always find a place to fish out of the wind in the lee. We actually bought sit on tops just to fish in Florida. We find them easier and more comfortable in the warmer water and sun than our sea kayaks. Once you get a taste of fishing in Florida it's hard not to go. Red fish , trout and snook fishing In Cedar Key and Jacksonville on the way home. You could maybe do this even cheaper in a camper van. Going through the Outer banks on the way home this year. 

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7 hours ago, Fishinjohny said:

I stay in the Keys, I find the fishing spectacular. We drive down with a small camper in tow, boats and bikes come with us all so. I have caught bone fish, mangrove snapper , yellow tail, grouper, sharks , hog fish, and mackerel are just a few. The Keys are ideal for kayak fishing. Most the places I fish have easy access with a paddle kayak. Gas runs about $600 to $700, camp sites about $4000.00 to $4500.00 for 6 weeks. Sun screen $20. We can almost always find a place to fish out of the wind in the lee. We actually bought sit on tops just to fish in Florida. We find them easier and more comfortable in the warmer water and sun than our sea kayaks. Once you get a taste of fishing in Florida it's hard not to go. Red fish , trout and snook fishing In Cedar Key and Jacksonville on the way home. You could maybe do this even cheaper in a camper van. Going through the Outer banks on the way home this year. 

Which island do you stay at?

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Z-man , 

we spend most of the time on Big Pine Key. I also like some time on Key Largo on the way down if we can get it. We make a res. for Big Pine . The small Key with the RV park  is called Sunshine Key. Marina , bait, and great access all in one. Out of the Marina go right Gulf with grass flats and some deeper water. To the left the Atlantic deeper water. 3 bridges to fish around can't beat it.

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1 hour ago, Fishinjohny said:

Z-man , 

we spend most of the time on Big Pine Key. I also like some time on Key Largo on the way down if we can get it. We make a res. for Big Pine . The small Key with the RV park  is called Sunshine Key. Marina , bait, and great access all in one. Out of the Marina go right Gulf with grass flats and some deeper water. To the left the Atlantic deeper water. 3 bridges to fish around can't beat it.

Big Pine is a nice area. We rented a house on Ramrod Key a few years. There’s not a lot of restaurants in the area but it’s very peaceful and also pretty close to Bahia Honda. I was just in Tavenier and Islamorada a couple weeks ago. I think that area has the best restaurants of all the Keys. 

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Tackle:

 

Inshore backcountry and flats- I use two set ups.  1/4-3/4 oz medium action travel  spinning and 1/4-3/4oz medium action travel casting with 2500 class spinning reel and Size 100-200 bait casting reel.  Truth be told the spinning gets the most use. For the back country waters these set ups are perfect. A spinning can help make those adjusted casts underhand, from behind and under brushes. With a baitcaster this can be done but can risk backlash during game time. Ask me how I know? 
 

Inshore just off the beach- Florida is notorious for Our Albacore(Bonito down tgere). Followed by the other Pelagics that can mix in like King Mackerel, Spanish, Blackfin, Cobia, Mahi etc and even some Bull Reds and larger snook right off the beach and inlets. A 4000-5000 class spinning reel with medium heavy rod 1/4 3/4oz fast action can work here. The only issues I have is when sharks mix in. Thats where a 5000 or even 6000 cab come in handy or you do what I have done if you can't get em up fast and move on to another spot. 
 

As far as speed jigging goes with flat metal works great in the deep water off places like West Palm and Miami in the Gulf Stream. I went out with guides two different times and what they use are jigging rods with the appropriate rated blanks for the jig. 150 gram to 325 is what we used in 300' of water. 30lb braid was the norm on a 5000-6000 class spinning reel and flouro leader. This same set up was used to troll a goggle eye bait for Sailfish. From my experience a Do it Yourself for Sailfish and other exotics can be done but I would highly recommend a guide so you can understand what it is like out there. For those that don't know I had a whale shark come under my kayak and I rode on top of it. Anything can happen in the blue water. Also, you don't know if the gulfstream will be moving at 4 knots that day or 0 knots. In other words you have to know where to dump out because Oprah will not let you cut through her yard. There is public access but you have to know. Guides know where to land and they take an uber back to the launch point. For a DIY? It would involve some research including how to get in touch with the boat that will supply you with goggle eye baits. 
 

Baits:

 

Inshore- 


For the inshore stuff 1/8 oz, 1/4 oz are my go too jigs with 3/8oz and 1/2oz hardly needed but good to have. Using 3" and 5" plastic bodies. There are so many brands and way to many list. Same goes for colors.  I prefer a 3" swim bait to 4" gold and black, new penny, white, and nuclear chicken. You can use straight plastic or scented. You may see clear water, you may see stained water. You can also fish these plastic baits on a weightless hook system. For me? Single hook makes its so much easier. 
 

Hard Baits-

 

I always carry a small spook type lure. 3"-5". I am not a fan of trebles when remote just use caution and have something with you to make cutting imbedded hooks easier. If you are lucky a treble will get caught in your pfd if you are unlucky a finger. Same could happen with a single hook. My point is use caution and sometimes it may be better to lose trebles in favor of single hooks. As mentioned spook and too water and along with that I will throw in a shallow water swimmer. Lipless cranks are very popular down there and have a side to side swimming twitch motion. Colors are varied. 
 

My advice is bring what you have and get friendly with the local bait and tackle. He may mention live shrimp on a popper is the way to go others will say top water in the AM. There is not one way down there and there is certainly no need to fill a tackle box with stuff you will never need. Been there done that! 
 

Leaders-

 

Last on the list to stick to the basics are leaders. If you are sharking down there? Well obviously you are looking for a leader that can with stand teeth. For me I don't target teeth down there unless you count a Barracuda that seem to own all of the Keys. For me the Snook razor sharp gill plate is the reason I run 30-40lb leader. The gill plates are sharp. If you are running 15-20 you may have to put on a new leader after one or two. If Snook are around I stick with 30lb flouro, obviously there isn't one way. 
 

Thats it. A basic guide for those who want to fish and get that tug when its in the 20's and 30's this week here in the Northeast. 

 

 

 

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