Angelfish

Not really a fish you want to catch but you way catch one occasionally. Throw it back.

Amberjack

Amberjack – Key West Fishing Boats

Amber Jacks are sometimes called reef donkeys, are known for their large size and tremendous strength. They are usually deep water fish, and are common around deep reef and wrecks throughout the Florida Keys.

They are often caught on large jigs or large live baits fished near the bottom. They are not the best eating fish but can be ok if cooked right. Cooked right usually means smoked and made into a dip or made into a soup.

These fish are much more common and in shallower water in the winter although they can be caught all year round.

Catching more then a couple of them in a day can be hazardous to your back.

 

Florida Keys Shark Fishing

Florida Keys Shark Fishing

Shark fishing Guide for tourists

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional fisherman, so if you read something that seems inaccurate please email me and I will make corrections

If you are visiting the Keys and love to fish, but do not have cash flow to hire a guide for multiple days. (Like me, at $600 – $1000 a day for guided fishing there is no way I could afford to fish anywhere nears as much as I need to satisfy me)

Of course if your heart is set on catching Sailfish, bonefish, permit etc … frankly if your heart is set on catching any fish I would suggest you hire a guide. The waters of the Keys are big and it can take some serious know-how in order to catch some of the more sought-after fish.

But anyway’s, if you aren’t scared to take a boat out in strange waters, bait your own fishhooks, land your own fish, and risk spending the day cursing, then something you might want to try is shark fishing,

Sharks are all over the place in the Keys: big ones, little ones from sluggish nurse sharks to aggressive bull sharks they are all over the place.

They are dumb and aggressive eaters, and the bigger ones aren’t even scared of boats. They don’t spook and they aren’t line shy. Basically, they are the ideal fish to try to catch if you are new to saltwater fishing or the Keys.

Now you can try all this stuff from a bridge or shore somewhere but I recommend you rent a boat. There are numerous places you can rent a boat in the Keys. It doesn’t really matter how big the boat is, another thing that is great about shark fishing down here is that there are sharks a stone’s throw away from shore (unlike in NY where I am from).
Bull Shark
The first thing you will need is chum. Sharks hunt primarily by scent and have been known to swim miles following a scent trail. The best chum for sharks is fresh fish, the bloodier the better.

Where to get the fresh fish, well if you ask a local they will say just catch a barracuda… in my experience, it’s not always that easy. If you fish on the reef there are tons of barracudas hanging out, but in the nearer shore waters although there are still lots of barracudas they seem to be a bit more hip to people and their bad intentions, especially the big barracudas.

So basically you don’t want to base your whole trip on just catching your chum once you leave shore, at least if you are a beginner.

What I suggest is getting the chum ahead of time, and the best way to accomplish this is to look for a party boat that has just came in and offer the mate a few bucks to give you leftovers when they are done cleaning their catch. So far I have never had a mate say no, but they if they do, or if they have a bad day’s catch you can also go to a fish market. You can usually get fish head/carcasses or Bonito fish (which is bloody tuna type fish) for around .50 cents a pound. If you want to ensure a good trip buy a lot, like try to get a whole 5-gallon bucket full before you go out.

You can put the chum in a chum sack or just run some rope thru the head collection and hang them over the side.

Now, where to go.

There are many places you could go to but I would suggest trying to avoid high traffic areas. If you are on the oceanside, chumming off the edge of the flats seems to work well. In fact, this seems to often draw sharks that are huge. But sometimes they take a long time to show up. The best luck I have had is on the bay side look for more open waters. Chumming in the small sounds around Key Largo wasn’t particularly effective but chumming on the bay side of the 7-mile bridge brought hoards of sharks.

If you put enough blood in the water almost anywhere something will eventually show up, but sometimes it may take a couple hours for the sharks to show up. Often times, when they do it, will be more than one, and you never really know what will show up. Anything from a couple 2-foot bonnet heads to half a dozen 200 pound plus monsters.

For bait, a fish head works well or any piece of bloody fish, but something half-alive works even better. Once you have a lot of chum in the water you should get some other visitors. Live jacks, blue runners, small barracuda, pinfish all make good baits for sharks.

You can free line a bait on the bottom or put it under a cork, bobber or balloon, which in the right conditions is pretty neat because you actually see the shark surface and get the bait.

Ok now for tackle

This is sort of tricky. In the bay, for the most part, ideal tackle would range from something that holds a couple hundred yards of 12-pound line to well honestly the sky’s the limit. I found that something that holds about 220 -280 yards of 30lb line seems to work petty well but even then some fish spooled me.

Leader. Obviously, you will need steel leader to fish for sharks. For the little sharks, a couple feet of leader is fine but if you are fishing for something bigger you will need a lot of leaders and heavy leader, like 3 or 4 times the pound test of the mono. So like 30# line or 90# leader. Sharks can break the line by whipping it with their tail, so basically you should have more leader then the length of the shark you are fishing for. This can be a real pain to cast but that’s life.

For hooks, use circle hooks; they are sold all over. If you have never used circle hooks before, they look kind of ridiculous but they work great. You let the shark run with free line for about 3-5 seconds depending on the size of the bait. Then just lock the bail and lean back and its hook sets right in the lip.

If you have questions please post them here and I will answer the best I can

Florida Keys Monroe County Wreck and Reef GPS

Florida Keys Monroe County Wreck and Reef GPS

This s public list of coordinates taken from the http://floridaconservation.org, they are public numbers so reprinting them shouldn’t be a problem

NOTE: The Artificial Reefs database is sorted by DEPLOYMENT DATE, if available. The DEPTH field is the depth of water in feet to the bottom in reef area, while RELIEF is the height that the materials rise above the bottom in feet, if available. The GPS (Global Positioning System), DGPS (Differential GPS), LOR (Loran C) or UK (unknown) entries in the GPS field indicates which format the original coordinates were obtained (if known). The other set of coordinates was mathematically calculated and is probably not as accurate as the original set. If UNKNOWN (UK) is listed then the LORAN is probably the more accurate set of coordinates. In the MATERIALS field, a (W) indicates a shipwreck, (BAY) indicates an inshore reef within a bay, (TM) means Trade Mark and a # symbol, followed by a number, indicates the number of pieces of that material.

DEPLOYMENT DATE REEF NAME MATERIAL LORAN1 LORAN2 LATITUDE LONGITUDE GPS DESCRIPTION DEPTH RELIEF
4/9/42 BENWOOD (W) SHIP STEEL 344′ 14132.9 62254.3 2503.160 8020.020 GPS 314 FT. FREIGHTER “BENWOOD”, SUNK DURING WWII 30 15
4/26/42 STURTEVANT (W) SHIP STEEL 314′ 13923.0 43728.6 2445.500 8201.300 UK 314 FT. DESTROYER”USS STURTEVANT” SUNK IN WWII 65 20
6/15/42 GUNVOR REEF(W) SHIP STEEL 277′ 13972.3 43651.5 2455.413 8146.254 LOR 277 FOOT LONG STEEL SHIP SUNK IN WWII 60 20
5/12/72 WILKES BARRE (W) SHIP STEEL 610′ 13951.8 43570.2 2428.466 8133.000 LOR 610 FOOT CRUISER WILKES BARRE SUNK BY US NAVY 220 75
12/31/72 ALEXANDER WRECK (W) SHIP STEEL 300′ 13913.3 43710.8 2436.970 8158.910 UK 300 FOOT DESTROYER ESCORT THE “USS ALEXANDER” 40 40
12/31/78 ALVA CHAPMAN REEF SHIP CONCRETE 14160.4 43185.8 2517.667 8009.100 LOR TWO CONCRETE BOAT HULLS & DREDGE PIPE 220  
12/31/79 CANABIS CRUISER (W) SHIP STEEL 75′ 14081.8 43313.1 2449.504 8038.590 LOR 75 FOOT TRAWLER SCUTTLED BY CREW 110 25
12/31/80 SEVEN MILE BRIDGE REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14006.8 43480.4 2436.333 8110.000 LOR 620 TONS BRIDGE RUBBLE -OLD SEVEN MILE BRIDGE 90  
12/31/81 ISLAMORADA REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14093.2 43292.6 2450.307 8033.421 LOR 1981 CONCRTE BRIDGE SPANS 110  
12/31/82 MARATHON REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14033.7 43403.9 2438.388 8057.555 LOR 1982 MARATHON’S VACA CUT BRIDGE SPANS 115  
12/31/82 SEVEN MILE BRIDGE REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14006.8 43460.4 2434.970 8109.590 LOR 1982 7 MILE BRIDGE, SPANS 115  
12/31/82 SEVEN MILE BRIDGE REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14007.0 43459.9 2434.975 8109.484 LOR 1982 7 MILE BRIDGE, SPANS 115  
11/24/83 USS CURB(W) SHIP STEEL 300′ 13922.2 43639.7 2426.212 8146.127 LOR 213 FT.NAVY CABLE VESSEL “USS CURB”, UPRIGHT 185 60
12/31/83 KEY WEST GULFSIDE SHIP STEEL SMALL 13933.8 43678.8 2440.719 8152.514 LOR SMALL BOATS 32 4
12/31/83 KEY WEST GULFSIDE REEF STEEL I-BEAMS 13933.5 43679.1 2440.622 8152.579 LOR STEEL I-BEAMS AND RUBBLE 32 8
12/31/83 KEY WEST GULFSIDE REEF BARGE STEEL 120′ 13932.3 43679.1 2439.996 8152.636 LOR 120 FOOT LONG STEEL BARGE 32 10
12/31/83 KEY WEST TOURNAMENT REEF BARGE STEEL 100′ 13923.0 43637.8 2427.250 8146.250 LOR 100 FEET STEEL BARGE THE “LOLA” 184 14
12/31/83 KEY WEST TOURNAMENT REEF SHIP STEEL 260′ 13923.7 43636.4 2427.250 8146.250 LOR 260 FOOT SHIP L.S.M.R. 180 21
12/31/84 ALEXANDER BARGE BARGE STEEL 120′ 14093.0 43293.2 2451.700 8034.100 UK 120′ X 40′ BARGE, THE “ALEXANDER”, & BRIDGE RUBBLE 95 15
12/31/84 ISLAMORADA REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14093.0 43293.2 2450.332 8033.575 LOR 1984 120 FOOT BARGE AND BRIDGE SPANS 110  
12/31/84 SEVEN MILE BRIDGE REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14007.3 43459.3 2435.020 8109.359 LOR 1984 7 MILE BRIDGE & STEEL BARGE 115  
4/30/85 CAYMAN SALVAGE MASTER SHIP STEEL 187′ 13923.4 43638.7 2427.210 8145.980 LOR 187 FT.BUOY TENDER, SUNK IN 1985, UPRIGHT 92  
12/19/85 EAGLE SHIP STEEL 287′ 14093.2 43292.9 2452.180 8034.210 GPS 287 FT. FREIGHTER “EAGLE” , AKA THE “AARON K”, 110 40
12/31/85 AMERICAN SHOAL REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 13968.2 43548.6 2432.124 8127.822 LOR 1985 NILES CHANNEL BRIDGE RUBBLE 40  
12/31/85 BAHIA HONDA REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 13993.9 43497.2 2435.746 8117.380 LOR 1985 3000 TONS BRIDGE RUBBLE 30  
12/31/85 GUNBOR REEF STEEL SCRAP 13974.1 43651.0 2456.800 8146.200 LOR SUPERSTRUCTURE FROM “CAYMAN SALVAGE” 52 26
3/3/86 THUNDERBOLT SHIP STEEL 188′ 14034.0 43403.4 2439.480 8057.900 UK 188 FT. NAVY CABLE VESSEL, “USS THUNDERBOLT” 115  
12/31/86 ISLAMORADA REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14094.1 43291.0 2450.517 8033.069 LOR 1986 INDIAN CUT BRIDGE SPANS 115  
12/31/86 ISLAMORADA REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14094.0 43291.1 2450.472 8033.084 LOR 1986 OLD TEA TABLE BRRIDGE SPANS 115  
12/31/86 KEY WEST GULFSIDE REEF CONCRETE RUBBLE 13933.4 43679.1 2440.571 8152.583 LOR 3000 TONS OF CONCRETE RUBBLE AND STEEL 32  
12/31/86 LONG KEY REEF CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS 14054.9 43365.0 2443.878 8049.832 GPS LONG KEY BRIDGE MATERIALS 26 8
12/31/86 LONG KEY REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14055.0 43364.3 2442.601 8049.128 LOR 1986 LONG KEY BRIDGE ,5 PATCH REEFS 26  
12/31/86 LONG KEY REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14054.9 43364.7 2442.639 8049.226 LOR 1986 LONG KEY BRIDGE, 5 PATCH REEFS 26  
12/31/86 LONG KEY REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14054.3 43365.0 2442.295 8049.244 LOR 1987 LONG KEY BRIDGE, 4 PATCH REEFS 26  
12/31/86 LONG KEY REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14055.5 43364.9 2443.118 8049.342 LOR 1986 LONG KEY BRIDGE, 9 PATCH REEFS 26  
12/31/86 LONG KEY REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14054.4 43365.5 2442.503 8049.390 LOR 1986 LONG KEY BRIDGE, 5 PATCH REEFS 26  
12/31/86 LONG KEY REEF BRIDGE SPANS CONCRETE 14054.3 43366.3 2442.650 8049.595 LOR 1986 LONG KEY BRIDGE,5 PATCH REEFS 26  
7/30/87 MARATHON REEEF SITE BRIDGE RUBBLE 14033.7 43403.9 2439.050 8057.787 UK CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS. 100  
11/27/87 BIBB SHIP STEEL 327′ (BIBB) 14122.9 62270.3 2459.710 8022.770 UK 327 FT. “USCG CUTTER BIBB”,ON SIDE, 95′ TO RAIL 130 35
11/27/87 DUANE SHIP STEEL 327′ (DUANE) 14122.2 62270.9 2459.380 8022.920 GPS 327 FT. “USCG CUTTER DUANE”, UPRIGHT 118 50
12/31/87 BAHIA HONDA REEF CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS 13993.8 43497.5 2435.755 8117.442 LOR 1987 3600 TONS SPANISH HARBOR BRIDGE SPANS 32  
12/31/87 ISLAMORADA REEF CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS 14094.0 43291.1 2450.472 8033.084 LOR 1987 LIGUM VITAE BRIDGE SPANS 115  
12/31/87 KEY WEST GULFSIDE REEF CONCRETE RUBBLE 13933.3 43679.8 2440.657 8152.704 LOR 100 TONS OF CONCRETE RUBBLE 32  
12/31/87 KEY WEST TOURNAMENT REEF BARGE STEEL 13922.4 43636.8 2425.673 8145.584 LOR HEAVY STEEL AND BARGE 205 6
12/31/87 MARATHON REEF CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS 14034.0 43403.4 2438.461 8057.451 LOR 1987 MARATHON CONCRETE SLABS 115  
6/25/88 BIG PINE REEF MODULES CONCRETE A-FRAMES 13984.8 43508.1 2432.692 8119.530 LOR RESEARCH MODULES, HIGH PROFILE 45  
6/25/88 BIG PINE REEF MODULES CONCRETE A-FRAMES 13984.7 43507.6 2432.509 8119.419 LOR RESEARCH MODULES, HIGH PROFILE 80  
6/27/88 BIG PINE REEF MODULES CONCRETE A-FRAMES 13985.0 43509.1 2433.056 8119.749 LOR , RESEARCH MODULES LOW PROFILE 25  
9/13/88 BIG PINE KEY SITE MODULES CONCRETE A-FRAMES 13984.7 43507.2 2433.016 8119.498 UK PRECAST CONCRETE SHALLOW REEF MODULES . 18  
1/21/89 JOE’S TUG SHIP STEEL TUGBOAT 90′ 13928.7 43630.7 2427.850 8144.270 GPS 90 FOOT LONG TUGBOAT 65 25
12/31/92 STARGAZER REEF STEEL STRUCTURES 13910.7 43669.8 2427.300 8152.000 LOR UNDERWATER SCULPTURES 13  
12/31/94 LONG KEY REEF CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS 14056.3 43365.8 2443.900 8049.667 GPS 1994,LONG KEY BRIDGE, 3746 TONS BRIDGE, GPS 24  
12/31/96 LONG KEY REEF CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS 14056.3 43365.8 2443.900 8049.667 LOR 1996, LONG KEY BRIDGE, 3942 TONS BRIDGE 24  
12/5/98 ADOLPHUS BUSCH SR SHIP STEEL 210′ 13968.0 43547.9 2431.841 8127.688 DGPS 210 FT. SHIP AKA THE “OCEAN ALLEY”, NEAR LOOE KEY 100 62
N/A CITY OF WASHINGTON (W) SHIP STEEL 14151.1 43203.8 2508.820 8015.190 GPS SHIPWRECK FROM 1891, ADJACENT TO ELBOW REEF 20 8

Florida Keys Monroe County Wreck and Reef GPS