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Author Topic:   Florida Keys for Xmas Suggestions?
17 bodega posted 10-26-2006 11:26 PM ET (US)   Profile for 17 bodega   Send Email to 17 bodega  
I am travelling to Key West for 5 days around the end of December. I would love any ideas, suggestions from locals or Florida savvy travellers to maximize me water/beach/boating potential for my stay. I will bring my mask and snorkel, humidity friendly clothing, ipod, digital camera, and any other necessities for a fun Florida trip. I am considering a visit to the evergladles and a one day fishing charter. Any ideas are encouraged.

Thanks for any info from whaler folk in the southeast!

Steve

chumboy posted 10-27-2006 09:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for chumboy    
We will be there with you. At this time I am planning on towing my reworked Raider down from behind the RV. Planning on camping/boating for 10 days thru south FLA. I have been to the keys a few times before, but am open to suggestions for things to do and see.
chumboy posted 10-27-2006 09:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for chumboy    
We will be there with you. At this time I am planning on towing my reworked Raider down from North Carolina behind the RV. Planning on camping/boating for 10 days thru south FLA. I have been to the keys a few times before, but am open to suggestions for things to do and see.

On edit, should have read: from North Carolina

17 bodega posted 10-27-2006 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Wow! Should you need a deckhand, I'm available! :-)

I'm already mapping the area for some snorkeling on the reefs. I'll try to post some good links of spots I find on the internet.

macdougall70 posted 10-27-2006 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for macdougall70  Send Email to macdougall70     
Bodega,

I live in Miami and frequent the keys. I will be doing a campout for a few days off islamorada key (10 mile boat ride) and staying on Rabbit Key. 12/29,12/30 and 12/31. Fishing is great but it's an hour and a half North of Key West. You'll have a great time...

kingfish posted 10-27-2006 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Steve-

I had my Outrage 22 in Key West for a couple of weeks a few years ago and just flat loved it. Met up with LHG for the first time while I was there and spent a couple of days under his tutelage. Learned about fishing out past Sand Key on the edge of the Stream (you can actually see the color of the water change to a brilliant almost backlit azure color, and it is so clear you can see the bottom come up to 150 feet from 200 feet), and went out almost due West to Boca Grande Key for swimming, exploring and lunch. Further West yet is the Marquesas Keys which is a pretty cool atoll and good fishing sometimes I'm told, though I didn't have any luck. I did get a moderate sized dorado out past Sand Key pulling a rigged dead ballyhoo on the surface, then scared myself into calling it a day when, while trying to adjust my downriggers (out by myself) in about a 3' following sea that was washing over my transom around my ankles, I looked around while Outré was idling along and realized that with neither land nor another boat in view, if I went over I was pretty certainly going to stay that way...

There is a public beach, but I guess I don't know about snorkeling at Key West. Certainly the snorkeling at John Pennekamp Park at Key Largo is world-class.

There are deep-sea charters at Garrison Bight and Key West Bight on Key West, and both back-country and deep sea charters at Marathon and Islamorada. It is all cool and you are really in for a treat.

John

cdnwhaler posted 10-27-2006 07:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Kingfish,
You were alone and..

quote:
I looked around while Outré was idling along and realized that with neither land nor another boat in view, if I went over I was pretty certainly going to stay that way...

Does Katie know this story?

Peter

kingfish posted 10-27-2006 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
She didn't know it for quite a few months - then I made the mistake of telling the story to friends in front of her and really caught the dickens. She made me promise never to go out fishing in big water alone without a PFD on, and bought me a self-inflating type IV for Christmas...
jmorgan40 posted 10-27-2006 07:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Steve,
I towed the 20 Outrage to Key West from Atlanta this past July. A friend in work loaned me his great townhouse right on Key West Bight. Had a great time although it was a long drive pulling the boat. Great snorkling all along the reef from Sand Key on to the east. All the snorkling spots are well marked by the DNR and all have an abundant supply of mooring bouys to tie up to. They do not want you anchoring on the reef. My buddy also hooked me up with some great places to eat where all the locals hang. You can also rent a boat for a few days from several places. I believe Hurricane Hole right before you cross over the bridge into Key West has some great boats for rent. HAve a great trip.
Joe
dfmcintyre posted 10-27-2006 08:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Steve -

While enroute check Largo Lodge (Say HI to Harriet for me) up at the north end of the Keys. Docks and launch ramp nearby. Easy accessfrom the west side over through the park and out to the snorkeling areas. Can go to dinner (Italian Fisherman) by boat too. Nice quiet bungelows. We had manatee visit every afternoon. Small beach.

Don

17 bodega posted 10-28-2006 02:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Thanks for all the replies and trip highlights gang. You guys are making me drool pretty hard on this! Since I won't have my own boat, I will be looking to hop on a snorkeling and/or fishing charter. We will have a rental car so the drive up to other locations to catch a boat are also an option.

I was also looking at some info on the Dry Tortugas. A 70 mile boat ride on a boat going 75 sounds pretty intense.

Everybody tells me that when you get off the plane and out of the airport, the humidity hits you like a steam bath. It will be my first trip to the Sunshine State!

Any links to sport fishing or other water recreation sites that any of you have had positive experiences with will also be helpful.

Thanks again.

Steve

jmorgan40 posted 10-28-2006 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Steve,
There are plenty of charter boats out of the Municipal Marina and Key West Bight. The seaplane trip to the Dry Tortugas is really nice or you can also take an all day snorkel trip there which would be nice.

Personally, I do not think the humidity is as bad compared to what I am accustomed to in Atlanta. In July I expected it to be as humid as all getup, but it was actually much more comfortable than Hotlanta. And with the tradewinds you will always enjoy a 10-15 mph breeze.

As for places to eat, here are some great places where the locals hang that are Great. If you want fancy & expensive there is no end to the list of expensive eateries along Duval Street. I always have the kids along so I choose the more reasonable route. Here you go:


Sea Food:

Rusty Anchor on Stock Island -- This is a locals place and my favorite. Freshest seafood and reasonable prices. Nothing fancy with concrete floors so when the huricane hits they just broom the water out the doors.

Hog Fish Grill on Stock Island -- Old funky Keys type bar down near the docks on Stock Island. Very hard to find but worth a visit. The Hog fish sandwich is out of this world.

B.O’s Fish Wagon on Caroline Street -- Very cool little joint by Key West Bight. Mostly fried fish but still excellent and fast while your cruising the dock area.

Half Shell Raw Bar-Key West Bight -- Tourist place. But people seem to love it and the food is excellent and fresh.

Schooner Wharf Bar—Key West Bight -- Outdoor old key west type place. I love their Mahi Melt sandwich. Great place to stop for a drink after you return from your snorkel trip.

Captain Harvey’s Run Aground -- Floating dump in Garrison Bight. Has it’s charms though.

Awful Arthur’s—Duval Street -- I’ve only eaten there once. I remember I thought it was a deal. Fish & Chips under ten dollars on Duval Street.


Crabby Dick’s—Duval Street (I would not recommend Crabby Bill’s)-- Touristy. But has a deck looking over Duval. Been there for years. Decent and not expensive and a great place to watch people stroll Duval.

Other Places on my cheap list

PT’s Late Night on Caroline Street -- This place is a local’s place. It has good food and is reasonable. Especially their daily specials.

Mangia Mangia -- This is a homemade pasta place. Not real cheap, but has meals in the $9-$15 range.

Cuban Mix Deli—US 1 on way into Key West -- Really good Cuban sandwiches

Hope this helps.
Joe


RJG posted 10-28-2006 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
Don't forget to get some of those disposable 35mm underwater cameras. You can get them for about $10. In the Keys it is unreal how much there is to see and photograph in just 5 feet of water.
17 bodega posted 10-28-2006 10:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Super cool!

I love local hang outs as opposed to the tourist joints. My family will appreciate that too. We have a huge gang that will be converging from the Midwest, West Coast and Rocky Mountians. The underwater camera sounds like a great idea too.

I'm grateful to all of you. Hope I get a chance to meet a few of you. Anyone feel free to email me...

Steve

contender posted 10-29-2006 01:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
You probably need more time than 5 days to see the keys, there are a lot of places to stop on your way to Key West. Anyway learn the mile markers, ocean side, bay side, these are the main land marks for spots. going south... 1st stop should be in Key Largo Pennekamp Park (ocean side) for diving and pictures (underwater). Next you want to make a stop at Robbies (this is a must) mm 77.5 Lower Matecumbe on the bay side and feed the tarpon you will have 150lbs plus tarpon eating out of your hand. Try to go at high tide. There is a good resturant in Laton on the bay side, its been a while since I have been there forgot the name. Next stop would be Biahonda State Park this is one of H.Flagers rail roads that is still left. Key West now that you have made it here try and get a boat ride out to the Dry Tortugas (you are only going to be here once make the most of it) bring your dive gear and camera to the island. Dec. the water is a little cool bring a wetsuit. If you want to fish (sailfish and cobia season) get a private charter on stock island in safe harbor. You have world class guides here and when you come back in you can purchase fresh shrimp off the boats. The resturants in key west are to numberous to list you can go from sandwiches up to 7 course meals. The beach in Key West is Smathers Beach on the ocean side, go by and see Henry Flagers hotel the Casa. In old town go to the docks at sunset you will get free entertainment from the locals, this is were all the shops are, see the aquarium in old town you can hold some of the sea creatures. You need more time good luck
lakeman posted 10-29-2006 06:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
Just 5 Days not enough, but it will be wonderful. Boating fishing weather that time of year is good only by blind luck or you will spend your time doing indulging in Magitos or Margritas while touring on the Conch Train. Here is a link "http://outdoorsbest.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=100907"

This will also get you to the Keys forum for more info. I should add, about asking questions, they get tired of answering the same ones over and over so do a key(no pun) word search for info.

I wish I could get away Enjoy your stay.

17 bodega posted 10-29-2006 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
It's true that 5 days is not enough, so I guess I'll have to hit the "must" spots and then plan a return trip. I'm glad you mentioned about the wetsuit, because I was wondering if that would be necessary. The snorkeling is a higher priority than the fishing, but I would like to maybe squeeze a trip in.

Tbanks for that link. Lots of info.

prj posted 10-31-2006 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
If I can hitchhike on Steve's thread...

Some friends and my family are planning a Keys trip
for the holiday season of 2007/8.
I'll be trailering my Outrage - 18' down,
via the Chesapeake Bay for a shot at some Stripers.

Can anyone provide information on Sugar Loaf Lodge,
a 50's vintage motel at MM 117 ?
One of the couples we're going with had a fine time here,
with positive memories, so, while other recommendations are OK,
this is not a random request.

Can anyone verify that I can get my boat both
"out back" and "in front" (did I use the right terms here?)
from this location?

17 bodega posted 11-03-2006 12:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I just got more details about my trip. It looks like the place is actually at Long Key near Long Key State Park. This location appears to be smack in the middle of the Keys. I will be looking to charter a boat for some young boys and perhaps a couple younger kids too. I see that the going rates are in the neighborhood of $700 for a day on the water. Any locals know where I can score a bit better deal for a day on the water for lets say 6 people? Perhaps even a half day trip could do. It doesn't need to be a run for marlin, but a productive day on the reef for grouper, cuda, or anything else that could make a reel sing, and put some breaded fish with tartar sauce on the table!

Our backyard is "ocean side" beach so I will hopefully have some sort of line wet 24/7. Snorkeling is also a big part of the agenda.

Thanks for all the info so far.... keep it coming.

Steve

17 bodega posted 11-03-2006 12:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Maybe the better idea would be to rent a boat come to think of it... I just need some serious tutorials on how to catch some of the fish in this area. I hear live bait is the best, but dead rigged and certain lures and plastics are productive.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Steve

lakeman posted 11-03-2006 08:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
17 bodega
I have stayed at the Edgewater(I think it is closed) on Long Key for 30+ years so I know that area well. If you are staying at the Condos just South, for all those who do not know, it is basically west of LK State park or just north of the LK Bridge. I can answer and give advice on many things. E-mail me if you need info. I will say SEA Bird Marina has the best boat rentals, good people there, it is located just about 3 miles north toward Miami from the condos I talked about.
17 bodega posted 11-03-2006 09:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Awesome lakeman,

thanks for the thread on your previous post also. I spent some time on that one.. great info. I will be doing a rental or party/charter for sure. I will give that marina a call and get some info... I can't wait... I've never been to Florida before.

Steve

RocketMan posted 11-04-2006 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
Steve, if you can spend a 1/2 day or a day with a guide and fish inside and again outside with a charter. That'll give you the lay of the land and an idea of what the locals do. Then you can rent a boat, which is what you really want to do. I can't see a CW'er fishing from a bridge. Better off with a snorkel and hunting lobster. They can be found most anywhere that people aren't.

Steve

17 bodega posted 11-04-2006 11:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Thanks Rocketman for the insight.

I was thinking in those terms anyway. Are there areas accessible by shore where one could take a lobster? I will have a rental car in which to drive to any location for such activity. I've been told not to bother eating tarpon. What species of fish would be best eating to bring home to the family? Also I think I would prefer to get more action on reefs or wrecks than try to hit the gulf stream for marlin and dolphin as a rookie with teenagers. This is about giving some kids a chance to reel in some fish and hopefully procure enough food for some fish tacos.

lakeman posted 11-05-2006 06:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
Do not forget to buy a license to fish from a boat or to grab a lobster. If you go with a guide , he will have a licence for the boat. Lobster are usually scarce that time of the year, where you will usually find them easily in summer or the start of lobster season, I do not want to discourage you, but that is reality. Fishing can be tough, you must chum in a boat, either off the reef or in the bay. Fish that you might catch and eat are Snapper many varieties, Mackerel, grouper, and Sea trout, there are some other that are good eating, like grunts etc. If you rent a boat, and it is rough you can go out to the area of Sprigger bank and drift or anchor near some white spots and chum and generally have a blast catching fish. Wire leader is almost a necessity that time of the year for the Mackerel I rarely use it until they are biting my baits every cast. Offshore, you many not have the equipment for it with you. Reef fishing is almost the same thing as bay fishing but anchor on the reef, not a simple as it sounds but you can have some fun there. For general fishing on the reef or bay you will only need outfits, like a penn 450 or less and a 6-7 foot rod and weight and leaders like fluorocarbon.
If I were you I would consider using a guide, as others have mentioned, for your short stay, it might be close in price and you will probably have more fun and catch more fish.
One place interesting for everyone, even my self, is Robbies up toward Islamorada on the left near a bridge, it is a restaurant also, where you can pay to go on the docks an feed the Tarpon, they will come up take fish out out of your hand, be careful.
So much to do so little time, hope the weather is nice for you my neigbor just came home from the Keys early and he was rained and blown off the water for his week.
RocketMan posted 11-08-2006 11:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
Steve - You can get lobster right offshore. You'll see lobster trap floats everywhere so that'll be your first hint of where they might be. They're around bridge pilings, jetties, roadbeds, etc. Not so much in the real shallows, but out where the water gets deeper than 5 feet and where the tide flow to bring them food.

Tarpon are considered a gamefish. If they were good eating, we probably wouldn't be discussing them. You'll see them rolling around the local marinas and docks. They're attuned to people.

As for good eating fish, there are probably as many species that are as are not. Best thing to do would be to pick up a local Keys fishing brochure, which will give you size and quantity limits. Very important.

Good tablefare of course would be snappers and groupers around the reefs, in Hawkes Channel, and just offshore (of the reefs). But there are numerous, less prolific species. Most of the reef fish are inedible: Angel fish, parrot fish, trigger fish, etc. A lot of people fish just off the reefs and chum for yellowtail and other snapper.

IMHO, you should make at least one trip out for dolphin. They're fun to catch if you get in them and excellent tablefare. Easy for kids, too, they'll rembember the show they put on. And there's always the excitement of hooking up with a sail or even a marlin.

Don't forget the Key Lime pie. Recommend it at the Fishouse on Key Large, mm 109ish.

contender posted 11-08-2006 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
If you are going christmas time listen hear. The water is rough this time of the year and cold and the wind blows you will nead a wetsuit, you can dive for lobester but you need a lic. and a stamp and careful how you catch them...Winter time is for sailfish off shore (you will be lucky to catch a dolphin summer time fish) and cobia closer over wrecks (need a guide) and you can go and catch some yellowtail,and mutton snappers, yes its not cheap you are going at the most expensive time of the year...Long key state park the kids will love this place esp. at low tide so they can run over the mud flats and see all the creatures. The closest guide or charter boats will be out of bud and marys around mm75 (sometimes you can split a charter or go for 1/2 day) long key is mm67 I think. Like I said 5 days is not enought time, pick two or three things because each one of these will take up a full day anyway...good luck
17 bodega posted 11-10-2006 03:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Thanks for this valuable information. You guys are saving me some bucks by pointing me in the right direction.

Weather good or bad.. I'll make the most of this trip.

Steve

RocketMan posted 11-13-2006 05:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
Whether the weather is "good" or "bad" are relative terms here. If you're from Florida, 'bad' weather may just mean it is not perfect out. If you're not from Florida, 'good' weather may mean the weather here is a heckuva lot better than the weather back home. In such a case as the former vs. the latter, 'bad' weather may actually be better than 'good' weather. Either way, don't worry too much about the weather, that's why all them people will be in the Keys for the Holidays.
17 bodega posted 11-13-2006 11:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
thanks Rocket,

I heard from someone else that if you are used to the frigid 55 degree water in Northern Cal, the Florida keys will be bathtub material..

I was just checking in on this thread today to make some phone calls on the sportfishing operations. I want to get a head start on the planning.

Steve

RocketMan posted 11-14-2006 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
Keys water temp near the reefs (several miles offshore) run around a high of 90 in the summer and mid-60's in the winter depending on the currents/tides/location/sun.
lakeman posted 11-15-2006 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
Here you go, you can check the Keys weather from this neat site. Sorry I forgot how to make an active link.

http://www.pdfamily.com/weather/buoy/FLbuoy.php

17 bodega posted 11-17-2006 01:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
79 degrees! Hold right there Florida water temp!

Don't move, I'm coming!

Great link, thanks. I'll bring my 3mm wetsuit I use for surfing... that should do the trick, but if temps stay within 10 degrees of that for a month or so, I'll be good.

I'm working on a party/charter boat for fishing and I think I have one nailed down in Islamorada. We might even get out twice or hit a snorkeling charter if the kids like it.

Steve

fno posted 11-17-2006 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
Contender should mention the 25-40 knot winds that seem to blow constantly from the end of October till the end of March down there. That's what will keep you off the water. I don't think the cold will keep you away.
jmorgan40 posted 11-17-2006 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Steve,
You do not need to go all the way to Islemorada for the charter. That is about a 2 hour drive from Key West. There are at least 40 charter boats right at the Municipal Marina and some others on the left as you cross the bridge into Key West from Stock Island. I believe it is Hurricane Hole Marina.
Joe
17 bodega posted 11-26-2006 10:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Thanks Joe,

It turns out that the house we rented is situated next to Long Key State Park, so Islamorada seemed the closest port from there.

I hope the winds are not 30 mph but I'm used to that in Cold Bodega Bay, CA so Florida can't be that bad as long as there are no hurricanes.

Steve

minitauk85 posted 11-27-2006 06:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for minitauk85  Send Email to minitauk85     
Steve- Bud and Mary's marina runs a head boat which goes out just about every day. I went on two different days (before Wilma ran us out last October) and had a great time, it wasn't crowded at all, but it was rough for some of the folks who went(lots of chum). Save yourself some serious cash and check in to the head boat. There is also some sort of deal if you go out in the morning and decide to stay on the boat for the afternoon trip (some sort of nominal fee, maybe $5-10)-k
RJG posted 11-27-2006 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
There is an interesting program on the History Channel about the Overseas Highway. It is one of the Modern Marvel series of programs. Great visuals of were you will be. It was on tonight 7pm eastern.
17 bodega posted 11-28-2006 11:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Minitauk,

Interesting you should mention Bud and Mary's... I've booked a trip with them already. I've got about 20 heads for that larger partyboat. They said with that many people we could bring some little kids for free. I think the boat is called "Miss Islamorada" and it seems like a good option for a bunch of teen agers and midwesterners from Ohio!

I'll check into the "head" boat. Does that boat go out for bigger game species? I was expecting to hit a reef for grouper and other reef fish.

Thanks for the heads up on the history program.

Steve

minitauk85 posted 11-28-2006 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for minitauk85  Send Email to minitauk85     
Steve- If I recall correctly the "Miss Islamorada" is the head boat, or party boat I went out on. I refer to it as a "head boat" as they charge "by the head" (I think it was $35-$40 per half day, maybe $10 more if you choose to stay on for the full day). FNO and Contender are right about the offshore winds, we experienced 15-20 knot winds, and 6-8 foot swells with short periods, some folks were chumming before we ever dropped anchor. The good part of this is that it keeps the numbers down so there is plenty of room on the boat! Check the weather the night before you go, and make alternate plans for those that might be prone to chumming! -k
17 bodega posted 11-29-2006 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Sounds good. I'm used to pretty nasty conditions in Bodega. 25 knotts is a regular fixture in my whaler... should be ok on "miss islamorada".

My group is shrinking though... we're down to about 12...
Plenty of lake dwellers that chum up things pretty good on the ocean.

I see the weather is pretty knarly in the keys right now... small craft advisory conditions until Friday.


Steve

RWM posted 12-01-2006 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for RWM  Send Email to RWM     
If you can get in you might consider staying here for a few days. We do every year. Each room comes with a boat for your exclusive use...Bob M.

http://www.captainpips.com/

RocketMan posted 12-01-2006 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
My wife and I always stop at Chad's on Tavernier mm 92 and grab a piece of "Big A** Chocolate Cake" to go. She's a chocolate nut and one of the guides at Bud & Mary's recommended it. Ever since we can't not go, the van just pulls into the parking lot.
fourdfish posted 12-05-2006 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
Just got back from the Keys. We stayed at Pelican Cove in Islamorada. Had a super day fishing(Caught 9 sailfish and 2 dolphin fish) My brotherinlaw knows the Charter Capt Brian of the boat Contagious. We ate at Lor-E-Lei, Uncles, Fish Company
and Lazy Days prepared our dolphin fish for us.
We took a backcountry fishing trip right up to the everglades for Reds. Did some bonefishing but didn't catch any because of the conditions. Beautiful weather, no humidity! Pack sun protection.
We had a great trip and I'm sure you will too!
17 bodega posted 12-06-2006 01:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Right on! Congrads on the big gamefish! How much will it cost me for a trip on a boat like that? I'm dying to try that kind of action!

I hope the weather holds.

fourdfish posted 12-06-2006 08:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
A half day trip averages about $500! The weather will be fine!
We did not go down to Key West this time and I have not fished out of Key West but everything should be about the same.
17 bodega posted 12-14-2006 02:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks good on the weather so far. I'm loving the water temperatures. If the wind lays down there should be some decent visibility. I have a scuba trip scheduled too.

Steve

BOB KEMMLER JR posted 12-15-2006 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
Steve-I never been to the keys,might have to try to make it down for a day trip.
contender posted 12-18-2006 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
I think the best time in the keys is mid april to end of may. Plently of dolphin, the water nice and warm, not to many people, and the weather is great, not to hot, water flat calm days. I don't think the hotel rates are to bad at this time also...good luck
17 bodega posted 12-26-2006 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Well gang, I'm back and had a great time. I went diving, fishing, rented a boat, and hung out with family for a great time. I even had a meal from Joe's Crab in Miami! Yum!

The diving conditions were a bit rough but we got about 12 foot visibility on "Shark Point" reef. I saw a turtle, lots of fish, some coral and lots of sea fans and so forth. The water was warm and we had a blast.

I can't wait to go back.. .I will know more about what to do and where to go.

Thanks again for all the tips and info.

Steve

17 bodega posted 12-26-2006 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Oh yeah,

My fishing poles were lost in baggage. I have one of those pole holders that is made for air travel. They are telling me that my tag number belongs to some guy in Ohio!

I guess I have to suck it up and hope he enjoys the $200 Lamiglass rod in there. The rest of them are junk.

Steve

BOB KEMMLER JR posted 12-26-2006 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
ouch! That last part really sucks,but glad you enjoyed yourself.I would have liked to come down while you were here,but it seems i just can't get away from this house due to home improvements.Give the keys a try from may to Oct,less crowds and cheaper.I find the humidity down here in S Fl mild compared to the summers back in md.
17 bodega posted 12-26-2006 01:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I've been on hold with American Airlines baggage for one hour! I guess I don't need to tell you about my opinion of air travel customer service..

My Mom on the other hand lost her purse with about a grand in cash, credit cards, etc... and a flight attendant called back saying she'd found it and upon her return from London she would mail it back. Sometimes there's a silver lining to a holiday turd.

Steve.

I'm already looking at how to get back there Bob... Line up a good pad with a boat ramp and let's try to get some members to chip in and rent a place and boat our brains out.

more to come (on phone with AA agent...sigh)

Steve

WT posted 12-26-2006 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Steve:

You can buy a Southwest Airlines round trip voucher for around $350.

Go to Craigslist and search under Southwest.

Warren

PeteB88 posted 12-26-2006 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Boat Our Brains Out . . .
jmorgan40 posted 12-26-2006 07:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Steve,
Did you get a chance to try any of the fine eateries I suggested. Not the prettiest to look at but all were great food. Let me know. Sorry about the lost rod...That hurts!
Joe
RJG posted 12-26-2006 07:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJG  Send Email to RJG     
Looking foward to photos.
17 bodega posted 12-26-2006 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I ate the Cuban Cafe with the red awning at Key Largo (fantastic hand made meals), the coffee place with the big pink cup at MM 50 or so in Marathon (fantastic too), Joes Crab in Miami (outstanding, I think I have the name right), and the "News Cafe" in Miami Beach (good). The rest of the meals were home prepared. Most of my fuel burning in the rental car was Everglades, fishing destinations, snorkeling, and diving spots. We stopped at the Theatre by the sea in Islamorada for the kids, the Alligator farm near the Everglades, The nature walk in the Everglades (very awesome, lots of pictures), Dolphin research center, a couple of marine labs, and swimming in the backyard of the villa.

Mostly our family prepared meals and utilized the kitchen in the villa, and time was crunched, so I tried to squeeze in as much as possible. Great time was had by all.

I'll post some pictures soon

Steve

17 bodega posted 12-26-2006 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I'm working on the lost fishing pole but I think I might get lucky.

Steve

contender posted 12-26-2006 09:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
wish you would have stated you were coming to the beach I have worked here for over 30 years lived here for 40, could have gave you some good info, did you stop at robbies in the keys?? maybe next time...

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