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Recreational Fishing in the Florida Keys: The Best Species to Catch

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The Florida Keys is an environment renowned for its rich coral reefs, abundant marine life, iridescent waters, and plentiful schools of fish. The Florida Keys is considered to be among the best fishing spots in the country by anglers and other sports fishermen. Many Florida Keys fishing charters can take you on a journey to the bays, manifold islands, and creeks to experience some great backwater fishing.

In recent years, recreational fishing has become strictly regulated to preserve the rich natural environment of the Florida Keys. However, despite certain restrictions, fishing in the Florida Keys still offers much excitement for avid fishermen. On daytime fishing trips, a generous selection of fish can be caught by the intrepid. The Atlantic sailfish is one such prized catch in daytime fishing trips. This formidable species is swift, powerful, and beautiful. Indeed, its dexterity normally requires the skills of a skilled angler to guarantee a successful catch. Its relative, the Atlantic blue marlin, offers the same challenge. However, the Atlantic blue marlin is normally unhooked and released after catching.

The swordfish is related to the sailfish and the marlin. The swordfish has a similarly torpedo-shaped body with a long snout resembling a fencing saber. The swordfish and its relatives are rarely caught for food because of their mercury content. The tuna is also known to contain mercury, but this can vary with some species of tuna.

The dolphinfish—known in Hawaiian as the mahi-mahi — is sometimes mistaken for the dolphin because of its resemblance to the mammalian dolphin. The dolphinfish is very popular for its beauty and size. Like the tuna, the dolphinfish is captured both for recreational and commercial purposes. This fish is commonly served in local restaurants. Although the dolphinfish is usually called a dolphin in recreational fishing, it is labeled mahi-mahi in restaurants and markets.

Swordfish and snappers are select catches in night fishing trips. Florida Keys Fishing Charters recommend that these species be reserved for night fishing trips as they tend to be more active at night. The snapper is a stout, bigmouthed fish with vibrant red scales. Its relative, the grouper, is also active at night.

The Atlantic tarpon is normally reserved for sunset and night fishing trips. This magnificent “silver king” is active at twilight. Florida Keys Fishing Charters require permits from anglers to kill and eat tarpons; otherwise, the tarpon is released after catching.

Some of these fish thrive in reefs and wrecks. As a result, many anglers delight in going on Florida Keys Fishing Charters for wreck fishing. The cobia is a prized catch in wreck fishing. In addition, cobias sometimes visit mangroves and estuaries, which can make them a challenge to catch.


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  • Posted On February 5, 2012
  • Published articles 7

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