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Florida is the Fishing Capitol of the World and the Florida Keys and Key West are the crowned jewels. There is a huge variety of saltwater fishing available in the Keys, and specifically in Key West. Key West is known for both its inshore and offshore trips of all sorts.
The protected inshore waters offer great flats and backcountry fishing opportunities. These waters are always calm, even if the wind is blowing pretty good, so this is a great option for those who get sea sick as well as beginners just looking to bend a rod or expert fly fishermen looking to double haul their way to a real accomplishment on the water. And there is something to fish for year round.
During the winter Key West has a ton of species around this area; permit, jacks, snappers, cobia, mackerel, redfish, barracuda, sharks, bluefish, grouper. The list goes on. This is a great time of year for those interested in catching many different types of species. And while technical fishermen can have a blast throwing a fly for a cud a or a permit, novice anglers can have a great time as well spin fishing for one of the many species available this time of year.
Spring is Tarpon Bonanaza time. The Silver King starts to get active around the tail end of February or the beginning of March. This is a busy time of year because of this fish is so sought after for their fierce fighting and their beautiful acrobatic jumps.
Summer is known as SLAM season. Tarpon, bonefish, and permit, the three major sport fish of the Key West area, are prevalent this time of year. This time of year really suits the hunter, as it can take a lot of patience to hunt these guys down. Flats guides will pole you silently down a flat or use a stealthy electric trolling motor to sneak up on these fish. You can spin fish for these trophies or fly fish for them.
And the then there is the fall, which is a transitional time for the fishing. The early part of the fall remains much the same as the summer. But the latter part of the fall when the cold fronts start moving in brings in the winter fishery again. Either way, the fishing is fantastic.
Some of the more well known operators for this type of charter are Capt Steven Lamp and Dream Catcher Charters, Capt. Kyle Kelso with All Water Charters, Capt Connan Lehmkuhl, and legend, Captain Tim Carlisle. Guides supply everything you need to fish so you don't have to worry about anything; just hop on the boat and enjoy!
Offshore fishing was made famous in Key West by Ernest Hemingway. If you want to sit in a fighting chair and troll for a Marlin or other pelagic species you can do that. Or, you can go to the reef or to one of the many, many wrecks and bottom fish for snapper, grouper, and other delicious table fare.
In the winter months the main target offshore is kingfish. Blackfin tuna and bonita also abound. And if the winds are just right the sail fishing can be great. Grouper and snapper on live bait, plugs, and vertical jigs is a real blast too!
The spring is sailfish season! However, there are still some kings around to make things even more fun. And the bottom fishing for snapper is killer around this time, especially for mutton and mangroves as the spawn typically puts these fish into a frenzy.
Summer months bring in the dolphin, and no, not flipper! These fish are some of the most prolific fish in the ocean. And their iridescent colors flash beautifully as you get them near the boat. This is also a good time of year for marlin; when they are around, you will see them while fishing for dolphin, as they like to eat them just as much as people do. Fishing in the deep wrecks this time of year boats well for those looking for grouper, scamps, and muttons.
The fall is also a transitional time for offshore fishing. Dolphin still linger around in the early part of the season and kingfish start showing up during the latter part of the season. And if you are lucky you might just hook up a nice wahoo this time of year as well.
Boats like Sea Clusion, Dream Catcher Charters' Intense, the Conchubine, the Triple Time, Lethal Weapon Charters, the Double Down are some of the premier vessels for these types of charters on the island.
So, as you can see, year round, both inshore and offshore, any level of fisherman can find something interesting to him on the clear waters of Key West.