Shark Fishing in Key West

The Shark Fishing Key West Experience

Of all the Key West fishing styles, angling for shark fishing is one of the most exhilarating. Sharks are magnificent ocean predators with voracious appetites and very high levels of activity. They are constantly feeding and taking advantage of their superior swimming ability, speed, strength, and sharp senses. Although sharks can't see very well, they are able to sense prey from a distance, particuladly when it is a wounded marine species such as yellow tail snapper or black grouper. They have a keen survival instinct as well, which makes them very attractive to anglers who are looking for excitement.

Sharks in Key West

The waters surrounding Key West are teeming with blacktip, bull, lemon, and hammerhead sharks. The species to catch is up to the angler, but many Key West fishing charters operators suggest going after blacktip sharks. These are very agile sharks that will actually leap out of the water and leap into the air once they realize that they are in trouble. The hammerheads of Key West are among the largest in the Sphyrnidae family, but they are not as numerous as the blacktip sharks. Bull sharks are massive and not as fast when they feed, but they are very aggressive when caught.

Catching Shark Bait

Key West shark fishing trips start early with a bait run for barracudas and blue runners. These species tend to bleed considerably and are thus favorite among sharks. This bait is plentiful in Key West, and it can be caught with plugs. Sharks can be caught with a variety of tackle, but it is better to follow the charter guide's recommendation in this regard.

Baiting and Casting for Key West Sharks

Sharks will hardly be able to resist a trail of blood and chum behind a fishing boat. They will focus so intently on the promise of a meal that they will ignore the impending danger of a motor vessel and come very near. At this point, anglers may cast. Once the shark takes the bait with ravenous glee, it will not be long before it feels the hook and goes into survival mode.

Some sharks will try to swim deep and away from the boat; others will leap out of the water and spin in the air. Since they release all their aggression and energy to get away from danger, anglers must be prepared to spend between 20 and 30 minutes reeling in their prized catch. Marine conservation is paramount in Key West; to this end, shark anglers must apply the catch and release philosophy to help preserve this beautiful ecosystem.