05-22-2013, 10:15 AM
Some buddies and I are heading to Islamorada this weekend and staying on lower Matecumbe. We have a condo and a boat for the week. We are looking for any good suggestions on where to go to have some descent shots at Bonefish and Tarpon. We have fished the Bahamas several times on different islands, but never the keys. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
05-30-2013, 12:02 PM
There are no Bonefish or Tarpon in Islamorada. We talked to locals and guides and no one has seen or caught Bonefish there in a long while. Several years since consistent bones have been caught.
Tarpon in Islamorada are a tease. We saw plenty of skiffs lined up and waiting for Tarpon, did not see a single hook up the whole time. Very few fish were even rolling at the surface. We saw plenty in Robbies Marina getting fed by tourists. The only hits we got were around 7:30 pm at night on a falling tide about 100 yds from Robbies in the channel as the fish were leaving there easy feeding grounds for the day and heading back to sea or deeper into the channels.
All we saw and caught consistently were barracuda and small bonet head and black tip reef sharks. We managed to catch a few larger mangrove snapper and a 10-12lb Jack.
Islamorada was a joke of a fishing spot, especaially for the fly fisher. Should have gone to Key West.
06-02-2013, 11:19 AM
I just got back from two weeks fishing tarpon in Islamorada. I almost answered your initial post by saying do not bother if it is DIY. Fishing there has been tough this year due to weather and low water temps. However, when the weather cooperates the fishing can be superb. For instance, on Monday, May 6 we hooked fifteen tarpon, all by sight fighting on the flats. That was a superb day weather wise and the water temp was in the eighties very early in the morning. You may have had a great time in Key West, but DIY is even tougher there, especially if you do not have access to a yak. I never recommend anyone attempt the Keys DIY. Many do it anyway, but the few locations that have accessible water are usually crowded, with fisherman, swimmers, and the like. You really need to use a guide to be successful. Also, bonefishing has been tough around there the last few years, but there are fish around and we saw several the one day we did not pursue tarpon. They are tough to catch, in many ways as tough as permit, but what you do catch averages considerably more weight than those caught most everywhere else. I have done tarpon there almost every year since 1986. Trust me when I tell you I would have given up a long time ago if there were no fish around.
Great memories of DIY for big bones around Islamorada particularly Matecumbe and Bahia Honda but back in the 90's and most likely because I had an annual event in Miami from which I could extend days and fish - and gather intelligence over time.
Most influential to my success was Bonefish Bob (RIP) who took a special interest in my success, the big-hearted guy that he was, because I got spooked by hooking a big cuda in a downpour way out on a flat and came into his shop like a drowned cat who had seen a ghost. He laughed, and said hold on until I finish with these customers... then told me exactly what to do, where to stand, what tide phase, which fly etc etc... and I hooked and landed an 8 # bone per his instructions.
I can see how it would be a bust though as Jr Spey says it's no Bahamas or Puerto Rico when it comes to DIY bones or tarpon. Thanks for sharing the report, and Jr Spey, I am again envious of your life :)