Deep sea fishing is a term we use for fishing in the deeper blue waters off the coast here in the Florida Keys and Key West. Just past the reef the water starts to get pretty deep. Starting at 30 ft over the reef all the way out to 2000ft and beyond, the further you head offshore the deeper it gets. The Gulf Stream is a huge feature that controls much of this open water. There are many different tackle and techniques with specific species of fish in mind as the targets. Charter boats go out on the daily and can be hired privately or per person. Key West Deep sea fishing is a traditional pass time for visiting anglers from all over the world
Where The Water Gets Deep
Roughly 5 miles South of Key West lies the reef line. Our reef is the largest in the Northern Hemisphere and hosts a huge amount of sea life. Just past this reef line the water gets deeper and turns a very cobalt blue color. Starting in 100 ft the water will progressively get deeper to 900 ft over 15 miles South of the reef line to another drop off that we call “The Wall”. Here the depths will quickly go from 900 to 1300 ft of water. Here the current of the Gulf Stream can be very evident flowing strongly from the West to the East. Even further out the waters get even deeper. Another 5 miles past “The Wall” depths of 2200 ft are reached. All of this area is where we go deep sea fishing.
The Gulf Stream
Like a river the Gulf Stream flows by us at various distances from shore. Sometimes we can find the Norther edges of the stream just 3 miles from shore and other times over 30 miles away. The Gulf Stream brings us our great deep sea fishing. Flowing in from teh Gulf of Mexico’s loop current where it was way South in the Carribean before that bringing everything that makes our fishing great out there. First off the stream helps regulate the heat and cold on our coastal waters and reef from Key West all the way to Virginia. Sweeping in and out like a snake the stream changes day to day. Along with the temperature control also comes loads of live giving sargassum weed. Filled with tiny fish and micro organisms fish of all sizes use this as a buffet. The current also brings up debris. This debris are fantastic FADs (fish attraction devices) holding an amazing amount of fish. Fish that we are targeting when we go deep sea fishing.
Tackle And Techniques
Depending on the fishing seasons the tackle and techniques we use for deep sea fishing vary from month to month, species to species. Mostly the deep sea fishing boats are specially equipped with long extendable outriggers used to troll specially rigged baits and lures in the blue waters. This is in hopes of a reactionary strike from specific predator game fish they are targeting. Another technique is kite fishing, where live baits are suspended on the surface of the water to entice an attack from a targeted species of sport fish. Other methods may include deep dropping where we fish the bottom in very deep water to catch dinner.
The Species Of Fish We Target
Here in Key West our species of fish are very tropical. The most popular deep sea fishing species we hunt here in Key West would be the dolphinfish AKA Dorado or Mahi Mahi. Prolific and plentiful they are fantastic table fare commonly found on the menu in any seafood restaurant. Key West is a great wahoo destination. We do not have to go far to catch these tasty speedsters that are both a food fish and sport-fishermans delight. Sailfish are about the most popular catch and release sport fish that we catch here in Key West and they are found just off the reef line. Black fin tunas are also very popular and make very good food fish. On the dream list are the blue marlin and yellowfin tunas. Not commonly caught but they are commonly targeted. For entertainment and by-catch we often catch bonito and barracudas. Though not great food fish value they are still very fun to catch. Lastly right up against the reef we target kingfish or King Mackerel and cero mackerel. This list of species is enough to keep us entertained all year round here deep sea fishing off of Key West.
Deep Sea Sport Fishing Boats
Specially created for deep sea fishing, trolling and kite fishing the boats are called sport fishing boats. Large vessels that are quite roomy and comfortable. Ranging in size from 38 – 55 feet in length. Capable of handling the larger sea conditions that may be met when deep sea fishing. Some are quite elegant and offer many of the amenities one could find in any house. They cary up to 6 anglers and usually come equipped with a fighting chair for our anglers to effectively catch a fish and live the dream.
Deep Sea Fishing Charters
Visiting Key West or any of the Florida Keys deep sea fishing is usually on the mind when coming here. A world class destination earning the name Sport Fishing Capitol of the World. Private charters for deep sea fishing are typically 4, 6 or 8 hours in length catering to not more than 6 anglers per boat. In Key West there are many different boats with independent operators, captains and crew that will take folks out for a day of chartered fishing. Its a good idea to shop the different boats on line or call a local who knows the boats and captains personally an works with them on the regular, recommending the best deep sea charter boats in Key West. When chosing a fishing charter try to avoid services that do not allow you to call and ask questions. Key West deep sea fishing rates range from 900.00 for a half day to over 2100.00 for the full day. Rates often depend on the amenities and speed of the boat. Faster boats mean more fishing time. Nicer boats mean more creature comforts such as air conditioning, over all size and delux bathrooms with kitchens may be offered. All of the captains and crews are typically pretty good fishermen and will put you on the fish.
Spilt or shared fishing charters are also available daily generally offered in 6 hour trips. This is where anglers only pay for the seat they take up. These boats cary up to 6 persons total with each individual paying for his or hers seat.