Lower Keys Fishing: The Natural Florida Keys
The islands of the Lower Keys are part of the Appalachian Ridge and made of limestone strata not fossilized coral reefs like the Upper and Middle Keys. This north and south alignment creates long channels between the islands with lots of well-protected shallow bays, flats and mangrove islands. Tarpon, bonefish, permit, barracuda and sharks abound on the flats and are rimed by mangrove islands.
The first of the large islands in the Lower Keys is Big Pine Key.
The Lower Keys are located between two large oceans, the Gulf of Mexico to the north and the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Straits to the south. Strong currents flow from the Gulf to the Ocean through these islands. The diversity of gamefish and fishing grounds is not to be found anywhere else in the world.
The Gulf of Mexico is best known for its fishing on shipwrecks and blue holes located in 40 feet of water to the north of the island chain. These areas are loaded with cobia, permit, snapper, grouper, goliath grouper, barracuda and sharks.
To the south of the Lower Keys lies one of the best kept secrets in the fishing industry: sailfish, dolphin, wahoo, kingfish, cero mackerel, blue or white marlin, snapper, grouper, barracuda, amberjack, sharks, tuna and bonita all within a forty-five minute run from the dock, and boating traffic is light. Deepwater shipwrecks located off Sugarloaf Key hold large schools of amberjack, large migratory sharks including the great white and mako shark.