A whitish-colored blob with bulging eyes hovered stock-still in Lake Okeechobee’s shallow Moonshine Bay, illuminated by Captain Charles “Skeeter” Holland’s headlamp. “Okay,” …
Islamorada: The Variety Fishing Capital of the World
By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost Travel Journalist
In Islamorada, Florida, sport fishing capital of the world, the months of May and June are the apex of the fishing season.
“Almost any fish that swims in this hemisphere can be captured from Islamorada’s shores and on almost all types of tackle,” declared Captain Richard Stanczyk, owner/operator of Bud ‘n’ Mary’s Marina– the unofficial seat of the world fishing capital. “You can reach the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream to the east. To the west, you can reach Florida Bay and, if you run far enough, the eastern fringes of the Gulf of Mexico.”
Consider what you can catch right here, right now: big bull dolphin chasing flying fish near sargassum lines in the Gulf Stream accompanied by blue and white marlin; blackfin tuna on a series of deep ‘humps’, or sea mounts located well offshore; swordfish– both day and night– also well offshore; sailfish, kingfish and maybe a wahoo just outside the reef; big black grouper and mutton and yellowtail snapper on top of the reef; huge tarpon around the U.S. 1 bridges and throughout Florida Bay; good-sized snook, redfish and sea trout in Florida Bay; and large permit on Atlantic and Gulf wrecks and inshore, on shallow rocky flats.
Many of these species will be eligible for the winning angler’s $10,000 cash jackpot in the Blazing Mako Tournament and Festival presented by C. Davis Electric on Father’s Day weekend June 17-19 at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost in Islamorada. Teams may enter either the inshore or offshore division by going to the event web site HERE. If you don’t have a team, consider entering our online auction HERE where the highest bidder in the offshore division gets to fish with Captain Bouncer Smith and his mate, Captain Abie Raymond, on Bouncer’s Dusky 33 and the top inshore bidder is guided by Hall of Famer Stu Apte and one of his favorite tournament guides, Captain Steve Thomas.
Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund for marine science students at Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
The three-day event features live music, the Artist / Conch-servation Village, rum tastings, kid’s pier fishing tournament, and paddleboard poker run. The event then culminates with a bonfire party on the beach where a huge metal sculpture of a mako shark –Nova Southeastern’s mascot– crafted by Islamorada artist Pasta Pantaleo will be set ablaze.
You might be having so much fun that you’ll want to stick around and fish some more after the tournament is over. To set up a charter, call Captain Cliff Jensen, Guy Harvey Outpost’s Director of Sport Fishing and Watersports at 800.513.5257.
Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/. For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling, camping, sailing and powerboat racing. She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.
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