Fishing in Key West: Your Guide to the Best Fishing Charters in 2023

Fishing in Key West: Your Guide to the Best Fishing Charters in 2023

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Welcome to the world of fishing in Key West, where the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean are teeming with a variety of fish species, and where anglers from all around the globe flock to experience world-class fishing. From shallow inshore flats to deep offshore waters, Key West offers a fishing adventure for everyone, no matter your skill level or preferred fishing technique. Let’s dive into the incredible fishing experiences that await you in Key West.

Key Takeaways

Explore the diverse fish species in Key West’s Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
Charter or party boat fishing for inshore grand slams, reef & wreck dwellers, offshore pursuits & bass.
Familiarize yourself with local regulations to ensure a safe and successful trip!

Best Key West Fishing Charters

Key West Fishing Charters

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Explore Key West Fish Species

Located at the southernmost tip of Florida, Key West is an angler’s paradise, offering a diverse array of fish species from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice looking to cast your line for the first time, a Key West fishing charter can provide you with an unforgettable experience.

Key West, Florida, is a top destination for great Key West fishing due to various fish species, ranging from the sought-after Inshore Grand Slam targets to the elusive reef and wreck dwellers, as well as the thrilling Key West deep sea adventures.

Inshore Grand Slam Targets

In the shallow waters of Key West, you’ll find the Inshore Grand Slam targets:

Tarpon: known as the “Silver Kings” of the water, they are hard-fighting fish known for their acrobatic leaps and powerful runs.

Bonefish: also known as “Gray Ghosts”, they are prized for their elusive nature and lightning-fast sprints.

Snook: adept ambush predators, they provide a thrilling challenge for anglers.

Permit: known for their wariness and strength, they complete the Inshore Grand Slam.

Catching these fish in Key West offers a thrilling experience for any angler.

The best time to target these inshore species is from spring to fall, using sight fishing techniques to spot and cast directly at these elusive fish. If you’re looking for a real thrill, try fly fishing in Key West. Whether you’re a seasoned fly angler or new to the sport, the excitement of hooking into one of these prized inshore species is an experience not to be missed.

Top Targeted Fish Species

Largemouth Bass in Miami Fl

Largemouth Bass

peacock bass

Peacock Bass

Florida Snakehead


Miami Oscar


See all fish species >>>

Reef and Wreck Dwellers

Key word here is key. West is not only famous for its inshore fishing but also for the diverse fish species that inhabit the reefs and wrecks surrounding the island. Some of the most common catches in Key West include Snapper and Grouper, which contribute to the area’s reputation for world-class fishing. Snapper species such as Mangroves, Muttons, and Yellowtails, along with grouper species like Gags, Blacks, Reds, and the colossal Goliath Grouper, can be found around the reefs and wrecks of Key West.

These reef and wreck dwellers can be caught around patch reefs, bridges, and even from land, offering a thrilling deep sea fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels. Regardless of whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, the chance to reel in one of these incredible reef and wreck species on your Key West fishing adventure shouldn’t be missed.

Offshore Pursuits

Offshore pursuits offer an entirely different fishing experience for those looking to venture further into the open ocean. Offshore fishing in Key West targets species such as:

Tuna, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Sailfish, Marlin

These powerful and fast-swimming fish are known for their acrobatic displays and hard-fighting nature, providing an adrenaline-pumping fishing adventure.

Spring and the later part of fall are prime times to target Mahi Mahi and Blackfin Tuna, while Sailfish and Marlin can also be found in the deeper waters surrounding Key West. Offshore fishing techniques include trolling and deep dropping, allowing anglers to target these big game fish effectively.

If a unique fishing experience is what you’re after, try your hand at an offshore pursuit in Key West and attempt to reel in one of these sought-after species.

Miami Fl Deep sea fishing

Key West Fishing Techniques

Fishing in Key West offers a range of techniques to suit any angler’s preferences, including:

Light tackle fishing, Deep-sea fishing, Live chumming with pilchards, mullet, and pinfish as bait to target species such as Tarpon, Bonefish, Mackerel, and Redfish.

Fly fishing with large flies and Shore fishing with squid and Berkley Gulp as popular bait choices

The right technique, bait, and timing can differ between a successful day on the water and going home empty-handed. That’s where a Key West fishing charter comes in, providing expert guidance and knowledge on:

The best techniques, The best locations, The best bait, The best timing

Learning how to catch fish effectively is essential to maximize your chances of reeling in a prized catch.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, a Key West fishing charter can enhance your skills and optimize your time on the water.

Charting Your Key West Fishing Adventure

Given the plethora of fishing opportunities in Key West, selecting the proper adventure for you and your group is key. Key words. West caters to every angler’s preferences and budget with a variety of experiences, including:

Charter fishing, Party boat fishing, Kayak fishing, Bass fishing

Let’s examine these different fishing adventures to determine the best fit for your next Key West fishing trip.

Charter Fishing

Charter fishing in Key West offers numerous benefits, making it an ideal choice for anglers seeking a personalized and memorable fishing experience. With an experienced guide at the helm, you’ll have access to:

1) Valuable local knowledge
2) Well-equipped boats that are ready to tackle the diverse fishing conditions Key West has to offer
3) Options for light tackle fishing, deep-sea fishing, bass fishing, or targeting specific species
4) Tailored trips to your preferences and skill level

In addition to expert guidance and tailored experience, Key West fishing charters also take care of the necessary fishing licenses and permits, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Popular charter companies not in Key West include:

iOutdoor Adventures Key West

Marathon Fishing Charters

Islamorada Fishing Charters

Miami Beach Fishing Charters

A Key West charter fishing trip promises an unforgettable adventure, regardless of whether you’re fishing for the first time or are an experienced angler.

Local Key West Fishing Charters Guides

Local Key West Fishing Charters Guides

Local Key West Guides

Meet the team of local Key West fishing guides, we know the best spots, baits, and techniques to give you the Greatest fishing guides in Miami.

Party Boat Fishing

For a more affordable and social fishing experience, consider party boat fishing in Key West. Party boat fishing involves a group of anglers joining together on a large vessel, often targeting a variety of fish species using bottom-fishing techniques. While party boats are typically too large to fish inshore and don’t often target species such as Sailfish, they offer a fun and budget-friendly option for anglers looking to enjoy the Key West fishing experience.

Note that party boat fishing has some drawbacks, like sharing the boat and crew with other anglers, which may result in less personalized assistance and flexibility. However, if you’re seeking a more affordable option for your Key West fishing adventure, Key West party boats can still provide a memorable and enjoyable experience out on the water.

Kayak and Flats Boat Fishing

For those looking to immerse themselves in the serene and shallow waters of Key West, kayak and flats boat fishing offer a unique and intimate experience.

Kayak fishing allows anglers to:

Explore the shallow backcountry flats and mangrove channels.

Move quietly and unobtrusively.

Get close to elusive species like Bonefish and Permit without spooking them.

Flats boat fishing, on the other hand, provides a stable platform for anglers to target inshore species like Tarpon, Bonefish, and Snook in shallow waters. Flat boats can navigate shallow flats and backcountry channels, offering a versatile and exciting fishing experience in Key West.

If you seek a more adventurous and hands-on fishing experience, kayak or flats boat fishing could be an excellent choice for your next Key West fishing trip.

Bass Fishing

Although Key West is primarily known for its saltwater fishing opportunities, freshwater bass fishing can also be found in the region. Bass fishing targets North American game fish such as largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and only in South Florida, the Peacock bass, providing an exciting fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels.

Popular bass fishing techniques include Live bait, Crankbaiting, Spinnerbaits, and Topwater lures.

Head to nearby freshwater habitats such as the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, and the Florida Keys to enjoy bass fishing in Key West.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with local fishing rules, like in freshwater a Florida fishing license is needed, such as size and bag limits and any seasonal restrictions, to ensure a responsible and enjoyable bass fishing experience.

Key West Reviews

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Top Key West Fishing Spots

With abundant fish species and diverse fishing opportunities, Key West boasts some of the best fishing spots in Florida. Some of the top fishing spots include:

White Street Pier
Outer Mole Pier
Edward B.
Southernmost Pier
Backcountry flats surrounding Key West

Each location offers a unique fishing experience, catering to different angling preferences and techniques.

For anglers targeting specific species, certain spots may be more productive than others. For example, the Old Bahia Honda Bridge in Big Pine Key and Sugarloaf Key are known to be great spots for catching mangrove snapper and grouper, while the Marquesas Keys offer an exciting offshore fishing experience.

No matter which spot you choose, you will surely have a fantastic fishing adventure in Key West.

Key West Fishing Calendar

When planning your Key West fishing trip, considering the fishing calendar, which includes fishing tournaments and seasonal regulations, is vital. With various fishing tournaments held throughout the year, anglers can experience the thrill of competition while targeting specific species. Additionally, awareness of seasonal regulations, such as protected species and fishing seasons, ensures a responsible and enjoyable fishing experience.

Let’s delve into Key West’s fishing calendar details.

Fishing Tournaments

Key West hosts numerous fishing tournaments throughout the year, attracting anglers from all over the world. Some of the notable tournaments include:

The Key West Fishing Tournament: This popular event runs from December to July and targets more than 40 different fish species, offering participants a chance to win prizes.
The Cuda Bowl Tournament: This tournament is focused on catching barracuda.
The Key West Kingfish Mayhem Tournament
The Del Brown Permit Tournament
The Key West Marlin Tournament

These tournaments provide exciting opportunities for anglers to showcase their skills and compete for prizes.

These fishing tournaments provide a fun and competitive atmosphere for anglers, contribute to the local economy, and support conservation efforts. Whether you’re a seasoned tournament angler or a novice looking to test your skills, participating in one of Key West’s fishing tournaments is a fantastic way to experience the thrill of competition and the camaraderie of fellow anglers.

Fishing Seasons and Regulations

Fishing seasons and regulations in Key West are crucial to maintaining a sustainable and healthy fishery. Some examples include:

Gag Grouper is protected until May 1st of each year.
Hogfish has an open season from May to October.

Lobster fishing in Key West has two distinct seasons, ensuring responsible harvesting of this famous crustacean.

Before embarking on your Key West fishing adventure, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local fishing regulations, including size and bag limits and any seasonal restrictions. Doing so not only helps preserve the health of the fishery but also ensures a responsible and enjoyable fishing experience for all.

Before casting your line in Key West, ensure you’re updated with the latest fishing regulations and seasons.

Current Fishing Reports

Fishing Reports

Preparing for Your Key West Fishing Trip

Consider several vital preparations as you prepare for your Key West fishing trip. Booking a fishing charter or guide is necessary, providing valuable local knowledge, expert guidance, and well-equipped boats to ensure a successful and enjoyable fishing experience. Additionally, checking the weather conditions before your trip is crucial for safety and optimum fishing conditions.

When it comes to packing for your fishing trip, don’t forget to bring the appropriate fishing gear, such as rods, reels, lures, bait, and tackle. Packaging sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, snacks, and drinks is essential to stay comfortable and protected during your time on the water.

You can maximize your Key West fishing adventure with adequate planning and preparation.


From inshore flats to deep offshore waters, Key West offers a fishing adventure for every angler. With diverse fish species, a range of fishing techniques, and an array of fishing opportunities, it’s no wonder that Key West is a top destination for anglers worldwide. As you plan your next fishing trip, consider the unique experiences, top fishing spots, and seasonal calendar that make Key West an unforgettable fishing destination. So grab your gear, book that charter, and get ready to experience the thrill of fishing in Key West.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Key West have good fishing?

Key points? Key points? West offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the US, boasting access to a diverse range of species in flats, reefs, and the deep blue sea. You’ll find fish like bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, redfish, kingfish, wahoo, tuna and grouper – plus unique species like the Ladyfish.

These species can be caught year-round, with the best times being spring and fall. The waters around Key West are also home to various other marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees. Whether you’re a student or an undergraduate, you’re a good candidate for the job.

What is the best time of year to fish in Key West?

The best time to fish in Key West is December through February, when sailfish, tarpon, spotted seatrout, mahi-mahi, and cobia can be caught, and amberjack, grouper, and king mackerel from November through March.

Springtime is also famous for inshore and deep sea fishing due to the warm fronts and tropical breezes.

How much does it cost to fish in Key West?

Fishing in Key West will cost you an average of $500 per charter.

What types of fish can I expect to catch in Key West?

You can expect to catch a wide variety of fish in Key West, like Tarpon, Bonefish, Snook, Permit, Snapper, Grouper, Tuna, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Sailfish, Marlin and Peacock bass.

What are some popular fishing techniques in Key West?

Fishing in Key West is a great experience, with popular techniques including light tackle, deep-sea, sight fishing, and fly fishing.

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