There’s no place in the world with as many fishing options as the beautiful waters of Key West. From offshore and flats fishing to trolling the wrecks and the reefs, this sunny outpost can deliver any type of fishing experience you want. This is what makes the experience well worth the Key West fishing charter prices you’ll pay. It’s also why fishermen from all over the country come to Key West when they’re hungry for high octane fishing adventures.
But with so many options, you’ll need two things to get off to a good start. First, you’ll need to narrow your range of choices a bit. Second, you’ll need equipment, bait, and the right guide. Fortunately, you can accomplish both of these important tasks by getting to know the different types of fishing charters available in Key West. Read on for details about the five most popular types, as well as all the info you need regarding Key West fishing charter prices.
Flats Boat Charters
Flats boats are best for fishermen who want a direct and more traditional fishing experience. Though they’re not designed for everyone, flats boats offer the challenge of a pure fishing adventure to those who are tough enough to handle them. Ideal for fly fishing in the shallow offshore waters of Key West, flats boats satisfy the hunter that lives inside every true fisherman.
In other words, flats boats are not for the casual angler. They have a narrow, minimalist design with a length that ranges from 17-25 feet. During a flats charter, the fishermen typically cast from the bow of the boat while the captain poles the vessel quietly from a platform in the rear. But these challenges pay off for the patient fishermen. The shallows near Key West are rife with exciting species like tarpon, permit, and bonefish. Land a few of these beauties and you’ll see why fishing purists find the challenges inherent to flats boats well worth the trouble.
Bay boats have become one of the most popular fishing vessels in Key West. Available in a wide array of shapes and sizes, bay boats offer fishermen a number of choices. These choices include amenities like bathrooms and areas of shade. Though similar in some ways to a flats boat, bay boats are typically larger and more comfortable.
Bay boats are extremely versatile. In addition to their use in fishing the flats, you can also use a bay boat to target species in the backcountry waters, as well as around the many reefs and wrecks that characterize the waters around Key West.
The average length of a bay boat is similar to that of its flats counterpart– between 17-25 feet. They’re usually equipped with a more powerful motor than flats boats, but the poling platform at the stern of the boat is very similar. As you’ll see below, bay boats are also similar to flats boats in terms of their Key West fishing charter prices.
Center Console Boats
Another fantastic Key West charter option is a tour on what’s known as a ‘center console’ boat. Just as the name says, the control console is in the middle of the boat, which allows passengers to walk around the boat from stern to bow with little difficulty. More spacious than either a flats or a bay boat, these center console boats can range in length from anywhere between 15-50 feet.
Because of this extra space, many center console boats feature sleeping cabins and can easily accommodate 6 or more passengers. They can also feature bathrooms, showers, and satellite radios. In addition to giving passengers access to many types of deep sea fishing, center console boats are also ideal for snorkeling. As you can see, a center console boat offers a Key West Ocean adventure that fits the entire family.
Light Tackle Fishing
You can experience the thrills of light tackle fishing on a variety of different boats, but they each offer a wide range of fishing and other ocean activities. This, of course, includes the opportunity to land a number of exotic table and game fish. Using light tackle, you can target and catch anything from permit and tarpon to tuna and sailfish, just to name a few.
In addition to the availability of such a high number of fish species, light tackle fishing boats also allow passengers to fish in many different styles. These methods include deep sea, reef, and wreck fishing. Lastly, light tackle fishing lets you drop your line at a number of different depths.
Sport Fishing Charters
Just as the name says, sport fishing charters target the hard fighting game fish that swim in the waters of Key West. These include species like mahi-mahi, amberjack, tuna, and some of the larger shark varieties. Although some sport fishing charters target table fish like grouper and snapper, most tend to focus on the exotic species we mentioned above.
Sport fishing vessels are comfortable with lots of shade. The length of sport fishing boats varies between 25-50 feet, and they’re often decked out with amenities such as a live bait well and an icebox. Sometimes traveling as far as 20 miles offshore, sport fishing charters offer the perfect combination of thrilling fishing adventure and comfort.
Key West Fishing Charter Prices
Now let’s have a look at how much you should expect to pay for each type of charter. The cost of a flats charter depends on the length of the tour and the size of the boat. Flats boats are usually only large enough for between 1-4 people. A four hour (half day) trip will cost you between $400-$550, while a full day, eight-hour trip runs between $600-$800.
The cost of a bay boat charter is similar to that of a flats boat. Depending on the boat, the location, and the duration of the tour, bay boat charters usually cost between $500-$800. With their slightly larger size, bay boats can often accommodate more people than a flats boat, with each extra passenger costing about $50.
Center console boats probably have the widest range of Key West fishing charter prices. With both day and night trips available, a center console charter can cost anywhere from $550-$700 for 6 passengers. But some of the higher end center console boat charters can cost up to $3,000 for an overnight trip.
A light tackle charter offers an intermediate cost between flats boats and center consoles. With many light tackle boats able to accommodate up to six passengers, a charter can cost anywhere from $700-$1,200 dollars.
The costs of sport fishing charters typically range from $800-$1200, depending on the quality of the boat, the number of passengers, and the length of the trip.