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Types of Fish You Can Catch in Key West, Florida

Key West Florida is considered the quintessential fishing town of the South. Thousands of professional as well as novice anglers come here for much the same reason.

The Keys are bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Straits of Florida on the other. Outside its reef, the water plunges to depths of 1,500 feet or more. Here, colorful fishes teem just below the surface along mats of floating sea weeds or pieces of driftwood.

From Ware’s the Fish Charters, here is a list of the many species you will find in the Key West waters.


One of the most sought after game fish during late spring and throughout summer is the Dolphin. Also known as Mahi-Mahi or Dorado, Dolphin can range in size from 3 to 60 lbs. You can find them throughout the Florida Keys. They are fast, flashy with beautiful dots of blue, yellow, green and even red color. Dolphins roam offshore near the edge of tropical reefs.


Key West is renowned for its excellent reef and wreck fishing. The primary reason for this worldwide fame is the Grouper! Few fish have the strength and tenacity as the Grouper. Light tackle anglers have been playing tug of war with these brutes since rod and reel fishing made its way to the Keys.


Every winter, King Mackerel, locally known as Kingfish, migrate to the waters surrounding Key West. They are known for their blistering speed and are nearly as fast as their distant cousins, the wahoo. Successful fishers of King Mackerel have the option of both live and dead baits when fishing. A variety of fishing conditions may also help your team make the proper choice.


White and Blue Marlin are some of the most common sightings in the Keys. The White Marlins are smaller; ranging from 50 to 100 pounds, whereas the Blue Marlin can grow much larger. An average Blue Marlin for the area is between 150 and 175 pounds but on occasion some also catches up to 400 pounds. They are normally caught in depths of 600 feet.


The Sailfish is one of the glamour species you can find in the deep blue waters of the Florida Keys. They are sometimes known as the fish that “walk on water”. Sailfishes have been seen swimming along the surface of the water for over 200 feet using nothing but their wriggling tails as support. Majority of Sailfish can be found within two miles off shore which makes them accessible and often willing targets.


Snapper is deemed as the hardest fighting fish in the ocean. There are over 100 species of snapper with only 4 or 5 types common in the Key West area. Snapper species range in weight from the smallest lane snapper to the largest mutton snapper. Snapper are in season around Key West from spring through fall, with spring and early summer having vast numbers of yellowtails along the Atlantic reef just a few miles offshore.


Tuna fishing is best in and around Key West. Most Tuna caught in Key West is black fin tuna; although rare yellow fin tuna can also be found here. Tuna fishing is done through trolling on the offshore sea mounts, or even just past where the reef drops off. Tuna are also targeted on the deeper wrecks using various methods including jigging.


A relative of the King Mackerel, with a sleek and slender body, a Wahoo is dangerously toothy like the barracuda. This is also one the fastest Florida Keys fishes and is renowned for ripping off line and making the drag on your reel smoke.

For your next fishing adventure, contact Ware’s the Fish charters today. With our custom-built 34-foot Venture™ center console complete with tuna tower, you will be able to fish faster and smoother in the ocean.


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