Islamorada April Trip Help with Fishing Advice

Old 02-13-2020, 01:04 PM
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Default Islamorada April Trip Help with Fishing Advice

Hey all, Will be down with my family for spring break. Have decent bit of offshore experience both trolling and reef/bottom fishing but was looking for some advice or information on where to find reef coordinates and areas to fish. Heard about the humps for mahi and tuna but is there a site or area to look up wrecks and reefs/live bottoms to fish around so not just aimlessly roaming the ocean? In Charleston we have sites that share maps as well as forums that discuss which areas tend to hold what species etc etc. Any advice for that time of year would be greatly appreciated. Tight lines!
Old 02-14-2020, 01:11 PM
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Finding fish grounds isn't rocket science in the Keys.

For bottom fishing you will find the reef a few miles out. It runs the entire length of the island chain so you'll not miss it.

The when and how part of fishing the Keys on the other hand takes a lifetime to learn. Hire a local guide and be upfront about wanting to learn the local way. Almost all are happy to show you. Stealing the guide's locations is not cool. Don't consider it. The one thing to remember is this water is as clear as an aquarium. You have to use minimal tackle with quality bait.
Old 02-14-2020, 01:33 PM
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Katfish.. more info that I can type here. PM me and we can connect.

Short version - Tuna on the humps and Mahi on weed lines and anything floating. Mahi were late arriving last spring so not sure what April will bring this year. Fish the edge of the reef (80 feet ish), chum chum chum for yellowtail. Use plenty of 20 lbs or less floro as the water is gin clear. Float chunk bait back in the chum slick and let it sink naturally and they will hit it. Key point is to get the current and wind flowing the same direction. That will enable you to work the chum slick behind the boat but I have had luck floating baits whichever way the water flows. I always purchase a couple of frozen Bonita and bring with me which is great for bottom or YT. Search here on THT for chum recipes but it's the key to the yelllowtail bite. I have also had luck throwing my cast net off the back and catching live ballyhoo off the stern for the bottom bite. Follow some of the Islamorada Captains on Instagram and the pictures they post will give a good indication on whats biting.

Bring materials for making YT chum and plenty of frozen chum blocks which are needed in the mix and alone. Hope this helps. Oh, by a grapple style anchor and reef rig it for anchoring on reef..

Old 02-16-2020, 08:25 PM
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I'm considering a similar trip down to Hawks Cay in either early April or late May when kids get out of school. How far out are the reefs? Given good calm days, I'm looking to run my 24' bay boat out to fish with the family.
Old 02-17-2020, 09:22 AM
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The reefs generally run from around 8-10 feet out to about 4 miles in patches. After that, the depth drops from 30ish to 100 feet or over over very short distance 1/4 mile or less. Some drops are more gradual, some are very steep. Good fishing on the edge, drop and bottom of drop off. Super easy run in a bay boat if the seas are smooth. Just use good charts as there are areas where fishing and/or boat anchoring is restricted.

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