Sportfishing in Islamorada & the Florida Keys
Here you will find details about many of the common game fish you can catch in Islamorada and around the Florida Keys. You will see the name, picture, and details for the fish displayed. Some are known by different names such as Mahi-Mahi also known as Dolphin or Dolphinfish. Some of these are caught offshore while deep-sea fishing, while some are caught reef fishing or wreck fishing. No matter what type of fishing you are doing, booking a charter fishing trip with us at Catchalottafish will certainly be exciting and memorable. Check out the game fish below and give us a call to discuss what interests you.
The name mahi–mahi comes from the Hawaiian language and means “very strong”. This species is also referred to as “Dolphin” which is short for Dolphinfish, but this can be misleading because they are not actually related to the mammal species named Dolphins. Mahi Mahi are usually between 15 & 30 pounds. Mahi-Mahi or Dolphin are game fish for sport fishing in Islamorada & around the Florida Keys. These incredible fish are caught offshore while deep-sea fishing.
Science Name: Coryphaena hippurus
Other Names: Dorado; Dolphin; Dolphinfish
Ideal Temp: 70 to 80
World Record: 88 lbs. Exuma, Bahamas
Techniques: trolling, casting, fly
Wahoo are one of the fastest pelagic fish swimming up to 60 miles an hour. The largest caught in Florida was 139 pounds, but they can go upwards of 180 pounds. Florida Keys fishing for Wahoo is one of the big draws to the keys. Wahoo is a game fish for sport fishing in Islamorada & around the Florida Keys. They are caught offshore while deep-sea fishing.
Science Name: Acanthocybium solandri
Other Names: ono, oahu fish, Pacific kingfish, ocean barracuda
Ideal Temp: 70 to 80
World Record: 158 lbs. 8 oz, Mexico
Techniques: heavy tackle, trolling
The Blackfin Tuna grows to a maximum of around 45 pounds and 3 1/2 feet long. Blackfin are often found with Skipjack Tuna over reefs, around wrecks, and in the Gulf of Mexico as well as offshore.
Science Name: Thunnus atlanticus
Other Names: blackfin Ideal Temp: 65 to 75
World Record: 49 lbs. 8 ounces, Marathon, Florida Keys.
Techniques: medium tackle, trolling, live baiting
Description: Yellowtail –Snapper’s back and upper sides are olive to bluish with yellow spots; lower sides and belly with alternating narrow, longitudinal pink and yellow stripes; prominent mid-lateral yellow stripe begins at mouth and runs to tail, broadening as it passes the dorsal fins; caudal fin yellow and deeply forked; no dark lateral spot.
Similar Fish: none.
Where found: juveniles INSHORE on grass-beds and back reefs; adults NEARSHORE or OFFSHORE over sandy areas near reefs.
Size: common to 3 pounds.
*Florida Record: 7 lbs., 5 ozs.
Remarks: found mainly in tropical waters; spawns in midsummer; rarely exceeds 30 inches and 5 pounds in size; feeds on small fish and invertebrates.
The Sailfish record in the Atlantic Ocean is 124 inches and around 128 pounds. The Florida record is 126 pounds. Fish around the Florida Keys usually are between 65-90 inches in length. Sailfish are game fish for sport fishing in Islamorada & around the Florida Keys. Sailfish can be caught offshore while deep-sea fishing.
Description: Sailfish are dark blue on top, brown-blue laterally, silvery white underbelly; upper jaw elongated in form of spear; first dorsal greatly enlarged in the form of a sail, with many black spots, its front squared off, highest at its midpoint; pelvic fins very narrow, reaching almost to the anus; body covered with embedded scales, blunt at end; lateral line curved above pectoral, then straight to base of tail.
Where found: OFFSHORE species, in south Florida associated with waters near the Gulf Stream; off the Panhandle near the 100 foot fathom line.
Size: common to 7 feet.
*Florida Record: 116 lbs.
Remarks: Sailfish are rapid growing species, reaching 4 to 5 feet in a single year; swims at speeds up to 50 knots; feeds on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller pelagic fishes and squid.
Greater Amberjacks usually weigh less than 50 pounds but the Florida record is 142 pounds. If you hook into one over 100 pounds, expect a hell of a fight. Lesser Amberjacks are usually not much over 10 pounds. Amberjacks can be found reef & wreck fishing as well.
Description: Amberjacks have a dark stripe (variably present) which extends from nose to in front of dorsal fin and “lights up” when fish is in feeding mode; no scutes; soft dorsal base less than twice the length of the anal fin base.
Similar Fish: other Seriola.
Where found: OFFSHORE species associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 60 – 240 feet of water; sometimes caught NEARSHORE in south Florida; juveniles associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.
Size: common to 40 pounds.
*Florida Record: 142 lbs.
Remarks: largest of the jacks; thought to spawn OFFSHORE throughout most of the year; feeds on squid, fish, and crustaceans.
Science Name: Mycteroperca bonaci Other Names: Rock Grouper
World Record: 114 lbs. Texas and Florid Environment: reef
Techniques: drift, bottom fishing, trolling
King Mackerel measure around 19-35 inches in length. They have been caught over 70 inches and nearly 100 pounds. The Florida record is 90 pounds. They are a highly sought-after game fish in the Florida Keys.
Description: The color of their back is an iridescent bluish green; sides silvery, streamlined body with tapered head; no black pigment on front of dorsal fin; lateral line starts high and drops sharply below the second dorsal fin; young fish often have yellow spots like those of the Spanish mackerel.
Similar Fish: cero, S. regalis; Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus.
Other names: King Mackerel
Where found: NEARSHORE and OFFSHORE, occasionally taken from piers running into deep water.
Size: common to 20 pounds.
*Florida Record: 90 lbs.
Remarks: Kings are a schooling fish that migrates from south Florida waters in winter to more northerly waters in spring. The Gulf population thought to be separate from Atlantic population, with considerable mixing in winter from Cape Canaveral past Key West. They spawn in midsummer offshore and feed on small fish and squid.
Tarpon are game fish for sport fishing in Islamorada & around the Florida Keys. They are caught in shallower waters and around bridges.
Science Name: Megalops atlanticus
Other Names: poons, silver king, sabalo
Ideal Temp: 75 to 90
World Record: 283 lbs. Venezuela
Environment: inshore, coastal
Techniques: medium tackle, casting, heavy tackle fly
Remarks: Whether Tarpon fishing around the bridges, on the flats, or anywhere else, you are in for a fight. If you are lucky, you may even get to witness a hammerhead shark chasing and feeding on ‘your’ Tarpon while you are trying to get it to the boat.
Description: Their color is olive green on the back and upper sides. All fins below the lateral line have reddish tinge; bright blue line below eye, following contour of operculum; anal fin pointed; small black spot below dorsal fin.
Similar Fish: lane snapper, L. synagris (anal fin pointed in mutton snapper, rounded in lane).
Where found: an INSHORE species associated with grassbeds, mangroves, and canals; larger adults occasionally found on OFFSHORE reefs.
Size: common to 15 pounds.
*Florida Record: 27 lbs., 6 ozs.
Remarks: spawns in July and August; feeds on fish, crustaceans, and snails.