Well we finally have some warmer temperatures here in the Florida Keys. Up until last week, we were still feeling the effects of the Arctic blasts that many others were experiencing in more northern climes. Thank goodness for the warmer weather, because with the warmer water temperatures the fishing has heated up. The permit are starting to show up big time, and last week was unbelievable. We had one slicked out calm day when we were casting at fish for a solid eight hours! There were literally hundreds of permit around, tails spiked up floating in the current, tailing in the shallows, hiding behind crab pots, you name it! Sizes ranged from little juveniles, to some slobs that were probably in the thirty pound range! Absolutely sick!
As many of you are aware, Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall in the Florida Keys in September. Thankfully the Upper Keys of Islamorada, Tavernier and Key Largo were spared from the worst of it. But “worst” is relative and while we were not impacted like the Lower Keys, particularly Big Pine Key, there were families that lost homes in the Upper Keys. As I mentioned in a previous post, the majority of oceanside hotels in Islamorada suffered flooding and wind damage. But the repairs and cleanup the last few months have been amazing. The Florida Keys and Islamorada are open for business! The place still looks a little beat up, but it’s certainly not as bad as what the media has portrayed it as. One customer of mine that has been coming here for a number of years made the comment that “The place is a lot greener and looks a lot better than I thought it would be.” And he is right! And while Islamorada looks mostly normal, some things are not.
Which brings me to the still unique lodging situation in Islamorada. Islamorada is still at about half capacity for available hotel rooms. But that number is changing every day. Here is the information I have on the hotel situation: All of the bayside hotels in Islamorada are currently open and some of the smaller oceanside hotels are open as well. Many of the oceanside hotels are still closed for repairs but are working to reopen quickly. This is the latest info on re-openings that I am aware of. This is not a complete list of local lodging, just a list of the larger hotels. Amara Cay Resort is open. Chesapeake Beach Resort is open. The Moorings Village is open, Pelican Cove Resort & Marina opens February 15, La Siesta Resort & Marina opens March 1, Cheeca Lodge & Spa is due to reopen March 30, The Islander Resort reopens sometime in the fall but Islander Bayside is open, Postcard Inn, known by many as Holiday Isle is supposed to open sometime in June.
Given the limited number of hotel rooms currently available in Islamorada, I know some are having difficulty in booking lodging in the Islamorada area. For those of you unfamiliar with the Keys, there are plenty of hotels in Key Largo as well as a few in Tavernier, and most less than a twenty minute drive from Islamorada. Thankfully those areas did not receive the kind of flooding that other keys did, and with the exception of the Key Largo Hilton, all hotels in Key Largo and Tavernier are open, to the best of my knowledge. Check out islamoradachamber.com for links to local lodging.
Spring is just around the corner in the Florida Keys and with it some tremendous fishing, so come on down!