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Old 01-20-2000, 04:18 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
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RE:Wading in or near Key West?

Dave -

Copied from FLYFISH@ Archives.... from long-time contributor Ben Benoit:

------------- included message ----------------------

Re: Info request, Florida Keys in March (Long)
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 15:37:10 -0600
Reply-To: Fly Fishing Digest
Sender: Fly Fishing Digest
From: Ben Benoit
In-Reply-To: <386F8B1D.FC3E8FB2@unc.edu>
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Joel and others interested......:

Couple of thoughts come to mind for your upcoming trip.....

Suggest you keep monitoring http://relaunch.reel-time.com/fishwire/fla-keys/update.asp for conditions and info on Florida keys fishing.

Adam Barr, of Orlando, FL (abarr@tgcinc.com), last March sent a thread out over the bandwidth regarding fly fishing (wading) the Florida Keys. He suggests when in Key West looking to wade fish, to come back out US 1 about six miles, onto Big Coppitt Key. Turn right by the big Circle K. Follow the road through Geiger Key and onto Boca Chica Key. There's a narrow beach there where it's easy to wade. There may be some noise from the Naval Air Station, but it's still a pleasant place to fish.
I have also heard, but have not confirmed, that there is a wadable area on Key West just past Smathers Beach, near the
commercial airport.
If in the area you may want to contact the nice folks at The Saltwater Angler, a great shop in downtown Key West for additional info, flies, guides, etc.

Also, and not having been there as well, I have in my journal notes to wade fish a great looking flat on Big Pine Key. Directions: Just as you enter Big Pine Key, take your first left, Long Beach Rd. 2-3 miles down the road, you'll see the flat on your right. Also there is supposedly a nice flat adjacent to Rte 1 on the ocean side of the North end of Missouri key.
Look up http://www.flyfishamerica.com/ and check out an article about bonefishing in the Southeast section. Farrow Allen, who I met back in his New Hampshire days describes a lot of wading places between Islamorada and Marathon. Farrow's a stand-up, tell-it-like-it-is guy and I respect his suggestions as he describes spots west of Marathon, like Ohio Key and Missouri Key, where there are good-looking shallows for wading.

If you can get a canoe or small boat to row out on your own, you might have fun at the Bogie Channel between Big Pine Key and No Name Key. It's a bit too deep to wade there. And once the sunset comes along, you'll probably see some of those gentle little Key deer, too!
Or...as Art Nudell (nudavis@aol.com) suggests, you may consider hiring a shore guide to show you the spots; then you can fish on your own. Try Dennis O'Brien , a "Lefty Impersonator" , or ask Alan Finkelman, who Nudell says is a really knowledgeable guide with a boat. Maybe you can ask
him for a wader's eye view of the Keys?? Take notes if you go out with him as his specialty is flyfishing, but he's equally adept at light spinning tackle.

I've heard that Bahia Honda State Park has good wade fishing. You'll be subject to the opening and closing of the park and the entrance fee, Like $6-7.00, but is said to be good for wade fishing. A past issue of Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine had a whole article on wade fishing the lower keys. Also, there's a great article on a Florida Flats Guide's
recommendation for tailing, mudding, and cruising bonefish by Capt. Bob Rodgers, Saltwater Fly Fishing, Feb/Mar 1998. Let me know if you need the three patterns he recommends.

Of course, the best references you will find are those right here on the list. I never cross the Florida border mitenzee rods and reels in hand unless I hear first from Dave Allerton, L.J., or Jerry Goldsmith. Others include as you may know Don Phillips, Joe Libeu, Tammy, Jerry Goldsmith,
Gary Meyer, Eric Young, Martin Bowers, and Terry "Sunfish" Kirkpatrick, My "Go To Guy" for the salt on all other info and locations is the "Fish Vet"-Aaron Adams. He knows more about the salt, flies, tying, winds, tides, etc. for a guy his age than most of us will achieve in a lifetime and will
probably enlighten you as well on the Keys! I'm sure there are a few other Listers in Florida and across the country who will have info but who's names escape me at the moment.

For easy reading by the way try: Martin Smithson's book FISHING GUIDE to the UPPER KEYS & FLORIDA BAY.

Don't forget you need a fishin' license for the salt. It can be ordered now by phone at 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA and this may save you some running around time looking for a license.

If you decide against hauling the camper there are many low rate sleeperies in the area. There are far too many places to list and they change their rates too often to keep track of. The best bet is to get a AAA Tour Book of Florida or call the Key West Chamber of Commerce (305-294-2587). There is an 800 number you can try at (800) FLA-KEYS. I think the Chamber of Commerce, possibly out of Key Largo, provides information on all of the Keys. Get on to this as they will provide plenty of info for mamma and the kids to do while you escape out for another day fish'in!!

Last of all take a look at http://www.florida-southwest.com/fish/flyhome.htm . Link on over to Flyfishing and then on to Don Phillip's Basic Guide to Southwest Florida saltwater fishing. This is a great tutorial on fly selections for the Keys.

Best of luck friend. Great job once again this past year with FF@ Archives and much appreciated....holler at me if you make it down there in March as I might be right behind you the next month!

....wastin' away in Margaritaville ......

Ben
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