Today the winds howled out of the southwest 25 mph, not a favorable march florida keys fishing condition! We didn’t let it get the best of us though as we made our way into the islamorada backcountry fishing. We took a little longer running but were able to stay on the edges of the banks and in my comfortable 20′ seacraft the ride was not an issue, just a little minor spray here and there. We fished the edge of the gulf which you could not do in a little skiff and the fishing was good! Lots of big trout, ladyfish, and some mangrove snappers. We got our limit of trout and kept the ladyfish for bait. After a couple long drifts we decided to go try for bigger stuff so we ran to some deeper channels close by. Unfortunately the water did not look very pretty, but we found an area deep inside that had some bluish color and looked a better than the mouths of the channels where we normally fish. So i anchored us up for some shark fishing in islamorada in march. We had action fairly quick, mostly black noses and blacktips. After a few of those, all of a sudden we had a rod slam down and a big 100 lb tarpon went flying! We chased him down and kept him on, getting the fish boatside in about 25 minutes. Fantastic catch! Eventually the weed and grass got too bad to fish after this, so we went to another channel to fish. The action wasn’t quite as hot and heavy, had a few more shark bites and caught a couple, then called it a day and went home! Also pictured here is a 400+ lb islamorada goliath grouper caught by young 10 year old Sam and his brother last week with me! Big beasts like these are often caught in the spring and early summer here in Islamorada, so be sure to ask about it if you want to catch big fish!
I had Martin Williamson today from across the pond on 2/23/13. He fished with me a few years ago and we had an excellent day then catching tarpon, hammerhead shark, several other sharks, plus some other rod benders. Today Martin was after an islamorada goliath grouper fishing trip. Winds were a bit too high to get out into the gulf to hit the wrecks for them, so tried some other protected areas. First things in the morning with the low water we hit some channel run-offs to stock up on bait – lots of big ladyfish plus a mess of sea trout, jacks, and even some pompano, mackerel, and bluefish mixed in. This was going to be tough to leave! We put big rod out for fun and caught 4 blacktip sharks as well, saw a couple tarpon roll in the distance but not much activity from them. Tarpon fishihng in Islamorada in February is a definite possibility – but they can be very hit or miss! After we were loaded on ladies, we ventured to the next spot which is a hole that sometimes holds goliaths as well as other big fish. We anchored up, tide against the wind but got the boat positioned right. Had a big pack of cobias come right up under the boat… quickly reeled in our pinfish on top and hooked one! Martin dropped a bait to another though unfortunately we missed the hookset, but he caught the other one on the surface bait – good job! Not a huge fish but a first for him. A bit later both big rods went off with the ladyfish on the bottom, a double header! Both at first appeared to be large sawfish as they dogged us and didn’t stop despite the heavy pressure we both were putting on them. Sawfish in Islamorada have made a terrific comeback. I gave chase to Martin’s fish leaving the other in the rod holder going the opposite direction! Eventually the fish behind us kind of rolled over and I told Martin to switch to that one as it was acting more like a big grouper now, thumping quite a bit. Sure enough it was, hooray another first for Martin a 150 lb goliath grouper! We then focused on the other rod which was still bowed over. We leadered up the behemoth on the mono filament line… all of a sudden his bill broke the surface and slashed violently! We got him up one more time like that but this time he cut us off, but we were happy to get a look at the beast. My first sawfish of the year, and yet another first for Martin. After this we fished for a bit under an hour back at the hole, alas not much other action. Decided to hit a high-tide spot for some reds on the way home which worked out nicely. Martin caught about 10 or so mostly nice slot size redfish, something else he hadn’t caught yet! A fine end to a fabulous day february fishing the florida keys. This was another special trip for Martin and a great birthday present for himself!
Well it doesn’t get any prettier than it did today on 1/4/13 while fishing islamorada! We worked some island shorelines on the high in tide in the everglades national park first things this morning. We picked several redfish, black drum, and a few sheepshead in this fashion casting shrimp. On the tide change we went looking for a snook around some other island moats. We did find one eager participant, alas we broke him off boatside. However we did end up catching some more black drum jigging the bottom, as well as some more sheepshead from around the mangrove trees! We then hit some scattered muddy waters in some ditches further towards the gulf area and got into a mess of trout, jack crevalle, ladyfish, pompano, and one juvenile permit. What a mixed bag for this islamorada fishing report! Continued cruising on out into the gulf of mexico along the crab bouys, and saw several tripletail fish. We caught some for dinner, mostly again casting shrimp on a small cork, dragging it to ’em, and WHAM! These high flying acrobats are fun on light tackle, and not bad blackened on the grill either. A gulf wreck was next on the agenda, and we caught some cobias off of it, as well as a goliath grouper that took some convincing to get to bite. Another permit was had in this area too – you never know what to except fishing the florida keys! To end the day we caught some spanish mackerel closer to home in Islamorada. And so ends another tale of wonder fishing islamorada backcountry.
December islamorada fishing is off to a great start! Went out for fun today with my dad and friends, Capt. Dave Peck and Capt Vic. Gaspeny. We were looking for ‘big mo’, of the big florida keys redfish that occasionally are out in the gulf this time of year. We ended up finding a small pack of ’em, only snapped a picture of this one which doesn’t give it justice but was close to 20 lbs. There were several others with him, a big gold/red ball, and some over 30 lbs likely! They all disappeared though once they saw the boat, never to return unfortunately. The water and weather was gorgeous today, had a nice falling tide all day which is ideal for backcountry fishing islamorada. Especially in the gulf of mexico! We ended up catching several cobias as well, some of them nice fish and keeper size. They are lots of fun on light tackle rods. We also got a few small goliath groupers and a red grouper, plus plenty of jacks, blue runners, triple tail, and some spanish mackerel. The groupers, cobia, and big red were all caught on pinfish! All in all not a ton of fish, but some real quality ones – which I always appreciate! Great day fishing in the florida keys! The bugs were horrendous out at cape sable so we did not stay long there, though we did try this morning for a little while looking for some snook. Well stay tuned for more news concerning fishing the florida keys in december! Most of the fishing will be moving to deeper creeks/canals in the back, as the waters cool in the shallows. Islamorada flats fishing will slow down a bit, but there is always something else to do here when fishing!
The muddy water, dead grass, and general downturn from hurricane sandy cleared up dramatically today in the gulf of mexico during our november islamorada fishing trip on 11/4/12. Started out west near sprigger bank, caught some nice mangrove snappers and bluefish on pilchards. After a long while a few spanish mackerels showed up, we caught half a dozen nice ones and broke a few others off. This is a great option when backcountry fishing florida keys on a half day in the winter time, a few more weeks and another cold front and they should be going strong. I love gulf of mexico fishing and it’s a good time of year for cobia when the waters near low 70 degrees. That’s what we looked for later, ran further out to some deeper gulf wrecks. Saw some permit in islamorada on them when we pulled up but they bolted quick, anchored down and had one swim back up but he got spooked by the boat as he swam right into it. Had another lay up on the surface, fins out of the water. He had a chunk out of his back was likely almost a shark appetizer! He did not want to eat though did drop down to look at a big shrimp. So we put some islamoradacobia fishing baits out, some humming pinfish. Ended up getting 4 nice cobias, Carols caught one casthing a pilchard too on a trout rod/jig – this was a battle! Also got a small goliath grouper, and a much larger 100 lber on a chunk of mackerel. Then got a 250 lb bull shark as well on a jack cut in half, nice action on the big rods! The tide quit soon after this, and not much was going on with the incoming water, so we split. Ran the crab lines looking for triple tail, saw a handful, had one eat and spit, and then caught one. It was a great end to a november florida keys fishing trip. This should be a great week of fishing and as long as the winds stay down, we have good tide and the water has cleared up nicely out there… fish on!