Florida Keys Reef
Florida Keys Reef

Florida Keys Charter Fishing Seasons

Charter Fishing SeasonsThe Florida Keys are one of the most desirable deep sea fishing charter destinations in the world. Most islands in the Florida Keys have access to a wide variety of fish species with much less travel time compared to other parts of the country. That combined with year-round warm weather and a relaxing tropical setting makes the Keys a great place to vacation. In Marathon, Florida our fishing vessels reach depths of 250ft only 10 miles offshore. At 20 miles offshore we reach 650 ft and at 30 miles we can fish in depths over 1,000ft deep!

Main Attraction offers offshore fishing trips to the Marathon Hump which is a fantastic fishery that almost always holds Blackfin Tuna. From May-August calmer seas allow our Captains to head further offshore to the hump to target Blackfin, Dolphinfish (Mahi Mahi), Sailfish, Wahoo and the occasional Marlin.  We are less inclined to reef fish this time of year because the fishing is so good offshore. The exception to this is the Mangrove Snapper spawn on the reef in June and July, which is a fantastic way to get some meat in the box quickly before heading offshore. During the Mangrove Snapper spawn a Combo trip (Reef and Offshore) is a great idea.

Interested in a particular species? Select the species you are interested in below to see our general seasonal guidelines. REMEMBER, the fishing conditions on the day of your trip are ultimately what should determine what you target.

African Pompano

African Pompano

We catch our African Pompano on the Atlantic side on sunken wrecks from late February through April. These are great eating fish that put up a good fight and weigh upwards of 40lbs or more. You can find smaller versions of this species on the Gulf side.
a.k.a. Threadfin Trevally, Pennant Fish,

Articles That Mention African Pompano

amberjack

Greater Amberjack

This member of the Jack family is one of the hardest fighting fish you'll encounter. We catch them on wrecks or at the hump in sizes over 100lbs.
a.k.a. Reef Donkey, A.J.

Articles That Mention Amberjack

American Red Snapper

Typically caught in in the Gulf during the short summer harvest season on our center console vessels. Sometimes caught as bycatch on our larger vessels on the Atlantic side when fishing wrecks for Mutton Snapper.
a.k.a. Genuine Red, Northern Red, Gulf Red


Barracuda

This toothy prehistoric looking fish loves to try and eat your Yellowtail Snapper when you fish on the reef!

Blackfin Tuna

Blackfin Tuna

Sushi-grade deliciousness, available at the world famous Marathon Hump!

Articles About Blackfin Tuna

black grouper

Black Grouper

There is a wide variety of grouper that we can catch in the  Florida Keys but Black Grouper is the most common. We catch them on the reef and on sunken wrecks.
a.k.a. Rockfish, Jewfish, Blackbass.

Main Attraction Articles That Mention Black Grouper

Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin

A very rare but welcome sight in the Florida Keys, if you catch one here you better play the lottery!

Main Attraction Articles That Include Marlin

Bonita

Bonita

A commonly found cousin of the Blackfin Tuna. Typically used for shark bait because of the dark red bloody flesh. NOT to be confused with the Bonito which is a toothy member of the mackerel family.
a.k.a. Little Tunny, False Albacore

Main Attraction Articles That Mention Bonita


Cobia

A great eating fish that we find following Sting Rays and lobster boats. These opportunistic feeders can reach 100lbs and they fight with shark-like intensity!
a.k.a. Ling, Black Kingfish, Black Salmon, Codfish.

mahi

Dolphin Fish

One of our most requested species of fish. These fish can often be found migrating through the waters of the Florida Keys as early as May and as late as October.
a.k.a. Mahi-Mahi, Dorado.

The "Secret" to Successful Mahi Fishing Trips in the Florida Keys 

Other Main Attraction Dolphinfish Articles

Kingfish

King Mackerel

King Mackerel are commonly referred to as Kingfish in the Keys. They show up in the winter when the cooler north winds start to blow. Kingfish tend to grow much larger than their counterparts the Spanish and Cero Mackerel. Very large Kings are referred to by their preferred cooking method Smokers. This is because their oily flesh is gray and soft and doesn't hold up well when seared or fried.
a.k.a. Kingfish, Smoker King, Kings.

Main Attraction Mackerel Articles

mangrove

Mangrove Snapper

Mangrove Snapper is one of the most common Snapper fish caught in the Florida Keys. Smaller ones can be found off bridges, in canals and in the shallows of the Reef. During July spawn season we catch huge Mangrove Snappers on the reef early in the morning before heading off to catch Mahi.
a.k.a. Mangies, Mangos, Gray Snapper, Black Snapper

 

mutton

Mutton Snapper

Mutton Snapper is the Florida Keys Atlantic sides answer to the Red Snapper found primarily on the Gulf side. Delicious, mild flavored flaky white meat, lots of fun to catch on the Reef and Wrecks. We catch Muttons over 20lbs on the Wrecks and believe it or not occasionally in the winter-time we can catch big ones on the Kite!
a.k.a. Muttonfish, King Snapper

Articles About Mutton Snapper

permit

Permit

We catch Permit in the Spring as they spawn on or near sunken wrecks in the Florida Keys.  We consider Permit a sportfish that we catch-and-release, allowing inshore anglers to fish them all year long.

Articles That Mention Permit

queen snapper

Queen Snapper

We catch our Queen Snapper in depths of 750-850 feet with an electric reel.  They are not only beautiful too look at, but also delicious to eat!
a.k.a. Night Snapper, Brim Snapper

Queen Snapper Fishing Article

sailfish

Sailfish

Sailfish are hands down our favorite fish to catch. They are the most exciting species that we can catch consistently when the conditions are right. Pure adrenaline when you hookup and see these beauties tailwalking across the ocean surface.
a.k.a. Atlantic Sailfish, Billfish, Ocean Gar

Articles About Sailfish

Mako Shark

Shark

There are too many species in the Florida Keys for us to list, but most of our clients aren't picky about it. When they want to catch a shark they want to feel the raw primal power of an apex predator on the line, and all our species down here deliver that.
a.k.a. Mako, Thresher, Bull, Hammerhead, Dusky, Silky, Nurse etc.

Shark Fishing Article

Swordfish

Swordfish

We love to catch Swordfish, its high risk when it comes to fishing time but the payoff is huge. First, we have to go way offshore in the deep water well over a thousand feet. Second we need calm winds and a current moving 2-3knots. When all that lines up the potential for a huge catch is in play.
a.k.a. Broadbill, Billfish

Swordfish Articles

Tarpon

Tarpon

We target Tarpon in the late Spring into the summertime during their massive annual migration through the Florida Keys. We typically Tarpon them in the evenings under bridges and other inshore areas that we know. Tarpon also feed well in the morning, but we are usually catching Dolphinfish during the day this time of year.
a.k.a. Silverking, Atlantic Tarpon, Poon

Tarpon Articles

wahoo

Wahoo

Wahoo are a highly sought-after fish in the Florida Keys. Wahoo have a delicious Sushi-grade flesh that makes it one of the tastiest fish in the ocean. They have sharp teeth and long slender bodies. Typically we catch them high-speed trolling in the wintertime but we also catch them on or near wrecks and floaters throughout the year.
a.k.a. Ono, Pacific Kingfish, Ger Fish

Wahoo Articles

White Marlin

White Marlin

White Marlin are the smaller cousins of the big Blue Marlin. White Marlin are a rare sight for us in the Keys but we catch more of them per year than we do the Blues.
a.k.a. Atlantic White Marlin, Skilligalee Fish