Florida Bay Backcountry

Florida Bay Backcountry

Florida Bay Backcountry

  • Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On January 31, 2017
  • Comments
  •  5

In this week’s blog, Nick hits the murky canal waters of the Florida Bay backcountry targeting snook, redfish, and speckled trout

The Florida Keys are famous for gin clear water flats fishing, but there is another, murkier side to the Keys. This week I downed a strong cup of coffee at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, in Islamorada, and joined Captain Mike Venezia of Boned Up Charters with a different kind of fishing in mind. Gone were the crystal clear flats, and welcomed were the muddied canal waters up in Florida Bay. On target were snook, redfish, seatrout and black drum – not the complete usual suspects when one thinks of the Keys.

Light tackle is in store to work the canal waterways. I employed a 7-foot TIS70MHF3 St. Croix Travel Rod matched with a Shimano Stradic C 5000 reel, spooled with 30-pound Power Pro, then Uni to Uni Knot a 5 feet section of 30-pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon, tied with Homer Rhode or regular Loop Knot to a light ¼ to 3/8-ounce Kalins chartreuse jighead. Tipped on the jighead was a fresh lively shrimp or a Berkeley Gulp! 3-inch New Penny shrimp.

The backchannel waters were filled with big time boils while Mike and I cast out against mangrove-lined mud banks. Mike was hooked up first with a solid snooklet of 20 inches long. I followed by bouncing my Gulp! Shrimp off a sunken branch to land a beauty whitewashed 26 inch redfish. Dozens more redfish, snook and trout hit the light jigs and shrimp. Light tackle is preferred when fishing close to the mangroves, but tighten the drag down solid as snook will test the limits of tackle when jumping and pulling toward the root systems. In three hours of fishing, we dialed in a flats grand slam of redfish, snook and trout, all before noontime.

To be prepared for every situation, be sure to carry Calcutta pliers, wear Xtra Tuf ankle deck boots for deck grippability, Costa sunglasses to shade from the sharp, Keys sun glare (I use Blackfin models which keep the sun out 360 degrees) and as mornings can be windy with a little chill before the sun comes up, bring some light Grundens Weather Watch raingear. Contact Capt. Mike Venezia of Boned Up Charters at and Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, in Islamorada to set up a day crushing snook, reds, seatrout, black drum, snapper and sharks in the Florida Bay backcountry.

Gear Used

St. Croix

St. Croix TIS70MHF3 Tidemaster Inshore Spinning 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, especially compared to 304 stainless steel frames.Tidemaster rods are meticulously finished with two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish.



Shimano ST5000XGFK Stradic FK Spinning Reel

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


Berkley Gulp!

Berkley GASHPSH3 Gulp Alive 3″ Shrimp

Gulp! Alive baits absorb 20% more Gulp! scent and attractant which, you guessed it, makes them at least 20% MORE EFFECTIVE than the 1st generation baits. They also have a 34% better swimming action than original Gulp!. WOW! More attractant, better action, BETTER RESULTS than ever before! At Berkley, our passion is that you CATCH MORE FISH! Get yourself some Gulp Alive! and go have some fun!



Xtratuf Ankle Deck Boots

Xtratuf Ankle Deck Boots are designed for the recreational fishermen and hardcore angler. These boots are performance deck boots. They are lightweight with non-marking, slip resistant Chevron outsoles. They are neoprene boots with 1mm thickness, made to get wet, but keep your feet comfortable. Perfect for whatever activity you choose, from fishing to working the deck.


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