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Key West Fish Species

Planning to fish in Key West? Get information here about fish species you can see during a Key West fishing charter with Fish Key West. For more info on what’s biting during your visit, be sure to check out our Key West Fishing Season Guide.

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Fishing for Gag Grouper in Key West

6 Featured Trips

Gag Grouper, or simply Gag, are one of the favorite members of the Grouper family among anglers who enjoy Key West sportfishing. Gag are common around Key West, and especially in Gulf of Mexico waters, over a wide range of water depths and bottom conditions. Like most Groupers, they fight like bulldogs, break tackle, and […]

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Fishing for Goliath Grouper in Key West

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The Goliath Grouper is the largest of the Groupers, and it is difficult to do an Internet search for Key West fishing without coming across photos and videos of this dramatic giant. Goliaths have been fully protected since 1990, but fishermen up for the fight of their lives can try to bring one to the […]

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Fishing for Gray Snapper in Key West

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Common throughout the Keys, the Gray Snapper, also known as the Mangrove Snapper or Mango, is a family favorite on Key West fishing trips. Abundant, easy to catch, and good to eat, they can be found both inshore and offshore. Once a school of Gray Snapper is located or chummed to the boat, the action […]

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Fishing for Great Barracuda in Key West

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Big, fast, and armed with a mouth full of vicious teeth, the Great Barracuda is one of those awesome catches that make fishing in Key West such an adventure. There is nothing like seeing one of these monsters destroy a surface plug out on the flats, and winching one up from a deep wreck is […]

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Fishing for Hammerhead Sharks in Key West

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Hammerhead Sharks are frequently encountered in Florida Keys waters. It is always an exciting moment to meet one on the shallow Flats, where the large dorsal fin will be an unmistakable sign that the apex predator has arrived. If a big Hammerhead is hooked on heavy tackle, expect a long, hard fight, with a good […]

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Fishing for Hogfish in Key West

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The Hogfish is one of the more exotic-looking reef fish encountered when fishing in Key West. A large bottom-feeder, Hogfish are popular with spear fisherman. They are most often caught on hook by accident while bottom fishing for other species but can be successfully targeted on light tackle. (Florida Record: 19lbs 8oz)

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Fishing for Jack Crevalle in Key West

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One of the most popular species on Key West charter fishing trips, the Jack Crevalle is prized as an excellent sportfish. Jack Crevalle live and hunt in a wide range of environments, feed in wolf-like packs, strike aggressively, and fight harder than almost any other fish in the water. (Florida Record: 57lbs)

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Fishing for Kingfish in Key West

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Blazing fast, unpredictable in the fight, and voracious on the hunt, the Kingfish is a prize in the world of Key West sportfishing and comes in just behind the Wahoo as the second largest of the Mackerel family Scombridae. From the Carolinas to the Keys, Kingfish fans know that Key West is home to some […]

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Fishing for Ladyfish in Key West

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With its elongated, shiny silver body, the Ladyfish resembles a juvenile Tarpon, and it also bites readily, fights well and tends to jump when hooked. Often overlooked because they are not good to eat, Ladyfish are actually a lot of fun to catch and make a great Key West inshore sportfish, especially in their larger […]

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Fishing for Lemon Sharks in Key West

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Shark fishing in Key West is the ultimate in big-game action fishing, and in the shallow, crystal-clear waters of the Backcountry flats the bites and fights are up close and personal. Lemon Sharks are brutally strong predators that commonly top 200lbs and 6 feet in length, so be ready to battle for an hour or […]

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Fishing for Little Tunny in Key West

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Hard-fighting and capable of 45mph runs, Little Tunny are known as one of the finest of the Atlantic sport fish species. Little Tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus) Introduction (Florida Record 27lbs.) The Little Tunny is a member of the Scombridae family which also includes Mackerel, Tuna, and Spanish Mackerel. It is the most common tuna in the […]

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Fishing for Mahi-mahi in Key West

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The Mahi-mahi or Dolphinfish is one of the most popular sport fishes in Florida waters because they are easy to catch and delicious as food fish. Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) (Florida Record 81lbs.) The English name for this fish causes confusion because the Common Dolphinfish, Coryphaena hippurus is not related in any way to the marine […]

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Fishing for Mutton Snapper in Key West

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Key West Mutton Snapper are a seasonal catch, arriving in May and June each year to spawn under the full moon in the shallow waters near Key West. They are beautiful fish, with olive-tinted backs, red side and tail fins, and bold striping. Commonly running to 15 lbs. or more, Mutton Snapper hunt the reef […]

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Fishing for Permit in Key West

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Hooking up with a big Permit on a fly rod is considered by many to be one of the ultimate fishing experiences. Permit (Trachinotus falcatus) (Florida Record 56lbs. 2oz.) The Permit is a member of the Jack family and one of the most highly prized of the nearshore saltwater gamefish. A blunt snout and head, […]

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Fishing for Sailfish in Key West

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Florida’s official State Saltwater Fish, the Sailfish is a star on the Key West sportfishing stage. Tournament pros and enthusiastic amateurs alike travel to the Keys by the thousands every year to experience the slamming hits, high-speed runs, and acrobatic fights this dramatic-looking gamefish can dish out. In the peak months of their migration, Sailfish […]

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