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Key West April 11-15

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MorningWood

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Taking my girlfriend to Key West in April for her birthday. I would love to get out on a 6 pack charter (6 hours?) open boat of fill out someone's charter. I know its the start of tarpon season but what else is hot in April? If anyone has any boat recommendations either post here or PM me.

 

Thanks for the help.

MorningWood
(*member formerly know as 'kevnmary')
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For open boat bottom fishing, you can hop on various operations. I like the Cora Beth, which is right next to the famous Half Shell Raw Bar and a tackle shop where local guides hang out. Their competitor is the Gulfstream 4 on Charterboat row (easy parking). Gulfstream gets enormous grunts. Another operation is the Fish Monster, which I have avoided thus far.

 

7’ spinner, 4k size reel, 1/16-3/8 jig head (sold everywhere) or 1/2-3 oz egg sinker weight, 25# fluorocarbon, 1-6/0 hooks. Everything but the jig and the fluorocarbon is supplied by the boat. They have adequate rod and reel rentals.

 

I have caught everything from 3” grunts to 15lb grouper on that tackle and boat bait.

 

There are a lot of things in the water. Sharks sometimes snatch fish, boats pick at various mackerel species, remoras, jacks, cobia, bluefish, parrotfish all appear from week to week, and a couple of weeks ago, a tourist drinking a Coke can at the rail, dropped it. As we were discussing how to get it out of the water, a 10’+ hammerhead ate it.

 

There are different bottom species, yellowtail come up, you see them behind the boat, muttons are on sand, grouper dart in and out of structure, mangroves tend to hover a bit off the bottom, etc. Lanes are delicious and hitting well currently. I hate fishing for them because a keeper is 8”, and a 12” is NICE. People keep them at that size because it is legal and because they are probably the best tasting snapper. People love to eat yellowtail, which is what you find in restaurants or the fish monger at $30/lb. I hate eating them because they taste like ass to me.

 

The best tackle shop in the area is Cudjoe, maybe a 30 min drive from KW.

 

Dunno about tarpon, that sounds more like a backcountry flats skiff trip, not open boat or 6 pack, though you will see plenty at the dock next to the boats.

 

I have hooked tarpon from various land based spots in KW. Probably trespassing at the time (late at night) though lol.

 

If you have never been, KW is one of the most expensive places in the the US to live and visit. I have also met a lot of functioning alcoholics there. I love it.

 

You need a saltwater license for land based fishing. Though I have yet to be checked, KW is the nexus of military, border, customs, police, fish police, drug smuggling, illegal immigration, homelessness, petty theft, felony theft, parking violations, etc for S FL imo. So they are a lot of LEO in the area.

Edited by Skin
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Thank you for the response. It is not a fishing vacation unfortunately but I want to plan one 1//2-3/4 day trip with the girlfriend. I don't plan on bringing any equipment and was just hoping to find a charter that was going to troll for mahi, wahoo, cobia, kings, or sails. I have been to KW a few times before but only fished years ago and caught some nice mahi and wahoo. I guess if I can't find a charter that is an open boat or looking to fill out a trip then I'll consider a bottom fishing trip. I don't want to have to deal with getting a license or running to B&Ts for tackle and bait.

MorningWood
(*member formerly know as 'kevnmary')
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It won't be a fishing vacation until you see the tarpon rolling in the harbor off Fort Zach! We go every year. Used to go in April before my daughter was too big to yank out of school, now we go early June. Place is the best. 

 

Only been on one Tarpon charter out of Bahia Honda because my brother wanted to go. Everything else I do is from shore.

 

High Class Hooker is always bringing a bunch of fish to the docks. 

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I should mention. Must stops. everything there is touristy, so don't buck trying to be a tourist. 

 

Breakfast-

Blue Heaven

Pepe's 

Banana Cafe

 

Sandwiches

Five Brothers is the best Cuban

Eaton Street Fish Market

Fisherman's Cafe

Courthouse deli if you need stuff to take to beach/boat/etc.

 

Dinner Happy Hour

Moondog

Alonzos Oyster Bar

 

Dinner Mid price but great

Salute! on the Beach

Louies Back Yard or Upper Deck

First Flight out has an amazing whole fried snapper, as does Bagatelle (we usually go to FF).

 

Spots to stop for drinks

Schooner Wharf Bar. Wouldn't be a trip to KW without some beers and music in the afternoon

Sloppy Joes

The Chart Room- one of the few semi hidden gems.

The Pier House Beach Bar. Same spot as above, but on the beach and tucked away in the resort. AMAZING lobster sliders.

 

Make sure to walk through Truman Annex, Visit Fort Zach beach (other beaches suck), Hemingway House and Truman House are cool. 

 

Hit me up if you have other questions. 

 

Where are you staying?

 

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26 mins ago, East Tide said:

I should mention. Must stops. everything there is touristy, so don't buck trying to be a tourist. 

 

Breakfast-

Blue Heaven

Pepe's 

Banana Cafe

 

Sandwiches

Five Brothers is the best Cuban

Eaton Street Fish Market

Fisherman's Cafe

Courthouse deli if you need stuff to take to beach/boat/etc.

 

Dinner Happy Hour

Moondog

Alonzos Oyster Bar

 

Dinner Mid price but great

Salute! on the Beach

Louies Back Yard or Upper Deck

First Flight out has an amazing whole fried snapper, as does Bagatelle (we usually go to FF).

 

Spots to stop for drinks

Schooner Wharf Bar. Wouldn't be a trip to KW without some beers and music in the afternoon

Sloppy Joes

The Chart Room- one of the few semi hidden gems.

The Pier House Beach Bar. Same spot as above, but on the beach and tucked away in the resort. AMAZING lobster sliders.

 

Make sure to walk through Truman Annex, Visit Fort Zach beach (other beaches suck), Hemingway House and Truman House are cool. 

 

Hit me up if you have other questions. 

 

Where are you staying?

 

We are staying at Casa Marina.

MorningWood
(*member formerly know as 'kevnmary')
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  • 2 weeks later...

You'll see a lot of different people there from movie stars with millions to homeless panhandlers. Some of the old infamous characters are gone but there are a few still around. After dark it's a different world. Have fun. O. Take her out for a 4 hour backcountry trip , just you the guide and your girl. Evening would be good. Sunset and a shot at a tarpon that she wouldn't believe. 

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