Florida Keys Bridge Fishing

Florida Keys bridge fishing

Cheap Florida Keys Fishing

Why are we talking about Florida Keys Bridge Fishing? Well, charter fishing is expensive, at least to a lot of people. Charters range from $400 – $1000 a day, which to most people is a lot of money to spend on a day fishing. Frankly, ocean sportfishing is the most expensive sport out there. The cost of the boat, upkeep, insurance, gas etc. is the reason it costs so much. In the end, the guides make a nice living if they can book enough people, but it’s not usually a profession that leads to great riches. This is where Florida Keys bridge fishing comes in for the average tourist.

For some people, spending a couple thousand on fishing while on vacation is nothing, but to those of you on a stricter budget, there are other ways to catch some fish that are cheaper. I know probably there is someone in the Florida Keys Tourism industry groaning that the standard line should always hire a guide, and spend as much as possible, but there are so many people for whom this is not even a remote possibility.

Keep in mind that fishing with a guide can be awesome. The knowledge a good guide to impart on a trip can make the trip of a lifetime. If your heart is set on catching any sought-after sportfish, hire a guide.

There are several ways get some fishing in on the cheap, and I’ll try to break them down the best I can.

Bridge and Shore Fishing

TThroughoutthe Keys there are lots of opportunities to fish from shore or bridges. Florida Keys bridge fishing is popular because there are literally dozens of old bridges left standing in the Keys just for use as fishing piers. Bridges like Long Key Bridge and Seven Mile Bridge are prime examples. There are tons of fish at the bases of these bridges, especially the larger bridges. Most get a lot of fishing pressure, but there are still tons of fish to catch. Most people use a small sinker to keep the bait on the bottom, and primary fish caught are snappers, groupers, and grunts. A lot of groupers caught around the bases of bridges will be under legal size so check the regulations before you keep a fish. You can either bring a pole with you- most freshwater-sized poles will be fine for catching snapper and grunts, or the occasional barracuda that will show up. Now there will also be huge fish around the bases of these bridges, fish like jewfish, sharks and depending on the season tarpon. You won’t stand a chance of landing any of these brutes with freshwater tackle, something to keep in mind. If you are not from somewhere where there is saltwater fishing you may have to buy a rod and reel down here, but for just causal vacation use, you can pick up a cheap big rod and reel at Kmart and spool it up with 40 to 60 pound test line, for the big ones. For bait you can buy shrimp or squid at any tackle store. Once you have the shrimp or squid, use a little hook or jig to catch some grunts. You can cut them up for fresh cut bait.

You will increase your chances of hooking up fish from the bridges if you chum where you are fishing. This will also attract a ton of little fish, which can be a pain if they start stealing all your bait. Chum is sold in 5 or 7 pound frozen blocks at all the local tackle stores. You will need a mesh chum bad and enough light rope or string to reach the water from whatever bridge you are fishing.

In Key West you can fish off the White Street Pier or believe it or not Mallory Square. There are tons of fish right off Mallory Square.

Split Charter or Head boat

A split charter is usually when a few people, strangers really, pitch in and charter a boat. This is a good way to save money and go out on a quality boat but there are the obvious pitfalls, like what if the people you book with are jerks. In a split charter you usually split the cost of chartering a big boat with around 6 people, so maybe for around $225 bucks, you get to go out on a sportfisher boat. You can contact Key West Guides and find info on split charters check out FKF Charters.

A head boat is a party boat. It’s a big boat that could have as many as forty people on it. It’s cheap like around $40 and the captains know where to find the fish but hey you are fishing with a crowd. There are also night trips on these boats, and long-range overnight trips.

Boat rentals

Renting a boat and going fishing for yourself is another popular way to get out on the water. It is cheaper than hiring a guide but sometimes not that much cheaper if you only go one day. You have to figure renting a boat can be over $200 a day, then they will get you on gas and oil, then buying bait etc. Now, most rental places have deals if you rent the boat for more then one day, and if you rent a smaller boat for week, you can really get a deal.

Of course, renting a boat you will be on your own to navigate the water of the Keys, which isn’t really a big deal if you are cautious and don’t drive like a nut. Depending on the weather you can usually just motor to the reef and chum a bunch of fish up. Maybe they won’t be the fish of a lifetime but it will be a good time.

If it’s your first time out fishing in a boat by yourself in the keys you will most likely have blast. Places that are easy to catch lots of fish without a lot of know-how, would be the reef and Florida Bay. Florida Bay, especially in the colder months, is full of Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Sharks, jacks, and catfish. You pretty much just look for a seagrass on the bottom and anchor and throw in a chum bag. The fish will come to you. Before too long you will have schools of baitfish such as pinfish or blue runners having a big party in your chum slick, and before long the bigger fish will show up.

The reef is pretty much another can’t fail fishing destination, pretty much anywhere you see rocks and coral fans there will be fish. Just anchor on the sand patches in-between and chum the fish up. There will be hoards of snapper and baitfish showing up, along with usually barracuda and in the winter Spanish mackerel. If nothing shows up in 30 minutes or so, try another spot.

Florida Keys Fishing

Florida Keys fishing is well known around the world as the best sport fishing, and offers many types of experiences, from flats fishing to wreck fishing. Charters are available in the Keys for whichever type of fishing you desire, and most include everything you need for a fun and successful fishing trip. Come see why Florida Keys fishing is the best in the world!

Flats fishing is done in small skiffs with only one or two people per skiff. As the name implies, flats fishing is done in extremely shallow waters to catch Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon. Anglers watch for the fish to approach before casting the line in precisely the right spot to make the catch. Flats fishing in the Keys is done with either fly equipment or with spinning gear.

Backcountry fishing is less technical than flats fishing, and the boats can accommodate up to four anglers in shallow waters. Along with the same variety of fish which can be caught in flats fishing, anglers can also catch shark, snapper and barracuda.

Reef and wreck fishing is best for beginners and those who want the most productive fishing day possible. The many wrecks and natural coral reefs around the Florida Keys provide excellent opportunities for shark, barracuda, snapper, permit and macheral, as well as many other fish abundant in the area. Both fly fishing and tackle fishing can be used for reef and wreck fishing.

Florida Keys fishing

Tarpon, commonly known as the Silver King, is considered the the fly fisherman’s premier sport fish. The Florida Keys, and specifically Key West, offers the greatest opportunity for sight casting in the shallow waters. 150 pound tarpon are not uncommon in the Florida Keys.

There are many sportfishing charters available in the Keys. Molasses Reef is often referred to as the most popular diving location in the world. Some Florida Keys fishing charter companies offer a variety of fishing types, while some charters specialize in niche markets of specific types of fishing, or in specific locations in which they are experts. Some also are experts in certain species, such as tarpon or sharks, while others are considered party boats.

Party boats are great for groups, because they can accommodate a large group of people for a day of fishing fun. Party boats are usually less expensive per person, since the cost of the excursion is split among many people, and are most often all inclusive. The price is great for couples where only one person might want to fish.

Most Florida Keys fishing charter companies offer everything for their anglers, from equipment to bait. Most also offer drinks and deli-type food. However, you are welcome to bring along your own if you desire. It is highly recommended to bring along appropriate clothing and sun care for your fishing expedition.

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Key West Dolphin Tour

 Dolphins and humans have a special bond and here in Key West you have the chance of a lifetime- to experience these marine mammals in the wild. A Key West dolphin tour should be at the top of your agenda if you love nature, animals, and the ocean. Choose from several dolphin tours that will have your whole family or group feeling the bond with these amazing creatures!

Dolphins are truly incredible, and the more you learn about them from your Key West Dolphin Tour guide, the more you’ll agree that dolphins and humans really do share a natural affinity for one another. Your tour guide and captain will be knowledgeable of dolphins and their habitat, so ask as many questions as you can think of! Learn about physiology, anatomy, behavior, and communication patterns of these sociable mammals whose curiosity sometimes brings them right up to the boat you’re in.

Key West Dolphin tours pride themselves on their awareness of how delicate the natural world really is. They respect the dolphins and their habitat and attempt to be as non-intrusive as possible. Therefore, we offer Key West dolphin tours where the boat goes to the dolphins’ natural environment, usually in the Gulf of Mexico or close to shore on the Atlantic side of Key West. Dolphins are never held in captivity in Key West, so when you see these wild creatures, you’ll know they’re happy, healthy, and having a great time in their own element, free and undisturbed.

Dolphins run in groups of up to a dozen in size, and these groups are called pods. Key West has resident dolphin pods, so your dolphin tour guide will have a very good sense of where to find the pod each day. And our guides are completely dedicated and professional…they go out almost every day of the year! Of course they love their work. Who wouldn’t?

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Key West Tours

 There’s rich culture and lots of history throughout the tiny streets of Key West. This may be a small island at four by two miles, but there’s so much going on, and so much fascinating history to learn about, you’ll have fun creating a travel itinerary from Key West tours alone! Of course you will want to explore the reef while you’re here, but save some time for a few Key West tours and discover the charm that makes the Southernmost City so special.

Key West has a rich history which has a fascinating mixture of things Cuban, military, famous authors, sunken treasure, and sport fishing, sprinkled with a bit of pirates, bootlegging and other illegal trades that have come and gone through the years. Key West tours offer a sampling of these intertwined histories. As you ride through the streets your tour guide will offer stories that will help bring Key West’s history alive as you ride past the very locations where famous people once lived or events once took place.

 For Key West tours of Old Town, there are trolley tours and Conch Train tours. Each features open-air seating and a tourguide who is also your driver, and very also very knowledgeable about Key West history and culture. Roll past Hemingway House, Sloppy Joe’s, and on up Duval Street and you’ll get a great tour that gives you a fine sense of Key West and an understanding its particular charm. And best of all, you save your feet for later, when you’ll want to stroll down Duval Street yourself and check out the boutiques, shops, bars, and dining.

Other types of tours in Key West include a Key West Ghost tour, which naturally only happens at night! This is a walking tour of Key West, starting out in Old Town and making its way to the Key West Cemetery. An old favorite of many visitors, the Key West Ghost Tour is a wonderful way to learn about Key West and its history.

There are also walking tours of Old Town, and a bicycle tour of Old Town. These are run by small private organizations and offer a personal view of the island. Any way you go, Key West tours will leave you with a sense of the city, the island, and its unique history.

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Key West Snorkeling

The colorful coral reef, the schools of tropical fish, magnificent sting rays- the wonders of the marine world are yours to explore on a Key West snorkeling trip. Imagine floating blissfully along the warm subtropical waters of Key West, gazing down at incredible sea life just a few feet below you. This is what a tropical vacation is all about, and we’re here to help you make it all happen for you. Book Key West snorkeling trips online and save money by getting discounts, and low price guarantees.

The island of Key West is lined with coral reef on the south side, so Key West snorkeling can take you to many different areas of the reef for different snorkeling experiences. To start out, however, Sand Key Light is the top destination. And no wonder – with shallow reef that comes right up to the historic lighthouse within a foot or two of the water’s surface, you’ll be able to see so much! Sand Key Light has a wonderful diversity of coral, fish, rays, barracuda, eels, and other marine life living in the abundant coral ecosystem. It’s the ideal spot for first time snorkelers.

 If you just can’t get enough of Key West snorkeling and you want to venture out another day, the reef extends in both directions from Sand Key light. Heading east, there’s Rock Key, known for its calm waters even when it’s a bit windy out there. The rocks here stick out of the water, breaking any waves that might come rolling in from offshore. It’s protected, shallow, and an ideal spot for your next Key West snorkeling spot.

Heading east from Rock Key, you’ll find Eastern Dry Rocks, which are part of the main reef and therefore provide lots of snorkeling grounds. If you’ve opted for a Key West boat rental and you’re on your own, anchor up and explore the area. Don’t get too far from the boat, and watch the current!

Still heading east, you’ll run into The Sambos- western, middle and eastern. These also make fun destinations for a day of Key West snorkeling. The main reef is about six miles from Key West, and between the island the reef are gazillions of small patch reefs. If you’ve rented a boat, explore and find your own private snorkeling spot to make your Key West vacation exciting and complete.

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Key West Diving

key west diving

Miles and miles of coral reef, dozens of explorable shipwrecks, and plenty of marine life to observe…what’s not to love about Key West diving? We’re blessed with North America’s only living coral reef and the abundancy of sea life that exists around this incredible ecosystem. Key West diving makes this tiny island a true paradise, if you ask any diver!

And now, Key West diving is even more exciting because there’s the newest artificial reef, the USS Vandenberg. Sunk in May 2009, this 327 foot ship sits in 130 feet of water six miles south of Key West. All the dive companies in town now feature Vandenberg dive trips – book online for better deals and discounts.

If you’re new to diving, then you can opt for a resort course. Learn the basics of diving in a day, and you can be out on the reef exploring the amazing underwater world in no time! The marine world and its incredibly beautiful creatures are not to be missed – imagine yourself on vacation in Key West, exploring a whole new world! Sea turtles, rays, schools of tropical fish, curious and harmless barracuda, eels, and the occasional pelagic fish like mackerel will make appearances on the reef or wrecks frequented by Key West diving boats.

From complete beginners to advanced technical divers, Key West diving has something for everyone. Some of the shipwrecks are in deep water with strong currents, like the Curb Wreck. Curb is 180 feet down, so only advanced divers can attempt this wreck. The Vandenberg is also deep, but even if you can’t go that deep, you can still enjoy this new artificial reef. The satellite towers come up to 50 feet from the surface so even snorkelers can see them when the visibility is good.

Why miss out on one of the best things about the Southernmost City? Key West diving is one of the top ten activities here, and it’s accessible to almost anyone who wants to try. From resort courses for novices to advanced technical dives for those of you who’ve been diving for years, we have a dive package for you. Come and witness the beauty of the underwater world of Key West and rediscover how exciting your vacation can be!

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Key Largo Snorkeling

Thanks to crystal clear water, sunny year-round temperatures and large areas of protected coral reef, Key Largo snorkeling ranks as one of the most popular vacation activities for visitors from around the world. Key Largo snorkeling even stands out ahead of the other spots in the Florida Keys, partly because of its location near the Gulf Stream.

Key Largo is the northernmost island in the Florida Keys, closest to the mainland. It’s at this point on the map where the Gulf Stream curves inward and comes closer to the reef than in other parts of the Keys. Gulf Stream water is clear water, and the combination of clear blue water and shallow water reef systems makes for some of the world’s best snorkeling. If you’re passing through the Keys, you just gotta do some Key Largo Snorkeling!

Most of the snorkeling boats that take visitors to the reef head toward Grecian Rocks, where the famous underwater attraction exists: Christ of the Abyss. This huge bronze 4000 pound statue is probably one of the most photographed underwater spots in the United States!

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the best place to start your day in Key Largo. There’s a marina with snorkel boats, visitors center, small beach, kayak rentals, canoe rentals, and a short nature walk through the mangroves. Explore the park, then go out for some Key Largo Snorkeling for an unforgettable day in the Florida Keys.

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Key Largo Scuba Diving

Scuba diving Key Largo is at the top of every serious diver’s to-do list. The Florida Keys area is well known for its ocean-based activities, with snorkeling and scuba diving Key Largo being no exception. One of the best places in the world to do this is in Key Largo itself.

Key Largo is the first and largest isle in the Florida Keys. It is also well known for its undersea activities, including diving and snorkeling, and was one of the first places in the world to begin conservation efforts. In 1960, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was created as the first undersea preserve in the United States. That’s why today we can boast that scuba diving Key Largo the top reason travelers come to this area of the Keys.

Scuba Diving Key Largo


Key Largo Wreck Diving

 

Key Largo has continued with conservation efforts, with the 1975 designation of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary, and is now home to six Sanctury Preservation Areas as part of the 2800 square nautical mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Key Largo is well known for its shallow reefs, which offer world class scuba diving and is ideal for both beginners and experienced divers. There are also many deep wrecks which provide excellent exploration opportunities for scuba diving Key Largo.

One of the Florida Key’s most popular snorkeling and diving spots is the Statuue of Christ of the Abyss, also known as “Christ of the Deep”. This 9 foot high bronze statue by Guido Galletti was placed as a memorial shrine to sailors and others lost at sea. This shallow spot, located at Key Largo Dry Rocks, is ideal for up close viewing of a wide variety of fish and undersea life.

Other popular reefs near Key Largo include Molasses Reef and French Reef, both known for the wide variety of sea creatures and fish species.

Scuba diving in Key Largo


Carysfort Reef Light House

 

Molasses Reef is often referred to as the most popular diving location in the world. The reef is as high as the ocean surface and reaches a depth of fifty-five feet on a gentle slope. Visibility is excellent due to the gulf stream.

There are also many wrecks which this area of the Florida Keys is famous for, offering world class diving for all skill levels. Key Largo has some of the best opportunities for exploring shipwrecks.

Bibb and Duane are both 327 foot US Coast Guard cuttters, which were sunk in 1987 in the area known as The Elbow Reef. They rest in 130 feet of water, Duane in an upright position while the Bibb rests on its starboard side. The City of Washington is among several historic shipwrecks in the area. The Elbow Reef is a mile south of Molasses Reef.

Benwood Wreck is a Norwegian freighter that sank during the Second World War near French Reef. It is quite shallow, and attracts many divers for night dives. French Reef also offers some fantastic coral caves and swim throughs, with excellent opportunities to see sea life.

Most recently, Key Largo added the 510 foot USS Spiegel Grove in June 2002 as an artificial reef, at the cost of over one million dollars. The Navy transport ship is the largest ever sunk as an artificial reef, is at a depth of 130 feet and resting on its starboard side. The USS Spiegel Grove is located near Key Largo’s Dixie Shoals.