View Full Version : Islamorada Backcountry/Flats Report

11-25-2006, 08:18 PM
Hello once again from the Florida Keys. It's been a couple of weeks since my last post, so here's the skinny. For one thing, the weather. Our nice span of warm, calm conditions last week turned to cold and windy in a heartbeat. I guess all of you Northerners brought your Thanksgiving weather with you. A lot of travelling anglers don't fully appreciate what "cold" is down here. While it may seem balmy to you, if you happen to notice that your guide is wearing multiple layers, pants and windblock fleece, it is a sure sign that it is "Florida cold". Unfortunately, fish don't simply put on fleece when the mercury drops. Their habits change according to their comfort level. Sometimes fish will stack up in holes and the fishing can be stupid. Othertimes, their temperature threshold is crossed and they get lockjaw. We're coming into winter and this becomes the norm. For you travelling anglers, understand there are times when winter fishing can be tough, if not downright impossible for some species- even with bait. The key is to adapt. Take today for example. With water temps just hovering above 60 degrees this morning and a good 15 knots of wind, I persuaded my angler to put his dreams of a bonefish on hold until more favorable conditions. We headed into the backcountry, passing the flats that had had tailing redfish a few days before but a ghosttown now with water temps also in the low 60's. A nice, deep island moat provided sanctuary for the reds seeking warmer, more consistent water temps and the result was more fish than we could count. While they were all small, they were a blast and more importantly, turned a potential no-fish day into a memorable one. Enough blabbing, here's the fishing. The redfish and snook bite still remains hot. While most of these fish are small, the cool temps of late mean that once you find them, you've found them. Like all of them. The trout bite continues to improve. The spanish mackerel are just starting to fire up. Most of the fish to date have been on the small side but a few nice ones 5-6 lbs have been in the mix. It's only going to get better. The cold hammer put the stop on most of the tarpon fishing. There are always a few around but it's that time of year again. Permit- forget about it. Bonefishing was good until the cold snap. You can forget about mornings. Afternoons have been best with the warmer water temps. Thankfully, we're coming back to norm this week with temps in the 80's. A couple of days of that and I'll forget that I've even written this. Until next time. -Pete