Total Fisherman Guide Service takes pride in fishing a huge area around Key West. Our 36' Yellowfin is a fast and comfortable ride allowing us to quickly get to the best Key West fishing locations. We don't spend all day getting there, the advantage being more time fishing and more locations fished during a Key West fishing trip.
The Atlantic – Key West Offshore Fishing
When you hear Key West fishing guides and local fishermen say they were fishing “Out Front”, they’re referring to the south side of Key West, the Atlantic side. The opposite can be heard as well, “Out Back” or The Gulf side, is fishing on the north side of the island.
Key West’ inshore waters stay shallow until you get past the reef approximately five miles offshore. At five miles, the depth quickly drops from approximately 30-60 feet at the reef’s edge, into waters hundreds of feet deep and beyond.
Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Blackfin Tuna, Barracuda, Kingfish and several other species can be found here.
Sailfish, especially in the spring time can be found in the shallows just on top of the reef, on into 300-400 feet of water. Their location often depending on water color and abundance of bait schools such as Ballyhoo.
Mahi (also known as Dolphin Fish) can be found just outside the reef or farther out, often dependent on weed lines and the location of the Gulf Stream current.
“Wood’s Wall” made famous by Key West Marlin fishing pioneer Norman Wood, is where the continental shelf descends abruptly into extreme depths of thousands of feet. Wood’s Wall is a great location to target Mahi in the spring and summer months and an occasional Blue or White Marlin can be found here as well.
The Bar – Offshore Fishing
“The Bar”, “End of The Bar”, the “Sunken Bar”, the “Sunken Reef” and “The Intermediate Reef” are all names describing the great charter fishing location that starts about eight miles SW of Key West.
The Bar, is a submerged reef that runs east and west from Sand Key to out in front of Boca Grande Key. This reef was created during the last ice age when the coastal waters were shallower and the top of the reef was much closer to the surface.
10 miles long and up to ¼ mile wide, this bottom structure has a deep water trough between itself and the main barrier reef which separates the inshore fishing from the offshore fishing areas. The water around the bar drops as deep as 110+ feet and quickly climbs into water as shallow as 30 feet on top.
Having deep water on both its north and south sides, as well as sloping off into deep water at its beginning in the east and at “The End of The Bar” in the west, means it is a prime location to target a variety of species such as Snappers, Grouper, Kingfish, Wahoo, Sailfish, and Blackfin Tuna. This prominent structure with steep sides attracts bait and the multitude of fish that feed on them.
The End of The Bar is a prime location that we frequent because it’s just far enough away from Key West to not see the heavier fishing pressure that the near shore waters experience. This downward slope from 30-100+ feet deep is great holding water for pelagic fish as well as larger Snappers and Grouper.
Just west of The Bar are several wrecks and underwater humps including the sunken submarine aka The Sub and other prime locations such as Coalbin Rock, Cosgrove Shoals, Rebecca Shoals and Tail End Buoy. So we see the End of The Bar as the beginning of all of the great charter fishing that Key West has to offer. This is best enjoyed on a full day Key West fishing trip.
The Gulf of Mexico – Inshore Fishing
“Outback” or “The Gulf” typically refers to fishing the small keys to the west of Key West and the waters north of there. These areas are often protected from the wind usually having calmer conditions than fishing in the deeper offshore waters.
Because of the Gulf’s large amount of water and variations in depth and structure your guided fishing trip has a variety of options.
Anchoring up in the many channels in and around the small islands and chumming can be super productive. Chumming up schools of Cero and Spanish Mackerel, Barracuda, Mangrove Snappers, Yellow Jacks, Crevalle Jacks etc. and casting to them or drifting back live shrimp or live baits can be super productive.