After a few months of being closed to all non-residents, the Florida Keys officially opened to tourists on June 1. All hotels, restaurants and businesses are open but operating with social distancing measures in place but those measures dependent upon the policies of the business owners. It may not be exactly the Keys you remember or the Keys you dream about because you may need to wear a mask but the Keys are the Keys! There is no place like them!
If there has been one silver lining to the whole pandemic thing here is that the fishing has been nothing short of epic. I’m sure most of the migratory tarpon around swimming the Keys have seen this little harassment in decades! A month ago I had to drive to Marathon and from Islamorada all the way down and across the Seven Mile Bridge I saw three boats tarpon fishing! Three! In the month of May! Talk about happy fish! Bonefishing has been great, with a lot of fish in the backcountry. Redfish and snook fishing has been stupid at times.
The Keys closure came at the height of our busy season. I have been out of business since March 13. The Florida Keys have the second highest unemployment rate in the state. Our economy is based completely on tourism. I’m fortunate my wife works and has been able to float us financially during this time but she’s an ICU nurse so it’s not a lot of consolation. However, there are a lot of other folks here that aren’t so fortunate. I have a buddy that is a single dad, fishing guide, trying to support three kids. He’s suffering and so are a lot of others. So if you’re pondering a visit to the Keys don’t hesitate. Not only has been the fishing been great but visiting here will really help a lot of people in need. Times are strange, and it’s still a bit strange here but then again, the Keys have always been strange!