Fishing the Keys on Foot

Fishing by foot in the Florida Keys gives the angler many different opportunities to experience a unique fishery not found anywhere else. The Florida keys boast over forty bridges with casting platforms and hundreds of miles of easily accessible shoreline where the angler can try their luck. And along with these venues, anglers may find hundreds of species of fish resulting in no shortage of saltwater targets.

Fishing by foot is one of the easiest and most popular type of fishing in the keys. And even though it doesn’t require any special gear, the angler should be prepared for many unforeseen hazards before venturing out to any of these locations.

Anglers should use the same planning scheme when fishing in the keys as they would in their home waters. They should be familiar with bag and creel limits and any special regulations applicable to the area. The keys is a open wildlife preserve with many wild creatures finding a home around bridge abutments and along shorelines in the mangrove vegetation. Extreme care should always be taken to keep your distance from any wildlife. 

Bridges and seawalls offer the best opportunity for success. Moving water brings many species of fish close  to these structures in search of bait. Coral rock and rubble line the base of many bridges and abutments. These structures provide safety from predators but add to the frustration when anglers cast too close and get caught in a snag. So proper placement of your bait close enough to the moving water but far enough away from these hazards can greatly increase success.

The best bet is to stand on one the casting platforms and cast away from the structure into the open water then allow the bait to drift back into the bridge zone. This method allows the angler to cover more area without getting snagged.

Shorelines also offer a similar opportunity to catch fish. One significant advantage over the bridge is that it is common to find a combination of grass and sandy bottom extending a good distance from the shore. Many species venture in both shallow and deeper water. Many bait fish will find protection up against and under the shoreline vegetation. And both small and larger species can be found searching these areas for food.

Occasionally, anglers will wade into the flats but extreme caution should be taken if not completely familiar with the area.

So regardless of whether the angler chooses a bridge or shoreline, they will experience nature at it’s finest. Most anglers typically catch something, others are lucky enough to catch dinner and a select few may catch that trophy where memories are made from.

Next time we will be discussing gear and techniques. So check back soon.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony