Southbound (florida)
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Thread: Southbound (florida)

  1. #1
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    Smile Southbound (florida)

    Got some cheap flight to Palm Beach for early March. I am planning on carrying some yaks down thanks to my dad's college buddy who has a folding kayak company he designed and started. (Foldingboatcompany is the name. Used then down there before, not the best in heavy wind or geared specifically for fishing but they have done the ticket in the past and are an easy transport, setup, and are surprisingly pretty good on the water.)

    The game plan is to fish the way down to the Everglades and maybe hit the upper keys. I've spoken to a few friends and have pinned a few locations to tarpon fish from the bank at night and give peacock a try during the ride south but was wondering if anyone had any other recommendations for places to try on the way south.

    Also would appreciate any recommended guide and am open to any type of fishing but would prefer gulfside and backcountry over offshore.

    any other recommendations or advice would be appreciated about locations good for paddle fishing (ie guarded against the wind due to our yak tracking). Plan to probably fish Coots Bay and the flamingo area and considering hiking in with the yaks to snake bite but see how many margaritas I have the night before.

    Hopefully, the wind will cooperate in March but feel I've jinxed my self by just thinking about it...

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    I was just down about two weeks ago.
    We fished for 8 days. The first four were cold and a bit rainy. Highs were about 60. The cold weather turned off the peacocks, we fished fir the peacocks for one day and only landed 5, the biggest was 5 pounds.
    The largemouth were already on the beds, my biggest largemouth was 8 lbs. She hit a lizard thrown in her bed, the buck was about 3 pounds.

    We caught plenty of Oscar's, tilapia, midas and mayans.

    For easy access to miles of water for great peacock, check out the access behind The Falls Shopping Center. It is hidden, but a great spot.

    Most of our t in me was spent in the salt.

    We limited out every day of mangroves, yellowtail, jolthead porgy, etc.
    Grouper are closed, but we landed about 20. All were caught in 45 feet.

    Cuda were everywhere and provided non stop action.
    Redfish and snook were around, but scattered.

    The larger tarpon would not play.

    Inshore water temp was 64,
    4 miles off, surface temp was was 73.4


    Go down to islamorada, indian key boat access. Perfect for kayaks.

    On a good day, paddle toward the lighthouse and hit the patch reefs
    The tarpon were
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  4. #3
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    Click image for larger version.

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    2 hour bottom trip
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  6. #4
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    Click image for larger version.

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    Haha, they bite
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  7. #5
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    Thanks brotha,

    Michael_cb_125 good to hear on the multi-freshwater species and thanks for the mall info! I'm not too worried about making meat run b/c of limited time and flying in and out.

    What kinda baits/lures were you using? My game plan was some jigs, soft plastics, some raphalas and mirrodines, and probably grab some shrimp or big mullet. Not to keyed in on the freshwater species but assume it's your typical bass stuff and topwaters.

  8. #6
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    That is a tempting cooler though. nice catch!

  9. #7
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    Holly Springs & Oriental, NC
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    Matlacha, Pine Island area is one of the best Gulf side areas for kayak fishing in FL. Placida and Burnt Store have good kayak access for some good fishing in Charlotte Harbor. Estero Bay and the Thousand Island area. Everglades City and Flamingo are access points for the park.

    I have fished Capt Gregg McKee out of Matlacha for years, great guy, at the very least he can help you with some local knowledge.

    Www.fishinfranks.com has one of the best fishing report pages for a multitude of areas.

    Islamorada is a great area, but kayaking will be tough with the currents and back country is a long haul. Using a mothership would be necessary.
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  10. #8
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    For the freshwater, anything that mimics a baitfish for the peacocks, As adults they feed almost exclusively on fish.
    Also remember that most of the freshwater canals in SFL hold good amounts of snook and tarpon. I have seen some very large 30+ pound snook in canals that are narrower than the fish are long. The freshwater tarpon will generally be juveniles up to 50lbs.

    There is one canal that I fish, that regularly catch snook, tarpon, jacks, cudas, mangrove snapper and mullet right alongside bowfin, peacocks, largemouth and gar. I have checked salinity, and have never detected any (using a digital refractometer).

    The snook and tarpon will respond best a night and to LIVE shrimp.


    In the salt, we were using vertical jigs and live shrimp.

    Best thing about south FL is how cheap live shrimp are, anywhere from 1.99 to 3.99 a dozen. While we were down, we were going through 10-20 dozen per day. Usually gone before lunch then we would switch to artificial.


    I don't how far you are comfortable paddling, but there are some pretty close patch reefs right near the indian key boat launch.
    While we were down, there was little to no current all the way to the lighthouse. We were drifting while bottom fishing, and our lines were vertical.

    ~Michael
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  11. #9
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    Thanks again for the responses!

    NCTribute, Thanks for the advice on the Gulf, I'm thinking of mostly traveling down south on the east coast and then fishing the gulf from flamingo or Key Largo, Islamorada and was looking more for info in those areas for the Gulf. This is mainly due to limited fishing time and drives time, I had the opportunity to fly to Ft. Myers for a similar price but opted for Palm Beach International. Not too sure why I made this choice because I did some extensive research in the Ten Thousand Island area and it looked awesome and also have a buddy with family in the Boca Grande area and only hear great things.
    I will probably be fishing out of Flamingo or some of the launches along the Main Park Road. then head down to the upper keys and end up near Islamorada, I've also heard a lot of good things about this Key.
    I'll definitely give Capt. Mckee a call if i decide to make the trek over in his area but probably wont be making it that way. Thanks for the contact though!

    Micheal, Thanks for the bait info, I did a lot of research a few months ago when I purchased my tickets and now remember the peacocks don't care for worms which is fine by me.
    I didn't realize that the freshwater areas held the tarpon and snook that well, I'm familiar with the salt to fresh transition in NC as my dad lives up Queens Creek in Hubert, but it sounds a little more extreme in Florida, awesome! I've been meaning to pick up a refractometer from amazon, what kind do you have and does its range span all the waters you fish?
    The quantity of shrimp was a good piece of information, I wouldn't have suspected using that many as I rarely bait fish accept with finger mullet.
    I am skeptical I will be venturing to the reefs, I would be comfortable doing it in a more fishable kayak given the right conditions. I've done plenty of double-digit mile paddles inshore but don't think my collapsable kayaks will be as easy to navigate that much open water. It's not that far though so I will definitely put it on the list with the correct conditions. Did you go past the Indian key or fish the areas between the main keys and Indian?

  12. #10
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    I have also read some about flats fishing heating up in March, the beginning of spring. Is this mostly in the lower keys in early March or will this also pertain to the upper keys and southern Florida?

  13. #11
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    I fish with Capt Pete Rowney in Islamorada for tarpon and backcountry, he is very dialed in on the backcountry, but like I said before having fished that area a kayak would be tough, flats boat is the way to go. Picture of the snook my brother got last spring on a fly.
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  14. #12
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    Most of the shrimp were destined to be crunched on by porgies. The magroves and other snappers readily hit yellowtail jigs with 3" gulp curly tail mullet.

    The porgies that we were after are more like sheepshead and prefer shellfish.

    ~Michael
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  15. #13
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    NCTribute, right on! I'll be calling Capt. Rowney soon and see if we cant set up a trip while I'm down there. And I hear you loud and clear on the yak. mostly planning to kayak mangrove near channels in the keys and then from flamingo/ the bays along the main park road in the EvergladeNP. That a nice looking snook! and it looks like a toothy critter thought it looked like a nice meal.

    Michael, gotta love those porgies, delicious! I usually bottom bump with squid and might give that a shot while I'm down there and see if it makes a hardier porgie bait than shrimp.

    Thanks again for the insight brothas!

  16. #14
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    We always take squid. But our big porgies come from the live shrimp.
    But you are right, not a super hardy bottom fishing bait, and we go through a crap ton of em.
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  17. #15
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    Address for access behind the Falls shopping Center is 13569 SW 92nd Ave Miami Fl
    To have the best success with Peacocks shiners are the ticket.
    For artificial baits We have the most success with jerk baits
    Peacock guide that will fish these same waters Scott Rose fishing. 914.588.6360
    Lake Ida and the canals that feed it in Delray Beach have a good population of peacocks Bass and the only place in the US to catch Clown knife fish

    Tarpon guide Jeff Maggio in Ft Lauderdale Lunkerdog.com

    Bass fishing the everglades Shane Procell https://floridaevergladesbassfishingadventures.com/
    Scott..AKA Chicken Wing Man... RED X ANGLER...Father of ZachFishSlayer...2008 Cobia 19 Bay 115 yamaha...Jackson Cuda 12...1966 Crosby Sled 1997 15 HP Johnson

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