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Hottest Sport Fishing Action You'll
Have Is Fishing In Florida Keys

With close to 600 species of Florida fish to target, fishing in Florida Keys is tantamount to the ultimate thrill.

Sport fishing Florida Keys is a passion that grows with each fishing trip out, and with each fond recollection of that last exciting battle with another Florida Keys fish.

If you've been sport fishing here, you know you've hit the jackpot.

Fishing these warm waters, with their incredible shades of blues and greens is memorable enough.

What fuels the saltwater sport fishing passion however, are the fish of the Florida Keys themselves. The bountiful variety of the saltwater fish species are what legends and great stories are made of.

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Weighing Massive Blue Marlin

Massive Blue Marlin Being Weighed
State Library & Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Fishing Florida Keys Overview

Ernest Hemingway is perhaps one of the best known writers and adventurers of our time. Hemingway first experienced the addictive excitement of deep sea fishing Key West waters with Sloppy Joe Russell and several other good friends.

A master of the hunt, he'd never gone sport fishing offshore until he lived in Key West Florida, and it quickly became a passion he adored.

Hemingway, Sloppy Joe and other members of the "Mob", fished the waters off Key West regularly. Their primary focus was the Marquesas Keys Atoll and further south to the Dry Tortugas. They went Key West fishing for the big game fish such as tarpon, swordfish, marlin and sailfish.

In an effort to protect the vast species of Florida fish living in the surrounding waters, certain areas of the Dry Tortugas have been restricted or closed to fishing in Florida Keys.

The Tortugas Ecological Reserve, which is part of an area that once was popular with Ernest Hemingway and his mob of friends, is now restricted to sport fishing.

Also, part of the Dry Tortugas National Park is open for fishing, but in designated areas only. The National Marine Sanctuary area there has numerous no take zones. However, fishing Dry Tortugas is still possible, and it's one of the more exciting, productive places you can go.

Fishing Maps Florida Keys Dry Tortugas National Park

Fishing Maps Florida Keys - Dry Tortugas National Park
Courtesy of National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior

When fishing in Florida Keys, you'll find that the body of water you go out in, will have some bearing on the type of Florida saltwater fish you'll catch. Plus the distance you travel out from shore, will also have an impact on the fish you can expect to find.

This is because the Gulf of Mexico is much shallower and has warmer, calmer water. Florida Bay and the Everglades area are part of the Gulf and this is where the family friendly flats backcountry fishing is so popular.

As in other bodies of temperate water, you'll find similar species of saltwater fish here, with the exception of the billfish and some of the other larger pelagic species who prefer the deep ocean water.

That doesn't mean you're not going to get big fish in the Gulf of Mexico - you will. Grouper, tarpon, shark, jack, and barracuda are just some of the large, feisty fish frequenting these waters.

The Atlantic Ocean gets deeper faster, and when fishing in Florida Keys, this is where you'll catch the really big saltwater fish. Sailfish, marlin, and swordfish thrive in the warm, north moving Gulf Stream where the water is deeper.

Another big draw for these trophy fish are the numerous artificial and beautiful coral reefs lying beneath the surface. The reefs provide protection for the many species of Florida fish these predators seek out and hunt.

As part of your Florida Keys fishing overview you'll also want to get information on these helpful subjects:

. Florida Keys fishing tips

. Fishing bait, and how to find, catch and keep your bait fish healthy

. Florida fishing regulations, fish identification, fishing licenses and permits

Florida Keys Fishing Guides

Unless you're very familiar with the water, and the different species of fish you'll encounter when on your Florida Keys fishing vacation, you should consider going out with a qualified Florida Keys fishing guide.

Fishing the waters surrounding the Florida Keys is an experience totally different from what you're typically used to. It's super shallow and there's lots of coral, shoals and other obstructions to be concerned about. The water is also very clear so the depths can be deceiving, and of course there is the Florida weather and the tide to contend with.

On top of this, there are hundreds of different species of Florida Keys fish populating the waters. Some are protected, some are catch and release, some have catch limits.

You also need to know what they like to eat, how to present the bait, and where to find them. If you go it alone, you may be coming home alone - no photos, no trophies and no dinner.

However if you know how to find, catch and keep your bait fish alive, you can easily head out for a day of successful saltwater fishing on your own.

However, sometimes it's simply easier to go out the first time or two with any of the qualified Florida Keys fishing charters. Not only do they know the where's and how's of successful Florida Keys fishing, they have the right tackle and boats. They also carry the necessary Florida fishing licenses so you don't have to.

Below you'll find a breakdown by area of Florida Keys charter fishing companies. By clicking on any picture or link you'll go to preview pages for the various fishing guides.

There, you'll also see Check Rates Buttons for the different fishing charters in Florida Keys. By clicking on the Check Rates buttons you'll get specifics for each of these companies.

Not only can you get current rates, you'll find out availability for Florida Keys fishing trips, as well as where and how they fish, what they fish for, what types of fishing gear they use, information on their charter fishing boat, and what other services they provide.

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Florida Keys Fishing Charters By Area

Select Types Of Fish To Target
Pick Where You Want To Go
Select Choice Of Tackle
Get Rates!

If Key West fishing trips are what you have in mind, you'll certainly want to consider trying your hand at light tackle or fly fishing Key West flats. Here in the backcountry, you'll take on the wary permit and bonefish, the mighty tarpon, and the mean barracuda and shark. Your success will depend on which of the fishing guides in Key West you choose.

You may also want to try your hand at offshore charter fishing trips, going out to where the water is deep and blue. Sailfish and other broadbills are the big fighters here, along with the freight train amberjacks and grouper.

When fishing in Florida Keys, being out on the open water can be dangerous, especially when Florida Keys weather threatens. This is yet another reason why going out with a qualified Florida Keys fishing charter company will make the difference in how your day turns out.

Whether you're going fishing in the Florida Keys on your own, or with a fishing guide, you should still get in the habit of checking the marine forecast. This National Service Weather marine forecast will give you all the information you need for Florida weather conditions.

Overview of Florida Fish

Just some of the more sought after species are tarpon, amberjack, bonefish, shark, mahi mahi, snapper, wahoo, drum, grouper, snook, blue marlin, sailfish, and permit.

This page from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is great for familiarizing yourself with what the different Florida fish look like when fishing in Florida Keys. It also provides useful Florida Keys fishing tips for how to catch each species.

The types of fish and the means of catching them varies as well. Whether you're going Florida Keys backcountry fishing, spearfishing, sight fishing, deep sea fishing Key West, reef fishing, or fly fishing Florida Keys waters won't disappoint you. It just basically comes down to what kind of fish in Florida Keys you're after, and whether you want to go alone, or take a Florida Keys fishing charter.

It should be noted that Florida Keys spear fishing is prohibited in many regions of the Keys, and many species of Florida Keys fish are protected from this particular method. If you're interested in Florida Keys spear fishing, review this information.

It's also advisable to consult with local authorities or a Florida Keys fishing charter company for updates on these guidelines.

What sets fishing in Florida Keys apart from fishing any place else is that it's always 'in-season' as our fishing calendar indicates. The fishing is spectacular year round, although certain types of fish have a tendency to be more prevalent in different months.

Tarpon - the Silver King, grouper, sailfish, yellowtail, tuna, and wahoo are in-season all year.

Other popular sport fish have seasons, and in these seasons, some months are hotter then others. Seasons for blue marlin run March - October, mahi-mahi also called dorado or dolphinfish run April - September, cobia are November - April, and kingfish, also called king mackerel run September - April.

You should remember when you're fishing in Florida Keys on the open water, that the sun is always 'in-season' too. Make sure you bring and use plenty of sunscreen. But remember the most important of all the Florida Keys fishing tips - keep the sunscreen off your hands! Florida Keys fish aren't going to bite if your bait smells like it just came out of a bottle.

Fishing Tackle Inventory Check

You'll quickly discover while browsing through the fishing pages on our website, that the variety of Florida Keys fish, the places you can fish, and the different methods you can employ to land them, are incredibly diverse.

Whether you've been fishing in Florida Keys 100 times, or this is going to be your first Florida fishing trip, your expectations are only matched by the size of the fish you'll land and the Florida fishing fun you'll have.

You'll want to familiarize yourself with the different Florida fish with a saltwater fish identification chart.

You'll also need to brush up on some of your fishing techniques, do an inventory check. Also make sure your saltwater fishing rods and reels are in working order and that your fishing lines aren't frayed and are the right strength.

Essential Fishing Gear

Essential Boat and Fishing Tackle, Photo Derke Snodgrass, NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC/SFD

You also need to have the right saltwater fishing tackle, to land the fish that inhabit the waters off the Florida Keys. These are not your "mother's trout", and the gear you use elsewhere is not going to cut it, unless you're fishing for bait fish - if then.

Share Your Fishing Tales

If you've ever gone Florida Keys fishing, then no doubt you'll have stories and photos to prove you're not just spinning another fishing tale.

One of our visitors shared a great story about heading out to catch sailfish. The following link takes you to Florida Keys Fishing Story, Sailfish are Red Hot in Islamorada,

If you've been fishing in Florida Keys and have a story or tip to share, we'd love to hear about your Florida fishing adventures. Go ahead a leave us a comment below so we and our Readers can enjoy hearing about your fish tales!

There's a lot to be said about fishing in Florida Keys, but one thing is for certain. Not only will it test your skill, it'll give you something you can actually brag about, and will leave you with many fond memories.

Florida Keys Fishing Story

A fishing tale submitted by prominent Florida Keys fishing pro, Tammie Gurgiolo.

Sailfish are Red Hot in Islamorada During the Winter Months Not rated yet
48 Foot Monterey, the Sugaree out of Bud n Marys Marina in Islamorada. It's my favorite time of year in the Sportfishing Capital of …

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040