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Best Month for Fishing in the Florida Keys

a man standing next to a body of water

Fishing the Florida Keys any time of year is a dream come true for anglers. However, there are certain times when certain species are in season and more readily available. If you’re looking for the best month for fishing in the Florida Keys then keep reading, as we will discuss the various species and seasons for the biggest and baddest game species in the region.

Browse & Book the Best Fishing Charters in the Florida Keys – RESERVE NOW


Springtime in the Keys is a wonderful time of year. The warmer weather means plenty of tourism and things to do; springtime also means fabulous fishing. Mutton snapper fishing, for example, is best in the spring. While they are technically in season year round, March-May are definitely the best times to snag a big one.

You can catch mutton snapper in deep sea settings around reefs and wreckage. Spring months, particularly April and May, are also the best time to catch wahoo. Wahoo love live bait and can be found swimming near and around oil and gas rigs.

a person holding a fish on a boat


Summers in the Keys are hot, humid, and full of glorious sunshine. The long days are ideal for all-day excursions out on the water as well as scenic sunrises and sunsets. Just like the temperatures, fishing in the summer is hot as can be! Mahi mahi are arguably the most popular summer catch.

Also known as a dolphinfish, mahi-mahi are as popular for their fight, size, and magnificent colors as they are for their meat. You can catch mahi-mahi trolling the deep seas. Keep an eye out for floating debris and flocks of hunting seabirds, too, as this often means that there are schools of fish and mahi-mahi nearby.


Fall months in the Keys are especially lovely as the tourist craze begins to die down, leaving nothing but mild weather and great fall traditions like the Key West Film Festival, the SoMo Marathon and of course plenty of fish! Delicious shellfish like stone crab and lobster are plentiful and in peak season come September, October, and November, which is great news for anyone that loves seafood.

When it comes to the bigger game fish like Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, and bonefish, autumn is the time for biting and fighting. If you’re dead set on catching Spanish mackerel, the best month to fish in the Florida Keys is November when they return “home” after a year of traveling up and down the Atlantic coast.

RELATED: Learn How and Where to Catch Grouper in Key West


Winter in the Keys is really something special. As the days grow shorter and the tourist crowds begin to really start to thin out, the big fish come rolling in. December, for example, is arguably the best month to fish in the Florida Keys for yellowfin tuna. It is worth mentioning that yellowfin tuna are quite rare and are hard to catch, as they are one of the most prized fish for eating in the entire world. Yellowfins patrol deeper waters, and can often be found around flocks of hunting seabirds and large schools of fish.

Another popular winter species is cobia, which delivers a great fight and amazing taste. Typically weighing in at 20 to 50 pounds, these bad boys can get as big as 80 to 100 pounds or more. You can catch cobia inshore between the islands, but are typically found in deeper waters in and around navigation markers, reefs, and wrecks.

Best Ways to Catch Fish in the Florida Keys

Now that we’ve gone over the best months to catch fish in the Florida Keys we can take a look at the best ways to catch them. When it comes down to putting the rubber to the road (or the hook in the water), there are three main charters that will get you in a position to snag the big one.

Private Charter

The first charter is the private charter. Fully-customizable, these are the ideal trip for serious fishermen with lofty expectations. Normally for up to 6 or so fisherman, your price includes the whole boat as well as bait and tackle for all individuals included.

Split Charter

The second type of trip is the split charter, or semi-private charter. Similar to a private charter in scope, these trips are still intimate, but combine one, two, or three small parties.

Party Boat Charter

Finally, the final trip is known as party boat or head boat fishing. Party boat fishing means you head out to deep seas with 20+ anglers, and is perfect for families and large groups.