Keys Fishing

Some buddies and myself are going down to the keys in a few weeks. This will be the first time down there to actually fish. We’ve taken the boat (20′ bowrider) down there before with the wives, but now the men get to go and do some fishing. We’ll be in Key Colony Beach just above Marathon. I have a gps with the needed charts, and just got a hot spots map for a little insight, but now I guess I’m looking to you for some actual knowledge. Like I said, we’ll have a 20′ bowrider for a boat. I have 2 heavy saltwater rods with 80 and 100 lb test, as well as several medium duty rods that basically hold 20 lb test. This is our first time saltwater fishing on our own. Can you give me some pointers, such as riggings techniques, tackle, and lures? If we can actually bring fish home with us, the wives will have no choice but to agree to let us go every year. Thanks, Dan

Well if you are fishing in the Florida Keys you will definitely bring fish home with you. It is just a matter of how many fish and what size, catching them is pretty easy. The first thing you need to decide is whether you will fish the Atlantic Ocean side of the Keys or the Gulf of Mexico side. The Gulf offers a smoother boat ride and you will be fishing much shallower water. There is a wide variety of species you can catch on the gulf side. Sharks, Snappers, Grouper and many others are available. You will not likely catch Tuna, Dolphins, Billfish or Wahoo however. They key thing to look for on the Gulf side in wrecks. There are hundreds of sunken boats in this area, some by natural causes and other sunk on purpose to create structure. A book of hot spot gps coordinates will comes in handy as will a fish locator. Anchoring near a wreck can be difficult; you will need to gain experience judging the current and tide to position your boat correctly to fish a wreck. I like to mark the wreck and then take my time to position the boat properly. On the Atlantic side the most common fishing is over coral reefs. You can be in water that is as shallow as twenty feet but more often you will be fishing water that is eight to one hundred feet deep. Here you are looking to get your bait near the bottom and wait for a strike.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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