Fishing in Key West is a popular activity for both locals and tourists alike. With its warm climate and abundant marine life, Key West is a great destination for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced angler, planning your fishing trip to Key West can be a daunting task. To help you make the most of your time in Key West, we’ve put together a fishing calendar guide to help you plan your trip.
January is the unpredictable to say the least. The fishing is very hit or miss as is the weather. January is winter here in the keys. That means the temps can drop down to the 50s and 60s for a few days at a time. Be sure to bring appropriate clothing for deep sea fishing. It feels much colder out on the open waters. Kingfish are probably the most consistent catch this month, but we can still get wahoo, marlin, and dolphin. The gulf stream meanders in and out from the Key West reefs. It can be as close as 1 mile out and as far as 30-40 miles off shore. You might come back with a full cooler or mahi or return empty handed. Four and six hour trips tend to be more than enough to catch whatever is biting on that day.
February is January on repeat. Reef fishing could be a good alternative to deep sea fishing this month. The waters are cooler and the fish are less active. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to catch a variety of species. Popular species such as Blackfin Tuna, Kingfish, Mackerel, Sailfish, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) and Wahoo. Snapper, grouper, and barracuda can be caught year-round.
Spring is in the air in March. While the waters are cooler and the fish are a bit are less active, this is still a very active month for Sailfish, Dolphin and Blackfin tuna. Half day (four hour) trips will provide you with ample time to get some good fishing in. Do keep in mind that March tends to be very windy and will have some rough seas. Our 46ft Bertram is a tank and truly handles the big waves with grace. Even so, you should still take precautions if you are prone to seasickness.
April is one of the best months of the year for deep sea fishing. The waters are warming up and the fish are becoming more active. Sailfish, Dolphin, and Blackfin Tuna are biting like mad. Most of the good fishing is close to the reef and half day or 6 hour trips will get you plenty of good fishing. April is a very consistent month for fishing off Key West.
If you thought April was a good month for deep sea fishing of Key West, just wait for May. Sailfish, Dolphin, and Blackfin Tuna are still the most abundant fish to catch, but you’ve got opportunities to catch Blue Marlin, Kingfish, and Wahoo as well. The weaving gulf stream really helps make fishing bountiful by gathering up the weed lines where bait fish hide from predators. We troll our boat right along that line and temps the big fish with our bait. Our charter books up quickly in May. Make sure you plan your trip ahead by checking our availability often.
If you don’t catch Mahi in June, you aren’t trying. June is May part 2 with plentiful Dolphin, Marlin, Wahoo, and Sailfish to be caught. This is the start of summer and the waters are warming up and the seas are calmer. This month does bring in longer trips to get out to the fish. We recommend 6 or 8 hour trips to ensure you have plenty of time to get in some of the amazing fishing that June has to offer.
July is the month of Marlin. If you are after Marlin, this is the month to book your trip. The weather is really starting to heat up, so it’s good to book with a charter boat, like the SeaClusion, that is equipped with Air Conditioning to help cool you down on those hot summer days. July is still a great month for Dolphin, Wahoo, and Swordfish. The Gulf stream can be quite a distance off shore, so it’s best to book 6 or, preferably, 8 hour trips to make sure you have time to get to the edge and enjoy the strong fishing that July offers.
August is when the Marlin start to get harder and harder to find, but the Dolphin are still plentiful as well as Swordfish. August brings hot days as well as the beginning of hurricane weather. Don’t let that discourage you from coming out for a day of fishing. The fishing can still be very satisfying in August, especially if you like Mahi Mahi. Reef fishing for snapper and grouper is a good choice for August.
September fishing will bring about memories of August fishing. They are very similar. You will still find lots of Dolphin and might get a Marlin on the new or full moon. Swordfish are still around as well as the occasional Wahoo. We are fully in to hurricane season with the arrival of September, so you might get some amazing fishing in or get to attend an epic hurricane party. Either way, you will have a great time in the Florida Keys in September.
October is when we start to cool down from the summer heat. We are still in hurricane season, but October is when fishing for Wahoo really starts to heat up. Of course, Mahi Mahi are still out there to be caught as well as Swordfish and the ever elusive Marlin.
November is a transitional month for a lot of species of fish. It also marks the end of fall as we head in to the winter season. Fishing in November can really be terrible or it can be amazing. Wahoo are biting and are off the charts during the full moon. Tuna can be had along with the Wahoo. Reef fishing is a good alternative to deep sea.
December brings in amazing weather and the winter species of fish are in place. When you head out for a day of deep sea fishing during December, you really have no idea what you might catch, nothing is off the list. You could snag some Mahi if we get some Southeast winds. The Wahoo are still biting strong during the full moon. Reef fishing can be great during December as well.
Planning your fishing trip to Key West can be a daunting task. However, with the right information and a bit of planning, you can make the most of your time in Key West and have a successful fishing trip. By following our fishing calendar guide, you can ensure that you’re fishing at the right time and in the right place to maximize your chances of catching the fish you’re after.