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Islamorada boat rental and fishing advice

Old 04-25-2015, 08:50 PM
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Default Islamorada boat rental and fishing advice

We will be taking our first fishing vacation trip to the Keys the second week in May and any advice/ideas you all may share is greatly appreciated!

Thinking about renting a boat and fishing own our own rather than chartering. We fish our 25 foot CC offshore here in NC and have plenty of gear we can bring but rather not tow the that far.

Looking for the most "bang for the bucks" so to speak. If we do two or three charters we would still be renting a smaller boat to beat around on so I was thinking we could rent a 25 foot or to do anything we may want to do and try to figure out the fishing on our own???

My son is 22 and has had his NC boaters safety certification since he was old enough to get it but does he have to pass the Florida test in order to operate a boat?

What about fishing license requirement. Coastal Rec License required?

We will be near MM73.


Again, thanks for any ideas, suggestions or recommendations!


Eddie

Last edited by WEJ206; 04-25-2015 at 09:05 PM.
Old 04-25-2015, 09:47 PM
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Try vacation boat rentals in Key Colony Beach..they will deliver to Islamorada. I have used them several times when I did not feel like hauling the boat down. Wide variety of boats from center consoles to Cats.
You will need a fishing license unless you only book charters. Available online via FWC website. Make sure you pick up a current regulations guide as well..Bags limits, sizes and closed seasons seem to change daily here is Florida.
No class required to rent a boat...However that is a noble idea especially for the ?$%& wave runners.
If the wind is not blowing good time to get offshore for some quality phins.
Old 04-26-2015, 09:32 AM
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Try tropical boat rentals in marathon they will deliver a 25 sea chaser with twin 115 yam's to you with a 5day rental.WWW tropicalboatrentals.com clean and well equipped boats. Dolphin are biting as well as the reef.

Last edited by deckape; 04-26-2015 at 01:28 PM. Reason: spelling
Old 04-26-2015, 03:57 PM
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Default tropical

X2 on Tropical boat rentals.
Old 04-26-2015, 04:02 PM
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Islamorada Marina rents newer model boats. MM 80.5 Bayside…

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Old 04-27-2015, 03:25 AM
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Call Brad at Islamorada watersports /Seven water sports. He will hook you up with anything you need and you won't find a nicer guy. 305-664-2463 . Tell him Jeff P sent you.

Also...I highly recommend hiring a guide/capt at least on your first day out. You will learn much more than you could learn in many trips on your own. It will most likely be the difference in catching fish or not. We have tons of great fish here in the Keys but if you don't know how to catch them you have to rely a lot more on luck. I totally understand the drive to do things yourself because I am very much like that. It annoys my wife because I try to do everything. But it will save you money in the long run and you will have a cooler full of fish and lots of good pictures. Plus you'll learn enough to go and do it yourself and seriously increase your chances. There are just so many little%2
Old 05-01-2015, 05:45 AM
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Sorry to ask my own question on this thread. How is the fishing on the bay side? Yellow tail and mangroves? Bringing the skiff down 2nd week of june and plan to fish a little. Dolphin a possibility on a calm day on atlantic side from a skiff? Any tips appreciated.
Old 05-01-2015, 06:19 AM
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You'll have to go out on the Oceanside and hit the patch reefs or the main reef line to get the yellowtails. Mangroves can be found all over the bayside. Find a cut like a channel or the west side of one of the smaller keys and put out some chum. The mangroves will be all over you If you want bigger ones use pilchards.

You can get dolphin from a skiff but you'll have to play the weather. It is very common during the summer. You don't have the freeboard to get out of trouble so don't overload yourself. There are lots of boats out so you'll never be too far from help.
Old 05-01-2015, 10:53 AM
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Good info on rental boat already. I would really really get a guide for at least one day, I'm confident this will save you 5x the cost in bait, gas, and time. I fish out of Florida only 2 hours up the coast from Isla and hiring a guide the first day or two was invaluable to me. IMO
Old 05-01-2015, 05:30 PM
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WEJ

I'm with ya on striking your own path with a rental boat. But I have to agree on the guide advice. I've fished FL my whole life including every summer in the Keys. I was surprised at how much I learned from the professionals at Bud-N-Mary's. They're world class. My favorite is George on 'The Real McCoy'.

I've got a house at MM 74. Easy options with a rental boat close to you are
1) Channel Two bridge cut. Put a live shrimp on the bottom within 50 yds of either side of the bridge and you'll have some fun. Got to time the tides as you'll need to fish within an hour around the slacks. Otherwise hard to keep a bait on the bottom with all the current. Channel two is excellent for tarpon this time of year at dusk/shortly after. You'll need live mullet/greenies (whatever's running).
2) Head out 6 miles to the reef (Hens and Chickens) with a few blocks of chum and frozen squid/shrimp. You'll find the yellowtails there along with other stuff.
3) A little further off (after the drop off) you might find some birds under which will be dolphin. They'll hit most stuff. Small high speed artificial trolling baid (yellow/green/pink) is easy and usually does the trick.

Be careful though. Navagating the Keys is difficult, especially in low light. Gotta watch for the myriad of flats and cuts. Also, the current under the bridges can be dangerous if you're not familiar with it. A good pair of polarized sunglasses is invaluable seeing the depth changes in better light. Otherwise, pay close attention to the GPS chart.

Have fun!
Old 05-02-2015, 06:33 PM
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capnredfish,

Ask all the questions you want. I need all the help I can get!


alreadythere,

Thanks! That is great info. We are staying at MM74.5 (Bay Harbour Condo). What size boat would be best to rent for all around use? If I want to get out to the mahi and blackfin should I go up to 25' twin. Like I said I fish my 20 and 25 CC here in NC have to run 40 miles on average to the fish. From what info I gotten and researched I am thinking if we could fish the reef a little and get offshore to troll and jig a day or two that would satisfy our fishing itch.

Thanks again.
Old 05-02-2015, 08:12 PM
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OK Gotcha WEJ. Offshore fishing.

So I ran a 25CC with twins on most days and an 18' flats boat out there on some. This weekend in FL 5-7', I wouldn't be comfortable in either (you know how that goes). If I were you heading out 25 miles in a rental boat, I'd be looking for 25'ish with twins and outriggers. I've never rented down there so I'd go with other poster's suggestions.

If you're looking for blackfins, the Islamorada hump is the most predictable. It's a 25 mi run ENE (coordinates available online). Personally, 4-6 inch yellow or white bucktail/feather lead head jigs work well trolled around 10MPH. Of course you can also drift live bait. The best spot is a place across the canal from you. They sell crabs/lobsters/live bait. Otherwise, Caloosa Cove a little south of you probably has some.

For dolphin, I head straight offshore (SE) until I hit the gulf stream (usually about 25 mi off) find a nice rip or weed line. Even at that, I usually don't put in baits but run down it until I see birds. I'm typically runnin-n-gunnin down there. It's a lot of water to cover but this time of year there are lots of schools of dolphin/birds. Again, you can troll ballyhoo or even slower, live bait, but I prefer to cover some water with artificials.

Good luck!
Old 05-03-2015, 01:35 PM
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Since you'll be a little farther south anyway I recommend the West hump if you want tuna. The blackfins are more predictable and are generally bigger. If you take a well full of pilchards you'll whack them.

Dolphin advice similar to above. Just head past the reef until you find a reason to fish. Look for birds, color/temp changes, rips, weeds, debris, etc. There are a lot of them right now if you can find them. The problem is that you can miss them by 20 yards and if you don't cross paths then neither you nor the fish will ever know the other was there. That is where having a guide comes in. He will teach you first where to look, second what to look for, and third what to do when you find them.
Old 05-05-2015, 03:50 AM
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I think we are leaning towards leaving the boat at home. We figured fishing one day is not worth bringing it. This is our first family trip to the keys, so thats what this trip is about. Only four whole days. It would get us there quicker and home faster and less chance to break down. Maximize our first real family vaca time.
Old 05-05-2015, 07:32 AM
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@AlreadyThere...thast some great advice. Thanks! Im heaed to Isla this coming weekend and that answered my questions without even asking.
Old 05-05-2015, 05:46 PM
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Thanks Already and Capt JP!

JP I will send you a PM. I am ready to head your way!!! Leaving Thursday after work.
Old 05-05-2015, 06:05 PM
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No problem fellas.

Glad to see you hooked up with a professional WEJ. Learn a bunch and have fun!
Old 05-05-2015, 07:26 PM
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Thanks Already and Capt JP!

JP I will send you a PM. I am ready to head your way!!! Leaving Thursday after work.
Old 05-18-2015, 03:52 PM
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WEJ, so how did it go?

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