Fishing in Florida Keys

Catching tarpon in the Florida Keys
Tarpon can grow to sizes of over 100lbs.

As many of us sit waiting anxiously for the ice on our lakes to melt starting another fishing season, one asks themselves “where else is there to go fishing at this time of year”?

The Florida Keys in Southern Florida State are known as the sport fishing capital of the world. With good reason too, there are more ways to fish this region than almost anywhere else in the world. And it’s warm, year ‘round! There are over a dozen large, really large, species of fish available to catch by flat boat, fly fishing, trolling the reefs or by deep sea fishing.

Flat boat fishing is done in the Florida Keys backcountry which consists of over 800 islands that run from Miami to Key West. This peaceful and tranquil area is home to many different types of salt water fish such as Bonefish, Redfish, Trout, Tuna, Blue fish, Barracuda, Shark, Snappers, Snook, and Tarpon to name a few.

Florida Keys for sport fishing
Bay boats also known as Flat Boats are used for fishing in the shallows of the Keys.

These monsters can be caught either by conventional methods of a spinning rod and reel or by fly-fishing. The easiest and safest way is to use a guide service which is knowledgeable of the conditions in the area at the time. A good guide service will provide a flat boat (also known as a bay boat) with a Captain and mate to take you to where the action is, and let you know how to obtain any licenses that may be necessary. Trips can be booked for 4, 6, and 8 hour durations and most bay boats will hold from 3 to 6 people. No experience is needed, just bring some suntan lotion and be prepared to enjoy the pristine waters and scenery of the Keys.

Florida sport fishing
The pristine shallows near Key Largo, Florida offer some of the best sport fishing in the world.

Tarpon are a large species of fish that weight nearly 100 lbs. They migrate to the Florida Keys every year from March to July and can be caught on relatively light weight tackle. The Tarpon season is one of the busiest times of the year, so book a guide early to ensure you get in on all the action.

Bonefish are smaller fish that can be found in many parts of the Keys. They will hide in the shallows or out in the deeper channels. The Bonefish weigh between 4 to 15lbs and are very exciting to catch. The best time to fish for the Bonefish is between March and October. Catches of 10 to 15 in a day are possible.

Shark fishing is another popular way to spend some time out on the waters of the shallow Florida Keys. There are more sharks caught on charters than any other type of fish. It is likely to catch 3 or 4 large sharks in just a few hours. The sharks can be found feeding close to land in the shallows or swimming out along the reefs in open water. Sharks are mostly caught using the catch and release method to ensure the stability of the ecosystem for future generations. Some of the different types of shark that can be caught are: Bull Shark, Hammerhead Shark, American Sharp-Nosed Sharks, Lemmon Sharks, and Black-Tipped Shark among many others.

The Barracuda is another popular sport fish in the Florida Keys
Catching fish in the Florida Keys

Reef and deep sea fishing is an experience not to be missed. Many large fish inhabit the beautiful coral reefs which run from Miami to Dry Tortugas. An expert guide service is required and a National Park Permit is required if you fish within the park boundaries of the only living coral reefs within the continental USA. Snapper, Marlin, Sailfish, Sword fish, Tuna, Jacks, Barracuda, Grouper, Jewfish, Dolphin, and Sharks can all be caught by bottom fishing, live bait fishing, trolling, kite fishing or even fly fishing. A variety of equipment and boats are needed to fish these waters. An 8 hour cruise on a 35 foot fully equipped boat using relatively light tackle is a trip that will create memories to last a lifetime.

Fishing in the Florida Keys is a great way to shake off the winter blues. What better way to spend an afternoon than out on the water soaking up the sun? For more information visit your travel agent or

Copyright 2019 Mike Wilson