Often times we get asked, "What can I expect to catch on your backcountry charters and expeditions?" The answer to that question is what makes fishing in Islamorada and the Everglades unique, and by far, the best destination for anglers who love lots of action.
Among all the species that inhabit the waters of Florida, Tarpon are king, and can reach well over 200 pounds. They are extremely hard fighters, and spend a lot of time in the air, making for an exciting catch. The Silver King can be caught year round, but the best months range from February thru June, and September and October.
There are many different ways to target the Silver King, but regardless of what you choose it will be a fight to remember.
Fly-fishing for Tarpon, for many, is a lifetime dream, and much goes in to getting a Tarpon to the boat with a fly rod. Not only do you have to get it to eat a fly, but you must then set the hook into its boney mouth, manage to keep 100 pounds of jumping anger on the reel, bow to him as he jumps, and apply enough pressure to get him to the boat before he wears through the leader. That being said, there is nothing more thrilling than catching a giant tarpon on fly.
Tarpon can be caught in many situations on fly. They can be migrating down the ocean side of the Keys, cruising channels and flats, or laid up in quiet basins. Most days of Tarpon fishing consists of a little of all of these. Those wanting to Tarpon fish with a fly rod should be able to cast a 10, 11, and 12 weight fly rod with accuracy, and have the ability to hit 50 feet in the wind.
Tarpon use bridges as places to rest and feed as they travel thru the Keys, and can be found around the bridges year round, but spring and summer are peak months. Boats anchor near the bridges and drift crabs, mullet, and other types of bait.
The Everglades hold Tarpon that vary in size from juvenile to well over 200 pounds, and they can be found in some part of the Everglades every month of the year. During the winter and early spring when the water is warm big Tarpon will flood into the Glades out of the Gulf. When this happens it can be the most amazing fishing of the year, as the Silver Kings will congregate, and lay up in bays and corners, and will devour a well placed fly.
Another great way to target Tarpon, is by live-baiting areas that they travel thru and lay up. This can be done with crabs, or small fin baits, and is a guaranteed way to attract the Silver Kings.
Islamorada is the heart of Tarpon fishing, and fish here can be caught in many different ways. Whether you are throwing flies at fish on Buchannan Bank, or drifting crabs at Channel 2 Bridge, you will not be disappointed.
The waters around Marathon can likewise be amazing for Tarpon fishing. 7 Mile Bridge is a magnet for tarpon, and is an excellent place to target the Silver Kings with live-bait. There are great flats and points on the bay and ocean side that Tarpon can be targeted on fly as well.
Bonefish are the favorite among many anglers on the flats, and can be caught on fly, jigs, or shrimp. It is amazing how fast a bonefish can melt line off of your reel, as your heart explodes with excitement. Bonefish can be found throughout the keys, but the flats of Islamorada consistently produce some of the best. As to the best time, September and October are our favorite.
Permit are the most challenging of all fish to catch on the flats. They are incredibly spooky and will disappear with the slightest mistake by angler or guide. Permit on fly is the Holy Grail for most fishermen, and can take years for some to accomplish. Whether on fly or spin a permit in shallow water is a trophy.
Targeting permit in and off of the Everglades is a favorite of Blue Moon Expeditions. During the months of April - July, Permit are thick and make for easy targets on light tackle in and off the Everglades.
Of all the fish that inhabit the waters of Florida, Snook are one of the most amazing - they fight hard, they make long runs, and they jump. Snook can be caught on the flats of Florida Bay, the channels of Cape Sable, and the mangrove shorelines of the Everglades.
Live-baiting for Snook can be extremely exciting, and there are several different techniques for doing so, that will prove to be as exciting for the advanced angler as it is for the novice.
If you are not into live-bait, you will find that Snook are excellent targets that will eat a wide variety of lures. They can be caught on the flats, in the channels, and many other areas with the right size and color combinations.
The Everglades is the best place to target Snook on both fly and spin tackle, and they can be in many different areas of the Glades, depending on the time of year. They can be caught in tiny lakes and creeks in the mangroves, way back in the brackish water alongside largemouth bass, in the shallows in bays, and at the mouths of the rivers.
If you have never made Snook a priority, add this amazing fish to your "bucket list."
Redfish are amazing fish, and can be found throughout the Everglades and most of the Keys.
Redfish will devour live-bait anywhere they are found, and this is a great way to put fish in the boat. Redfish are very exciting to target on artificial baits as well, and many of the same lures used for bass can be used for redfish. Redfish can be targeted on the flats sight-fishing, by skipping baits under mangroves, and bouncing jigs in deeper cuts.
Tailing Reds on the flats of Florida Bay is some of the most fun you can have with a fly rod. Redfish burrow in the grassy flats, with their tails out of the water, which allows anglers to set up on them and present a fly that is usually rewarded with an eat, and a good fight.
Trout are another of the many species that are abundant in Florida Bay and the Everglades, and can be caught on a variety of tackle and by any angler. These fish also make great table fare, and put up an incredible fight on light tackle and fly.
Most people don’t realize that Grouper can be caught in shallow water in Florida Bay and the Everglades, and are one of the most exciting species to target. By dropping live-bait into a groupers home can result in a battle you won’t soon forget. Fish from 15 to 200 pounds are common.
Sharks are the ultimate predator and will devour a bait or fly. Sharks range in size from juveniles to six and seven hundred pounds, and come in many different species. These hungry fish can be chummed up, caught on spinning gear, and also make a great target on the fly.
Largemouth bass can be caught in the canals alongside peacocks, and also in the freshwater of the Everglades. Bass fishing in the Everglades is a very exciting trip, and often results in catches of Snook and occasionally juvenile tarpon.
Peacock Bass along with many other strange species can be caught in the canal systems of the Everglades and South Florida. Peacock Bass are very aggressive, and are tough fighters that make great targets on any tackle.
Having discussed only a handful of the species and destinations in Florida, its easy to see why the Florida Keys is the best place to head if you’re into non-stop action on the water.
Fishing in Islamorada and the Everglades is an anglers dream, and is by far, the best destination for anglers who love lots of action on the water.
Blue Moon Expeditions serves the angling community with packages that vary in length from half-day charters to multi-day expeditions. If you are looking to book a fishing trip, and are looking to fish with full time professional guides, call Blue Moon Expeditions. Our specialty is fly and light tackle charters in Islamorada, and the Everglades. Call us today to learn more 305-849-8254.