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Lower Florida Keys Fishing

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Big Pine Key, Sugarloaf Keys, Cudjoe the Lower Florida keys  
 
 
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Fishing the Lower Florida Keys and Key West

The Sport fishing Capitol
Of The World

 
 
 
 

In between the Seven Mile Bridge and Key West is an area called the Lower Florida Keys. Ecompassing the islands of Big Pine, Bahia Honda, Little Torch, the Sugarloaf Keys and more. With an amazing amount of back country channels, shallow flats, artificial wrecks and some of the most pristine reefs, this area attracts many water aficionados including fishermen, snorkelers, divers and people who just enjoy the wide open spaces that make up the lower Florida Keys. The flats are vast and pristine in the Florida Keys and the backcountry channels allow for many different fishing opportunities.  The Gulf of Mexico and offshore deep blue waters of the Atlantic are all easily accessible from this amazing place.

 
 


More About Lower Florida Keys Fishing

In the Lower Florida Keys one of the most well-rounded trips you can take is a combination trip that includes both snorkeling and fishing.  This is easily accomplished from this area and gives one the opportunity to enjoy both above and below the water adventures in just one day.

Within the view of the beach at Little Palm Island there are numerous coral head patches and the world famous Looe Key Marine Sanctuary where you can enjoy a morning snorkel in the sanctuary and then a combination fishing excursion in the afternoon.  Snorkeling and fishing combo trips are a very satisfying trip for your family or friends that gives your fishing guide the opportunity to show you the real beauty of the area and a nice change of pace enjoying both activities.

Your backcountry fishing guide will lead you to some of the most famous and productive shallow water flats in the world.  Whether it be in a bay boat or a techincal poling skiff, the targets are numerous and they include tarpon, permit, bonefish, sharks, barracuda and many others.  Depending on the time of year, your fishing guide may be concentrating on the prestigious backcountry slam or in the wintertime it may be concentrating on speckled seat trout, pompano, sharks or mooning permit.  Spring and fall allow you to enjoy it all.  Shark fishing is great no matter what time of the year it is and are readily available for you to feel their power.

Bonefishing guides in the Lower Keys have made the Flats fishing in this area legendary. Fly Fishing and light tackle spin fishing enthusiasts have come year after year from all over the world to enjoy this seemingly endless fishery of nice big bonefish.

The shark population here is world renowned for the diversity as well as the quantity.  Some of the species that frequent the area are bull, blacktip, lemon, spinner, nurse and bonnethead.  Every season brings a different opportunity when it comes to shark fishing.  Winter is the acrobatic spinner shark who feeds on the schools of ladyfish and bluefish.  Summertime brings lemon sharks who can grow very large and are known to stalk your bonefish, permit or tarpon and become a justified quarry.  Lemon sharks are an endangered species in many areas but here there is a very large and healthy population.  Bull sharks are year around and always put on a good show.  They are known for their aggressive and angry behavior, especially in the winter when your fishing guide has hooked you up on a barracuda.  Bull sharks usually give you more than you expected.  In some cases they have been known to bite your guides push pole or lower unit!

Home to one of the most famous bridges in the world, the Bahia Honda State Park is a place you will enjoy during the spring and early summer because of the tarpon fishing extravaganza.  Enhanced by certain seasonal events including the palalo worm migration.  The Bahia Honda Bridge is one of the most famous bridges for fishing guides in the Lower Florida Keys and is considered one of the best tarpon fishing bridges in the world.

There are numerous artificial wrecks and reefs on the gulf side and the ocean side that have been scientifically and strategically placed to maximize their fishing potential.  Offshore in the lower Florida Keys some of these wrecks can be in very deep water allowing for opportunities to catch pelagics like blackfin tuna, wahoo, dolphin and sailfish as well as wreck fish such as amberjack, african pompano, black grouper, mutton snappers, american red snapper and other bottom dwellers. With the Gulf Stream  so close the deep sea fishing is well within reach of the lower Florida Keys sometimes closer than 10 miles from the beach. In the blue waters you will find dolphin, billfish, blackfin tuna and wahoo.  

Your fishing guide may be equipped to offer a trip that allows you to fish the depths of the Florida Keys whether it be for swordfish or bottom dwelling fish such as snowy grouper, golden tilefish, blue line tilefish and black belly rose fish.  In the deep water you just won’t believe what comes up and it’s a fascinating look into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and the Florida Straits.

The Gulf of Mexico is also within reach of the backcountry of the Lower Keys and accessible because of many different taller bridges that allow easy access from the ocean to the gulf.  In the Gulf of Mexico there are numerous artificial reefs and rock piles and old lobster trap piles including many unchartered wrecks that your fishing guide may have secretly stashed in the memory of his GPS. 

Gulf of Mexico wreck fishing will also give you many opportunities at the true giant of the grouper family, the Goliath Grouper, formerly known as the Jewfish.  Known to be very aggressive, he may be the upgrade you get after hooking a smaller fish such as a gag grouper, mangrove snapper, cobia, permit or in some cases a smaller goliath grouper! The wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico are teeming with life and off the beaten path.  They are an adventure worth taking.

The lower Florida Keys allows every person a sampling of all that makes the Florida Keys a fishing mecca.  From the Gulf of Mexico out to the wall and beyond, the lower Florida Keys has everything on the fishing menu and is just waiting for you to place your order.

Most fishing guies that offer charters, tours and trips from the Lower Florida Keys destinations depart from small "Keysey" marinas tucked away in Bahia Honda, Big Pine Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe Key, Summerland Key and the Sugarloaf Keys. Easy to find and wonderful locations that will add to your Lower Keys fishing expereince.

Accommodations in the Lower Keys are, at times, tough to come by. Booking early is a key. There are few nightly rental places and limited vacation rentals due to local laws. For some help in this area try the Florida Keys Concierge "Island Gen" she might be able to help you out.

- Writen by: Capt. Marlin Scott of Fish Monster Magazine

 

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