What Seasoned Anglers Know and Love About Fishing Key West
There’s a reason Key West and the Florida Keys are often called the
Sport Fishing Capital of the world: the weather is good year round and the warm,
nutrient rich Gulfstream just a few miles offshore attracts game fish in good
size and numbers. Since Legendary Sportsman Ernest Hemingway put Key West on
the fishing charts 80 years or so ago, the area has been a favorite with saltwater
Offshore, flats, backcountry or reef fishing?
Some come to the Florida Keys to fish the back country flats for tarpon,
permit and bonefish, but most seem to head offshore
to the waters where the big game fish – marlin, sailfish
and swordfish will offer the fight – and trophy –
of a lifetime. Anglers also chase “good eating” species on the ‘stream
– such as blackfin tuna and dolphin
in the summer time.
Reef fishing is also very popular for those who want to take home dinner rather
than a trophy – snappers and groupers
are very popular targets for hungry anglers.
Most deep sea anglers who visit Key West will hire a charter captain with
a sizeable, comfortable sport fishing yacht and an experienced mate –
a charterboat such as Key West’s Southbound
fits the ticket exactly! Captain Rich Houde has been fishing the Keys professional
for nearly 3 decades and not only knows the water but is arguably the best liked
captain in Key West – even by competing charter captains.
The charter boat Southbound
Personalities aside, the Southbound is a 40 foot custom built, fiberglass yacht,
built here in the Southernmost City specifically for Key West waters. The wide,
14 foot beam makes for a very smooth and stable ride and the large back deck
supports five fishing chairs with ease.
Gearing up to tackle the fish
Tackle and gear is also important and the Southbound carries
equipment that will suit everyone from the most seasoned angler to the beginning
angler – from 15-lb. spinning reels to 80-lb. trolling rods. Captain Rich
says his favorite tackle for trolling is 30-lb. test line, it’s proven
to be a terrific all around sized line. In other words, it isn’t too light
for the bigger game fish, but it’s light enough that smaller fish can
still offer the angler a good fight.
“From sailfish to grouper and snapper, dolphin to marlin, sailfish, wahoo,
tuna, and barracuda, we’ve had success with 30-lb tackle,” Captain
Rich says. “And of course, for more experienced anglers, we have
15- and 20-lbs spinning gear on board.”
Captain Rich also offers special “stay and play” accommodations
for his charter customers in the fishing cottage – a one bedroom bungalow
in Old Town Key West. Charters for 1 and ½ days can get 3 night’s
free in the cottage. Three days of fishing, 6 nights lodging. He can even arrange
a charter with a flats guide if you want to try your hand at the back country
style of angling.
Find out for yourself why Key West is the sport fishing capital of the U.S.!