Key West fishing charters are full of diversity. We have it all. With the Gulf of Mexico just to our North and the Atlantic Ocean to our South, that might be enough. However that’s just the beginning. With all the different ways and places to fish and the year round nature of fishing here in Key West I feel that sometimes it might be difficult for folks to chose a fishing charter. Looking over the Key West fishing calendar can help.
I like to separate Key West fishing in two groups, Inshore and Offshore. Both have a number of dynamics and different ways to fish, but at least there is a start. Inshore fishing will be calmer and closer to or within the islands for flats fishing or backcountry fishing. Most of our tarpon fishing and bone fishing is done inshore. Offshore has the deeper water influence. Deep sea fishing and reef fishing are done offshore.
Inshore Flats Fishing was made famous right here in the Florida Keys. With the vastness of the shallows one can go almost a lifetime and never fish the same flat twice. Key West Flats fishing charters are all about sight fishing the shallows as you are being directed by your fishing guide where to cast to hit your target. We use both technical flats fishing boats and state of the art bay boats. Anglers and use a fly fishing rod or spin fishing light tackle. Flats fishing charters appeal to hunters that like to stalk their prey. In Key West the flats fishing grand slam is made up of the tarpon, permit and bonefish. Not more than 2 anglers is recommended for a flats fishing charter.
Inshore Backcountry fishing is a less disciplined version of flats fishing with the same results. Both are excellent ways to fish for tarpon, permit, bonefish, barracudas, mangrove and mutton snappers, cobia, sharks, pompano, redfish, spanish mackerel, lady fish and speckled sea trout here in Key West. These are the most popular Key West fishing charters for a couple of reasons. Fishing charter rates being lower and typically no seasickness concerns with the calm waters. In addition most of our tarpon fishing charters are done on backcountry and flats fishing trips.
Offshore Just 5 miles to the South and spanning 80 miles each direction form Key West is our amazing living coral reef. Home to countless Key West fish species from the smallest bait fish to the largest pelagic species. Reef fishing is a favorite of our anglers that want to catch food fish and taste test our wonderful selection. Throughout the year fish species such as black and red grouper, yellowtail, mutton and mangrove snappers, Jacks, kingfish, sailfish, blackfin tunas, african pompano, cobia, permit and more. Light tackle fishing at its best. Reef fishing charters typically are on board go-fast center consoles that are 26-40ft, usually multiple motors designed to cover long distances in a short period of time in offshore conditions. Live bait, artificial techniques and some trolling is typical on these fishing charters.
Offshore Hemingway put us on the map for Key West deep sea fishing and to this day it is still a very popular / traditional fishing charter. Trolling the blue waters of the Gulf Stream for Dolphin (mahi-mahi), wahoo, tuna, sailfish, kingfish and marlin. Our deep sea fishing charters are typically done on board a sport fishing boat ranging in size from 38 – 52 ft. with varying amenities that can include air conditioning, kitchens and out of the elements seating areas. All of our deep sea trips can carry up to 6 persons not including the captain and the mate on private charters.
As with anything there are specialties that are offered for the more focused anglers. Here are some specialty fishing trips that will focus on a particular species, area or an idea that can be asked for by name.
Probably our most popular species here in the Florida Keys and Key West. The Tarpon. Ranging in size from 15-200 lbs and can be fished for here all year round weather permitting. Notorious for hard pulling long fights that will include high flying jumps and unpredictability. Fun for all levels of angling skill and ages. Late March – June is what we consider our “tarpon season” or the best times to fish for them. Tarpon fishing charters can be done on board a bay boat (most popular) a flats fishing boat (most traditional) and a larger center console. Tarpon fishing season books up fast so make sure you plan ahead.
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Often bonefishing is used to describe flats fishing. Bonefish are actually one of the species of fish we target on the flats, so many folks refer to flats fishing by calling it bonefishing. As a species targeted on the flats bonefishing was quite possibly made famous here in the Florida Keys and is very popular today. Key West has proven itself as a great destination for bonefishing and it has been getting better and better every year. We are seeing larger and more numerous bonefish in many areas making it easy to catch them on our fishing charters using both fly fishing rods and light tackle spin fishing rods.