Discover Key West!

Key West Fishing

fishing key west - Flats Fishing, Deep Sea/Offshore Fishing, Light Tackle Fishing in Key West, FL

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Fishing in Key West

Come and fish in the waters of Key West where Key West Fishing Guide legends were born. Ernest Hemingway fished the waters of the Florida Straights between Cuba and Key West for giant blue marlin, those same waters that entice visitors and locals to fish key west every day. Zane Grey applied his angling and writing skills to the in shore and backcountry of the Florida Keys, landing sailfish and giant tarpon. Just a few of the 225 species of gamefish that prowl the crystal, clear waters of the Florida Keys.

But you don't have to be a legend or a writer to enjoy the thrill of big game key west fishing year round in the Keys, just bring your boat on down or charter one of ours. Charter boats and guides are available to introduce you to one or more of our natives that bit. Key West Deep sea fishing experienced captains are waiting to take you into the Gulfstream just minutes away from the dock where you can test your angling skills against the sailfish and marlin.

Key West Backcountry guides have staked out the flats where tarpon and bonefish await the anglers preferring to use light spin or fly tackle or perhaps a party boat that offers a day or night fishing trip to the pristine coral reefs for snapper or grouper.

Remember you don't have to be a Key West Fishing legend or a famous writer to enjoy big game fishing in the Florida Keys, but you may run the risk of becoming a legend in your own time. Fish Key West and enjoy what our waters have to offer - We do!

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Types of Fishing in Key West

Key West Flats Fishing
The most unique and addictive angling in the world can be found in the clear backcountry waters off Key West. Famous modern day Key West Flats Fishing anglers such as Flip Pallot, Lefty Kreh, and even Jimmy Buffett have all written extensively of their adventures on the flats of the Lower Keys, where the sport was pioneered. Their tales of fly fishing for the enigmatic tarpon, bonefish, and permit, in an environment of unparalleled beauty, have made this the fastest growing segment of saltwater angling. Combining the best of hunting and fishing, a day on the flats with a dedicated Key West guide is a must for any light tackle enthusiast.

Key West Light Tackle Sport Fishing
The light tackle charter fishing boats of the Keys are the most flexible charters in the world. Almost any species, from tarpon in Key West Harbor to sailfish beyond the reef, can be pursued from these powerful center-console craft. The International Game Fish Association currently lists over 400 world records caught in the Keys and the majority were hooked from our light tackle fleet. These charters can be customized to meet any angler's wishes. From a casual trip with the family for some tasty grouper to an expedition for a fly rod record kingfish, a light tackle charter is sure to suit your needs.

Key West Offshore Deep Sea Fishing
Key West Offshore fishing is a chance for everyone to be Ernest Hemingway for a day. Big boats, big tackle, and big fish make a trip out on the Gulfstream an adventure that will last a lifetime. Our island has a fleet of captains and crews that are among the world's finest in chasing down the legendary giants of the deep sea. Marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, and dolphin are all caught within the 90 miles between the Keys and Cuba . Almost anything is possible on an offshore charter, from simply catching dinner to competing in a major billfish tournament, and Key West is where to make it happen.

Key West Party Boat Charters - Group Fishing Charters
Whatever brings you to Key West , even if you are not the avid angler in search of a world record catch, fishing aboard a chartered party fishing vessel can be one of the finest times you will have in Key West . Whether it's a small group on a smaller boat in search of a diving and fishing adventure, an all-day trip with a large group, or night fishing in the summer months, it's all here and it's all fun.

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Fish of the Florida Keys

Description: color cobalt blue on top shading to silvery white on bottom; upper jaw elongated in form of spear; dorsal fin and pointed at front end; pectoral fin and anal fin pointed; lateral line reticulated (interwoven like a net), difficult to see in large specimens; no dark spots on dorsal fin; body covered with imbedded scales ending in one or two sharp points.

Found: OFFSHORE, a blue water fish.

Size: largest of the Atlantic marlins, common to 11 feet, known to exceed 2,000 pounds.

(Makaira Nigricans)

(Istiophorus Platypterus)

Description: color dark blue on top, brown-blue laterally, silvery white underbelly; upper jaw elongated in form of spear; first dorsal greatly enlarged in the form of a sail, with many black spots, its front squared off, highest at its midpoint; pelvic fins very narrow, reaching almost to the anus; body covered with imbedded scales, blunt at end; lateral line curved over pectoral, then straight to base of tail.

Found: OFFSHORE species, in south Florida associated with waters near the Gulf Stream; off the Panhandle near the 100-fathom line.

Size: common to 7 feet.

Description: lunate tail with similarly sized lobes; lateral keel at the base of the tail; deep blue back and white underside; underside of sharply pointed snout white; origin of first dorsal entirely behind base of pectoral fins; second dorsal fin slightly in front of anal fin; slender; recurved teeth with smooth edges.

Found: OFFSHORE fish often seen near the surface.

Size: commonly 6 to 8 feet (200 to 300 pounds).

(Isurus Oxyrinchus)

(Albula Vulpes)

Description: silvery color with bluish or greenish back; slender, round body; snout long, conical, aiming downward and overhanging lower jaw; dark streaks between scales on upper half of body and faint crossbands extending down to lateral line; extremities of dorsal and caudal fins shaded with black.

Found: primarily INSHORE fish inhabiting shallows of the Florida Keys; found in shallows often less than 1 foot deep, usually over lush grass flats, occasionally over white sand.

Size: 3 to 5 pounds.

Description: last ray of dorsal fin extended into long filament; one dorsal fin; back dark blue to green or greenish black shading into bright silver on the sides; may be brownish gold in estuarine waters; huge scales; mouth large and points upward.

Found: primarily INSHORE fish, although adult fish spawn OFFSHORE where the ribbon-like larval stage of the fish can be found.

Size: most angler catches 40 to 50 pounds.

(Megalops Atlanticus)

(Trachinotus Falcatus)

Description: color gray, dark or iridescent blue above, shading to silvery sides, in dark waters showing golden tints around breast; small permit have teeth on tongue (none on pompano); no scutes; dorsal fin insertion directly above that of the anal fin; 17 to 21 soft dorsal rays; 16 to 19 soft anal rays.

Found: OFFSHORE on wrecks and debris, INSHORE on grass flats, sand flats, and in channels; most abundant in south Florida, with smaller specimens from every coastal county.

Size: common to 25 pounds.

Description: color brownish red; lining of mouth scarlet-orange; blotches on sides in unorganized pattern; second spine of dorsal fin longer than others; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins; squared-off tail; margin of soft dorsal black with white at midfin; black dots around the eyes.

Found: bottom dwelling fish associated with hard bottom; juveniles OFFSHORE along with adults greater than 6 years old; fish from 1 to 6 years old occupy NEARSHORE reefs.

Size: common to 15 pounds.

(Epinephelus Morio)

(Coryphaena Hippurus)

Description: bright greenish blue above, yellow on sides, with capability of flashing purple, chartreuse, and a wide range of other colors; body tapers sharply from head to tail; irregular blue or golden blotches scattered over sides; anterior profile of head on adult males is nearly vertical; head of females more sloping; the single dark dorsal fin extends from just behind the head to the tail; anal fin margin concave and extending from anus to tail.

Found: OFFSHORE in warm waters.

Size: common to 30 pounds.

Description: color olive green on back and upper sides, all fins below the lateral line having reddish tinge; bright blue line below eye, following contour of operculum; anal fin pointed; small black spot below dorsal fin; V-shaped tooth patch on roof of mouth.

Found: an INSHORE species associated with grassbeds, mangroves, and canals; larger adults occasionally found on OFFSHORE reefs.

Size: common to 15 pounds.

(Lutjanus Analis)


key west fishing charters, key west fishing guides - photo by Rob O' Neal


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