• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On April 20, 2018
  • Comments
  •  3

There cannot be a more satisfying moment in fishing then when cruising a worn out highway in the Florida Keys and pulling up to a bridge without a plan, casting a line and coming up big.

On a recent trip through the Keys, Sean Reilly and I were heading from Oceans Edge Resort in Key west to the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada for some gratuitous luxury, but of course, we stopped on the way at Channel #2 bridge in Islamorada with a pack of frozen shrimp to see what was up. We each were armed with a three-piece St. Croix 7 foot TISMHF70 travel rod matched with Shimano 5000 Stradic reel, spooled with 30-pound Spiderwire Braid and a uni to uni knot to a 30-pound 30-inch section of Seaguar Fluorocarbon Leader. Tied on the tag end was a 3/8-ounce leadhead, sent out with fresh shrimp.

We made casts and bounced our way over the bottom on the west side of the bridge. Hoooo…Mama, did the hits come fast and furious. Jack Crevalles and Yellow jacks, barracuda and Spanish macks absolutely smoked our reels and tested the rods and drags for all they were worth. Bridge fishing along the Route 1 Highway through the Keys can be flat out phenomenal if you have the right gear.

In general terms, rig up with a 100-pound Spro Barrel swivel, a 30-inch section of 30-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, then you have all the options in the world for hooks and lures, including a size #2 hook for yellowtail, mangrove, mutton, and lane snapper along the bridge structures, or a 3/8 to ½-ounce yellow lead jighead to tip with a whole fresh shrimp with head pinched off and threaded on for jacks, macks, snook and redfish, or we could go into myriad artificial offerings including 30-inch Storm Shads, Zara spooks, TA poppers, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, Williamson Gomoku jigs and the like just to tempt a passing snook, jack, tarpon, Spanish mackerel and other beasties to bite.

Bridge fishing the Keys isn’t like anywhere else on the planet. You’re almost guaranteed to get a bite, just be sure you’ve got the backing and the stones for a heavyweight fight as one of our mangrove snappers was promptly inhaled by a 300-pound goliath grouper on the way up. We had the stones, but didn’t have enough backing.

Gear Used


ST5000XGFK Stradic FK

The Shimano Stradic FK Spinning Reels are designed for anglers who demand toughness and durability in their tackle. Shimano’s Hagane reel design allows for these reels to be long lasting through your many fishing trips.


St. Croix

TIS70MHF3 Tidemaster Travel Rod

The new handcrafted Tidemaster Inshore Spinning Travel series rods are made with premium SCII graphite for strength and durability. Batson Forecaste hard aluminum-oxide guides feature new 316 stainless steel frames for dramatically improved corrosion resistance.



Stealth Braid 30lb

SpiderWire Stealth Braid is made from Dyneema, The World’s Strongest Fiber! Each size is uniquely constructed to provide the ultimate strength with the thinnest diameter for smooth and quiet performance. The no stretch properties of Dyneema PE fibers.



Shrimp Jig Head Lure 3/8oz

Mustad Shrimp Jig Head lures are part of the elite jig head system by Mustad. They are the product of intensive work with the Mustad Pro-staffers. A special injection molding technique has been used on these jigs to ensure quality.



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