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Bridge Fishing in the Florida Keys

In the Florida Keys Pier Fishing is usually done from the old bridges that made up the old Overseas Highway. The big difference is most "Piers" only get you upto a few thousand feet from land (the longest pier in the world is the Southend Pier, in England, at 1.33 miles). Some Florida Keys Bridges span channels more than a mile wide. Long Key Bridge is almost 2 1/2 miles long and then there is the 7 mile bridge (You can't go all the way across the old bridge but you can get out pretty far). The first article below is about Pier Fishing but much of the information is perfect for Florida Keys Bridge Fishing.

Pier Fishing

By Joshua Taylor

There are many advantages and disadvantages to pier fishing. If you do not have a boat, pier fishing is the next best alternative. Some of the advantages that you have while fishing from a pier is:

* The height advantage, you can target fish easily when you can see them

* Bait is normally very plentiful around bridges and piers, so you have the bait right under you.

* You save a tremendous amount of money on gas, especially today, with the gas prices like they are.

* Pier fishing is overall more efficient for the pocket book.

* Catching great game fish is a very common thing because where there is bait; there is always game fish of some kind around.

If you are trying to target certain species of fish from a pier, there are some things that you will need to know. Such as, the understanding of that specific species, how they feed, when they feed, what type of structure they are housing themselves in and the specific fishing tactics. For example, if you are going to fish for Mangrove Snapper, you do not want to fish the non structural sandy part of the pier. First, you should ask the people around you because believe it of not this is one of the most efficient ways to learn about the different areas to fish. If there are bait house employees ask them, they are usually very helpful. Now you want to try and find structure because snapper are structure loving fish! Usually where there is structure there is bait, so you should figure out what they are eating and the best way to do this is match the hatch. Therefore, in other words what type of bait that is plentiful in your area because this is most likely what the fish are feeding on. Now that you have location and bait figured out the only thing that you need now is the rig and technique. Following these steps for each of the different species will improve you odds for catching fish from a pier. To learn more about different techniques be sure to visit Pier Fishing Guide. You do have to become a little more creative when fishing from a pier because you are not going to the fish you have to get there attention and get them to come to you. There also disadvantages when fishing from a pier some of the disadvantages are:

* You have to be extremely patient, because you have to draw the fish to you.

* Boater sometimes has the tendency to spoil things by rudely going through your fishing lines in search for bait.

* Landing large game fish can be a tad bit tricky if a novice pier fisherman, you must learn to rope gaff your fish or use a drop net.

* You must learn to maneuver around pilings when you do get a good fish

As you can see there are many advantages and disadvantages to pier fishing with that being said all fishing is fun you just have to learn and be creative.

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Fishing Guide to the Upper Keys and Florida Bay Buy it Now

by Martin Smithson

Shallow Water Fishing Techniques, Pg. 34-35

Fishing the Bridges

When the outgoing tide flows from the hay side out to the ocean side, plenty of shrimp, crabs and mullet are carried through the bridges. This makes the bridges a focal point to fish for tarpon, snook, permit, snapper and a variety of other species.

There are two distinct ways to fish bridges in the Keys. either by land or by boat. Both are very effective approaches. There are some guides that like to fish certain bridges on foot, especially at night.

Here are some pointers when fishing from the land side. First of all, pick your tides. The best tides are around a quarter-moon when they are not too strong. On a full or new moon the tides can really rip through the bridge pilings and make fishing difficult. If the winds are also ripping out of the north or west, forget it, the water will be dirty and moving too fast.

The best rig for fishing the bridges, especially for snook, is a 3/8 oz. HOOKUP leadhead jig, combined with a live shrimp. The most important advice here is on how to fish the jig/shrimp combo. You will most likely see many bridge anglers drifting their lines down current, waiting for a strike. You will also notice a lot of people not catching fish using this technique. The most effective method is to cast up current and slowly, slowly, work the jig back, while smoothly pumping the rod to create the jigging effect and keep the lure just off the bottom structure. Let the lure sweep past the base of a piling. The idea is to simulate a natural presentation of bait drifting through the channel. The downside is that you will lose more rigs than the guys with down current stretched lines, but you should experience more explosive strikes.

When you are on foot it is best to fish near the ends of bridges. You will want to work a hooked fish to the side where you can get down to the water's edge to release or retrieve the catch. A large fish being reeled 20 ft. up in the air from the top of a bridge usually ends in disappointment for the angler and the fish.

When night fishing from bridges, avoid shining bright flashlights and lanterns into the water which will certainly scare away the fish and reduce their tendency to bite. Be careful not to disturb someone else's fishing with a flashlight, too.

The most productive bridges in the upper Keys, day or night, seem to be Channel 2, Channel 5, Long Key and Tom's Harbor. Many other bridges are worth checking out, however.

Reviewer: Capt. Mike Sheen from Islamorada Florida Keys

This book is a must have for anyone fishing or sightseeing on Florida Bay. The information is current and simply stated. The aerial views of the Florida Keys are themselves worth the price of the book. You need two copies - one for your home library and one to keep on the boat! Buy it Now

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