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raymo

Islamorada - never been, going in a couple weeks

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The wife and I are going to head down to Islamorada for a week around mid march. I have a 2001 Pathy 2200v. I live in NE Florida and Ive fished all over the state except the Keys. Ive had my rig 25 miles offshore St Augustine and about the same on the gulf side, and I also like to fish inshore.

What can I expect in the Keys? Are there a bunch of off limits fishing areas around Islamorada to avoid? What about Regulations - gulf side, atlantic side...etc? Is it all based on which side of the key you are on? Ive done some reading, but Id love some first hand advice.

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You may want to check out the new rules for fishing inside of Everglades National Park . A lot of people don’t realize how close the boundary to Everglades National Park is to the highway in the Islamorada area . Joe R 

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dabear is right. If you go into the park, you will need a Everglades National Park boater permit. Now is great time to apply since the $50 fee is waived for now. It’s an on line course, take about 45 minutes, but we’ll worth it. And fish’n is great , good luck.

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The park boundary follows the ICW channel from jewfish creek in Key Largo until just south of Lower Matecumbe key. Fishing days will be hit or miss with the wind so the back country will be your friend. 

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Here's the info for the permit: 

Fishing out of Islamorada is great and the back side holds a good variety from Mangrove Snapper to Tarpon.  If the wind allows, get a couple bags of chum and go out to the reef on the Atlantic in about 80' find some good bottom, anchor and start chumming for Yellowtail.  You can fish the bottom until they show up behind the boat, then just feed a line back to them with no weight and with the current flow.  Small piece of shrimp or cut bait.  The bottom may well yield Mutton or other good Snapper.

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I appreciate the feedback! Thank you for the Park Boat Permit link.

I picked up a Top Spot chart and if weather permits, I should be able to find some deep water. Ive snapper fished on the gulf side on the shallow wrecks using a free line technique, so I figured that would be the best bet. I also have some jigging outfits to bring.  Im thinking it will be popping cork time on the inside. Live shrimp and whatever I can castnet.

On the inside though, I see a lot of NMZ around some of the keys. Does that mean you cant be under power, ie you must pole? Or you cant have power on the boat at all? In NEFL our NMZ are usually HP restrictions under 10. I don't have a poling tower and I don't have a pole.

 

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I used to fish a 22 Pathy in the keys all the time....

March can be windy as mentioned.....so, be prepared to make the run across the back to ENP if you want to fish on the inside....

There are numerous tracks which have been posted in the past with GPS coordinates, etc...be sure you watch your tides as running some of the North tracks can be tricky on a low tide.

Trolling plugs just over the patch reefs if it gets snotty can be fun or just doing some tailing on the patch reefs if you can't get to 50-60 feet due to winds.

dc

 

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On ‎3‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 12:26 PM, Wanaflatsfish said:

There are numerous tracks which have been posted in the past with GPS coordinates, etc...be sure you watch your tides as running some of the North tracks can be tricky on a low tide.

dc

 

Do you happen to have any links...I have tried the search engine and I cant seem to find them... ENP tracks, keys tracks etc...no dice

 

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Not sure it's what you're looking for but FMT sells GPS chips that have basically all the frequent tracks throughout Florida by region. If you just google FMT charts they'll come right up. 

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Thanks for all of the help, we had a great time in Islamorada last week. The weather cooperated for 2 offshore fishing days, one successful and one not so much. We were able to spend some time in the backcountry as well. Also some successful and some not so much. A nice Cobia was the highlight of the trip and a Seatow trip was the lowlight. Thank goodness for being a member and for an easy fix that didn't ruin the trip! Sucked something up in the backcountry and threw a temp alarm...flushed it out...and back to fishin!

key1.JPG

key2.jpg

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On 3/26/2019 at 8:22 AM, raymo said:

Thanks for all of the help, we had a great time in Islamorada last week. The weather cooperated for 2 offshore fishing days, one successful and one not so much. We were able to spend some time in the backcountry as well. Also some successful and some not so much. A nice Cobia was the highlight of the trip and a Seatow trip was the lowlight. Thank goodness for being a member and for an easy fix that didn't ruin the trip! Sucked something up in the backcountry and threw a temp alarm...flushed it out...and back to fishin!

key1.JPG

key2.jpg

Nice Pathfinder and it sounds like you had a great trip! My fiance and I are are heading down to Islamorada May 16-19th and plan on staying at the Ragged Inn... Did you stay there? If so, how was it?!

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On ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 12:00 AM, VS-MasterAngler said:

Did you stay there? If so, how was it?!

We did and that place is absolute paradise.

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