Discover the Exotic Waters Of Key West, and Enjoy World-Class Fishing Opportunities
Key West, Florida fishing is as good or better than it gets. From the shallow waters of Key West Bay, to the deep, dark waters of Gulf of Mexico, there is an abundance of aquatic wildlife, including tarpon, permit, sharks, redfish, snapper and grouper. Both experienced anglers as well as novices can enjoy the thrill of the catch. Kentucky Sport Fishing Charters will get you on the water to see the best of Key West.
How to prepare for fishing in Key West
There are several things to remember when fishing in Key West. You should ensure you are familiar with the rules and regulations in the area where you plan to fish and that you have the appropriate permits and licenses. Due to high demand, fishing charters must be reserved in advance. This article will discuss the steps to take to ensure a successful angling trip to Key West.
Rules & Regulations
Before you go fishing, it is important to be familiar with the local rules and regulations. The waters of the Florida Keys prohibit spearfishing, while certain areas have restrictions on finfish net use. For a complete overview of the regulations that apply to Key West waters, visit the NOAA regulations website.
Licenses & Permits
To fish in the Keys, you will need a Florida fishing license. Some species require additional permits such as the Offshore Permit. You should ensure that you have the appropriate permits and are aware of the regulations applicable to each species. More information about permits and regulations can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website.
Fishing charters in Key West are a great way to enjoy the rich fishing grounds in the Keys. There are many experienced captains that can help you make the most out of your angling experience, whether you’re looking for deep sea adventure or an inshore trip. It is important to book your charter well in advance as there is often a high demand in Key West.
14-24 Frequently Asked Questions About Key West Fishing
1. What is the best season for fishing in Key West during the year?
The best time to fish in Key West depends on what species you are targeting. The best time to fish for tarpon is between March and April, while the best time to fish for snapper is June to October. You’ll find the most permits in the area from November to February.
2. What should I budget for a Key West fishing charter?
A fishing charter in Key West costs can vary depending on the length of the trip, the type of boat used and other services provided. A 4-hour inshore trip costs $250-$450, while an 8 hour offshore trip costs between $600-$1000.
3. What species of fish can I expect to catch in Key West fishing?
Many species can be found in the waters of Florida Keys. You can target tarpon, permit, sharks, redfish and snapper as well as grouper and cobia.
4. What kind of gear should I use when fishing in Key West?
The species you are fishing in Key West will dictate the type of gear that you use. For tarpon, a 12-20 lb spinning rod should be used, along with a reel spooled in 25 to 80 lb braided and a leader of 6-10 lb. You should use a traditional reel with 80 lb braided and a leader of 25-50 lb test for snapper and grouper. Permit and bonefish require a spinning rod with a reel with 20-30 lb mono.
5. What safety equipment should you have for fishing in Key West
You should have the proper safety equipment when fishing in Key West. This includes a personal flotation device and a whistle, first aid kit, and flare. You should also have a compass, a flashlight, and a phone for emergency use.
6. Do I need a fishing permit to fish in Key West
To fish in the Keys, you will need a Florida fishing license. Some species require additional permits such as the Offshore Permit. You should ensure that you have the appropriate permits and are aware of the regulations applicable to each species.
7. Is there a limit to the size of fish you can keep in Key West when fishing?
Yes, there are limits to the size of fish you can keep while fishing in Key West. Sharks must be at least 54 inches from nose to tail, and tarpon must weigh no less than 75 pounds. Before you begin fishing, make sure to review the regulations and size limits.
8. How deep can I fish to find cobia at Key West?
Cobia can be found swimming in the margins of reefs and drop offs at depths between 20-50 feet.
9. Are there artificial reefs in Key West, Florida?
Yes, there are two artificial coral reefs in the Key West, pneumatic area. The State of Florida’s Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area is the largest, covering nearly 60 acres of artificial coral measuring over 5 miles.
10. Is there any restriction on the use or finfish nets in Key West
Yes, finfish nets are not allowed in Key West. Large mesh nets are not allowed. All nets must have an escape device to prevent fish becoming entangled and causing injury or death.
11. What is the bag limit in Key West for snapper?
For the entire trip, the bag limit for snapper in Key West amounts to 10 gallons. One fish per person is allowed per day. The minimum size for snapper is 12 inches. Maximum number of snapper is 10. You may need to follow additional regulations depending on where you fish.
12. What is the best bait for fishing for tarpon in Key West
Shrimp and live crabs are well-known as the best baits to catch tarpon. Because of their movement and smell, these baits are very popular with tarpon. Some anglers prefer to use cut bait like ladyfish, mullet, and sardines.
13. What type of boat is best to fish in the Florida Keys?
The type of fish you want to catch in the Florida Keys will determine the type of boat you choose. Inshore boats with shallow drafts are recommended if you plan on fishing inshore for species like snapper or grouper. Deep sea fishing boats with high-powered engines are best for offshore fishing for species like marlin or dolphin.
14. Is there a limit to the number of rods you can use for fishing in Key West
Yes, you can fish in Key West with a limited number of rods. Trolling is limited to three rods per person. When fishing from shore or wading, you can only use one rod.
15. Is there a fishing season at Key West?
Yes, Key West has a fishing season. The fishing season in Key West generally runs from the last Saturday of April to the first Saturday of October. Some species, such as cobia and tarpon, may be subject to restricted entry recreational permits.
16. Is chumming permitted when fishing in Key West
Although chumming is permitted when fishing in Key West there are certain regulations. You can only use 5 gallons of chum per boat, and the chum must not be biodegradable. Additionally, chum can only be used in areas marked with buoys.
17. What should I do if I catch fish that I don’t intend to keep?
It is important to release any fish you don’t intend to keep. Make sure you wet your hands before you remove the slime layer from the fish. Also, avoid dropping it on hard surfaces. To maximize your chances of survival, keep the fish in the water for as long as possible.
18. Are there catch and release regulations in Key West that I should follow?
Yes, there are catch and release regulations for fishing in Key West. Depending on the species, some hooks may be banned. All catch and release fish must be handled with care. Additional procedures may be required for certain species to ensure safe release.
19. Is there any regulation for fishing from a kayak in Key West
Yes, there are rules for fishing from a kayak in Key West. A fishing license is required to fish from a kayak in Key West. You can only use three rods. You may not use motorized kayaks when fishing in the area.
20. Is it safe for me to eat the fish that I caught in Key West?
It is safe to eat fish caught in Key West. You should be aware of the local and state regulations as some species may have bag limits or minimum sizes. For safe consumption, you should ensure that the fish is kept in a cool and dry place.
21. What tackle should I use to deep sea fish in Key West?
It is essential to use the correct type of tackle when deep sea fishing in Key West. You should use heavy spinning rods or reels that are spooled with at minimum 50 lb monofilament, braided, or monofilament line. Heavy-duty leaders of 80 lb fluorocarbon, or 100 lb steel wire should also be used.
22. Is there a limit to the number of fish you can keep in Key West when fishing?
There are limits to the number of fish that you can keep while fishing in Key West. You can keep 3 fish per person per day for most species. You may need to follow additional regulations for certain species. Before you begin fishing, make sure you check the regulations.
23. What bait is best to use for grouper fishing in Key West
Grouper fishing in Key West is best done with live bait. Live shrimp, squids, pinfish, and pilchards are all popular choices. Cut baits such as mackerel and sardines can also work well.
24. Is there any restriction on the use of chum in Key West
Yes, there are restrictions on the consumption of chum in Key West waters. You can only use 5 gallons of chum per vessel and the chum must not be biodegradable. Additionally, chum can only be used in areas marked with buoys.