Glance at a map, and you’ll see why the deep sea fishing Key West has on its doorstep is some of the best in the United States. The southernmost point of continental USA, this small town at the tip of the Florida Keys is closer to Havana than it is to Miami. With all that warm Caribbean water running close to the coastline, it's no wonder the fishing here is something to write home about.

This is where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean, where the Gulf Stream carries warmth and bait northwards, and where Ernest Hemingway famously battled Marlins and more. What are you waiting for? It’s time to discover it for yourself.

Where and what to fish for

It doesn’t take long to get to blue water from Key West. The line of natural coral that makes up the Florida Reef extends six miles south of the island. Beyond that, the ocean floor drops. This is where the fun begins.

Just a few miles south of the Keys, the Straits of Florida are home to just about every migratory pelagic fish in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Blue Marlin, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Wahoo, Blackfin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna… the list goes on. If you’re after big game, Key West deep sea fishing charters will help you find it.

Best time to go deep sea fishing in Key West

It might sound corny, but deep sea fishing in the Keys really is great almost all year round. But if we had to choose, we'd have to say that Winter and Spring are hard to beat. 


There’s a reason why ‘snowbirds’ visit the Florida Keys in the winter. And it’s not just because the weather here is a great deal better than it is in the North. Winter in Key West means one thing to anglers—Sailfish. Usually appearing in November, they stick around until late Spring. Deep sea charters can catch dozens within just a few miles from the coast. Just look around the reef line, and you'll be likely to find these speedy billfish hunting Ballyhoo around the reef line. 

But it’s not just the Sails that keep people busy in high season. You can also look for big Blackfin Tuna over the offshore humps, with the occasional Yellowfin joining in the fun from December. Head south, and you’ll be in with a good chance of hooking a ‘smoker’ King Mackerel, too.


As the weather warms up, the Sailfish, Kingfish, and Blackfin Tuna are joined by Dolphin (Mahi). Look for them from about April onwards. Have fun catching ‘schoolies’ on light tackle before graduating to ‘gaffers’ (Dolphin weighing up to about 20 lbs). Go further offshore, and you might be lucky enough to find a ‘slammer’ up to an enormous 70lbs. Blue Marlin start to appear shortly after the Dolphin, epitomizing the world famous Key West deep sea fishery.


The weather gets very hot—look for a boat with a/c for a more enjoyable experience. Deep sea fishing at this time of year means a lot of Mahi Mahi, with some Wahoo and Sailfish thrown into the mix, too.


If anything’s a low season for deep sea fishing in Key West, this is it. The larger Dolphin have moved northwards by the end of the summer, leaving the occasional schoolie. Before the Sailfish appear in November, fishing can be sporadic. Hurricanes are a threat. This time of year is best for reef fishing or inshore fishing.

Key West

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Top Targeted Deep Sea Fishing Species in Key West

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)




What People Are Saying About Deep Sea Fishing in Key West

"Full day with Irish Cowboy"

Shawn Granger fished with Cowboy Charters - Irish Cowboy on July 29, 2018

Tom and AJ gave us a great ride! Took four great Americans from the SWUFO group and had an awesome day. For us old guys I’d go again, they have electric deep rigs on every boat that makes deep fishing a pleasant experience compared to the wire out forearms from other charters I’ve done! Fish we these guys you can’t go wrong and they do it RIGHT!

"Morning fishing with Captain Don and Mate Shawn"

Rose Lee fished with High Stakes Charters on July 23, 2018

Excellent morning of deep sea fishing. Caught enough Wahoo and Mahi mahi to feed six of us and to eat for a week straight. We caught a prize winner Wahoo- 60 pounder!! The captain and mate were friendly, knowledgeable and great to hang out with. High Stakes Charter is worth every penny!! Thanks for a perfect half day of fishing.

"Full day fishing with Capt. Jake was AWESOME!"

Cody Lattimore fished with Fish Key West - The Coolwater on July 8, 2018

From the minute our lines hit the water we were reeling them in. A full 8 Hrs. of non stop fishing. The waves were pretty rough in the morning in deep water but the boat was big enough to handle them with no problem. The shaded canopy was a life saver during the hottest part of the day. Our trip was totally worth every penny!!!

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