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Author Topic:   Flordia Keys july 6th
SWarren posted 06-21-2002 09:21 AM ET (US)   Profile for SWarren   Send Email to SWarren  
I made plans to trailer the montauk to Key Colony Beach near Marathon in July. This will be my first trip to the keys. How far offshore do I need to go to catch some dolphin, or sailfish? I heard it was within 6 miles. Are there any good restaurants that the locals prefer to visit? We are going to do some snorkling, fishing, boating, and I guess some of the tourist stuff. What type of inshore fishing should I be ready to do? Redfish, Tarpon, Flounder? Any help would be appericated.

jstachowiak posted 06-21-2002 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jstachowiak  Send Email to jstachowiak     
Just a suggestion, but when fishing in an area like the Keys I believe it is well worth it to take one day with a guide, flats fishing one day about $350, sometimes you can pair up with someone and split the cost. This one day gives you the kind of bait to use, where fish are and a lot of inside info for the balance of your trip. Guides will tell you that this is what they do themselves when fishing in unknown waters.
kingfish posted 06-21-2002 12:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I second that suggestion - flats fishing is something that is certainly worth considering in the Keys - bonefish, roosterfish, barracuda, etc. My son and I stayed at the Banana Bay resort in Marathon and chartered with:

Florida Keys Fishing
Capt. Dave Collins
PO Box 501791
Marathon, Fla.

He has about an 18' flats boat on a trailer, and can scoot up or down from Marathon, and inside or outside, depending upon your desires, weather, and types of fish currently hungry. (Many others provide similar service.)

We had a couple of great seafood meals at a roadhouse/restaurant that I think Cap. Dave recommended - can't think of the name of it, but it seems like it was on the Southern end of town, right on the back bay on the ocean side. There was a back "porch" right on the water with booths (and the requisite bar) and slips where locals could pull right in and tie up.

Be sure to stop at the big fishing gear shop right on the highway as you pass through Islamorada.


lhg posted 06-21-2002 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Steve: I've boated extensively around this middle Keys area. For offshore trolling, you will have to get off the reef, which is clearly evident. Get the local knowledge on where the Dolphin are running, but I would guess about 10 miles out. The edge of the reef is about 7 out.

Also of interest, and reachable out of Marathon with your Montauk, is the Looe Key Reef snorkling area to the west about 20 miles, out near the edge of the reef. Not to be missed, and also near there, Little Palm Island, (has some other name on the chart) a super posh offshore resort you can visit.

Another nice boat run, on the inside, is back to the east through Duck Key (interesting canals and nice homes to see), Islamorada, and Key Largo, including the cross key canal.
I was there about 2 months ago, and evidently seen by some of the members here. The Marriot on Key Largo has a boat harbor and is a nice stop for lunch.

As Kingfish mentions, the very upscale Bass Pro Adventure World store in Islamorada is worth a stop, and it's real easy to spend a LOT of money there! You can get in there by boat if you want also. They have docks and a very cool waterside restaurant, but the fish is only so-so. Also in Islamorada is the Morada Bay Restaurant complex (2), really great for an evening dinner by the water, with GREAT food. The lower priced one is to the west. Do not miss this place for a great dinner evening by car. The Cheeca Lodge almost across the street is also worth seeing. This is where George Bush Sr vacations in the keys. His pictures are all over the place. Staying here is highly recommend also if you're looking for an alternative great place. We paid $200/night for a one bedroom (really nice) suite that slept 4 with a sofa bed in the living room.

Enjoy your trip. You should have a great time. The Quay restaurant in Marathon is also a good place to eat. On your way down, a real shortcut and traffic avoider in SE Florida, is to exit I-95 in Deerfield Beach, sw10th exit, and switch over to the Saw Grass Expressway. Stongly recommended, inspite of the toll. From there, Marathon is about 3 hours.

Watch out for the afternoon 3PM thunderstorms during the summer months.

David Pendleton posted 06-21-2002 08:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     

There's a special place in heaven for people like you...

Your insight and information is unbeleivable. Write a book about Whaler crusing...I'd buy it.

Patricia and I are glad we got to meet you in Door County last year.


David Pendleton posted 06-21-2002 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Hey Jim!

Where's the danged spell checker?

That'd be 'unbelievable' and 'cruising'.



SWarren posted 06-24-2002 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for SWarren  Send Email to SWarren     
Thanks to everyone for all the great advice. I am going to take stuff to snorkel with, four tld 25s to catch some dolphinn, and some inshore rods to fish the shallow water. In Charleston the bait is real easy to come by, just throw the cast net in the waterway or creeks and you can get shrimp, mullet and menhaden for the kings. I have heard that live bait is hard to get in the keys. Where is a good shop to buy live shrimp and mud minnows or mullet?

I will have to check out those restaurants also. Hope to see some fellow whaler owners out on the water that week. Thanks again.

RMBW posted 06-24-2002 11:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for RMBW  Send Email to RMBW     
Get out into the Stream (clear blue water). Can be close to the outside reef or several miles more. Just watch your weather, birds and weed lines. You won't go wrong. Around the bridges try pin fish with a bobber on a outgoing tide. Tarpon come through with some big sharks. Shrimp will catch all the bait you need near the bridges. Have fun. Mike
RMBW posted 06-24-2002 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for RMBW  Send Email to RMBW     
Diving Looe Key. You can put in at Big Pine Key and Looe Key is just on the outside reef. If the tide should start out be aware that a lot of different fish will move in on the reef. Sharks, Amberjack, Tarpon, and Yellow Tail. Be carefull as in all tourst areas, you never hear of any thing bad happening and the sun is always shinning, always swim up current. Watch the weather and the water spouts. We would run 20-30 miles out with or 17' Whaler fishing the humps that are there and had great fun. Just carry the proper safty gear and common sense. Mike
SWarren posted 06-25-2002 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for SWarren  Send Email to SWarren     
Thanks for the tips, I am going to get a maps unique or hotspots map of the offshore waters and reefs, where they mark all the live bottom and structure. I do all my boating in coastal SC in the inshore waters and offshore in my revenge, so the fishing will be much like Charleston, only a lot closer. You have to go 60 miles out in Charleston to be in 200 feet of water, so I am looking forward to going 6 miles in the montauk to start trolling. I will look for weedlines, debris, water temp breaks, structure and birds. It should be lots of fun.
SWarren posted 06-25-2002 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for SWarren  Send Email to SWarren     
I forgot to ask if you need a permit for tuna in Flordia. In SC you must have a saltwater liscense as well as a permit to keep tuna.
Draftmanswife posted 06-26-2002 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Draftmanswife  Send Email to Draftmanswife     
A tuna licence is necessary to have with your saltwater licence in FL.

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