Types of Kayak Fishing Available in the Lower Keys
Fishing from a kayak in the Lower Keys is inshore, shallow-water fishing. Because the Keys sit on a wide, shallow shelf, the closest deep water (meaning deeper than 20 feet or so) is about 6 miles out, and out of reach for a standard 5 hour trip in a kayak. Blue water fish like mahi-mahi, tuna, wahoo, sailfish, etc., are best pursued from a power boat and I’m happy to recommend a few charter captains for you to pursue these species.
Sight Fishing / Flats Fishing (solo kayak)
This is the most challenging (and potentially the most rewarding) type of fishing trip I offer. Using our paddles and push poles, we will stalk the flats while standing in the kayaks. We’ll do some “normal” paddling while in transit from one spot to the next, but the majority of our time will spent standing and looking through the water as we slowly survey the scene around us. This is more akin to hunting than fishing, and frankly, it’s not for everybody. You’ll need to be as silent and observant as possible, and ready to make an accurate cast at a moving target in just a few seconds. Bass fisherman who are used to flinging lures to and fro all day will need to make a big adjustment to get the hang of fishing the saltwater flats in this style. However, if you’ve fished the salt from a flats skiff before, this game will be quite familiar, yet much more intimate. Bonefish, barracuda, jacks, sharks, redfish, tarpon, permit and more can be sighted, cast to, and fought from the standing position in a kayak, believe it or not! If you have little or no experience standing and poling in small watercraft, then taking a class with me ahead of time is a wise investment of time and money. I’ve developed techniques to keep you upright and maximize your chances for success and will gladly show them to you, but for most people it takes a little practice. A personalized class with me is a low pressure way to shorten the learning curve. Instruction is $60 per hour, minimum 2 hours.
Sight Fishing / Flats Fishing (tandem kayak)
Similar to above, except that we’ll both be in one kayak. While in transit, we’ll paddle together. But once we’re in a “fishy” area, you’ll set the paddle down and I’ll take the helm from the rear seat of our two person kayak. This leaves positioning of the boat to me and your hands are free for quicker casting. This set up is GREAT for fly fisher folk who have to manage all that line. It’s also good for folks with mobility issues. And it helps you spot fish better, since you’ll be seeing things from a perspective and orientation similar to mine. I’ll literally point to the fish for you.
This is enjoyable fishing for novice and expert alike. We’ll anchor the yaks in selected spots and put live or frozen baits near the bottom, or throw lures I’ve picked for the specific scenario at hand. Usually this generates a lot of rod bending in short order. Also, this is where you can “bring home the bacon” (i.e., fish dinner). Most of the inshore species of snapper, grouper, porgy, speckled seatrout, mackerel, grunt, redfish, and more are excellent on the dinner table. We’ll target channels, tidal creek mouths, bottom structure, patch reefs, and bridge pilings.
Do It Yourself Consultation
For many (including me), part of the attraction of kayak fishing is the solitude. For others, it’s simple economics - kayak fishing is a cheap way to catch some nice fish. And for others, it’s the sense of personal accomplishment, the challenge of doing it on your own, without guides, motors and sophisticated electronics, that provides the primary attraction. Yet the Keys’ archipelago doesn’t give up her secrets easily. The tides here are complex. The fishing has seasons. It’s a challenging fishery, and can be quite frustrating to the uninitiated. If you’d like some help, but don’t want to hire me for a charter, let’s do a consultation. We’ll sit down over coffee or lunch and talk about anything you’d like - species, tackle and rigging, tides, water temps, areas to fish, etc. My rate is $60 per hour. Bring something to take notes, and maybe a chart of the area. A map on your smartphone is also helpful.
Kayak Fishing Guide
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Kayak fishing in Key West and the lower Florida Keys