Florida Keys Fishing
Florida Keys Fishing Florida Keys Fishing Florida Keys Fishing Florida Keys Fishing Florida Keys Fishing
Florida Keys Fishing



Here are some of the species of fish you may encounter on your fishing adventure in the Florida Keys:


The bonefish’s (aka Phantom or Grey Ghost) closest relatives are the tarpon and ladyfish. The body of the bonefish is silver and slender with a bluish or greenish back. On the upper half there are dark streaks with cross bands connecting to the lateral line. The body is also rounded and has a long downward aiming snout. The dorsal and caudal fins are black. Bonefish vary in adult length from 40–100 cm depending on species. The average size of a bonefish is from 3 to 5 pounds (1–2 kg).
The speedy Bonefish is caught all year long on the flats of the Keys and Florida Bay. Cold fronts cause their temporary disappearance in winter and early spring months. Angling for Bonefish is good from April through the end of the year. Larger Bonefish are often caught from late summer through fall.

Bonefish are found worldwide in shallow Tropical and subtropical waters around flats and intertidal areas. They are widely available throughout the Keys, although the Upper Keys and Florida Bay waters have a greater concentration and somewhat larger fish. Bonefish are basically schooling fish. The smaller ones can be seen in large schools on the flats. The larger ones tend to form smaller schools or groups.

Primarily an inshore fish inhabiting shallows of the Florida Keys. Found in shallows often less than 1 foot deep, usually over lush grass flats, occasionally over white sand. This fish travels in loose schools, and roots out shrimp, shellfish, crabs, and fish from the bottom. Bonefish are often seen rooting in the sand, their tails breaking the surface of the shallow water. The Bonefish spawns offshore, eggs hatching into ribbon-like larvae that develop into a fish-like form of about 2 inches and move inshore. As one might expect from the name, the Bonefish has an abundance of tiny bones, for which reason is less than popular as table fare.

SIZE: Usually between 3 and 5 pounds.
FLORIDA RECORD:15 lbs., 6 ozs.


The tarpon (aka silver king) is considered one of the great saltwater game fishes, not only because of the size, and muscle but because of its fighting spirit when hooked; it is very strong, making spectacular leaps into the air. In appearance, it is greenish or bluish on top, and silver on the sides. The large mouth is turned upwards, and the lower jaw contains an elongated bony plate, that can make hook ups a challenge.
Found in warm temperate tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Common Florida Bay locations include shallow flats, passes between islands and mangrove-lined banks. Tarpon often patrol shallow water in small groups and in a daisy chain arrangement. Primarily an inshore fish, although adult fish spawn offshore. The eel-like larvae drift inshore where they undergo a metamorphosis, shrinking to half the size previously attained and taking on the more recognizable features of the Tarpon as they begin to grow again. Tarpon is a slow grower, maturing at 7 to 13 years of age. Spawning occurs between May and September. A female may lay more than 12 million eggs. Tarpon has the ability to gulp air directly into the air bladder by “rolling” at the surface. Can tolerate wide range of salinity and is able to enter brackish and fresh waters that are stagnant and virtually depleted of oxygen. Juveniles commonly found in fresh water. Tarpon feeds mainly on fish and large crustaceans.

SIZE: Most angler catches are between 40 and 150 pounds.


The Permit is the super challenge of the flats. Repeated fast runs and the trick of rubbing it’s mouth on the bottom to free the hook ensures that in shallow water only those kept on a tight line are brought to capture or release. Permit are silver grey, dark or iridescent blue above, shading to silvery sides, in dark waters showing golden tints around the pectoral fins. Permit have an oval body with blunt head and humped back, powerful forked tail and no spots on body. Often there is a triangular yellow patch before the anal fin.
They are normally found, OFFSHORE on wrecks rock piles and other debris, sometimes hanging around sting rays for an easy meal. They are a schooling fish found, INSHORE on grass flats, sand flats and in channels, occurring over sandy flats and reefs. They travel in schools of ten or more fish, though occasionally they may be seen in great numbers. They tend to become more solitary with age. I would consider a nice fish at about a weight of 25 pounds. They feed mainly on bottom-dwelling crabs, shrimp, small clams, and small fish. They love crabs like a cherry gum drops.
Permit begin to appear in March and become more plentiful as the season progresses. The summer months offer the most potential for permit catches throughout the Keys.

SIZE: Common to 40 pounds.
FLORIDA RECORD: 51 lbs., 8 ozs. The Florida Keys hold 12 out of 16 line-class world records for Permit and all five fly rod tippet-class records.


Snook, also known as the Robalo, are crafty inshore fish with an attitude. When they are found in brackish water, they tend to be generally a golden yellow in color to match there surroundings with a dark black lateral line (stripe) running the length of their body. Offshore, the Snook tend to be much more silver in color. Their gill plates are razor sharp so watch out when handling these animals. The Indians used there gill plates as cutting utensils. Snook are usually INSHORE in coastal and brackish waters, along shaded mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on shallow reefs offshore. They are usually low-light or nocturnal feeders so get up early or fish at night for these predators.

SIZE: Most catches range between 5 and 20 pounds.
FLORIDA RECORD: 44 lbs., 3 ozs.


Red Fish are commonly taken in Florida Bay waters year-round. They are also known as the Red Drum
They have a Copper-bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters and usually have one to many spots at the base of the tail. Mouth horizontal and opening downward. The Red Drum / Red Fish can be distinguished from the Black Drum by its lack of chin barbells and more elongated body.
Juveniles are an inshore fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population offshore. Red Fish tend to school inshore over sandy or muddy bottoms. They inhabit both salt and brackish waters and can tolerate fresh water. Red Fish are found throughout the Everglades, which serve as a nursery for this species. The region around Flamingo is a terrific location for Redfish.

Primarily an inshore fish inhabiting shallows of the Florida Keys. Found in shallows often less than 1 foot deep, usually over lush grass flats, occasionally over white sand.

SIZE: Common to 20 pounds.
FLORIDA RECORD: 51 lbs., 8 ozs.


Seatrout, also known as SPECKLED SEATROUT , are found virtually year-round in the Florida Bay except for severe winter cold spells. The best months are usually March through May. Seatrout season is closed for the months of November and December annually. They are dark gray or green above with sky-blue tinges shading to silvery and white below and have numerous distinct round black spots on back, extending to the dorsal fins and tail. No scales on the soft dorsal fin. One or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.
Spotted Seatrout are found inshore and/or over grass, sand, and sandy mud bottoms. Seatrout move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather. Matures during first or second year and spawns inshore from March through November, often in association with sea grass beds. Lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish. Longevity 8 to 10 years.

SIZE: Common to 4 pounds.
FLORIDA RECORD: 15 lbs., 6ozs.


Florida Keys Fishing
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Florida Keys Fishing
Florida Keys Fishing Adventures offers a variety of fishing charters, backcountry adventures, eco tours and family fun fishing excursions! We guarantee you exciting encounters with various unique marine creatures. Florida Keys Fishing Adventures is based in Islamorada, Fl - The fishing capital of the world and covers the entire upper Florida Keys; including Ocean Reef, Key Largo, Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe and the Everglades National Park. We welcome you to explore our website.