Top Ten Key West Fish Species

Permit is in the top ten fish species in Key West.
The 10 most popular Key West fish species that visitors want to go fishing for the most.

Top 10 Key West Fish Species

What are the top ten species of fish to go fishing in Key West for? Here is my list. I have been very lucky in my career as a Key West fishing guide to have been able to fish all of the arenas we have here Inshore and offshore. Using the nicest boats and equipment money can buy with some of the nicest and fun folks to fish with . There is not a fish caught locally here that I have not targeted with my clients and been successful at helping them catch it. Top ten lists are always suspect to me. In this case I can honestly say these are the most requested in my 30 year career as a fishing guide and a fishing trip booking agent. This is the top ten list of the most popular fish species we target fishing in Key West. 

Number 10

Wahoo

Wahoo
This wahoo was caught on board my 47 ft Viking deep sea fishing boat The "InXS".

One of the fastest fish in the Ocean lives right here in Key West. The Wahoo starts this off at Number 10. 

Not an everyday catch but can be caught all year round here. The wahoo is an offshore deep sea fishing treat! Hard hits with super hard fast runs. Ranging in size from 5 – 85 lbs here and definitely high on the bucket list for many anglers. As an added bonus the wahoo is also amazingly good eating. Mostly found out just past the reef near wrecks and reef humps they are also commonly caught under floating debris in the blue water. 

How I Fish For Wahoo

Most of the wahoo my clients and I catch these days are caught on board my Viking sport fishing boat the “INXS” while trolling deep sea fishing. I will focus on them specifically on the new and full moons of the year. My 36 Yellowfin “Top Intense” is also a great boat to use fishing the same way. When booking a trip that has wahoo as a focus be sure to mention other species you would like to try for as well. This will help us chose the right boat and trip for you. 

Number 9

Permit

Permit Fish
Permit Fish number 2 for this anglers fishing with me on my Yellowfin Carbon Elite Bay Boat.

The Rock Stars of the Flats. For me the permit would be number one however for this top ten it comes in at number 7.

For me permit are the perfect ingredient of hunting and fishing combined. The ultimate gentleman’s sport fish. To sight fish for permit on the flats a good relationship with your fishing guide, understanding of casting and presentation are all required. Permit are my favorite flats fishing species. 

Moving off the flats permit are also found on wrecks and reef structure making them easier targets to catch. I call them “Fancy Jacks” when they are in deeper waters. We get many requests for permit fishing. To check permit off your bucket list, first decide how you would like to catch one. On the flats or on the wrecks. Both require an experienced seasoned fishing guide that has either top level flats fishing experience or the locations to find them in deeper water. 

How I Fish for Permit

The right tools are required for permit fishing. I have them all. From the best in fishing gear from DIAWA to the right boats. For my traditional flats fishing clients I have a 17ft flats fishing skiff. I also fish the flats with my 24ft Yellowfin Carbon elite bay boat. Offshore on the wrecks I use my 36 Ft Yellowfin center console. When you call we will go over all the options for you to make sure you get what you are looking for. 

Number 8

Barracudas

Barracudas
Barracuda caught sight fishing for them on the flats.

Barracudas even have their own song! Coming in at number 8 this amazing predator is on most anglers secondary hit list. If not this, then let’s catch a barracuda!

You know what they say.. What do Mopeds and Barracudas have in common? They are both fun to ride / fight, unless a friend sees you. Powerful, fast and truly unpredicatble it is truly amazing that barracudas don’t make it higher on the list of the Top 10 Key West fish species. Maybe it’s because they are everywhere and not edible. Maybe it’s because they strike at just about anything flashy that is well presented. I dont know. But I can tell you I have never seen anyone not smile reeling one of these bad boys in. 

Fishing For Barracudas

We get a good number of calls for barracuda fishing here in our office. We catch them inshore on the flats, in the backcountry. We also catch them offshore deep sea fishing and on the reef. Generally when a client calls in to specifically fish for them we put together a backcountry fishing charter to target them in the shallows. Using light tackle spin fishing gear or fly fishing gear, sight fishing for barracuda in the shallows is pretty amazing. The strikes are explosive and the fight is unpredictable. There is lots of casting. I use my 24 ft bay boat for best results and comfort. 4 6 and 8 hour charters. 

Number 7

Bonefish

Bonfish
Dubbed the "Ghost of the flats" by those who seek them.

Bonefish rule the flats in the Florida Keys. With their mirror sides and greenish backs they are able to blend in to any surroundings.

The Florida Keys made bonefishing famous. Mixing hunting and fishing together has appealed to many flats fishing anglers visiting the Florida Keys to fish for the “Ghost Of The Flats”. Years ago catching a bonefish was considered the holy grail of fishing. Nothing has changed except we have made it easier and there are WAY more bonefish around. Foraging the flats looking for a snack our bonefish will eat a well presented fly or shrimp. The fight from these little speedsters is incredible. A keen eye is needed to see them.

How I Fish For Bonefish

Since the beginning of my career bonefish have captured my focus. I jump at the chance to go hunting with my anglers for these fish. A little experience is needed but not required to catch one. I offer fly fishing and light tackle fishing for bonefish.. Light tackle fishing being most productive. Using two different types of boats my anglers get to chose. I have a technical 17′ Beavertail flats fishing skiff that is a fantastic option for traditional flats fishermen. OR My state of the art Yellowfin 24 carbon fiber bay boat

Number 6

Sailfish

Sailfish
This young man shows off his trophy that he caught fishing with me on my Viking.

Sailfish are a deep sea Palegic fish that runs just past the reef. A billfish with attitude that puts up an areal fight. Key West is a well known destination to fish for them.

Everyday we leave the dock when I am fishing out to or past the reef I am geared up for the possibility of catching a sailfish or at least seeing one. Predominate mostly in the late fall through late spring we do catch them year round. From the reef in less than 20ft of water all the way out past Woods wall in 2000. A really fun fish to catch with some amazing video acts as well as photo op not to mention it is a billfish. Not a food fish per se’ although they are very good eating. We practice catch and release on sailfish. I have to say that sailfish are the most trophy replica fish we catch here in Key West for my trips. 

How Do I Fish For Sailfish

I fish for sailfish a few different ways. On my 47Ft Viking folks like to troll for them or use Kites. We can even pitch baits to them as we see them on the reef or in the shallows. On board my 36 ft Yellowfin Center console live baiting using a kite or trolling is my main methods. I let the folks who are going fishing with me decide which they prefer as I am always rigged and ready for any of it. 

Number 5

Black Fin Tuna

Blackfin Tuna and girl
This young lady caught a blackfin tuna with me on board my 36ft Yellowfin.

A really fun fish to catch and amazing food value. Very popular with many of our anglers. 

The blackfin tuna is one of our Palegic deeper water species of fish here in Key West that make the top 10. Many of us fishing guides target these fish day in and day out as a mix of species for the box of fish caught that day. Blackfins (in my opinion) are one of the best food fish we have here. A rich reddish tuna meat that if prepared properly will really impress. 

How I Fish For Blackfin Tuna

There are two different boats I use to target blackfin tuna. I use my 36 Ft Yellowfin Center Console and my 47ft Viking deep sea fishing boat. Mostly I fish for them just past the reef in the Atlantic Ocean. Trolling or live baiting for them is very popular. In the spring through May I will run out into the Gulf of Mexico to fish for them behind the shrimp boats using light tackle and even fly fishing. These fish can get quite large and this trip is a very popular trip that needs to be booked in advance. 

Number 4

Sharks

sharks
The shallow water masters tour is a trip I created back in 2000. We catch huge sharks like this in less than 4 ft of water.. Pretty exciting.

Island Genn does more fishing related bookings than anyone in the Florida Keys. Over 3000 a year since 2002. She says the number 4 most popular fish species in Key West should be sharks. I think she is right. 

What Makes Sharks So Cool

Sharks have a lot going for them to make them number 4. Fishermen love to pull on big fish – some of our sharks are over 300 lbs. People love shark week, on this trip they get up close and personal for real and not on TV. We have lots of sharks of all lengths, species and sizes. We sight fish for our sharks in the shallows so this is Extra Cool. So lots of fishermen chose our shark fishing charters. 

No, we won’t let you eat them. (lots of people ask) they are purely a sport fish for us. We are pretty good at releasing them unharmed. We use barbless hooks and special de hookers. The species we fish for are Bull sharks, Lemon Sharks, Blacktop Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Tiger Sharks and Bonnet head sharks. We can dial it to the size and desire of any angler big or small. 

Shark Fishing

The shallow water monsters trip is a shark fishing trip in shallow water. We use our 24 ft bay boats to work the shallows and get you hooked up on a huge shark. This trip is for ALL ages and experience levels. There is loads of excitement and can get quite scary at times but we keep you completely safe. 

Number 3

Mahi Mahi - Dolphin Fish - Dorado

mahi dolphin fish with woman lady angler in bikini
A bull dolphin fish caught on board my 47 Ft Viking "INXS" deep sea fishing off Key West.

When folks call looking for deep sea fishing charters generally they have this fish on their mind. The Mahi Mahi or Dolphin fish AKA Dorado. So it takes the number 3 spot on our Key West fish species. 

Our most common deep sea fishing species is the Dolphin. Huge food quality with loads of yield. A highly sustainable species as it is a super fast grower. Did you know that a legal sized mahi dolphin is about 6 weeks old and has reproduced two or more times already. Dolphin are the targets of our deep sea fishing charters all summer long where we often catch “schoolies” and larger fish to filet and pack for our clients at the end of the trip. Often times my anglers take their fish to a cook your catch restaurant or pack it up and ship it home. 

How Do I Fish For Dolphin

Dolphin are mostly caught on our deep sea fishing charters while trolling. Often we catch them when working for other species in the deeper blue waters. Often we catch them right up on the reef. Dolphin are here year round in and out. Most popular time is May through September as the waters will be calm enough to make the run to go get them. 

I use two different boats for deep sea fishing for dolphin. My flagship 47ft Viking sport fishing boat called the “INXS” that has room for 6 and a place to get out of the sun in air conditioning. Where fishing meets luxury. 

My second boat is a 36ft Yellowfin center console called the “Too Intense”  that has triple mercury Racing engines for a faster approach to deep sea fishing. Many of my regular anglers love this boat for its speed to the fish.

Number 2

Snapper / Grouper

yellowtail snapper
My wife Island Genn and her sister with a couple of nice "Flags" yellowtail snapper.

Number Two is a tasty treat. Snapper / Grouper or reef species take the number 2 slot for in the top ten most popular fish species in Key West. 

Putting species together was not a choice of mine for this top ten but after much thought they kinda go hand in hand as a targeted species. When folks ask to go fishing for grouper they also want snapper to help increase the number of filets for the cooler. Grouper snapper are reef species for us and folks ofter ask to go “grouper snapper fishing” or “reef fishing”. This is most certainly the number 2 most popular fish people want to target in Key West. 

What Makes Grouper / Snapper So Great?

Have ya eaten any? Our best seafood is found on the reefs here in Key West and in the flesh of these two species of fish. Grouper and snapper are catch and keep fish. Readily available inshore and offshore one does not have to go far to catch them. Pack them up and send them home or take freshly fileted fish to your local cook your catch restaurant here and have a feast! 

Snapper

It’s really hard to say which is my favorite snapper. We have so many species here and they are all great fighters to target on light tackle and amazing food fish. What I think is really cool about them is that they are everywhere and anyone can catch them! Inshore and offshore anglers of all experience levels can catch legal size snapper all year round in any weather. If I had to choose I’d say Mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper and mangrove snapper are my favorites. All are fun to catch using light tackle. I really enjoy catching them using artificial lure that provokes their mean streak. 

I offer several different types of fishing charters that cater to snapper fishing using three different types of boats that can match several budgets. Call my office to learn more about these options. 305-292-7212

Grouper

Heavy lifting of a big fish is really a blast. Then at the end of the effort having a very nice trophy food fish is what grouper fishing Is all about. I just love Fried Grouper. We have 4 species of grouper we fish for on the reef. Black grouper, red grouper, scamp and gag grouper are all on the list. Grouper season is from May 1 – December 31st in the South Atlantic. 

I recommend my extended West trip or my Dry Tortugas fishing charter to really get your best shot at some nice groupers. 

My Wife Put Her Fried Grouper Recipe On Here Blog. Check It Out – Click Here

Number 1

Tarpon

Tarpon
My good friend John with a beast tarpon he caught with me in Key West

Here we are at number one. As many that know Keys fishing would have guessed Tarpon are the most popular fish, not only in Key West but all of the Florida Keys.

Tarpon are here year round but the main fishing season for them starts Mid March and goes through October pretty consistently year in and year out. As a backcountry and flats fishing guide I can find tarpon pretty much any day during that time of the year and often all the other months of the year as well. 

What Makes Tarpon So Great?

Tarpon are fun to stalk on the flats. They are easy to find when they are around in the channels and basins as they roll on the surface. This is great eye candy for anglers that might be a little impatient. From a tarpon fishing guides point of view, this is a gift. Tarpon are SUPER STRONG! Once they are hooked up any size tarpon will show up with strength and amazing aerobatics. I have seen tarpon leap 6-8 ft up in the air right in front of my boat. They are easy to release unharmed after they put up a huge fight. There are no other fish we target here that earn a more visible respect from an  angler during and after a catch. I have had clients break down in tears when a fish they have been fighting gets unavoidably eaten by a shark. I hear more stories about “That tarpon I got in the Keys” than any other species we have here. 

Tarpon Fishing Capitol

I think Key West and the Florida Keys are the tarpon fishing capitol of the world for many reasons. A destination that is easy to get to. We are in the US and you won’t need your passport.  We have them everywhere! A good inshore fishing guide can get you to them, weather permitting. Tarpon can be caught here with light tackle or fly fishing gear. Key West is hugely famous for fly fishing for tarpon. Putting together over 3000 fishing charters a year for people, tarpon fishing is the most requested targeted species for fishing Key West. Keep in mind that many folks want to go fishing for something big and stay out of the rough water to do it. 

Top 10 Key West Fish Species

What are the top ten species of fish to go fishing in Key West for? Here is my list. I have been very lucky in my career as a Key West fishing guide to have been able to fish all of the arenas we have here Inshore and offshore. Using the nicest boats and equipment money can buy with some of the nicest and fun folks to fish with . There is not a fish caught locally here that I have not targeted with my clients and been successful at helping them catch it. Top ten lists are always suspect to me. In this case I can honestly say these are the most requested in my 30 year career as a fishing guide and a fishing trip booking agent. This is the top ten list of the most popular fish species we target fishing in Key West. 

Number 10

Wahoo

Wahoo
This wahoo was caught on board my 47 ft Viking deep sea fishing boat The "InXS".

One of the fastest fish in the Ocean lives right here in Key West. The Wahoo starts this off at Number 10. 

Not an everyday catch but can be caught all year round here. The wahoo is an offshore deep sea fishing treat! Hard hits with super hard fast runs. Ranging in size from 5 – 85 lbs here and definitely high on the bucket list for many anglers. As an added bonus the wahoo is also amazingly good eating. Mostly found out just past the reef near wrecks and reef humps they are also commonly caught under floating debris in the blue water. 

How I Fish For Wahoo

Most of the wahoo my clients and I catch these days are caught on board my Viking sport fishing boat the “INXS” while trolling deep sea fishing. I will focus on them specifically on the new and full moons of the year. My 36 Yellowfin “Top Intense” is also a great boat to use fishing the same way. When booking a trip that has wahoo as a focus be sure to mention other species you would like to try for as well. This will help us chose the right boat and trip for you. 

Number 9

Permit

Permit Fish
Permit Fish number 2 for this anglers fishing with me on my Yellowfin Carbon Elite Bay Boat.

The Rock Stars of the Flats. For me the permit would be number one however for this top ten it comes in at number 7.

For me permit are the perfect ingredient of hunting and fishing combined. The ultimate gentleman’s sport fish. To sight fish for permit on the flats a good relationship with your fishing guide, understanding of casting and presentation are all required. Permit are my favorite flats fishing species. 

Moving off the flats permit are also found on wrecks and reef structure making them easier targets to catch. I call them “Fancy Jacks” when they are in deeper waters. We get many requests for permit fishing. To check permit off your bucket list, first decide how you would like to catch one. On the flats or on the wrecks. Both require an experienced seasoned fishing guide that has either top level flats fishing experience or the locations to find them in deeper water. 

How I Fish for Permit

The right tools are required for permit fishing. I have them all. From the best in fishing gear from DIAWA to the right boats. For my traditional flats fishing clients I have a 17ft flats fishing skiff. I also fish the flats with my 24ft Yellowfin Carbon elite bay boat. Offshore on the wrecks I use my 36 Ft Yellowfin center console. When you call we will go over all the options for you to make sure you get what you are looking for. 

Number 8

Barracudas

Barracudas
Barracuda caught sight fishing for them on the flats.

Barracudas even have their own song! Coming in at number 8 this amazing predator is on most anglers secondary hit list. If not this, then let’s catch a barracuda!

You know what they say.. What do Mopeds and Barracudas have in common? They are both fun to ride / fight, unless a friend sees you. Powerful, fast and truly unpredicatble it is truly amazing that barracudas don’t make it higher on the list of the Top 10 Key West fish species. Maybe it’s because they are everywhere and not edible. Maybe it’s because they strike at just about anything flashy that is well presented. I dont know. But I can tell you I have never seen anyone not smile reeling one of these bad boys in. 

Fishing For Barracudas

We get a good number of calls for barracuda fishing here in our office. We catch them inshore on the flats, in the backcountry. We also catch them offshore deep sea fishing and on the reef. Generally when a client calls in to specifically fish for them we put together a backcountry fishing charter to target them in the shallows. Using light tackle spin fishing gear or fly fishing gear, sight fishing for barracuda in the shallows is pretty amazing. The strikes are explosive and the fight is unpredictable. There is lots of casting. I use my 24 ft bay boat for best results and comfort. 4 6 and 8 hour charters. 

Number 7

Bonefish

Bonfish
Dubbed the "Ghost of the flats" by those who seek them.

Bonefish rule the flats in the Florida Keys. With their mirror sides and greenish backs they are able to blend in to any surroundings.

The Florida Keys made bonefishing famous. Mixing hunting and fishing together has appealed to many flats fishing anglers visiting the Florida Keys to fish for the “Ghost Of The Flats”. Years ago catching a bonefish was considered the holy grail of fishing. Nothing has changed except we have made it easier and there are WAY more bonefish around. Foraging the flats looking for a snack our bonefish will eat a well presented fly or shrimp. The fight from these little speedsters is incredible. A keen eye is needed to see them.

How I Fish For Bonefish

Since the beginning of my career bonefish have captured my focus. I jump at the chance to go hunting with my anglers for these fish. A little experience is needed but not required to catch one. I offer fly fishing and light tackle fishing for bonefish.. Light tackle fishing being most productive. Using two different types of boats my anglers get to chose. I have a technical 17′ Beavertail flats fishing skiff that is a fantastic option for traditional flats fishermen. OR My state of the art Yellowfin 24 carbon fiber bay boat

Number 6

Sailfish

Sailfish
This young man shows off his trophy that he caught fishing with me on my Viking.

Sailfish are a deep sea Palegic fish that runs just past the reef. A billfish with attitude that puts up an areal fight. Key West is a well known destination to fish for them.

Everyday we leave the dock when I am fishing out to or past the reef I am geared up for the possibility of catching a sailfish or at least seeing one. Predominate mostly in the late fall through late spring we do catch them year round. From the reef in less than 20ft of water all the way out past Woods wall in 2000. A really fun fish to catch with some amazing video acts as well as photo op not to mention it is a billfish. Not a food fish per se’ although they are very good eating. We practice catch and release on sailfish. I have to say that sailfish are the most trophy replica fish we catch here in Key West for my trips. 

How Do I Fish For Sailfish

I fish for sailfish a few different ways. On my 47Ft Viking folks like to troll for them or use Kites. We can even pitch baits to them as we see them on the reef or in the shallows. On board my 36 ft Yellowfin Center console live baiting using a kite or trolling is my main methods. I let the folks who are going fishing with me decide which they prefer as I am always rigged and ready for any of it. 

Number 5

Black Fin Tuna

Blackfin Tuna and girl
This young lady caught a blackfin tuna with me on board my 36ft Yellowfin.

A really fun fish to catch and amazing food value. Very popular with many of our anglers. 

The blackfin tuna is one of our Palegic deeper water species of fish here in Key West that make the top 10. Many of us fishing guides target these fish day in and day out as a mix of species for the box of fish caught that day. Blackfins (in my opinion) are one of the best food fish we have here. A rich reddish tuna meat that if prepared properly will really impress. 

How I Fish For Blackfin Tuna

There are two different boats I use to target blackfin tuna. I use my 36 Ft Yellowfin Center Console and my 47ft Viking deep sea fishing boat. Mostly I fish for them just past the reef in the Atlantic Ocean. Trolling or live baiting for them is very popular. In the spring through May I will run out into the Gulf of Mexico to fish for them behind the shrimp boats using light tackle and even fly fishing. These fish can get quite large and this trip is a very popular trip that needs to be booked in advance. 

Number 4

Sharks

sharks
The shallow water masters tour is a trip I created back in 2000. We catch huge sharks like this in less than 4 ft of water.. Pretty exciting.

Island Genn does more fishing related bookings than anyone in the Florida Keys. Over 3000 a year since 2002. She says the number 4 most popular fish species in Key West should be sharks. I think she is right. 

What Makes Sharks So Cool

Sharks have a lot going for them to make them number 4. Fishermen love to pull on big fish – some of our sharks are over 300 lbs. People love shark week, on this trip they get up close and personal for real and not on TV. We have lots of sharks of all lengths, species and sizes. We sight fish for our sharks in the shallows so this is Extra Cool. So lots of fishermen chose our shark fishing charters. 

No, we won’t let you eat them. (lots of people ask) they are purely a sport fish for us. We are pretty good at releasing them unharmed. We use barbless hooks and special de hookers. The species we fish for are Bull sharks, Lemon Sharks, Blacktop Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Tiger Sharks and Bonnet head sharks. We can dial it to the size and desire of any angler big or small. 

Shark Fishing

The shallow water monsters trip is a shark fishing trip in shallow water. We use our 24 ft bay boats to work the shallows and get you hooked up on a huge shark. This trip is for ALL ages and experience levels. There is loads of excitement and can get quite scary at times but we keep you completely safe. 

Number 3

Mahi Mahi - Dolphin Fish - Dorado

mahi dolphin fish with woman lady angler in bikini
A bull dolphin fish caught on board my 47 Ft Viking "INXS" deep sea fishing off Key West.

When folks call looking for deep sea fishing charters generally they have this fish on their mind. The Mahi Mahi or Dolphin fish AKA Dorado. So it takes the number 3 spot on our Key West fish species. 

Our most common deep sea fishing species is the Dolphin. Huge food quality with loads of yield. A highly sustainable species as it is a super fast grower. Did you know that a legal sized mahi dolphin is about 6 weeks old and has reproduced two or more times already. Dolphin are the targets of our deep sea fishing charters all summer long where we often catch “schoolies” and larger fish to filet and pack for our clients at the end of the trip. Often times my anglers take their fish to a cook your catch restaurant or pack it up and ship it home. 

How Do I Fish For Dolphin

Dolphin are mostly caught on our deep sea fishing charters while trolling. Often we catch them when working for other species in the deeper blue waters. Often we catch them right up on the reef. Dolphin are here year round in and out. Most popular time is May through September as the waters will be calm enough to make the run to go get them. 

I use two different boats for deep sea fishing for dolphin. My flagship 47ft Viking sport fishing boat called the “INXS” that has room for 6 and a place to get out of the sun in air conditioning. Where fishing meets luxury. 

My second boat is a 36ft Yellowfin center console called the “Too Intense”  that has triple mercury Racing engines for a faster approach to deep sea fishing. Many of my regular anglers love this boat for its speed to the fish.

Number 2

Snapper / Grouper

yellowtail snapper
My wife Island Genn and her sister with a couple of nice "Flags" yellowtail snapper.

Number Two is a tasty treat. Snapper / Grouper or reef species take the number 2 slot for in the top ten most popular fish species in Key West. 

Putting species together was not a choice of mine for this top ten but after much thought they kinda go hand in hand as a targeted species. When folks ask to go fishing for grouper they also want snapper to help increase the number of filets for the cooler. Grouper snapper are reef species for us and folks ofter ask to go “grouper snapper fishing” or “reef fishing”. This is most certainly the number 2 most popular fish people want to target in Key West. 

What Makes Grouper / Snapper So Great?

Have ya eaten any? Our best seafood is found on the reefs here in Key West and in the flesh of these two species of fish. Grouper and snapper are catch and keep fish. Readily available inshore and offshore one does not have to go far to catch them. Pack them up and send them home or take freshly fileted fish to your local cook your catch restaurant here and have a feast! 

Snapper

It’s really hard to say which is my favorite snapper. We have so many species here and they are all great fighters to target on light tackle and amazing food fish. What I think is really cool about them is that they are everywhere and anyone can catch them! Inshore and offshore anglers of all experience levels can catch legal size snapper all year round in any weather. If I had to choose I’d say Mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper and mangrove snapper are my favorites. All are fun to catch using light tackle. I really enjoy catching them using artificial lure that provokes their mean streak. 

I offer several different types of fishing charters that cater to snapper fishing using three different types of boats that can match several budgets. Call my office to learn more about these options. 305-292-7212

Grouper

Heavy lifting of a big fish is really a blast. Then at the end of the effort having a very nice trophy food fish is what grouper fishing Is all about. I just love Fried Grouper. We have 4 species of grouper we fish for on the reef. Black grouper, red grouper, scamp and gag grouper are all on the list. Grouper season is from May 1 – December 31st in the South Atlantic. 

I recommend my extended West trip or my Dry Tortugas fishing charter to really get your best shot at some nice groupers. 

My Wife Put Her Fried Grouper Recipe On Here Blog. Check It Out – Click Here

Number 1

Tarpon

Tarpon
My good friend John with a beast tarpon he caught with me in Key West

Here we are at number one. As many that know Keys fishing would have guessed Tarpon are the most popular fish, not only in Key West but all of the Florida Keys.

Tarpon are here year round but the main fishing season for them starts Mid March and goes through October pretty consistently year in and year out. As a backcountry and flats fishing guide I can find tarpon pretty much any day during that time of the year and often all the other months of the year as well. 

What Makes Tarpon So Great?

Tarpon are fun to stalk on the flats. They are easy to find when they are around in the channels and basins as they roll on the surface. This is great eye candy for anglers that might be a little impatient. From a tarpon fishing guides point of view, this is a gift. Tarpon are SUPER STRONG! Once they are hooked up any size tarpon will show up with strength and amazing aerobatics. I have seen tarpon leap 6-8 ft up in the air right in front of my boat. They are easy to release unharmed after they put up a huge fight. There are no other fish we target here that earn a more visible respect from an  angler during and after a catch. I have had clients break down in tears when a fish they have been fighting gets unavoidably eaten by a shark. I hear more stories about “That tarpon I got in the Keys” than any other species we have here. 

Tarpon Fishing Capitol

I think Key West and the Florida Keys are the tarpon fishing capitol of the world for many reasons. A destination that is easy to get to. We are in the US and you won’t need your passport.  We have them everywhere! A good inshore fishing guide can get you to them, weather permitting. Tarpon can be caught here with light tackle or fly fishing gear. Key West is hugely famous for fly fishing for tarpon. Putting together over 3000 fishing charters a year for people, tarpon fishing is the most requested targeted species for fishing Key West. Keep in mind that many folks want to go fishing for something big and stay out of the rough water to do it. 

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