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Key West Fishing is the Stuff of Legends

by Charlie Peay on April 19th, 2015

Troll fishing in the Florida KeysWhen you fish in the crystal clear turquoise waters surrounding Key West, Florida, you’re entering into a world where fishing legends were born. There’s no escaping the influence that fishing greats such as Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey have had on generations of fishermen, whether they’re seasoned professionals or just taking up the sport. Hemingway is best known, of course, for his high adventures on the waters of the Florida Straights between Key West and Cuba, where he pursued giant blue marlin, while Grey preferred backcountry fishing for acrobatic sailfish and tarpon. With more than 225 species of game fish prowling these waters, it’s little wonder that Key West has developed a lofty reputation as one of the top saltwater fishing destinations in the world. From big game sport fishing in more than 1,000 feet of water to backcountry fishing for tailing bonefish in mere inches of water, Key West has it all! In addition to sailfish, tarpon, and marlin, there are opportunities to catch bonefish, permit, dolphin, cobia, amberjack, wahoo, and pompano. 

Luckily, you don’t have to be a fishing legend to catch fish in Key West. You can enjoy the thrill of big game fishing year-round in this southernmost tropical paradise. The months from May through October are all productive fishing months in Key West. If you fish offshore during this time of year, you can match wits with fast-running dolphin, or you can fish inshore for bonefish and giant “silver king” tarpon with a fly rod or light spinning tackle on the Atlantic and Gulf flats. The world-renowned flats in Key West are alive this time of year with migrating permit, which are returning from spawning and traveling in large schools. Bonefish are also plentiful during the summer, and you can have some great fun reef and wreck fishing for red snapper and grouper. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can charter a boat and a guide to take you out to the Gulfstream just like Hemingway, where you can test your “blue water” angling skills by trolling for sailfish and marlin. Key West Party boat charters also make daily trips as far west as Dry Tortugas to fish for black grouper and mutton snapper, and there are plenty of kayak and eco tours available. Best of all, you won’t have any trouble finding a Key West restaurants to cook your catch when you return, making for the perfect ending to a successful day of fishing!


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