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Cotton Key Basin

Monroe County, Florida.

Cotton Key Basin ends in Tavernier, Florida.

2482902.57 miles (3995845.60 sq kilometers)

About The Cotton Key Basin

About Cotton Key Basin, FL

Cotton Key Basin is geographically located near Islamorada and Tavernier in Monroe County, Florida. It is a saltwater bay, and it is close to other bodies of water such as Upper Matecumbe Key, Snake Key, Florida Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean in Everglades National Park. 

The bay has shallow flats that are utilized by different bird species as well as bonefish. Aside from that, it has numerous mangrove islands that act as nesting sites for various birds such as cormorants, four different species of herons, and pelicans. Moreover, Cotton Key is a favorite perch for magnificent frigatebirds.

Cotton harvesting is also prominent in the island found in this bay and is the reason why it is named Cotton Key Basin. In fact, the fishing clubs on this island, along with the Islamorada Fishing Club, The Millionaires Club, and the Matecumbe Fishing Club, were built in the 1920s by the eleven members of the New York Cotton Exchange. 

Cotton Key Basin Fishing Description

All About Fishing in Cotton Key Basin

The saltwater in Cotton Key Basin comes from the Florida Key. Its water is nutrient-rich, which gives life to various fish species such as great barracuda, blacktip shark, pink dentex, blackfin tuna, tarpon, and bonefish.

It is a real challenge trying to catch a great barracuda, given their behavior. It is naturally inquisitive and has a good sense of sight, which it uses for hunting its prey. Great barracuda feeds on different fish such as jacks, grunts, snappers, small tunas, herrings, mullets, anchovies, and more. Given its diet, you can utilize the baitcasting technique using small fish. However, it is essential to note that this fish can attack humans if provoked, so it is best not to target it if you are a beginner angler. 

Bonefish is abundant in Cotton Key Basin, and they usually get their nourishment from the tiny crustaceans found living on flat bottoms. But, they also feed mollusks and worms. Bonefish are challenging to catch if there are lots of anglers in the area. They tend to go deeper on the flats, and you will experience some hardships in spotting them. Getting help from a guide will surely enable you to catch one since they can point out the location of the bonefish and tell you how far they are. 

On the other hand, the pink dentex is a popular saltwater fish that can also be caught in the bay. This fish feeds on squid, small fish, and mollusks. Pink dentex is deemed to be a great fish species of sportfishing, and they can be targeted mainly using baitcasting and trolling techniques. If you are to use baitcasting, then keep in mind that squid and cuttlefish are irresistible to this fish. 

The Cotton Key Basin allows off-shore fishing using a motorized boat. However, there is a tidal flat area here that only allows non-motorized boats.

Cotton Key Basin Seasonal & Other Description

Fishing Seasonality

Great barracudas are usually solitary. They also live for a really long time. In fact, they can last up to 14 years of age. If you want to catch them, note that their spawning season usually lasts from April through October.

The bonefish, which is a popular gamefish around the Florida Keys and the Cotton Key Basin, can be seen as early as February. However, the chances of catching it increase as this fish becomes more prevalent between March and July. 

On the other hand, the pink dentex is one of the most valued fish in the area. They love warm waters, so they can usually be caught during the summer season. 

Temperature and Optimal Seasons

Fishing Seasonality

Great barracudas are usually solitary. They also live for a really long time. In fact, they can last up to 14 years of age. If you want to catch them, note that their spawning season usually lasts from April through October.

The bonefish, which is a popular gamefish around the Florida Keys and the Cotton Key Basin, can be seen as early as February. However, the chances of catching it increase as this fish becomes more prevalent between March and July. 

On the other hand, the pink dentex is one of the most valued fish in the area. They love warm waters, so they can usually be caught during the summer season. 

Cotton Key Basin Fish Species

All About Fishing in Cotton Key Basin

The saltwater in Cotton Key Basin comes from the Florida Key. Its water is nutrient-rich, which gives life to various fish species such as great barracuda, blacktip shark, pink dentex, blackfin tuna, tarpon, and bonefish.

It is a real challenge trying to catch a great barracuda, given their behavior. It is naturally inquisitive and has a good sense of sight, which it uses for hunting its prey. Great barracuda feeds on different fish such as jacks, grunts, snappers, small tunas, herrings, mullets, anchovies, and more. Given its diet, you can utilize the baitcasting technique using small fish. However, it is essential to note that this fish can attack humans if provoked, so it is best not to target it if you are a beginner angler. 

Bonefish is abundant in Cotton Key Basin, and they usually get their nourishment from the tiny crustaceans found living on flat bottoms. But, they also feed mollusks and worms. Bonefish are challenging to catch if there are lots of anglers in the area. They tend to go deeper on the flats, and you will experience some hardships in spotting them. Getting help from a guide will surely enable you to catch one since they can point out the location of the bonefish and tell you how far they are. 

On the other hand, the pink dentex is a popular saltwater fish that can also be caught in the bay. This fish feeds on squid, small fish, and mollusks. Pink dentex is deemed to be a great fish species of sportfishing, and they can be targeted mainly using baitcasting and trolling techniques. If you are to use baitcasting, then keep in mind that squid and cuttlefish are irresistible to this fish. 

The Cotton Key Basin allows off-shore fishing using a motorized boat. However, there is a tidal flat area here that only allows non-motorized boats.

Tarpon

Habitat: Inshore, Flats, Backcountry

Weight: 25 - 63 Pounds

Length: 48" - 96"

Blackfin Tuna

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 2 - 20 Pounds

Length: 7" - 43"

Blacktip Shark

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Continental Shelves, Insular Shelves

Weight: 100 - 150 Pounds

Length: 60" - 108"

Great Barracuda

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 5 - 103 Pounds

Length: 24" - 79"