Marlin - Catch & Release Only
No one claims that Islamorada is a world's hotspot for Marlin, but they are here. Usually we don’t target Marlin specifically, they just sort of happen while offshore fishing for Dolphin and Wahoo. Here in Islamorada we find White and Blue Marlin. The White Marlin are smaller ranging from 50 to 100 pounds, where as the Blue Marlin can grow much larger. An average Blue Marlin for the area is between 150 and 175 pounds but on occasion we see fish up to 400 pounds. The boat is fully rigged with premium tackle to help ensure you that if you’re lucky enough to hook one, your chances of catching and releasing it increase. Marlin are normally caught in depths of 600+ feet.
Sailfish - Catch & Release Only
When live baiting I usually only run 4 baits at one time. If you can’t get their attention with 4 you won’t get it with 10. Using lighter set ups we will bump the boat in and out of gear moving very slowly, a power drift or a bump troll. In the Winter and early Spring there is a large migration of Sailfish and Tuna thru the area and we target them from depths of 80 feet to 200 feet, but they can be found in as shallow as 15-40 feet. Sailfish jump and put on quite a display during fight. We even offer custom taxidermy service to immortalize your trophy🏆catch with us.
Wahoo - Open Season, No Size Limit, 2 Bag Limit
Wahoo are strong approaching and after the full moons in November, December, and January. We also get a strong Wahoo presence during the late summer way offshore in deep water. Known for their incredible speed this fish with range from 15 to 70 pounds and are one of the most powerful fighting fish you can find in the ocean. Anglers beware of their razor sharp teeth, wahoo beware of hungry anglers 😂.
Mahi-Mahi - Open Season, 20" Minimum, 10 Bag Limit
Dolphin are normally fished for in the Summer, although each year changes a little depending on the water temperature. Fish are caught from 250 feet to 1500 feet of water trolling a combination of dead baits and lures. The average size of a nice Dolphin is 12-15 pounds. The larger Bulls can be caught up to 65 pounds around the right moons. Once we have located a school, anglers can normally sight cast live bait to Dolphin catching 10 to 50 over a 15 to 45 minute period.
Cobia - Open Season, 33" Minimum, 2 Bag Limit
Cobia make appearances in December thru April, with January and February being the hottest months to target. Cobia usually like to stalk other prey from underneath migrating rays. These fish are seen from the tower and can be targeted using live bait as well as casted to using custom cobia jigs. Anglers can work in pairs with a surface jig to entice the Cobia closer to the boat, while the second angler pitches a live bait once close. Cobia fishing is usually opportunistic fishing when encountered as these fish tend to challenge the readiness of the anglers aboard.
Blackfin Tuna - Open Season, No Minimum, Bag Limit 100 lbs
Blackfin Tuna are our most common Tuna, but we do also see Yellowfin Tuna mixed in. The average Blackfin is around 15 pounds and anything over 20 is considered a big fish. These fish are great to eat and put up a great fight. Commonly if you catch one Tuna you can catch 3 or 4 or 5 at the same time because they tend to school up and look for food. Tuna can be caught year round but late fall and early spring are peak seasons.
Black Grouper - Open May 1 - Dec 31, 24" Min, Bag Limit 1
I use some deeper reef systems in the winter to find Black Groupers. Actually not as much the reef but the sand adjacent to the reef. Fish use this sand almost as a high way to travel to and from different bottom. Because you are nearly on top of the reef though fishing can be associated with it due to the overlap of species you can catch. Common catches also include Mutton Snapper, Triggerfish, Yellow Jacks, Bar Jacks, Kingfish, as well as Cero Mackeral and Sharks. Islamorada is an absolutely amazing ecosystem and fishery.￼
Mutton Snappers - Open Season, 18" Minimum, Bag Limit 5
Some of the best eating and hardest fighting fish are the Mutton Snappers. These are usually found around the reef edge and around the wrecks. The have a keen eye for your hook and tackle, and will not bite if unless your rigging is just right. We have found the most ideal way to target these fish using proven tactics and methods for success. Common catches also include Black Grouper, Triggerfish, Yellow Jacks, Bar Jacks, Kingfish, as well as Cero Mackeral and Sharks.
Yellowtail Snappers - Open Season, 12" Min, Bag Limit 10
Some of the most prevalent species of reef fish are the Yellowtail Snappers. These are usually found around the reef edge and around the wrecks. The are usually chummed up with our special chum slick combination. "If we chum, they will come." We have found the most ideal way to target these fish using proven tactics, coupled with the appropriate size tackle and methods for success. Common catches also include Bermuda Chubs, Barracuda, Yellow Jacks, Bar Jacks, Kingfish, as well as Cero Mackeral and Sharks.
Permit - Open Season, 22" Minimum, Bag Limit 1
Different times of years there are some unique things we can do on the reefs and wrecks. My favorite is sight fishing for Permit. Using my tuna tower for a better vantage point I can locate schools of Permit circling wrecks and instruct the charter or my mate where to cast a live crab. Permit range from 15 to 35 pounds and are one my favorite fighting fish. We try to release all caught permit back into the water, though they are legal to catch and harvest. Permit are one of Florida’s last great sport fish and many people wait many years to finally catch one on their own.
Sharks - We Catch & Release ALL Sharks Caught
If you are looking for a serious fight, targeting sharks may interest you. Not only do they make for an unforgettable memory, they make awesome 🏆 trophies too. Shark fishing in the Keys can be pretty extensive. There are numerous species you can fish for ranging from 30 to 1000 pounds. I'll try to categorize them by size starting from small and working to big. The first that comes to mind is the Black Tip or Spinner shark. They range from 30 to 75 pounds and are a blast on light tackle. They are called Spinner sharks because they leap from the water and spin while you fight them. If the weather is right you can chum them up and catch them non stop some days. In the 100 to 200 pound class range you have Nurse sharks, Caribbean Reef, and Sandbars. These can be targeted on the shallow reefs or out on some deep wrecks by drifting them with whole dead bonitos. Bull, Lemon, Tiger, and Hammerheads fall into the 200-350 but the Tigers and Hammerheads can exceed those numbers easily. The Bulls and Lemons are most commonly found in deeper water near large structure. Drifting wrecks works well for these species too. Tigers can be found a lot of different places and they are a little more rare for Islamorada. In the winter we see a lot of large Hammer Heads on the surface. It's hard to mistake a 15 foot black object cruising through blue water. We can pitch a bait in front of their path and actually watch him eat. Hammerheads are not uncommon to reach 500 pounds. This shark that has the most potential for size is the Mako. A lot of times we catch these while sword fishing in deep water. Either way these fish can range from 200 to 1000 pounds. Another time you see a Mako is while trolling for other fish. Makos are fast and will chase down dolphin or tuna while you are hooked into them. Here we can pitch a rod rigged for the fish and watch him eat as well.
Swordfish - Open Season, 47" Minimum LJF, Bag Limit 1
Swordfish are, in my opinion, Florida’s last great sport fish. After decades of commercial fishing bans the fish stocks have rebounded to an incredible level. Swordfish can be targeted two different ways, day and night. Each way presents you with pros and cons and each style has its own difficulties. Day time swordfishing has become very popular in South Florida and here in the Florida Keys. During the day Swordfish stay in deep depths, 1500 to 2200 feet of water. The difficulty here is obviously dropping baits down to their depths and getting them back up. With recent improvements on the tackle electric reels have made this issue almost go away. Electric reels come in handy when you want to check your bait or make a short move and fish different grounds. Before electrics it would take over a half hour just to bring up a bait, now its a matter of minutes. Another positive to sword fishing is you drift in deep water where other pelagic species live. It is not uncommon to catch 40 and 50 pound dolphin while drifting for swordfish, you also may spot a Blue Marlin you get to pitch a bait to. It seems that the daytime swords are larger than the ones caught at night as well.
Night time sword fishing is done in the same depths but you don’t have to drop your baits all the way to the bottom. At night the swordfish come near the surface to chase squid. Large underwater lights can be set up and drifted with a 2 or 3 baits waiting for the bite. Sometimes you have swordfish and dolphin swim right up to the boat and you can watch them eat your bait, there isn’t much more exciting than that.