Florida Keys December Fishing (w/pics)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Diehard, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. Well, I just got back from my trip to the keys. It wasn't really intended to be soley a fishing trip since I was with my family, but my dad and I got in a good amount of fishing. Unfortunately we kind of got screwed on the weather...3 sunny days out of 10 and only 1 day without wind.

    The first night we were there, my dad and I went to check out a small bridge near the condo (we stayed in Marathon). The current was rippin' through there and we didn't catch anything in about an hour trying a bunch of different things.

    The next day we rented a boat for the afternoon and went out to the reef (ocean side). It was raining hard the whole time we were out there. We caught 5-6 yellowtail snapper, a big grouper and lost a bunch more fish that broke us off (all on gear). I tried the fly rod for a while, but couldn't find any takers and it was tough casting in the wind.

    The next few days were too windy and rough to go out on a boat, so we went for a few hours to a bridge. Couldn't use a fly rod there, but we caught a bunch of snappers and Jacks which was fun for a while. Here is a Jack:

    I left one small fish hanging down in the water too long and almost had my rod ripped out of my hand by a big fish that ate it. We saw quite a few tarpon rolling around, so it could have been one of those.

    A day or two later we went out on a flat to look for some bones or anything else out there. With little sunlight and 10knt + winds, it was tough to see anything. We gave it up after an hour and a few small snappers.

    The next day we went out with a guide that I connected with from this site. Turns out to be a great guy and seemed to know a ton about the area. The water temps were a little cold for good flats fishing, but we went out searching for some Reds, Tarpon, Bones or anything else we could find. Unfortunately, we only found Sharks, Baracuda and Rays. Towards the end, I threw a gurgler at a few sharks and had a few takes, but they missed the fly. We ended up finishing the day casting in deeper water for some more action. In an hour or two we caught a ton of fish, mostly Seatrout, Ladyfish and Jacks with a few snappers thrown in. I think I went through like 10 clousers...

    The next few days were again too windy and rough to go out anywhere, so we just did some touristy stuff.

    Finally we got a break in the weather and rented a boat again. We went out to the reef again to catch some more Yellowtails and whatever else. It ended up being pretty rough still, so we only stayed for 3-4 hours. We caught some more Yellowtails and a few good sized snappers (on gear). We spent the second half of the day on the gulf sided where it was much calmer. The wind even gave us a break and died down in the afternoon! We were looking for some Spanish Mackerel and it didn't take long to find them. The place we rented the boat from put us right on them and we were hooking up every other cast for about 3 hours. What a blast! Those fish are crazy when you first hook up. They take the fly like it was the first food they have seen in weeks and tear out in the opposite direction so fast that the 40' of line you have at your feet is gone in less than like 2 seconds. Here is one of the first ones that I got in:

    After a few of these, I quickly switched to a popper and they were all over it! I had a few that rocketed 2-3' out of the water to nail the fly! Here is a nice one that devoured the fly:

    There were other fish around too, but it was hard to keep your fly away from the Macks. Here is a little Jack that took a popper:

    Towards the end of the afternoon something bigger started circling around the back of the boat. It was tough to get a look look in the murky water, but I finally saw it clearly...a nice Cobia! It was probably about 20lbs or so. I casted the popper at it and it followed it, but rejected it at the last minute. I switched flies and waited for it to circle around again. It didn't take long for it to come back and it quickly took my fly! It tore out away from the boat only to swim right back at us just as fast, right back out and then back again getting off in the process...DAMN! Oh well, it was still a blast.

    The next day we went out in the gulf again and tried for some Seatrout and Redfish for a while. We didn't find any Redfish, but we caught some nice Seatrout, Ladyfish, some kind of Catfish, Jacks, Snappers and a small shark. For the afternoon, we went back out to catch some more Macks. We didn't find them quite as thick as before, but still got into them. Here is another one that attacked my popper:

    Some Bluefish showed up too and we caught a few of those too. Here is my first ever Bluefish (the picture is overexposed):

    After a bunch more Macks, we called it a day and headed in. Overall, it was a great trip and I definitely would want to go back again (when the weather is better...)

    Oh yeah, I also have a story about this, but I'm going to post it on the main board...
  2. nice report thanks for sharing!
  3. That is a GREAT report, complete with pics!

    There are so many cool things about fishing in saltwater. The fish are supercharged; when they're on the bite, look out! keep your toes out of the water; there are so many different species that eat baitfish/streamers, you never know what you're going to catch!

    Did you keep any of those mackerel? They are very tasty!

    Again, great report, and it's very, very cool that you got this time in with your dad. You'll remember it your whole life.

  4. Richard,
    No, we didn't keep any Mackerel. The days we went out for them were the last two days we were there and we didn't want to keep any fish. We did keep a few snappers though the first time we went out to the reef and we had a restaurant cook it up a few different ways - very good eating.
  5. what guide did you go out with?

  6. Charlie, that would be me. Bill

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