This great predator is plentiful throughout the Florida Keys. They are
harmless to snorkelers & divers - they just look intimidating. But be
wary of landing one in a boat! They can slice right through you with those
teeth! Smaller Barracudas run 2-3 feet in length, but the Great Barracuda
looks like a small submarine underwater - reaching 6 feet long. The
biggest problem with them is ciguatera poisoning if you eat one.
Good eating fish! It has lines around the eyes that can come and go as
it feeds, a dark spot on the back and black edged tail. It's here year
round, around reefs and inshore by the mangroves. They average 1-4 lbs.
Find them in holes, channels, bridges, pier areas, mangroves and
This may be the best known gamefish here in the Keys. They average
around 50 lbs but can get up to 100. Fall and winter are the best times,
but they're out there all year. When the wind is opposite the gulf stream
they come to the surface to get a "boost" with their sail, and
are easier to catch then, but the water is rougher too.
"SILVER KING" TARPON
Not for eating, but good for a fight, this popular sport fish is all
along the Florida coast in estuaries and mangroves. Summer is the best
time to catch the big ones out on the flats. For an experienced Tarpon
charter in the Keys, call Captain Sam Nelson aboard the
"Stinger" in Marathon at 305-743-4011
This is a BIG FISH - usually about 150-250 lbs, but can get up to 700
lbs! Find them in the open Ocean and the Gulf Stream. Spring and
Summer are the best times.
Mackerel travel in schools in offshore waters. They are excellent
eating and great for smoking. Average weight is 12-20 lbs but can get up
to about 50 lbs. Winter is the best time to catch them.
An extremely popular fish here in the Keys, both for the sport and to
eat. It's a schooling fish found in deep warm water. Look for them
under grass lines and floating debris far offshore. They'll be down below
the baitfish under the debris. You'll see the "peanuts" first
(the little ones), then the big ones under and behind.
"Grunts and Grits" for breakfast is what the old time conchs
say. It's a good eating fish caught all year long. It's similar to
snappers but the tail is more forked, head doesn't slope as much as a
snapper's and it's smaller, weighing in at about a pound. It's a bottom
fish found near holes and around a reef.
This is a good eating fish, occasionally found in fresh water besides
the ocean. The dark lateral line and upturned curve of the snout are
signature characteristics. Find them along mangroves and shorelines. Late
spring through the fall is best.
This is what President Bush comes to the Keys for. It's too
bony to eat, but is an extremely popular game fish, and not all that easy
to catch. It's silvery, hard and strong, with a deeply forked tail and
snout that goes out past the lower jaw. You'll find them on the flats. A
good flats boat and guide are highly recommended.