Most people think of Ernest Hemingway when they think of the Florida Keys, particularly Key West. Hemingway, an avid hunter and sport fisherman, spent much of his time in the Keys on the water. Fishing Key West was one of his passions, and Hemingway would be glad to know that fishing is still permitted in most of the waters surrounding the Keys, thanks to a widely practiced catch-and-release program that balances preservation with recreation.
For those who prefer saltwater fishing, the Florida Keys, which are surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Straits of Florida on the other, are a must-see. More saltwater fishing world records have been set in this region than anywhere else on earth.
Bonefish, tarpon, jacks, Spanish mackerel and barracuda are found in the deepest water, while grouper and snapper abound on the reefs. Mahi-mahi, billfish, tuna and wahoo are also prevalent, primarily just offshore.
The Florida Keys are surrounded by shallow sands and grass flats, which are a perfect hiding place for many varieties of fish. Some of the most popular types of fishing in the Keys are flats and backcountry fishing, light tackle fishing, offshore deep sea fishing, wreck fishing, reef fishing, as well as harbor and bridge fishing.
Key Largo is the largest of all the keys and is the uppermost island in the chain. Connected to Miami by U.S. 1, Key Largo is home to two state parks, a national park, a national marine sanctuary and some of the most beautiful botanical scenery in America. It is also known as the diving capital of the world due to its fantastic coral reefs. Diving or fishing Key Largo is always an experience to remember.
Much of the keys are now federally protected lands enfolded into parks, refuges and sanctuaries. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are all located in the keys.
Whether your preference is fishing Key West, fishing Key Largo, or fishing one of the Keys in between, the intoxicating scenery and the plethora of game fish are sure to win you over to this unique part of Florida.