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Winter Fishing In Key West Can Be Spectacular by Bill Vanderford

Another Shipwreck Off Key West-Photo by Bill Vanderford
Another Shipwreck Off Key West-Photo by Bill Vanderford
Bill Vanderford @

Fantastic fishing, occasional shipwrecks and spectacular sunsets are synonymous with Key West, Florida, and visitors often experience the complete trifecta! When most fishermen think of coming to Key West, however, they immediately picture battles with huge, acrobatic tarpon, speedy bonefish or powerful permit. In winter, most of those fish have migrated to warmer climates or deeper water. Nevertheless, the fish that replace them during the colder months are also excellent fighters and much better to eat.

The waters near Key West are teeming with marauding schools of mackerel at this time of year. Most anglers can easily catch their daily limit of three to five pound cero and Spanish mackerel, and many king mackerel exceed forty pounds. In addition, one may find huge schools of redfish that range from ten to twenty-five pounds, and tuna are often abundant in the twenty pound class.

Bottom fishing near Key West will net a variety of fish including several types of grouper, snapper and grunts. The majority of these fish are also very palate pleasing.

With more than five-hundred species of fish inhabiting the blue-green waters of the Florida Keys, fantastic fishing is experienced daily. Winter visitors experience a kaleidoscope of flora and fauna, including white herons, loons, pelicans, ospreys and numerous small animals.

Real adventurers often bring or rent a small skiff, canoe or kayak, which allows the exploration of many of the uninhabited keys or the opportunity to fish shallow flats within sight of Key West.

The Mardi Gras-style experience in the old downtown section of Key West every night, and the circus atmosphere along the wharf at Mallory Park during the “Sunset Celebration” at the end of each day makes Key West a warm, electrifying destination away from our cooler weather. This final island at the tip of the Florida Keys is certainly a fabulous tropical paradise, but it also ranks among the best places on the globe to get away from the cold, catch plenty of fish and escape reality for awhile!

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