Travel Tips – How to Choose a Key West Fishing Charter

Travel Tips – How to Choose a Key West Fishing Charter


Are you taking a vacation to Key West? Do you live in the Lower Keys? If so, then you probably know that Key West charter boats offer both locals and travelers an eas fishing charter dubai

y way to get out on the water. But be careful, not all charter services are created equally! The most important factor is the captain’s ability to deliver a fun and adventurous day. The weather, location, and your personal interests also play a big role in what often becomes a day you will never forget.

Head Boats or Private Key West Charters

This is the first choice you have to make. Do you want to pay $50-$70 per person to go drift fishing on a head boat with at least twenty strangers or pay $75-$150 per person to have a boat of your own? Because there are so many anglers on a head boat, everyone must fish their lines straight down. No casting or live bait is allowed. If you choose to go this route, make sure to get there early so that you can occupy either the left or right corner of the stern. That’s where 75% of the fish are caught. There might be some opportunity for sight-seeing but do not expect to get off the boat, go swimming, or learn much about fishing. Party boats offer a great, low-cost way to get out and do some fishing but lack the skilled captain and flexibility private fishing charters offer.

Choosing the Right Captain for a Private Key West Charter

This may be the single most important decision you make. When looking for a charter captain, make sure you know what you want to do. If you want to focus only on fishing, pick a captain that can put you on the bite. If you have children or friends & family who would enjoy something other than fishing, you may want to seek a custom or “combo” charter that offers fishing, snorkeling, and other activities. Here is a short list of things to consider:

A local captain with a long history in the Florida Keys and Key West who has worked as a charter or commercial fisherman is always a good bet.

Ask if he or she is available on a Wednesday. Even if you won’t be in town that day you have to make sure you are not dealing with a “weekend warrior” who may only go fishing twice a month and has another full-time job.

Beware the ‘fuel surcharge’ from Key West charter captains because large boats may cost $50-$100+ per engine-hour to run.

Mid-sized “center console” charters are the most versatile and offer the ability to fish for any target species in a variety of water depths.

Larger charter boats with cabins offer air conditioning and comfort if you are willing to pay top dollar. These boats generally target billfish with trolling methods. The mates will do all of the work and you will be handed a rod with a hooked fish if one should happen to be caught.

Find a charter captain that offers a fishing experience, not just a promise to deliver fish. Some people catch very few fish and have a great time because the captain made fishing a fun and enjoyable experience.

Very few, if any, charters “guarantee” fish but if they do, ask exactly what that means


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