LOBSTER MINI SEASON

The Lobster Mini Season is one of the most popular times of the year for a Florida Keys vacation. As such, it's never too early to book your stay. Hotels and rental homes book fast, sometimes years in advance, so book early, or miss out. 

For the adventure minded traveller, who happens to enjoy great accommodations, and gourmet meals, Blue Moon Expeditions has the vacation for you. As the exclusive mother-ship operation in the Florida Keys, Blue Moon Expeditions offers all inclusive vacation packages, and can put you where the action is. 

The two day spiny lobster sport season is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. It begins at 12:01 am on the last Wednesday in July and ends at 12:00 midnight on the last Thursday in July.  The bag limits are 6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida.  The possession limit on the water is equal to the daily bag limit, and off the water is equal to the daily bag limit on the first day, and double the daily bag limit on the second day.  Possession limits are enforced on and off the water. Spiny lobster has a minimum size limit that must be larger than 3" carapace, measured in the water.  A reminder that possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times, and night diving is prohibited in Monroe County (only during the sport season). A recreational saltwater license and a crawfish permit are needed for harvest.

Regular spiny lobster season is ALWAYS August 6 through March 31. The bag limit is 6 per person per day. Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season.  Harvest is also prohibited during both the 2-day sport season and regular season in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Call (305) 743-2437 or visit www.fknms.nos.noaa.gov for information about no take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Please call the MarathonLaw Enforcement office at (305) 289-2320 for more lobster harvesting regulations for Monroe County.

 

TARPON FISHING TIPS

I generally plan my tarpon fishing around both the New Moon and the Full Moon Tides. Generally starting the day before either the new or the full through 3 days after, will give the biggest push of tides to bring the tarpon in to the shallow flats. Of course the weather is an important factor to having good tarpon fishing, probably more so than most other kinds of flats fishing. You would like the water temperatures to be between 75° and 85° plus or minus a few degrees, with little or no wind and of course you'd like to have good visibility (sunshine) in order to see the fish.

I have caught many 100 pound plus tarpon on a fly every month of the year. It is much easier to do that if you live in the area and can pick the proper weather and tide days.

That being said, the last moon tide in March and or the first moon tide in April are 2 of my favorite times of the year to fish for tarpon in the lower Florida Keys. The 2nd moon tide in April, also May and early June would be my choice in the Islamorada area.

For more information on tarpon fishing in the Everglades and Florida Keys, contact Blue Moon Expeditions at 305-849-8254.

TARGETING TARPON

Sometimes the day following a fantastic day of fishing, you can go back to the same area, on the same tides with great weather conditions, and not find a single tarpon.

That is why it’s so important to have all of your tackle rigged. And understand that when you get to a particular flat; the person that takes you there expects to find fish there. I have fished countless days for tarpon without casting on even one. On the other hand, I have had quite a number of days that landed as many as seven big tarpon in a day.

In order to have your best chance of catching a trophy tarpon you’ll have to pay, one way or the other. Pay your dues by spending countless days of hunting these critters, keeping good notes on moon phases, time of the tides in each spot that you encounter them, and studying their habits in general. Certainly not something that happens quickly! Or pay to hire a good guide, who has been studying tarpon for years. This certainly is my recommendation. That is why I spend at least 3 or 4 weeks each year on a great expedition with Blue Moon Expeditions in order to be in the tarpon’s backyard when they’re there. 

But if you have the time and inclination to do this on your own, the following information should be helpful.

I have caught many 100 pound plus tarpon on a fly, every month of the year. It seems as though some of the requirements for big tarpon to come on to the flats are water temperature between 74 and 88°, depending on the time of year. A big push of water, that you would get from either the new moon or the full moon tides, and a light or no wind condition.

All of this is great, especially, if you live in the Florida Keys and can pick the days to go when all of this comes together. But, if you only have a few days or even weeks to come to the Florida Keys in search of big tarpon, everything else being equal, wind, tides etc., the best months should be April, May and June.

If you find it necessary, whatever your reasons, to come to the Florida Keys during the winter months, and happen to have the proper conditions for tarpon to be on the flats, try and select a time late in the afternoon where tarpon might be. The reason for this, is the water would be warmer later in the afternoon, than it would be in the morning. In retrospect, if you are down in the Florida Keys during the summer months, July, August, September then your best fishing will be from the first light until about 10: 30 in the morning, and again the last couple of hours before sundown. This of course is another reason to be on board with the Blue Moon Expeditions floating resort. You can be on the fish at first dawn or right at sundown, because you will be close to home and not have to worry about a long ride back to the dock in the dark. 

Contact Blue Moon Expeditions today, and book a world-class charter.

EVERGLADES VACATION

A wonderful way to have a wilderness fishing vacation for a couple of days or a week is to escape to Flamingo, or the Ten Thousand Islands area of the Florida Everglades.

This isolated tip of the Florida Peninsula is one of the truly uncharted wilderness areas left in the country, a primeval place that time forgot and man has not yet paved over.

There are no roads; only the 99 mile long Wilderness Waterway, plus countless other miles of bays, bends, creeks, coves and inlets that have exotic names like Lostman's River, Alligator Bay, Shark Point, Graveyard Creek and Gunboat Island. This strange world of half land, half water is still the home of the alligator, and the crocodile, the almost extinct Florida Panther, deer, feral hogs and raccoons with birds in unimaginable numbers and denizens large and small, innocent and threatening. But most of all, it is the home of some of the finest fishing in the world; of line- busting snook, redfish, trout and giant tarpon in quantities to boggle the eye and the imagination.

You may start this wilderness adventure via a trip aboard The Floating Luxury Lodge, La Casa Marquesas, with Blue Moon Expeditions. And if you want to fish the areas near Everglades City or Chokoloskee or the Flamingo Shark River area, including Whitewater Bay, they do it all at various times of the year. Living on board the Marquesas eliminates the long uncomfortable boat rides to and from some of the prime fishing grounds. So here is an opportunity to join me on any number of these Blue Moon Expeditions to a variety of outstanding fishing spots.

Contact Blue Moon Expeditions by email at info@bluemoonexpeditions.com or by phone at 1-800-518-9124 or 1-305-849-8254.

EVERGLADES FISHING GUIDES

Our Everglades fishing captains offer you a variety of options when it comes to choosing your Glades fishing adventure. Your captain would pick you up in Flamingo, or Islamorada.

Flamingo is at the southern tip of Florida where we can launch into Florida Bay or into the backcountry. The Florida Bay side holds excellent redfishing on flats in Snake, Garfield and Rankin bights. This also gives access to all of Florida Bay and the beaches of Cape Sable, which both hold excellent redfish, snook, trout and tarpon.

Leaving from Islamorada requires a run across Florida Bay. The fishing is excellent around Flamingo, Cape Sable and up the west coast of the Glades. This usually requires the longest run but is in mostly sheltered waters. The boats we run in the Glades are flats boats and can accommodate live bait fishing, conventional and spin gear fishing as well as fly fishing.

Our Everglades fishing captains love these areas because of the no motor zones where you are required to remove the motor from the transom of your boat and pole or paddle.

Fishing the Everglades is a great option for those wanting an extremely remote experience and a true fishing expedition. The fish in the Glades see very little to no pressure, and are very willing to eat.

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FLORIDA KEYS VACATION

Summer is a great time to hit the water with Blue Moon Expeditions.

Load up the family and head to the Keys. From there you will rendezvous with the Blue Moon team, and after a run across the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, will arrive at the mother-ship.

Clients enjoy an all inclusive expedition, that includes accommodations aboard the mother-ship, gourmet meals, fully guided charters, snorkeling, kayaking, and eco adventures.

For a limited time, we are offering a 10% discount on all summer expeditions.

Call today 800-518-9124 or 305-849-8254.

YELLOWFIN 24

By Capt. Shafter Johnston 

January 28,2013

I had the chance to fish a Yellowfin 24 Bay boat for a couple days in the everglades. The boat was outfitted with a 300 Mercury Verado, twin 10 foot PowerPole Blades, a 101 lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor, and Simrad electronics. 

I have fished and guided out of quite a few diferent bay boat models bulit by several different companies but I have to say that this was the most impressive by far. 

Aside from its killer looks the boat performs flawlessly. The boat is incredibly fast when neccessary but more important to me and most guides is that it is very fuel efficient. 

I have ran Rich Tudor's 24 with a T-top and upper station and really liked it but I would just keep a standard console and no top if I ordered one myself. 

When the trolling motor is used properly the boat is very quiet and will allow you to effectively target everything but the ultra shallow tailing bones or redfish. 

This boat had 2 large livewells that allows you to separate your baits if you like. We blacked one out with pilchards and they stayed lively all day until we used the last ones to fish off the mothership after dinner. 

The Simrad unit controlled everything on the boat and made everything extremely simple to operate. A big stereo helped to keep me pumped up as we ran from spot to spot. 

The most Impressive thing about the boat was how quiet everything was. The hatches were completely silent. You can walk to the back of the boat to grab another bait and not hear a creak. The hatches are the quietest I have ever seen. Even when running the boat there is not a rattle or sound in the boat. 

The quietness and quality of components and materials make this an unbelievably well built and exceptional performing boat. 

STU APTE'S PASSION

STU'S PASSION

By: Stu Apte May 14, 2014

People that know me know that fishing has always been the greatest thing in my life. In fact, it is my life because I am a professional fisherman. I am never happier than when I have my fly rod in hand and I am prospecting the Florida Keys Flats for tarpon.

The light tackle bug bit me at the tender young age of 12, when I acquired an old split-bamboo casting rod and fresh water, Shakespeare plug-casting reel. With that rig, I landed my first tarpon, a 15 pounder. A few years later, I earned enough money for my first fly rod, and I was hooked for keeps.

Homer Rhode Jr., then a game warden and noted fly fisherman taught me how to tie saltwater flies and in 1948, I caught my first tarpon on one. A year later I landed my first really big tarpon, a 96 ½ pounder, while using a  Heddon-Pal tubular steel 5 ½ foot rod and a Pflueger Akron reel with 15 pound test black nylon line, fishing from the beach at Big Marco Pass. It seemed as if I always had a fishing rod of some kind in my hands in those days. Now let’s advance the clock...

The month was April. The year was 1962 and I was a fishing guide in the Lower Florida Keys. For the past hour my customer, Ray D. had been hooked to a large tarpon we both wanted badly. I knew this fish would be a contender for the all-time fly rod record in the Metropolitan Miami Fishing Tournament. Ray was fishing with a new type glass fly rod, and this was definitely not the time for experimenting. He was a top-notch fly fisherman and a fantastic person. I wasn’t really worried about losing that tarpon.

The morning was flat calm as we neared the area and spotted the first school of about 30 tarpon circling on the surface in a daisy chain. As I poled near the school, he made his cast just to the outside of the circle, so that on the retrieved, his fly would move in the same direction as the fish, in order not to alarm them. The tarpon took the fly eagerly, but all of the floating grass and seaweed that came in with the tide was getting on the fly line, making the fight a difficult one. Finally, the moment of truth was at hand.

When it comes time to land a big tarpon or any big fish it is important to have a rod with sufficient butt strength to lift its head to the surface. I was ready with the gaff and Ray was working the fish into position. Just as I made my move, Ray exerted a bit more pressure than the thin-walled fiberglass rod had to offer and it literally exploded into 6 pieces just as I struck the tarpon. I had gaffed that fish at the same instant the rod came apart.

The Met tournament, and IGFA rules states that a broken rod disqualifies the catch. Did the rod break before or after the fish had been legally caught? Being the sportsmen my client was, he refused to claim the fishing even though it weighed 128 pounds, 3 pounds heavier than the Met record at that time.

Ray was awarded the Philip Wylie Tough Luck Trophy.

                                          

FISHING FLORIDA BAY

Florida Bay fishing trips allow the avid angler to experience a variety of fishing in its shallow basins and surrounding flats. Spend time in the north end to fish for redfish and snook, or run south towards Islamorada for excellent tarpon, bonefish and permit fishing. Florida Bay fishing trips are also an excellent option to target grouper, tripletail, cobia, and snapper.

ISLAMORADA FLATS FISHING

The flats of Islamorada offers some of the best tarpon fishing in the world. Anglers are afforded the opportunity to pursue tarpon, bonefish, permit and a variety of other Keys gamefish in both the flats and the backcountry that surrounds Islamorada. Islamorada flats fishing allows the angler to experience some of the greatest fly and light tackle fishing just minutes from the dock.

FISHING FLORIDA EVERGLADES

Everglades fishing trips offer year round fishing in some of the most remote waters of the United States. Tarpon are laid up in the Glades all year, but early spring and late winter are a fly fisherman’s dream, along with redfish, and snook. Everglades fishing trips are ideal for those wanting an angling adventure in some of the most productive waters of North America.

MAVERICK BOATS

With increased pressure, fish have become highly educated. The slightest flaw in a boat’s design can blow your chances! With this in mind, we fish boats like the Maverick Flats Boat 17′ that are shallow and silent, yet still get you to the fish comfortably.

The 17 HPX-V is a revolutionary skiff designed for the most dedicated shallow water anglers. It poles quieter than any other boat in its class. All of our 17 skiffs are outfitted with brand new 70 HP Yamaha fourstokes.

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