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Old 12-12-2013, 10:08 PM   #1
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Fishing in Key Largo

Hi all,
We're going to be in Key Largo over the holidays and are wondering about fishing options. We're not going to be able to take a lot of gear so would like advise on doing some offshore fishing on the cheap. I've read about some cruisers who use a hand line. This seems like a pretty good option. What do people use to real the line, just a large spool or something? We're renting a 23' center console boat with fish locker, bait well and side riggers. We're new to open ocean fishing so any advise would be welcome.

Also, any recommendations for things to go see in this area by boat. We're going to be doing some diving but would. Like advise on other things to do on the boat.

Thanks everyone. Love the forum and useful advise. We're currently land-locked but will be out there soon.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:16 PM   #2
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Make sure you get a fishing license!!!! OMG how the Fish and Wildlife people love to jack you up on those!!! Fish from shore -no problem, but literally step on a boat tied to shore, they will go apeshit, and can and will take you to jail, and seize your boat AND the tow vehicle too. Most of the ocean side of Key Largo is protected park, so you can't fish there. Are there any signs, markers, or floats that tell you where the park begins and ends? NO. Guess where the fish are at? They aren't stupid. So to catch fish you need to go further offshore than the park, so figure running 10 miles out from shore-minimum. Of course that put's you squarely in the Gulf Stream where the ships are at. It's going to be VERY windy too.
Better yet, rent the boat, go for a nice ride on both sides of the Key, but don't fish- eat at a restaurant. The cooked dinner will probably cost you less than the bait. Some great places to dine in Key Largo!!!
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:19 PM   #3
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No worries there. As I recall you can get a fishing license on the phone while you're out there. We can always eat fish. It's catching time!
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:36 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. go. You're renting the boat, rent the tackle as well. Check with the bait shops. If they don't rent stuff they'll know someone who does and they'll know where to fish. Leave some for spawning purposes. Oh ya. Get the license FOR SURE!!
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:56 PM   #5
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Your going get the crap beaten out of you, cruise the bay and along shore, which is usually shallow. We have 2 houses on Duck Key, the amount of rental boat we've seen head out on a rough day is astronomical,there all happy pappy at the dock. They get out of the inlet and rethink their fishing trip, and TURN right back around and cruise up canals or the bayside. If you want to fish, find an local flats fisherman, all the offshore ones are pretty expensive. Just my 2 cents. ( Winter is probably the worst time to be fishing offshore inless your sail fishing) Here's an before and after.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:10 AM   #6
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Your going get the crap beaten out of you, cruise the bay and along shore, which is usually shallow. We have 2 houses on Duck Key, the amount of rental boat we've seen head out on a rough day is astronomical,there all happy pappy at the dock. They get out of the inlet and rethink their fishing trip, and TURN right back around and cruise up canals or the bayside.
That's the truth-Ruth. Back in my younger days when I ran charters out of Miami, I took a group to Looe Reef in the summer time. Tied off to a mooring, put them in the water, then the wind shifted, and man, oh man I couldn't believe how fast the huge waves started rolling in. My 41' Morgan OI (heavy sailboat) was dancing out of the water as they passed below. It was a challenge to throw off the mooring line and get the heck out of there.. SUMMER TIME (known for light winds, and a glass Gulf Stream)too. That was a surprise even for me. Shit got BIG-fast. Winter time like now? Oh yeah, it's going to be rough off of Key Largo Ocean Side!
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:12 AM   #7
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I recommend you hire a guide and boat for shallow water fishing or charter a good size boat for offshore fishing. Either way you'll have more fun and catch more fish than if you try it on your own. I'm an experienced back country fisherman but every time I go out with a guide I learn something. It's well worth it for a beginner.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:15 AM   #8
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Sorry, I "fish" at the local supermarket, or better yet, at a restaurant specializing serving fish, cooked.
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:55 AM   #9
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We kept our 17' Boston Whaler for a couple of years at Hobo's Marina just above the canal on Largo. The recommendation to hire a guide is a good one. If you want to try it yourself, you can pick up some snapper around the mangroves down around Tarpon Basin. You can also catch all the small barracuda there that you could ever want. There are a few grouper spots in the Bay, but you have to work hard to find a legal size one.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:09 PM   #10
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Couple of pictures from my area
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:14 PM   #11
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Nice pictures OB.

I like the advise to get a guide and look at the backcountry fishing. I think we'll do a guide and then go it on our own for a few days.

Is there anything worth seeing if we take the boat more into Everglades NP? We'll be shallow draft.

Thanks guys
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:31 PM   #12
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Nice pictures OB.

I like the advise to get a guide and look at the backcountry fishing. I think we'll do a guide and then go it on our own for a few days.

Is there anything worth seeing if we take the boat more into Everglades NP? We'll be shallow draft.

Thanks guys
You can take the cross canal into Pennecamp Park and see the underwater hotel. You can take a mooring ball at the reef to snorkel or dive. You can swim around Rodriguez Key. Other that that I would stay in the creeks fishing.

If you have a car, Key West is a great side trip.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:31 AM   #13
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A fun trip in a small boat would be to run north on the inside to the Card Sound Bridge. At the western end of the bridge you'll find Alabama Jacks. It's a fun place to eat and drink beer. They often have a band playing. Don't let the bikers scare you, they are all doctors and lawyers from Miami.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:06 AM   #14
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Thanks HopCar. Alabama Jacks looks like our kind of place. Seafood, beer and you can boat to it. What could be better?
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:15 AM   #15
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Thanks HopCar. Alabama Jacks looks like our kind of place. Seafood, beer and you can boat to it. What could be better?
Alabama Jack's

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Old 12-14-2013, 12:04 PM   #16
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Don, That's the place. Have you been there?

If you happen to drive across the Card Sound Bridge, say hello to John the toll taker. He's a long time friend of mine and the best marine carpenter that I know.
If there is no traffic, stop at the top of the bridge and enjoy the great view of Biscayne Bay and Card Sound.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:26 PM   #17
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Don, That's the place. Have you been there?

If you happen to drive across the Card Sound Bridge, say hello to John the toll taker. He's a long time friend of mine and the best marine carpenter that I know.
If there is no traffic, stop at the top of the bridge and enjoy the great view of Biscayne Bay and Card Sound.

Yeah, Parks, I've really been there. Never had any trouble. I just take a seat in the corner, and place my shot gun across my lap.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #18
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Oh Don, you'll scare the poor fellow. There hasn't been a shooting there in a month or more.
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