If you want to catch something really big that will actually test your physical strength landing it, shark fishing is probably a good bet. Sharks can be anywhere from 5 to 300+#.
Key West is home to a lot of sharks. In other parts of the world sharks are way over-fished but in the waters near Key West they are doing quite well.
It is theoretically possible to shark fish pretty everywhere you can fish, the primary difference is the gear you would use and the type and amount of chum.
If you put enough fresh chum in the water anywhere sharks will come, but sometimes it will only be smaller sharks or the slow-moving nurse shark.
We will often catch sharks when we are fishing for something else. They are not always the choosiest of eaters.
Popular Shark fishing locations
- Reef- Certain sections of the reef are home to a lot of sharks, primarily reef sharks
- Wrecks- Some of the deep water wrecks have a lot of big sharks that circle them
- Harbor- Large sharks like to cruise the harbor in the low light, evening morning and night.
- Flats- This allows you to see the sharks coming and possibly cast at them.
Most shark fishing is done with live or dead bait with a wire leader. It is possible to target sharks with artificials like flies and surface plugs. Fishing for sharks on the flats with artificials is popular. In the shallow clear water, you are able to sight cast the sharks.
Type of Sharks in Key West
- Lemon Sharks
- Bull Sharks
- Reef Sharks
- Sandbar Sharks
- Silky Sharks
- Great Hammerhead Sharks
- Scalloped Hammerhead
- Tiger shark
- Dusky Shark
- Blacktip Shark
- Spinner Shark
- Nurse Shark
- Mako Shark
Bull sharks are probably the most powerful and aggressive. Mako sharks are extremely rare and are a once in a lifetime catch for Key West. Nurse sharks are the slowest and Bonnethead sharks are feisty but since they are usually only a couple feet long they are little.
Flyfishing for Sharks
This is often done in the shallows by chumming the sharks up first and then casting at them when they are circling the boat.
Bait for Sharks
Almost any type of dead fish will work as bait for sharks but particularly barracuda and bonito which is a type of tuna. Sometimes though the best bait for the big aggressive sharks is a large live fish that is wounded.