Here Are 11 Incredible Tasty Fish You Can Catch in Islamorada Slideshow
March 30, 2016
Fishing is serious business in the Florida Keys and it’s serious fun too
1. Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi)
Commonly known as mahi mahi, the dolphinfish is an offshore fish that likes deep, warm waters over 68 degrees. They’re fast and are attracted to floating objects. Dolphinfish typically eat bait fish, crabs, squid and flying fish.
Hogfish have a long, hog-like snout. Located throughout Florida’s off shore waters on rocky bottoms and reefs, hogfish are typically harvested by spearfishing. The largest hogfish catch in Florida weighed a little over 19 pounds. They’re a tasty fish that is served at many restaurants in the Keys, including in Islamorada.
Snappers are a popular fish in the Keys but there are different regulations depending on where you’re fishing. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) handles red snapper in state waters, which is from the shore out to nine nautical miles in the Gulf. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) handles red snapper in federal waters, which is beyond nine nautical miles off the Gulf coast of Florida, as well as the federal waters off of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Blackfin tuna are another prized catch in the Keys, especially in Islamorada. The fish have great eyesight and they’re fast but they’re also a delicious catch.
Caught offshore, the amberjack can be harvested in state and federal waters. There’s a daily limit to one amberjack per person. The largest amberjack ever reeled in was caught in Islamorada and weighed 142 pounds. Thee fish are strong and have great endurance.
A prized game fish, the wahoo is fast and a good fighter. It’s yummy too making it a culinary favorite fish. The International Game Fish Association lists the largest wahoo caught on hook as 158.5 pounds.
“The annual cobia run is not to be missed,” says Stack, of this fish that’s often mistaken for a shark. Cobia are in the Keys during the winter months, approximately December through March. They can be pretty big too. The largest cobia ever caught in Florida was 114 pounds!
Fish the reef and wrecks for grouper. Much like fishing for snappers, there are different fishing regulations for groupers. Florida state waters go from the shore to three nautical miles in the Atlantic, and from the shore to nine nautical moles in the Gulf. Federal laws kick where state laws end, lasting about 200 nautical miles from the shore.
King mackerel, can be found near shore and offshore. They prefer warm waters above 68 degrees. These fish have sharp teeth and are fast but they don’t have much endurance. The largest king mackerel in Florida weighted 90 pounds and was caught near Key West.
Fish the Gulf for bonefish, a game fish, which has been a catch-and-release fish since 2013. Known as “Grey Ghosts,” bonefish are fast, stealthy in the water and hard to catch. Scientists at the University of Miami say a single bonefish, which is typically about 17 to 18 inches long, is worth $3500!
Fish the Gulf for permit, which live near tropical grass and sand flats, as well as reefs. A permit typically weighs about 25 pounds.