Boating News

Florida Keys & Key West Fishing Info

Fishing Styles

Tackle is specified as spin, fly, baitcast or conventional trolling gear with appropriate line class, or the breaking strength of a line, in pounds.

Light Tackle Fishing is the most flexible and almost any species is achievable: tarpon, sailfish, tuna, cobia, dorado (dolphin, mahi mahi), snapper, ceros and wahoo.

Flats, Backcountry Fishing involves fly, spin or plug. Fish the flats on the Atlantic side or the backcountry, a region of uninhabited mangrove islands on the Gulf side, for tarpon, permit, bonefish, redfish, snook, sea trout, barracuda, jacks, sharks, and cobia.


Deep Sea, Offshore Fishing is as close as five miles offshore, where the sea reaches depths of 600 feet — and by 17 to 20 miles out, depths in some spots can approach 2,000 feet to troll for blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, spearfish, kingfish, dolphin, wahoo, tuna, barracuda, cobia, grouper, snapper, jacks and sharks.

Wreck & Reef Fishing means you’ll find schools of permit, amberjacks, snapper, grouper and mackerel inhabiting the coral structures, patch reefs and crevices. You’ll also find cobia, sharks, and barracuda.

Bridge Fishing is a perfect place for anglers who want to “‘wet a line” without a boat. Historic bridges along the Overseas Highway are noted fishing platforms, but a saltwater license is still required.

Party Boats offer an angler a more economical means of enjoying a day of fishing, and boats usually run multi-day or full-day trips, often without reservations needed.

Is a Fishing License Required?

A saltwater fishing license is required to fish independently in the Keys, even from area bridges or from shore. These can be purchased at many bait and tackle shops, online at or by calling 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA (888-347-4356) toll-free.

Anglers fishing on a charterboat or backcountry boat do not need a license, however, as they are covered by the captain’s documentation.

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