Why You Should Fish in the Florida Keys



The Florida Keys have the best of both worlds, if your worlds are divided between inshore and offshore fishing. The major islands—Marathon, Islamorada, Key Largo, and of course Key West—offer fishing in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. There are really only a handful of places in the world you can catch such a variety of fish and the Florida Keys is one of them.

I will catch bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, redfish, sailfish, tunas and snappers in the same week
— Captain Richard Black

Around the islands, you can fish in the famous flats and catch permit and bonefish. The water gets as shallow as mere inches but don’t let that fool you. It’s clear enough to sight-fish and hook a feisty snook.

C.A. Richardson from Flats Class went out in the Keys to put the fishing to the test. First he went inshore fishing in Flamingo with Captain Dave Denkert, a renown guide and tournament angler. Richardson jokes, “When we go to Flamingo all the pressure’s on Dave, it’s not like it’s my fishing spot, it’s Dave’s.” Denkert didn’t disappoint, and neither did the Keys. They caught four different species in just two days: redfish, black drum, snook, and trout mostly on the Z-man BTB jig. The deadly Blue Claw Big TRD bait came to the rescue in this episode, scoring some impressive catches. This 4-inch soft stickbait is incredibly effective and easy-to-master. A softer material and custom salt content allow it to exhibit lifelike action in the water that work with a variety of different fish species.

What really saved the day... is the Z-man TRD.
— C.A. Richardson

For offshore fishing you can cruise a few miles offshore in a matter of minutes to fish the tons of reefs and wrecks scattered around the Keys. Head even further out to blue water that drops to depths of 1000 feet. Here you’ll fool bigger fish such as tuna, snapper, grouper, barracuda and even sharks (cue dum-dum-dum-DUM music).

Richardson had the opportunity to explore the offshore variety in the Keys with Dave Denkert’s son-in-law Captain Richard Black. With Black they caught grouper, snapper, a trigger and a blackfin tuna. Needless to say Richardson caught his fair share, “I filled the Yeti Tundra, and that’s what’s important when you go fishing with Richard Black - filling the Yeti Tundra.”

it’s literally world-class fishing
— C.A. Richardson

The weather is nearly perfect in the Keys for a day of inshore and offshore fishing. The daily average is 77. The average low is 64. You may see some rain—this is Florida after all— but c’mon this place has never seen frost or snow. Ever.

After a perfect day hauling in some keepers, head to Duval Street in Key West for a refreshing drink. Jimmy Buffet wrote “Margaritaville” in the Keys after all. Turns out they’re the perfect place for fishing, too.  Needless to say I think the Florida Keys deserves its rightful place among every angler’s bucket list.

Watch C.A. Richardson test out the world-class fishing in the Florida Keys in Flats Class “Keys Combo”

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— Hope K.