We just canceled our trip to an all inclusive resort in Mexico and have decided to go to Key West fpr the first week of March instead. Has anyone done any pier/shore fishing in that area? If so, any advice on what kind of gear is needed? Can you get by with medium weight rods?
Fishing in Key West
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Maddogg11. Majority of the party boats down there will fish what they call the patch reefs for the purpose to catch Yellow tail snappers, porgies, mangrove snapper, mutton snapper,grouper etc. They will find a reef, drop anchor and put chum bags out and the fish come. I fish with a heavy action rod, 3000 series Penn spinning reel with 30 pound test mono and and 20 pound fluorocarbon leader. Majority of party boats will not allow braid on your reels so don't bring any! VERY IMPORTANT! HAVE DRAMAMINE IN YOUR SYSTEM 1 HOUR BEFORE GETTING ON THE BOAT! I have done at least 100 trips in the past 35 years so I know the system, any more questions pm me.
GotABite I would like to bring my own rod and reel. Would you know what size rod and reel I would need? I'm guessing something with 25 to30# test or do I need more?
Next to northern Minnesota and Mississippi river key West and the Florida keys are my favorite place to fish. Key West has a ton of charter boats with like 30 people on board that are relatively cheap where they supply hd rod and reel and bait food for sale on board. I have seen everything caught while on a charter a hand size grunt to a 8' shark but a lot of grouper and snapper to take home they will cut the fish for a tip. I also have probably fished half the bridges in the keys as well as other shore spots. We have caught a ton of fish from these spots on the bridges i have seen some huge fish surface big tarpoon for tarpoon I cast a long rubber tub lure with a wide leader through it and a treble hook hooked some monsters. If bottom fishing off the bridge shrimp or squid has worked good you'll never know what you will catch. We usually camp within 20 miles of key West and have set pre rigged mullet with 2 oz sinker at night and have caught big nurse shark and tarpoon. They also have charters for big fish marlin big sharks and tarpoon but cost a lot more. Islomorada is a great option to about 75 miles from key west . The Florida keys and key West are awesome for everything skip Mexico. You won't be disappointed. Tom's harbor cut is good bridge to start about 65 miles from key West.
hockey guy. I know your going to Key West but Look up a marina called Robbies in Islamorada if your willing to take a short drive. Islamorada is beautiful and is sport fishing capital (saltwater). Anyone going that far south should see Islamorada! there is a party fishing boat called captain Michaels, for around 75 bucks they take you out for about 5 hours. I've taken many trips with them, its cheap entertainment and a cool experience. Bass pro shops and the original Islamorada fish company restaurant which is the best in the country is right there too.
hockeyguy, pm me..... I can dial you in for that area.
I have done that a few times. Lots of bridges to fish. Medium action rod is all we used. Mostly just caught little grunts though maybe some snapper too. Have gone north and rented a boat for reasonable. Obviously a boat really gives you more opportunities. If you have the Navionics app you are all set. Have also hired guide. Same time of year near shore guide can get you on sea trout for constant action but I think March is early for most of the prized fish like Tarpon. Although there is some around then.
Key West isn't the best shore/pier fishing. But if you head up the keys a bit, there's great bridge fishing you can do with medium tackle, though I'd recommend 12-20 lb gear rather than 8 lb walleye stuff. Check NOAA charts online and you'll see the deeper bridges are a bit farther up past Big Pine all the way to Islamorada. I like "the old wooden bridge" that's off US 1, north on Big Pine. Cool place with a fishing camp on one end. You can still get snapper on the shallow bridges close to Key West on moving tides I've seen some vids online, but never tried that. Farther up, there are also places to wade for bonefish and permit, but March isn't a great month for that unless there's a good warm spell. Party boats are also a good option, but get there early and try to get a spot near the back. Good luck.
An old coot from church would buy some shrimp from a bait store, walk down to the kayak rental and head out with his regular gear. Paddling slowly along shore, he would occasionally catch a fish and that was a ton of fun for him.
Fishing around the bridges at night I had quite a bit of success. I used live bait back the. Now I would use plastics and live bait.