Key West Fishing

Key West Fishing - Information on Sport Fishing in Key West Charters for Deep Sea Fishing, Flats Fishing, Light Tackle Fishing and Head Boats

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Key West Fishing Information

Party Boats
Light Tackle Fishing
Flats Fishing
Deep Sea Charters

Key West is famous for its world-class fishing! The surrounding waters, warmed by the Gulf stream currents just a few miles offshore, support an abundance of species, including; Marlin, Swordfish, Sailfish, Dolphin (mahi mahi), Wahoo, Tuna, Mackerel, Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, Cobia, Kingfish, Tarpon, Shark, etc.

It's no wonder Key West anglers hold more than 300 International Game Fish Association
world records

If you're interested in Key West fishing, there are almost as many types of charters as fish to catch!

Party Boat Fishing
(AKA Party Boats)

Do you love fishing, but don't have the big bucks for a private charter? A Key West Party Boat is just the answer!

Advantages: economical, eatin' fish.
Disadvantages: lots of people.

A Key West Party Boat is usually a 40 to 70 foot boat that can take large groups of people. Everyone's fishing over the side for bottom fish including: Grouper, Snapper, Grunts, etc. in shallow water. You get to hold the rod, bait the hook, tie the rigs, and remove the fish. There are usually mates available if you are a first timer. This is the most affordable charter boat.

Key West sports a number of great party boats. These boats use chum to bring the fish under the boat and you can expect to catch yellowtail snapper, grouper, and occasionally a dolphin for your dinner! Providing the fish are legal and edible, most Key West restaurants will cook your catch. Bait and license are provided, rod rental and fish cleaning for an added fee.

Light Tackle/Backcountry Boats

21-35 foot center console boats
Max. 4 people.

Advantages: Fast, live bait capable.
Disadvantages: no shade, toilet, or AC.

Lighter tackle means more fun! When you fish for snapper and other offshore species with light tackle, you're fishing with weaker line, and you are in for a fight!

These boats are faster, more maneuverable and usually employ live bait techniques.

The term, light tackle fishing, refers more to using non-trolling techniques. This differentiates them from the offshore trolling boats. Most captains use a spinning rod and reel combination and a lighter line to make fishing more of a challenge.

Light tackle fishing is considered by many to be unique to Key West … and while our Captains developed it, it’s become a popular form of sport fishing all over the world!

Expect to target: sailfish, tarpon, permit, king mackerel, snapper, yellowfin and blackfin tuna, grouper and sharks.

Key West Flats Fishing
Flats boats:
14-21 foot boats with shallow draft.
Max. 2 people

Advantages: shallow water, sight fishing.
Disadvantages: small with no amenities.

Shallow water, sight fishing. These small boats are capable of fishing in extremely shallow water and sneak up on species such as; Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Barracuda and Shark.

The guide is there to help you spot the fish and then it is up to you to cast to them. This type of fishing is challenging and may take practice and experience. While the boat is small with no amenities, there is little chance of seasickness!

Key West Sportfishing Charters|
34-50' Fishing Yachts
Max. 6 people

Advantages: Trolling or live bait, all manner of tackle. Toilet, shade, AC, and lots of room for extended and overnight excursions.
Disadvantages: The most expensive.

In the past, Sport-fishing boats were strictly deep-water trollers. Modern day charter boats offer trolling, live baiting, kite fishing, wreck, reef, Shark, Sword fishing, extreme deep dropping, Marlin tournaments, night fishing trips, and are capable of over-night excursions to the Dry Tortugas, Bahamas, and Cuba.

Ernest Hemingway put Key West on the map when it comes to deep sea sportfishing. And the legends live on today aboard Key West's offshore fishing charters. No matter where you fish in Key West waters on the flats, in the backcountry, on the reef and in the deep blue of the Gulfstream you are guaranteed a good time!



Featured Captains, Guides and Charters

Key West Deep Sea Fishing Aboard the
Mr. Z, a 46' Bertram luxury sportfishing yacht.

We also recommend the
Triple Time for offshore fishing:

The Florida Fish Finder
headed for the Dry Tortugas:

Interested in light tackle, back country or flats fishing? Cayo Hueso Fishing Guide Eric Ryan can help you target those 'bulldog' permit or the Silver King tarpon.

Flats fishing
with Captain Dan Dempsey.

Sailfish caught on an
offshore sport fishing charter.

Which boat is the one for you? It's like comparing apples and oranges. Many visitors will fish a combination of these boats during their visit. Each type of fishing has its own unique appeal and advantages. The true advantage of Key West is that all of these options exist so everyone can catch a fish on any given day. No matter where you fish, on the flats, in the backcountry, on the reef, or the deep blue of the Gulfstream you are guaranteed a good time when you fish in Key West!


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