Fishing Key West In May

Dolphin mahi mahi May fishing Key West
Mahi Mahi in May Deep Sea Fishing

May Fishing Contents

May is one of our favorite months overall for fishing Key West. As the winds start to lay down, fishing in all our arenas start to strengthen. Grouper season opens up and tarpon season will be in full swing.

The hotel rates are still a bit high, but they will come down a bit from the extreme highs of the previous couple of months. Kids are still in school visitors can consider May and adult month here in Key West.

Events beginning of May is the annual Songwriters Festival. This event brings hoards of performers and music lovers to the island, so advanced room reservations are a must in the beginning of the month. May is also a popular month for corporate getaways, so expect to see some big groups. See our Key West events page on our sister site for other fun stuff going on. 

The Weather In May

Our weather starts to stabilize, and the frequently windy days that we have in the spring will lessen. The air and water temperatures start to rise to meet the heat of the summer. All of our summer cast of fish species should be here by May. On rare occasions early May can see a stray cold front that will change it up a bit. All in all the conditions make for comfortable days on the water and around the town. A great month for fishing weather wise. 

Fishing Inshore

In May, we start to see the winter fishery slow down as the waters heat up. But the presence of our summer species strengthens. This is the month where we begin to see the fishing get a bit more technical on our inshore waters as many fly fishermen and species specific anglers come to Key West. 

May Tarpon Fishing
Key West Is Famous For May Tarpon Fishing

When the calendar goes to page May… The highlight of our Inshore fishing is tarpon. May is tarpon time here in Key West. The tarpon migration starts up in full force in this month as tarpon move their way North for the summer. the migration brings them right through the islands of the Florida Keys making them fun targets to cast to, often in less than 3 feet of crystal clear water. A bucket list fish for sure, ranging in size from 30 – 150 lbs the tarpon is notorious for high flying jumps and incredible hard fights.

Tarpon fishing charters are typically done on board my technical bay boats. Speed, comfort and stability combined with great electronics and smart trolling motors that keep our anglers on the fish. With over 30 years tarpon fishing in Key West, rest assured we know not only where they are but also how to get them to eat. 


Mutton Snapper female angler fishing
Backcountry Fishing Can produce some nice snappers like this Mutton

What a great time to enjoy the backcountry waters of Key West. Loads of opportunities to catch a trophy in May. As the waters warm up and things turn tropical species such as tarpon are here in full force. But that is not all. With the calmer weather and warmer waters there are plenty of casting opportunities for folks to get in to all sorts of species of fish and some are super tasty. Sportfish such as barracudas, permit, bonefish, sharks along with large jack crevalle and yellow jacks. For lunch we can get into the snappers and sometimes legal size grouper as well. (Grouper season opens May 1). All of that after taking a shot at a tarpon. 

Our backcountry fishing charters are super versatile. We can fish the shallows in and around the islands or on the shallow flats. On the right day we can also head out to the reef for some snappers to take to lunch. May is an excellent time for this trip. Also take a look at the “All In Wonder” full day of fishing. Starting in May this Trip is a great bang for your buck. 


Permit Fishing in May
Here is Bill with his big permit he caught fishing with Capt. Steven. Why is it some guys don't smile when they catch a trophy? Nice fish Bill

With the winds finally starting to wane, May is the official start to our flats fishing season here in Key West. With gin clear waters the norm this makes our sight fishing amazing fun with spin fishing or fly fishing gear. Of course we are lazer focused on tarpon fishing this month on the flats but don’t discount the other two to make the big three of the Key West grand slam.. Tarpon – permit – bonefish.  Flats fishing is a sight fishing sport and a bit more structured and disciplined than backcountry fishing. Call us to learn more about the differences. 305-292-7212

We utilize our technical bay boats in May for the versatility and stability for shallow water flats fishing for all the species of the Key West grand slam (tarpon, permit and bonefish). These boats give us an advantage over the traditional flats skiff at this point of the year in fishing Key West

With high tech everything the bay boats these days are super light. Mine is made of Carbon Fiber. They get super shallow now and have the use of ultra quiet trolling motors. Not only able to sneak up on wary flats fishing species, but also cover a huge amount of ground. This equates to more shots at spooky trophy flats species

Fishing Offshore

I am not sure there is much argument that May holds the best offshore fishing to be had out of Key West. From the patch reefs nearshore all the way out to the sword fishing grounds in uber deep water. The weather is usually pretty great so May has it made for offshore fishing. 

Gag Grouper
Grouper season for the South Atlantic opens on May 1.

Lets talk about the Atlantic grouper season opens up in May. There are many different species of grouper on the reef here here out of Key West. Such as the black grouper, red grouper, gag grouper and scamp just to name a few. As of May 1 we are open season on these tasty fish in the South Atlantic.

Thats not all. The reefs are loaded with great fishing for all sorts of species in May. The snappers are on full mission to eat and be eaten by you. Yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper and mangrove snapper are all spawning in May. There are few better times to go reef fishing and stock up on tasty fish.

Our reef fishing charters are the best way to fish for all the above. 

Along with all those tasty fish on the reef we also get into some hard pulling sport fish on the close by wrecks as well. Amber jack, african pompano, barracudas, yellow jacks and jack crevalle are also part of the fun. Add that to the blue water species that frequent the wrecks and reefs looking for an easy snack in May such as sailfish, blackfin tunas and wahoo.

Our reef fishing charters are done on board our triple engine Mercury Marine powered 36ft Yellowfin center console. Where speed meets comfort and a great ride. 


May is one of the best months for deep sea fishing here in Key West. With the weather getting calmer, the days getting longer and warmer May is custom tailored to be great deep sea fishing.

As the Gulf Stream weaves in and out on with its flow. The predominant South East winds stack up the the weed lines. This is where the bounty is held. loads of bait fish congregate for safety from the predators of the deep. As the predators cruise these lines like a grocery store isle we troll our boats right near them hoping to make the connection. 

Our largest Mahi mixed with blackfin tunas and skipjack tunas are the usual in May. During the new and full moon other species such as blue marlin and wahoo become more popular. There is always a good shot at sailfish early in the month. 

Deep sea fishing charters sell out very fast in May. We have several solutions to fit your budget and trip desires. 

Our in-house deep sea fishing charter is the InXS. She is a 47ft Viking convertible sport fishing boat. She leaves out of Oceans Edge marina on stock island. Check out our rates page to learn more about pricing.

We have many other opportunities to go deep sea fishing as well to provide more availability and maybe more budget friendly. 

Fishing In May

What a great month for all of it. Inshore is on fire and the offshore is too. Such a hard choice of where you would like to fish. It’s easy for me as I just go where my folks want to fish. I haver 4 different types of boats at my disposal daily. Many anglers really do what they can to get as much fishing in as possible in May. Often our anglers will book a couple of days on the flats or backcountry to target tarpon. Then they add a day of reef fishing for some meat. After that they will head offshore for some great deep sea fishing. Sounds like a lot but for the best month of the year for fishing on all these areas.. It might be just right.

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