Marlin Fishing Key West

blue Marlin Key West

Summer 2024 – Key West is a deep sea fishing destination for blue marlin fishing. While not as good as some more foreign destinations we hold our own. It does not take us long to get to them Key West marlin are not notoriously huge but fun ti catch non the less. With really weird weather this year I am not sure it is related but sure seems that the fleet of Key West deep sea fishing boats are hooking up on many blue marlin this year, more than usual. Many of us have noticed this and started gearing up for the shot at one of our anglers fighting a magnificent fish.

Blue Marlin

The Atlantic blue marlin is an impressive creature, especially for fish standards. I think that they hold a spot at the top end of the fish species bucket list for sport fishing enthusiasts world wide. The blue marlin in the Atlantic Ocean can reach sizes of well over 1000 lbs. A fish over 1000 lbs is called a “grander”. The larger fish are the females with the males being just a fraction of their size. They are speedsters, in the top three of the fastest fish in any ocean with impressive sprinting speeds reported exceeding 70 mph fully submerged.

papas pilar rum
When we make a big catch or have somthing to celebrate we have a taste of Key West very own Papas Pilar Rum as a nod to Hemmingway.

A highly migratorial species an individual fishes range can exceed a thousand miles as it migrates for food, breeding or environmental considerations such as water temps and water quality. 

The Atlantic blues are pursued by sport fishermen in many areas throughout the ocean. The most popular destinations hold not only more possibilities of hook ups but also the larger fish in compared to Key West. The thrill of targeting them starts at the dock with the impressive fishing rods and reels needed to subdue these monsters.  In addition the boats that we use to cary us out to get in front of them are amazing pieces of machinery specifically designed to target these aquadic athletes. Historically these fish have captured the attention of many anglers, captains and sport fishing boat mates minds and imaginations. Once bitten by the marlin bug this is all they think about consuming every free thought they have as to when will be the next time they meet. 

These fish have made their way into our nautical art and story time. Hemingway partly had a hand in making this species a figure of lore and mystery with the stories in his books such as “Old Man And The Sea”, especially here off the coast of Key West. That said, Key West is not the best destination in the Atlantic to target these amazing bill fish but, if you hook or catch one here. You have done a thing.

For me personally I never really got the marlin bug till this year. Having what I consider a steady shot at catching them has certainly changed my way of fishing. This time of the year now I am always leaving the dock with a side eye on maybe we will get one today. I have to say that alone is pretty exciting. 

Key West Blue Marlin Fishing

Key West is a blue marlin fishing destination. We do catch them here but it’s not something we can really promise on the daily. For examples we do have the Key West Marlin Fishing tournament every year here in July and we have seen a few years without a marlin even posted on the board. Our marlin typically are smaller on the scale than the other more popular destinations with fish rarely over 500 lbs. 

This year so far (June 2024) on board the INXS we have hooked 4 blue marlin and landed / released 1. We do not try for them every day. Three of those hook ups were when we were in the hunt for them with the right tackle in place to land a big fish. One fish last week ate a bait intended for smaller targets which our 18 year old angler fought for over an hour before we had line failure. That fish jumped 13 times – what a show! There have been many other fish hooked and some landed / released by other boats out of Key West. All in all I think it’s been a pretty good year for them. I look forward to seeing the results of the 2024 Key West marlin tournament.

International 50 wide, International 80 wide Rick Berry Key Largo Rods
Custom rods by Rick Berry of Key Largo Rods and International 50s and 80s

Typically when we are in the hunt for the Man In The Blue Suit we pull out the big gear. We use 50 wide and 80 wide reels with custom built bent but rods designed to be fished from the fighting chair. With this larger gear we also have jackets made by AFTCO that attached our angler to the reel to add more leverage and allow us to turn up the drag and defeat the marling quickly. This outfit is also attached to the boat so there is no change of losing our rod or the angler overboard in the fight.

AFTCO Rod Harness
Rod Harness such as this AFTCO Harness hooked on to a 80 wide are key to heavy load success.

Our big tackle rods are always tournament ready and  loaded with fresh monofilament and recently tied leaders and rigs. Some of the larger trolling baits are over 14 inches long and stir up quite a commotion on the surface encouraging the blue beast to come take a look and hopefully a bite. 

Key West Marlin Fishing Charters

A marlin fishing charter on board the INXS is completely possible. We are happy to pull off all the stops and pull the big baits. Here in Key West most of our marlin are caught between the months of April and September. This is the time of the year that their favorite meal (small Mahi Dolphin) is just off Key West. They eat those little ones like tic-tacs.

While this year has proven it wrong, the full moon is considered best for a shot at a blue marlin in most places including here in Key West. So far this year our hook ups have all happened at different moon phases. If I were to book a dedicated blue marlin fishing charter I would try for 3 days prior, the day of and 2 days after a full moon. This will also enhance a shot at a wahoo as a side hustle, they love to smash big baits. 

Deep sea fishing charter boat trolling in Key West
Welcome Aboard The "InXS" a 47' Viking C Tournament Sport Fishing Boat. Where Comfort Meets Fishing Daily.

We are always open to fishing the Key West Marlin Tournament with anyone that wants to try it. In fact the INXS is still available for the 2024 tournament at the time I am writing this. Three days of trolling big baits and fun social events. Contact us for more details we will go over all the options. 

So, if you think catching a blue marlin will trip your fun trigger and you want to fish in Key West. Give us a call. The INXS is always ready to roll and tournament rigged. 

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