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Tarpon like warm water preferably over 75 degrees. The season in the key is longer than further north because of the warm water. July is usually a bad month as they go offshore to spawn.
Snook, seatrout, and redfish are around all year. Larger redfish are usually around at spawning time in September and October.
Seatrout will be in shallow water in April and May and in deeper water in fall and winter.
Nearshore species like kings, cobia and Spanish mackerel are hottest in the winter
Florida is considered the best place to fish by SaltWater Sportsman in October for Sailfish,snook,tarpon, permit and swordfish.They are second best for bonefish and king mackerel.
Amberjack are around all year, but the best months to fish are February to June. The rest of the year is slow to fair.
The world record is 163lb 3oz caught in Japan.
As a food fish, it is fair, but very good smoked.
Barracuda are around all year, and there is no official season. The limit is 2 fish per person between 15-36 inches.
They are great fighters and are found almost everywhere in the keys. They are great fun to catch and release.
They really are not a good food fish.
Blackfin tuna are here all year around. The best Months to fish for them are March, April and October to December.
They run from 5-30lbs and have a great food value, The World record is 49lb 6oz caught in Marathon.
Blackfin are found in the deeper waters like around the Marathon Hump, 409 Hump and Islamorada Hump and can be caught by almost any fishing method, trolling, fly fishing, and natural and artificial baits.
Florida Keys are considered the best place in the world to fish for blackfin tuna in February.
Blue marlin are possible to catch in the keys, but it doesn’t happen often. Best months are May to November.
They are around all year. Best months are March and April and worst is September. The limit is 2 fish per person.
Bonefish are around all year but the best months to fish are April, May and September to November. They spawn offshore or in deep water from November to May.
They are a catch and release only fishery
Cobia fishing is good all year. June, July and August are a little slower than the other months. Minimus size id 33′ fork length and 1 per person. State record is 130lb 1oz caught at Destin. World record is 135lb 9oz caught in Australia.
Cobia are great fighters and good food quality. Theybare generally found around structure.
Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)
Dolphin are around all year. The best months are May to September. The rest of the year is slow.In the Atlantic the minimum size is 20″ fork length and the limit is 10 per person
The world record is 87lb caught in Costa Rico. The sate record is 81lbs caught in Lantana.
They like warm water and are found in the deeper waters. Often they are found around floating objects and weed lines.
They are excellent as a food fish and do well with almost any cooking method.
Grouper are here all year, but there are closed seasons. You can retain groupers from May 1st to Dec 31. Minimum size for Gag and black grouper is 24 inches, the rest have a 20 inch minimum.
You can keep 3 groupers a person but only 1 can be Gag or Black. Goliath and Nassau groupers are protected and you can’t keep any.
Groupers are found on the reefs and wrecks of Islamorada. They live on the bottom and can be caught with live or cut bait. They are great fighters and will try to get to structure on the bottom when hooked.
The food value is excellent. Most consider black grouper as the best.
The best season for King Mackerel in the keys is December to March, April is ok and the rest of the year is slow. There is no closed season for King mackerel. The limit is 3 per person.
World record for king mackerel is 93lbs caught in Puerto Rico. The Florida record is 90lbs caught near Key West.
They are usually caught in deeper waters over 60 feet and like temperatures above 68.They are often found around reefs, wrecks and other structure, where bait fish are available. They may be found in schools but the larger fish are found alone.
Florida is considered the best place in the world to fish for King Mackerelin February by Saltwater sportsman
AKA Gray Snapper: The best fishing is June to August with fair fishing in Sept and Oct. The rest of the year is slow. The season is open year round with the limit of 5 per person, but no more that 10 total snappers.
The world record is 25lb 9oz caught in Japan.
The best months are January to April. The season is open year round with the limit of 5 per person, but no more that 10 total snappers. Minimum size is 18″.
The world record is 30lb 4oz caught in the Dry Tortugas.
The best fishing for permit is February and March and a little bit in April. The rest of the year is dead. The limit in Islamorada is 1 fish per person and there is no closed season. Minimum size is 22 ” fork length.
The world record is 60lb caught in Brazil and the record in Florida is 55lb 2oz caught at Fort Lauderdale.
They are mostly found in grassy or sand flats near reefs and wrecks. They are great fighters on light tackle and can be hard to bring in. They will rub their mouth on the hard bottom to disengage the hook or snag it on coral.
Fishing is best in the winter when temperatures are in the 70-75 degree range. There is nor closed season. There are 2 main species, African and Florida Pompano.
Florida Pompano are smaller. They have a limit of 6 fish with an 11″ minimum. The African Pompano has a limit of 2 per day with a 24″ fork length minimum. There is no closed season.
Pompano are usually found inshore and around the beaches. The like oyster and sand beds.