While there are hundreds of fishing spots in Florida, Key West is one of, if not the best. You can confirm that based on the thousands of people who go to Key West on the edge of the United States to fish any time of year. The variety and types of fish near the Key West waters in the winter, spring, summer, and fall are unmatched.
Best Fishing Spots In Key West
In this blog post, I have compiled a list of the best fishing spots in Key West. Along with the spot, I have also listed the different kinds of fish you can find in the area.
1. Key West Flats and Backcountry Fishing
Let’s start with Key West Flats and Backcountry fishing. Some describe this fishing as hunting, but in the water!
Here you can enjoy shallow water sight fishing for tarpon, bonefish, permit, barracuda, and sharks on the flats and backcountry waters from Key West to the Marquesas Keys.
Fish can be skittish and spook easily. For this reason, I would recommend you hire a guide – even if you have experience fishing. You’ll learn more about the area in a few hours with some help.
For more on Key West Flats Fishing or Backcountry Fishing, click here.
2. Old Bahia Honda Bridge in Big Pine Key
What if you don’t have a charter? Well, in that case, bridge fishing is for you.
Fish are most active in this spot because of the good sheltering bridge pilings offer the fish. So, you most likely won’t need a boat to get into fishing here. If you’ve experienced bridge fishing before, Bahia Honda Bridge will be a spot to remember.
Some tarpons here range from 130 up to 200 pounds! You can also spot a few types of sharks here – tiger sharks, hammerheads, and bull sharks are a few.
Here’s a tip for more success in catching monster tarpon: Use crabs as bait. They are like five-star offerings for tarpon.
For more on snorkeling, camping, and fishing in this area, click here.
3. Sugarloaf Key
You can have access to great fishing spots in Sugarloaf Key which is great for backcountry fishing. There are a few areas that are only accessible by kayak or boat. But, if you don’t have access to either, you’ll find spots regardless. The best part about this spot? You can catch some live bait for the bigger fish in the area!
On warmer days you can find bonefish, permit, and tarpon. On cooler days, the barracuda, sharks, jacks, ladyfish, and seatrout offer the most action. Snapper fishing can be excellent in the winter because the fish move into shallow water that is closer to the flats.
Just a short ride from Sugarloaf Key Marina, there are many beautiful sand flats where bonefish and permit roam.
To go fishing with a legend on Sugarloaf Key, click here.
3. Marquesas Keys
30 miles West of Key West is where you’ll find the Marquesas Keys. It is a circular chain of islands that holds a bounty of fishing both inshore and offshore.
Here, tarpon are also a main target with cobia, permit, and bonefish.
If you want to learn more about Marquesas Keys fishing, click here.
4. Cudjoe Key
This is one of the least crowded fishing spots between Big Pine and Key West. Flats, channels, bridges, reefs, wrecks, and offshore waters offer great fishing opportunities.
People like that Cudjoe Key offers access to both Atlantic-side reefs and Gulf wrecks. The local reefs hold yellowtails and muttons and the unique mangrove snappers. Gulf wrecks off Cudjoe Key hold cobia, permit, snapper, grouper, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, barracuda, and some sharks.
Click here for more on fishing in Cudjoe Key.
5. Marathon Humps
The main attraction here is the deep sea fishing and the tuna fishing.
The Hump looks like an underwater mountain causing depths as deep as 1,150 feet. The Hump is roughly in the middle of the Gulfstream which means the current screams through and forces a lot of the bait upward toward the surface. For this reason, many pelagic fish gather here to feed.
Here you can also catch blackfin tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, marlin, and sharks.
Click here for more on catching a variety of fish in Marathon Humps.
Fishing in Key West
Fishing isn’t for me, but it is for a lot of people who live or travel to South Florida, so I wanted to be sure to save those people time by compiling this list (because it is the sport fishing capital of the world). I’m also linking to even more resources below, so you will be covered when you plan your next fishing trip whether you’re interested in hiring a local guide or a fishing guide for future fishing excursions.
Some other best places to check out for fish like yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, white marlin, sea trout, red drum, king mackerel, red grouper, and black grouper include the lower Keys, Key Largo, Florida Bay, Dry Tortugas, and the calm waters of Everglades National Park.
If you’re new here, I love a good vacation, so make sure you poke around the travel section of this blog to see what other fun things you can do around the Florida mainland when you’re not reef fishing in coral reefs or offshore fishing in deep water.
Let me know where you’re fishing and what else you’re doing on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay. If you’ve found popular spots for catching big fish during a certain time of the year in the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, let me know!
More Fishing Resources
- Key West Inshore Fishing: A Complete Guide
- Best Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots: All You Need to Know Best Florida Keys Bridge Fishing
- Looking for the best fishing spots in the Florida Keys? Here’s an in-depth guide. | Key West Florida Weekly | Key West News