Key West has some of the most exciting sport fishing the tropics have to offer. I've been charter fishing the tropical waters of the lower Florida Keys for more than 20 years. The local Key West waters offer a wide variety of Sport fishing, both Deep Sea and on the reef. Sailfish, Wahoo, Tuna, Dolphin (Mahi or Dorado), Marlin, Barracuda, Shark, Tarpon, Grouper, Snapper and More! Vacation in Key West, the perfect vacation destination! Where you can enjoy the excitement of fishing the waters of Key West by day and the excitement of Key West's night life after wards.
Dolphins Running in Time for Championship Tourney!
The dolphin are running! And yes, we are catching them – this one was hooked yesterday (May 4th).
That’s great news for the anglers who are planning to enter the Florida Keys Dolphin Championship. This tournament is great for those who like fishing in teams, as you can have as many folks as you want on your team.
The tournament is onMay 16th, 17th, 18th (2014) and has piled up more than $100,000 in Cash and Prizes for winning anglers. The First Place Dolphin Worth $15,000!
The largest dolphin weighing more than 55lbs wins a Mercury/Seahunter Boat worth $75,000. Here’s a 55-pounder caught recently aboard the Southbound:
April Fishing in Key West Highlights Sailfish Tourney & Return of the Dolphin
April is a terrific month for fishing in Key West – the weather is getting warmer, the dolphin are coming back in droves and the kickoff for the Key West Fishing Tournament makes this a great time for avid deep sea anglers of all ages.
Traditionally, April means we see the large schools of dolphin with the bigger bulls and cows returning outside the reef off Key West. We catch dolphin year round – but during the winter, we’re more likely to hook the smaller ‘schoolies.” Starting in April, we expect to see the schools with larger fish as they make their way north along the Gulfstream. The water temperature off Key West today is 75 degrees — just a degree shy of the 76-83 degrees that dolphin like.
April also marks the start of the Key West Fishing Tournament; a tournament that targets 37 species – from marlin to dolphin to tarpon – if you like to catch it, it’s probably on the list.
The tournament runs from April 4th to November 30th (including the kickoff tournament) … and has divisions for kids, too … Juniors and PeeWees (under 10) … this is a great way to get your kids more involved in fishing – and you know we love to teach kids to fish.
The 8 month long tourney starts with a Kickoff Tournament April 5 and 6 with $5,000 in cash and prizes. More info: http://www.keywestfishingtournament.com/.
Speaking of tournaments, the Key West Sailfish Championship is the third week in April – 23-27. There are divisions for pros and non-pros. First prize awards up to $50,000 in the pro division, $15,000 for non-pros.
Tournament calendar for Key West.
Key West for Kids: Family Fun Fishing on the Southbound
Some of the best days out fishing are with kids – especially if it’s their first time fishing on the deep sea. There’s nothing quite so rewarding as seeing the expression of surprise and delight when they feel the first tug of a big fish on the hook. Both my mate and I know how important it is to make sure their first impression is fun! Otherwise for the rest of their life they associate fishing with a long boring day. You have to get them catching fish right away to catch their interest.
Fishing off Key West is great for beginners of all ages – the water is usually calm, and it’s easy to find a spot where the kids can hook fish that are large enough to be exciting but not overwhelming to someone new to the sport. It’s also a great idea to let them catch something they can have for dinner. Catching dinner is a good idea, but it’s also important for kids to have the excitement of a barracuda or a shark on the line! A lot of captains will tell you this is the time to double up on the chum, though, frankly, in Key West, something is always biting and we know what bait and tackle to use depending on what sort of fish we want to catch.
Teaching kids to fish has got to be about fun – but it’s also about teaching them to understand why we catch and release- why conservation is important.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission runs some fishing clinics for kids. There haven’t been any down in the Keys this year, but if you live in Florida you might want to check and see what clinics are available in your area: http://myfwc.com/education/outdoor-skills/fishing-clinics/dates-and-locations/
Kids are taught the basic rules – how to be a good angler – and have a chance to get familiar with tackle and do some casting. There’s also some knot-tying instruction. And of course, there’s some fishing and lots of fun!
Kids are always ready to try new things – but it can’t be only about fishing. I kept my cousins’ kids entertained with some time on the bridge at the helm of the Southbound.
Southbound Key West fishing report
Fishing report March 23, 2011
Conditions improved and fishing improved as expected this past week. The blue water and strong east current moved in and with it came the Sailfish. Over the weekend we had a beautiful color change and the sailfish were up and “tailing”. For those that don’t know what that is, when conditions are right, usually east current and east wind, (opposing each other). And you have a good color change, (blue water with current meeting green water); Sailfish will swim along the surface and surf down the waves. Often the top of their tail is sticking out of the water, hence the term “Tailing”. When this is happening it’s a lot of fun and very effective to pull the baits in, put your outriggers up and just idle up the change looking for fish swimming along. When you see one, you spin the boat and pitch live bait at them. It’s a fun and exciting way to fish. It’s great for the customers too because they can see the fish from the time it’s swimming toward the boat until it chases and eats the live bait. Often the Sails are eating the baits only 15-20 ft behind the boat, so everybody gets a great view. With these conditions there can be more than one color change- Murky green to powder blue, and powder blue to dark blue. Sailfish can be seen along either change or between them in the powder.
Cobia are also being seen tailing along, mostly along the green to powder change. Sometimes they are hard to spot because they are the same approximate color as the Sargasso weed that tends to gather along the changes.
There have been a large number of bonito and black fin tuna seen along the color change also, but fishing for them is more frustrating than productive. They are headed west and seem to be on a mission with very few stopping to bite. It‘s still an amazing sight, but few are being caught for the time spent trying. Even live bait doesn’t seem to draw their interest.
Still seeing some small “early season” dolphin along the dark blue edge too. Most are in the 3-7 lb range but I’ve heard of a few larger ones being caught. It’s still early for dolphin, the really good dolphin fishing shouldn’t be until May, but these are a nice “time filler” between sailfish for the time being.
If the current stays the fish should stay. Hopefully the fading moon won’t pull the gulf stream offshore anytime soon.