From battling awe-inspiring swordfish in the deep depths of the Atlantic, to stalking shallow water flats in search of world-record bonefish; the Florida Keys fishery is all about variety, and even more about trophy catches.
Offshore, anglers head to pursue the hard-fighting game fish glorified in those old black and white photos you’ve seen hanging on the walls of your favorite Florida Keys watering holes. From the edge of the reef, out to the strong Gulf Stream currents and lively Humps, the Keys offshore waters are rich with blue marlin, black fin tuna, sailfish, wahoo, dolphin (mahi mahi), swordfish, and more.
Closer to shore, and just a few miles from the dock, you’ll find the only living coral barrier reef system in the continental United States. The reef, which is home to magnificent coral arrangements, colorful fish, exotic plants, and a diversity of animals and wildlife found nowhere else in the world, is the place to go for non-stop action and to load the coolers with delicious fillets. Mutton, mangrove and yellowtail snapper; black, red and gag grouper; mackerel and cobia are just a few of the challenging and tasty fish you will catch at the reef.
Resting below the Atlantic are the remains of several shipwrecks where strong predator species and large bottom dwellers now call home. Wreck fishing in the Keys will test your strength and endurance as you reel in the monsters of the deep; which include enormous goliath grouper, sharks, amberjacks, large mutton snapper, and more.
Inshore, the Keys are home to a number of productive shallow water flats where fly fisherman and light-tackle anglers can target the Keys’ most sought after game fish. From the Everglades to Key West, the Keys are teaming with bonefish, permit, tarpon, redfish and snook.
The calm waters of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico provide more just a refuge for anglers when the winds begin to howl, they also offer some of the best and most exciting fishing. From the Seven-Mile Bridge, all the way to the deep Gulf Wrecks, anglers of all skill levels will enjoy the constant rod-bending action and multitude of species that can be caught while fishing in the Florida Bay and Gulf of Mexico.
While a vast number of species can be caught year-round in the Florida Keys, there are certain times of year that are best to target specific fish.
Summer: Dolphin highlight the Keys summer fishing season. Large schools dolphin push into the Keys as the waters warm, providing anglers an excellent opportunity to head offshore and pursue these acrobatic and delicious game fish.
Spring: Springtime marks the Florida Keys tarpon run when 100-plus pound silver kings pass through the inshore waters. Tarpon season is one of the most popular and exciting times to fish and people from all over the world travel here to do battle with one of fishing’s most prized catches.
Fall: Fall is an excellent time to fish the reef for snapper and grouper species, as well as to head into the backcountry in search of snook, and to fish the Gulf wrecks for large cobia.
Winter: Winter is sailfish season. Large numbers of sailfish migrate into the Keys as waters begin to cool, providing anglers great opportunities to catch these exciting and high-flying game fish.
Tarpon: Tarpon season is one of the most exciting times to fish the Florida Keys.
Swordfish: Swordfish are one of many offshore species that can be caught nearly anywhere in the Keys.