My favorite part of the Florida Keys are the Lower Keys
Yep, the Lower Keys would be my favorite part of the Florida Keys, probably has something to do with me livin’
on Summerland Key.
Summerland Key and Cudjoe key have the best boating access in the Lower Keys. It’s pretty easy to get out to the reef and beyond or out to the back country in a boat.
One of the best places to fish in the Lower Florida Keys is the Wall. It’s about twenty five miles off the reef, due south. The bottom falls out, it drops straight down from nine hundred feet to two thousand feet. And there is a crack in the wall that runs three quarters of a mile back. This is where you target BIG fish like Blue Marlin and Swordfish.
If you don’t want to go all the way to the Wall, the deep sea fishing starting just outside the reef. Here you can target a large variety of game fish to catch.
Reef fishing is exciting and non stop. At the Maryland Hump it won’t take you long to limit out on the Yellowtail Snapper. You can catch Yellowtail just about anywhere on the reef. The nice ones are more likely to be in water depths of 70' to 90'. Keep an eye out for the barracuda and sharks. They only want your biggest fish.
You can’t mention the Lower Key’s without the Key Deer
coming to mind. Most of them live on Big Pine Key . A new program has relocated small families of them on Cudjoe Key and Sugarloaf Key.
Once upon a time when we did go feed the Key Deer, lots of folks would take all kinds of snacks out to the Old Wooden Bridge just past No Name Pub, and feed the Key Deer. This is a real No-No now days.
Big Pine Key also has the Blue Hole. There is a resident Alligator there. Or was, I just heard on the news that the Alligator from the Blue Hole was the main course at a barbecue in Marathon . So maybe no Alligators at the Blue Hole? I just found out a new Alligator is at the Blue Hole. Guess the word gets out quick in the Alligator world.
The backcountry fishing here is some of the very best. Because the islands on this side of the seven mile bridge lay north and south. This creates long deep channels between the islands. Strong currents travel through these channels with the tide change. It brings with it an abundance and variety of fish. The outgoing and incoming tides are the best times to fish this area.
The back country fishing guides use shallow draft boats. They turn the motor off when they get to the flats and use a long pole to pole across the flats. The motor noise would spook the fish away. The fishing guide needs to spot the fish and have the angler site cast to the fish. Tarpon , permit , bonefish and small sharks are all fished here on the flats and in near by channels.
Ever heard of Looe Key ? It’s just 6 miles from my house. This is a fabulous place to dive . Hurricane Wilma destroyed the marker and it has not been replaced yet. It looks strange to glance toward Looe Key and not see the marker. Every year in July we have the Underwater Music Festival at Looe Key. Elvis even shows up playing his guitar underwater. Speakers are lowered underwater so everyone can enjoy the music while diving or snorkeling.
Another fabulous dive site is the 210' Adolphus Busch . It was sank in 1998 in 100' of water. It's a few miles West of Looe Key. It landed in the desired upright position. A few very large Jewfish call this ship home.
The Lower Keys have several dive shops and dive charters to get you out to these sites.
Down on Sugarloaf Key beside the airport is this strange little brown building. It’s the” Bat Tower.” A guy named Perky, in the 1920's had this idea that if he built this tower the bats would come live there. He wanted the bats here to feed on the large mosquito population. The bats never came. The tower still sits. And the mosquitoes live there.
Look over on the Gulf side as you're traveling thru the Lower Keys. Up there in the sky, do you see the blimp we all call Fat Albert? There have been some good stories told about the blimp such as when it was shot down by one of our Navy Jets. Other stories are told about it breaking free from it's tether. I'm sure some of them are true.
I almost forgot to mention that we have some of the finest restaurants in this area. Don't judge them by the funky look. The food is great. Lots of them have live music usually with local bands playing.
The Lower Keys part of the Florida Keys is quite large with lots more things to tell you about. I will continue this in the writing of this web site and hope you enjoy.
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