The Ins & Outs of Fishing in Key West

 Groupon: Get the Best Deal in New York Today!Imagine how good the fishing is if you’re already offshore when you first leave the dock! Key West, if you look at a map, is way out there between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. When you drive here or arrive by plane, you’ve already done all the traveling that usually you’d have to do by boat. Key West is way out.

Key West boasts a very wide variety of fishing environments and styles. You can go on the reef, you can go offshore, you can go to the Gulf, you can go fish the flats. There are lots of ways you can fish the waters of Key West, and as many types of charter boats, guides, and party boats as well. There is a large charter boat fleet in Key West, and Captains range from the best in the world to some hungover guy they propped up behind the wheel of the boat! So, choose your guides carefully!

Types of Charter Fishing Boats

Key West Flats FishingThe price and type of fishing done on the charters is determined by the type of boat that you charter. The cheapest boat is going to be your flats boat or skiff. They primarily fish the flats for bonefish, permit, tarpon, etc. They tend to stay inshore, in the shallower water. A flats fishing boat usually measure 18 to 22 feet long.

The next largest boats will be the light tackle boats, which are center console, single hull or double hull catamarans. They usually run from around 22 to about 32 feet long. These boats are better for riding rougher waters or traveling longer distances. They have the range to fish pretty much anywhere, but they can’t go in extremely shallow water that the smaller boats are able to navigate with no problem. Light tackle fishing boats are more comfortable on a windy day and they can go faster. This is what they usually use to go on a longer trip like to Dry Tortugas National Park. 

 The biggest boats are the fishing yachts, ranging from 35 to 50 feet long. These are big, deep hulled boats with cabins, and they usually have AC. They are the most comfortable to fish on. It’s like fishing out of a small floating house. The bigger boats aren’t going to be as fast as the light tackle boats but they can carry a lot of people. Large fishing yachts are your best bet if your’e going to go with a large group. They’re the most comfortable, but most expensive.

Other Options for Key West Fishing

There are options other than chartering a boat for Key West fishing. You can rent a boat from many places in Key West, comparing sizes an prices. You can go fishing by yourself, and it’s not that difficult. You can also fish from shore, as well as bridges leading to Key West. You can also, believe it or not, fish from the edge at Mallory Square, although you hardly ever see people doing it. It’s not really a pier, but just where the island ends.

Another inexpensive way to get out on the water in Key West is to go out on a party boat where you anKey West Offshore Fishingd 5-25 other people will get on a boat and be brought out to the reef to catch fish. Party boat fishing is obviously a group endeavor where you’re on a boat with all different types of people with whom you may or may not get along. It lacks the kid gloves touch of a charter fishing guide, but it’s also only about $32 for a half a day. But the potential there is to catch some really great fish and they do catch some big fish. It’s not a guarantee but you always have the chance. Another way to get out on the water which is similar to the party boats, is a long range fishing boat which is actually a party boat that goes out for days at a time. They go out to the Dry Tortugas reef areas that are relatively untouched fishing grounds where it’s common to come back with massive amounts of large fish.