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So, recently I’ve made a few trips down to the FL Keys to continue to get to know an area that just sits well with my kayak fishing soul!  I mean, how could it not with TONS of shallow water , warm weather, birds and wildlife and loads of “flats” species of fish that make the kayak a great tool to fish there?  I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided to team up with Parmer’s Resort, Lower Keys Kayak Fishing, Z-MAN baits, and Sperry shoes to begin another sweepstakes where someone is going to win a trip for 4 down in the Keys to take a trip of a lifetime with me!  If you’re interested in joining me and want to win the package that is worth more than $3000 then just click here –

However, just because it is a trip of a lifetime doesn’t mean it won’t take some hard work to catch even just one challenging Keys fish.  You can’t just blindly go down to the Keys and think you’re going to do well because it is the most complex fishery we have in the US.  It is the ONLY place where you have two oceans tidally colliding which makes it near impossible to predict without a considerable amount of experience in the Keys.  Of course its challenges are what make it special all at the same time.  Fortunately for me (and you) one of our Jackson Kayak Fishing Team members, Randy Morrow, of Lower Keys Kayak Fishing, has done the most difficult task of putting 7 years on the water down there to figure out the tides, the fish, their feeding habits and how and where to launch to catch the tide right and hopefully catch some fish!   You can certainly try to catch fish on your own in the Keys but the time you’d need to spend down there to get brought up to speed, the way Randy already is, would be more time than you have to stay there unless you quit your job!  Which, by the way is tempting when you do get down there and start to catch the “keys disease,” as they call it.

The trophy species to target are Permit, Bonefish and Tarpon, but other species that roam the flats make for fun fishing in between.  We catch big Jacks, sharks, big barracuda and the Keys redfish, which feel like a different species all together in the Keys.  They get real white and in the clear water they are a fun fish to target, especially when you’re a beginner and are just learning how to stand and sight fish to different species. However, as you can see in this video, it can be well worth it just for one or two special bites!

My Jackson boat of choice in the Keys is the Cuda 14 due to the unpredictability of the wind down there, but I have used the Cuda 12 and Big Tuna (especially for live baits) with success am starting to fall in love with the new SUPerFISHal as a good Keys boat for those trips where we don’t have to paddle too far – although I did put 13 miles on the SUPerFISHal in one day down in the Keys!

We finally found the perfect place to stay while down there – Parmer’s Resort, which is great for the kayak angler crowd and the family (plus they give “kayak angler” discounts!).  The resort is located right on the water, has a pool and other common ammenities as well as great area to store kayaks and hoses to even rinse of your rods/reels after a long day of getting them blasted in salt water.  They also boast several types of lodging for multiple size groups.  Some units have kitchens which make your stay there a little easier on the wallet since you can cook as a group!  Another thing we like about staying at Parmer’s is that it is down in the lower keys which boasts the best fishing in the area and close to Randy who knows where to go, and when.  Also, it is just a couple minutes from Big Pine Key where you can find all the creature comforts you’ll need, such as grocery, hardware stores, pharmacies and plenty of restaurants.  Key West is also just a 30 minute ride down the road and of course there are all sorts of other things to do there, including visiting the southern most point in the US.  If you do end up making a trip to Parmers to do a little kayak fishing and vacationing with the family there are certainly plenty of things to do including snorkeling, scuba, boat rides, parasailing, sight seeing, swimming, and just chillin by the pool or at the beach. Randy actually spends a good deal of time in Key West himself, but not for fishing.  At night he trades in his fishing rods, for the shorter, wooden drum sticks!  Yes, our kayak fishing expert in the Keys is a well known local drummer Morrow for several different bands that rock the popular live music scene in Key West every night.

Each time I go I learn so much more and have a blast just standing and paddling/poling around in the blue waters that the Keys offer.  Even when the fish aren’t around it is hard to have abad time in such a scenic and comfortable environment.  I like to go down there any time between October and May, and especially when it is very cold further north.  The temp in the Keys will most always be at least in the 70s during the coldest months so its a great escape during the winter and the fishing is great from October through May! Sight fishing on the flats is not really a casting man’s sport in terms of “number” of casts. However, it is important that you be accurate when you do get your shots!  I’ve missed far more fish down there than I have caught, but Permit, bonefish and tarpon can be very smart and finicky.  Be ready for a good time no matter what your flavor because if you are not a fan of flats sight fishing there is always good bottom fishing on the reef and around the bridges. So, if you get a chance call up Randy Morrow and the folks at Parmers and quit dreaming about a trip of a lifetime and GO!  Remember, the trip of a lifetime can only happen if you plan it in your “lifetime.” [slickr-flickr tag=”drewkeys”]