Catch 'Em All
Marathon, Florida (USA)
When we think of sport fishing in Key West, immediately the images of Hemmingway's Blue Marlin adventures come up to our mind. Key West and the Florida Keys a...Read more..
When we think of sport fishing in Key West, immediately the images of Hemmingway's Blue Marlin adventures come up to our mind. Key West and the Florida Keys are a world-class destination for inshore fishing, wreck fishing and offshore fishing. Here you can catch a wide array of fish species all year long.
Poling through the flats and close to the beaches you can target exiting fish like tarpon, snook, redfish and bonefish (fly fishing or casting).
In the deeper water, you get different types of sharks, cobia, monster-sized Goliath grouper and amberjack fishing over the wrecks and the natural reefs off Key West.
And the blue waters offshore in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are home to pelagic fish such as marlin, tuna and dorado. Whether you're a seasoned angler or just getting started, there's something for everyone in Key West.
When planning a trip for sport fishing in Key West, you'll have to decide what species your after and which fishing technique you'll want to do. And the sport fishing options in Key West are endless!
Tarpons are commonly caught in the shallows near Key West. You can fish for them fly fishing, casting with light tackle or live bait fishing. Snooks are a common fish species in Key West. They're found near mangroves along the shoreline. Other exciting species are bonefish, permit and mangrove snapper.
Fishing over the reefs and wreck that surround Key West you can have a great time fishing for snapper, amberjack, grouper and cobia. Wreck fishing with cut bait can be done practically all year round.
The deep waters off the coast of Key West provide some great opportunities for shark fishing. They can be challenging to catch and always exciting to hook a big shark.
The blue waters offshore in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are home to pelagic fish such as wahoo, tuna and dorado. Winter time is great for Sailfish fishing whereas Marlin can be found in these waters during Summer.
The Amberjack species are a game fish that are found both in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Jigging and live bait fishing are the best techniques to target these magnificent fighters. Greater Amberjack can weigh up to 170 lb (80 kg).
Famous for its runs, - which is why they're also called the torpedo of the flats - bonefish (Albula vulpes) are the fly fishing favorite. They inhabit inshore tropical waters in Florida, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Riviera Maya in Mexico, Belize, Venezuela and the Seychelles, for example. Bonefish can weigh up to 19 lb (8.6 kg) and measure up to 105 cm (41 in) long.
The cobia (Rachycentron canadum) is distributed in warm-temperate to tropical seas (Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean). It is easily recognized by its flattened head and its dark brown body. It feeds primarily on crabs, squid, and fish.
The cobia can grow to up to 2 m (78 in) long and weigh up to 78 kg (172 lb). Cobia is a good eating fish; it has a mild, sweet taste to it.
The king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) or kingfish is a common fish species of the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. King Mackerel can grow to up to 40kg (90lb) and have razor sharp teeth.
The Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans) is probably the most wanted fish in the sport fishing world. The magnificent fighter usually feeds during day time on fish, octopuses and squids. Blue Marlin is mainly caught trolling with artificial lures or with dead bait (bonito, mackerel...).
In the springtime, from March to June, tarpon fishing is popular in the back country. Tarpons typically move into these waters as they migrate northward as temperatures rise. Towards April the first Bonefish are caught. Permit fishing is excellent and offshore there's mahi mahi.
Summer conditions are hot and humid. Fish for tarpon, bonefish and permit in the flats. Offshore there's Marlin, wahoo, dorado and Swordfish (deep dropping).
As autumn arrives, the tarpon moves back southward toward warmer waters. The weather cools and hurricanes are possible. But this fishing is great in fall here: mutton snapper, yellowtail snappers, groupers, permit... Many fish species gather around rigs and wrecks.
Winter is the good time to catch reef fish near Key West, including amberjacks and grouper. But you have to avoid windy conditions with unstable seas. Offshore is great for blackfin tuna and Sailfish. Backcountry fishing is another good option to find calmer waters.
When fishing around Key West, a wide variety of species can be caught year-round. Snapper, wahoo, barracuda, and tuna are some of the fish you might hook into all year long.
Located roughly 90 miles north of Cuba, there are many other things to do in Florida's southernmost point. There is a large aquarium with reef sharks and rays that you can see up close. And of course, the beaches here are beautiful! You may want to pay a visit to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park or Mallory Square as well.
Key West has a very distinct culture, so be sure to visit some of the famous bars in town. Sloppy Joe's Bar is very popular with sailors and pirates! Go there to find the perfect treasure chest drink. Hop aboard a traditional trolley for a Gravestones Trolley Tour to visit the city’s most haunted sites and prepare to be scared, and entertained.
There are many different tours available in Key West, including sailing and diving tours! These are a great way to see the beautiful waters, reefs, and shipwrecks that can be found here.
Although anglers need a fishing license for their Key West fishing trips, licenses are covered if you go fishing with a licensed fishing charter.
Key West Fishing License
The State of Florida gives residents, tourists and seasoned anglers a variety of fishing licenses to choose from, ranging from short-term to annual ones.
You can get a Florida fishing license through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission website. You can also buy one from authorized resellers or at local tackle shop in Key West.
Visitors can Fish Without a License in Key West
No saltwater Florida fishing license is required if you are a non-resident who fishes from a vessel whose operator has a fishing license. This means that if you go fishing with a fishing charter in Key West, no fishing license is required.
In order to protect the local fish stocks, the State of Florida has strict rules on bag limits. For each species there are minimum sizes and daily recreation bag limits. Check the rules before you drop a line in the water in Key West.