Key West Catch of the Week: Feb. 18, 2015

Porgy are plentiful in the waters around Key West, and there are several different species of porgy that roam the waters from New England all the way to Mexico. So it’s no surprise when a porgy is caught, but this week’s catch is such a nice one that we had to showcase it in our Catch of the Week spotlight.

Key West Light Tackle Fishing: To Catch a Porgy

Captain Dan, of Fish Key West Guides, caught this beautiful Jolthead porgy while light tackle fishing. Joltheads are usually found offshore in areas that have plenty of hiding spots, like shipwrecks, rocky reefs and deeper coral reefs. They prefer water that is more than 30 feet deep, so it isn’t likely you’ll spot them from a distance. Porgy love the warm, tropical water, which is why they are so abundant in Key West and throughout the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. But when summer arrives, and the warm water currents head north, some species of porgy will move up the East coast of the United States, as far as New England. Species of porgy are also found in the Indian and Pacific oceans, and they are heavily fished throughout the world because they are so tasty. Perhaps less known as a delicious fish than some of the other popular catches in Key West, the porgy is perfect no matter how you prepare it. Bake it, fry it, broil it -- even poach it! -- and you’ll see why Key West light tackle fishing is so popular.

Jolthead porgy are only found in the western Atlantic Ocean, and are most commonly found ranging from Florida, Bermuda and Key West all the way south to Brazil. They also have a large population in the northern section of the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies. They can be caught year round in Key West, and although some porgies may migrate to stick with warm waters, Jolthead porgies often stick to the tropical areas.

On Key West light tackle fishing tours, you’ll find that most captains recommend using dead bait, squid and even crustaceans to catch Jolthead porgy. Other types of porgy -- Red, Saucereye, Sheepshead, Littlehead, and Grass -- also eat invertebrates, snails, worms, starfish and crab. Light tackle fishing in Key West might be the most popular type of fishing because of the versatility it offers. Nearly any species of fish in these waters can be caught while light tackle fishing, and if you have a knowledgeable captain and the right equipment, you can pull in porgy alongside sailfish, tarpon and even grouper. So whether you’re going for the larger fish, or you’re in the mood for a tasty porgy dinner, you’ll want to choose Key West light tackle fishing charters.

Did you know ...

  • Porgies can grow to lengths of more than 21 inches, and the largest Jolthead porgy ever caught weigh 23.36 pounds!
  • Although the name porgy sounds unappealing, they are a delicious fish, rivaling the tastes of bluefin and mahi-mahi.
  • Key West light tackle fishing is the most effective way to catch a Jolthead porgy.