Key West is clearly home to the best fishing of all the gulf coastal states. What creates this is the diversity of fishing for the light tackle angler throughout this fascinating body of water. An amazing opportunity awaits the most adventurous of us...known simply as "The Towers".
Well offshore stand five Air Force communication towers, isolated, literally in the middle of nowhere. Huge structures resting in deep water providing the only safe haven for miles in any direction, attracting the numerous species of these remote regions. These seldom visited towers offer unparalleled action for Permit, Cobia, Kingfish, Snapper, Grouper and Barracuda among other species that call these nearly inaccessible fishing grounds home year round.
These towers are held in place by 5 huge round steel stanchions jut out at a 45' angle from just a few feet below the water line to a gigantic concrete pad that anchors this massive structure. The water depth vary at each tower, the shallowest is around 60ft, the deepest at close to 110ft. these towers create their own ecosystem with very little natural structure anywhere near them. They are a popular stop over for pelagic species and a well-designed home to the bottom dwellers.
As these towers are located well beyond the nine mile State water boundary lines, Federal Gulf of Mexico Charter Boat fishing permits are required to fish or keep from the tower waters. Key West Pro Guides is one of very few operations possessing these valuable Federal permits in Key West. For guides without these permits this has become a sensitive issue "don't ask-don't tell"!
Therefore these permits are rarely if ever mentioned to prospective clients wanting to experience the Tower's fishing. Angler's Beware...
Having these Federal Permits and operating safely and legally is a sure sign of a long established, quality operation.
Gulf Shrimp Boats
Shrimp boats, you have seen their lights on the horizon as darkness falls over the water. Trawling nets through the night time hours gathering the Gulf's "Pink Gold". By mornings first light the crews, with their boats already at anchor have begun the arduous task of culling the prized shrimp from the hundreds of pounds of "by-catch" from their nets. In doing so, this by-catch is washed overboard, back to the gulf waters, consisting of magnum amounts of bait fish crabs and miscellaneous sea life. Naturally drifting away on the tide and currents this massive, very desirable "chum slick" immediately begins to draw several species of fish. Instantly these schools of fish search for the chum slicks source following the scent and forage back to the resting shrimp boat. As you can imagine, this enormous population of fish drawn into such close proximity of one another begin to aggressively compete, so begins a feeding frenzy.
As this has been taking place, the anglers have been making their way across the distant, mirrored waters of the gulf, navigating by radar locating these many quiet nomadic shrimp boats. Each boat now represents an individual chum slick with a populace of fishing trailing behind. As the anglers arrive, then creep to within casting range of the shrimp boats stern the guide free tosses live pilchards into the water. For a split second all seems quiet before the slashing and swirling fish rise up to meet them. Blackfin Tuna are a renowned regular at these shrimp boat buffets. Kingfish, Cobia, Permit, Bonita, giant Barracuda and of course sharks are all here in numbers, feeding! The action and vicious strikes are indescribable. Strike after strike, fish after fish you begin to realize, you cannot keep your lines in the water more than a mere second before being slammed, every single time!
This is the definitive action trip! Novice angler to seasoned pro, everybody comes home exhausted, arms feeling like rubber...have you ever cried...."Uncle"?
If you were to ask any knowledgeable angler for a list of the very best fishing locations in the world, Key West would surely be on that list. The waters surrounding our island are some of the most abundant and prolific fishing grounds on the planet.
Key West is blessed as the Atlantic Ocean with its Gulf Stream's amazing currents carry Sailfish, Dolphin, Tuna and Wahoo among many species of pelagic fish to our front door. The wondrous Gulf of Mexico resides on the opposite side of the island with its miles of pristine inshore waters creating our world famous flats and back country for the shallow water anglers as well as the countless ship wrecks and patch reefs further offshore. The Gulf of Mexico offers a vast diversity for every light tackle fishermen. Meanwhile the Florida Straits bring these two bodies of water together and collectively they become an angler's paradise, unequalled anywhere in the world.
However, the ultimate fishing adventure in Key West may very well lie far offshore to the west, in the distant waters of the Gulf. Many of these remote and isolated locations do not appear on maps or charts. The few known areas are simply to challenging for less experienced guides. Still others are known only to our second and third generation guides having been past down from father to son over the years. Discovered long ago by commercial fishermen these distant fishing grounds are now available to you...if you're ready for it!
Tail End Buoy, Rebecca Shoal, New Ground and the Dry Tortugas
Mention fishing "Out West" on any dock in the keys and heads will turn. Fabled locations known only by name to most...Tail End Buoy, Rebecca Shoals, New Ground and of course the Dry Tortugas of pirate legends. These areas are home to literally thousands of small shipwrecks, patch reefs and ledges teaming with fish that may have never seen a hook...
The angler must travel from 30 to 70 miles offshore to the west, southwest, out into the Gulf. These trips are not for the faint of heart or the novice angler. This is hands on, world class light tackle angling that demands ability and experience beyond that of a weekend fishermen. If you think you're ready to battle the largest fish and most fish of your life...let's go west.
The options "Out West" are nearly endless for seasoned anglers. On the natural reefs and structure Snapper and Grouper including the mammoth Goliath Grouper tipping the scales in excess of 300 pounds can be targeted by dropping live bait fish to the bottom contours. Monster Amberjacks, Cobia and Permit cruise the water columns to the surface ever ready to go to war. Troll for massive schools of Dolphin or Kingfish or sight cast to free roaming Tarpon. All the while, the impressive Giant Barracuda and awe inspiring Sharks willingly come head to head to battle for supremacy.
All of this awaits the adrenalin driven angler, far offshore, on the distant horizon, "Out West".
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