This year, we had a relatively mild winter season in the Keys, including water temps in the mid-70s and many days of light to moderate winds, resulting in some outstanding opportunities for kayak fishing. I’ve been busy with fishing charters, and thought I would share some stories from the salt about recent clients and their piscatorial successes.
First up is Paul, a young and ambitious angler who recently relocated to the Keys from Michigan. Paul had been putting in his time, studying the flats, and trying to unlock the mysteries of catching the “big three” (bonefish, permit, and tarpon) in our shallow water. He had landed a tarpon on his own, but wanted me to help him learn more and hopefully score a permit or bonefish. From our first few minutes on the water, I could tell he had excellent casting skills, and he was quite comfortable standing and poling my Jackson Cuda 14 kayak. He mainly needed help understanding where to look, and how the tides worked. The fish gods smiled on us, giving us bonefish shots on the very first flat we visited. Paul hooked a nice 5 lb. bone, but the fish came unbuttoned before we could land him. Paul’s focus didn’t waver at all, and later we got another shot at bones. Paul laid out a sweet 40-foot cast, maneuvered the jig perfectly, and scored his first bonefish ever!
Next up is Michael, who describes himself as an avid, though not necessarily highly skilled, angler. Ha! No problem. I’ve fished Michael numerous times over the past four years and he always takes instruction well and keeps improving. As a guide, that’s all you can ask. Michael loves to sight fish for sharks and barracudas in shallow water. This year, his improved casting ability really improved our catch rate, which included two monster barracudas, and 8 lemon sharks in two half-days of fishing. Nice work, Michael!
Brian hails from Ohio, and has an extensive history hunting and fishing, but had never tried the tropical salt flats, nor had he fished from a kayak. We were blessed with excellent conditions and he got to work quickly, landing his first bonefish, jumping his first tarpon, and landing several sharks, including two “big boy” lemon sharks that were close to 5 feet in length! Brian brought pinpoint casting and amazingly good eyesight to the party and had himself a day. Not bad for his first time on the flats!
Last, but certainly not least, Andrew, from the Tampa Bay area, called and asked if we could target some food fish. He had considerable kayak fishing experience and had brought his kayak with him to the Keys. We loaded up with bait and bottom rigs and hit some oceanside patch reefs. It didn’t take long before we found nonstop action, and Andrew’s fishing experience was obvious as he expertly battled snapper, grouper, sharks, and some crazy big porgies to the kayak. He sent me a great photo of the baked mutton snapper dinner he prepared for his family later that night. Mission accomplished! Andrew is heading back down this spring to try his hand at battling some big tarpon as they move in this spring.
All in all, we’ve had extremely good fishing this winter in the Lower Keys, and it only gets better as we head into warming temperatures through March, April, and May. So, if you’re here now, or if you’re up north and dreaming of being here, visit my website, ring, text, or email and let me show you what kayak fishing is all about!
Randy Morrow, Kayak Fishing Guide
Facebook - “Lower Keys Kayak Fishing”
Member - Jackson Kayak Fishing Team
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