Key Largo, FL Fishing: The Dive Capital of the World

Key Largo, FL, is known for its beautiful waters and is also known as one of the most popular spots for diving.

Key Largo, FL Fishing: The Dive Capital of the World
Key Largo, FL Fishing: The Dive Capital of the World
Team Guidesly

July 19, 2021, 5 min read

Updated on July 30, 2021

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The paradise island of Key Largo is located at the uppermost part of the renowned Florida Keys. At thirty-three miles long, it is the longest and the biggest island in the archipelago. It is often called the Gateway to the Keys as it’s the first in the chain of islands and connected to the mainland via the Overseas Highway and Card Sound Bridge. Both are connected to the island via the city of Homestead in south mainland Florida. 

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, it has some of the most spectacular views on land, on water, and underwater. On land, locals and tourists can enjoy the coastal views as turquoise waters surround it on both sides. There are also white sand beaches and state botanical parks around the island for nature lovers. Underwater, Key Largo boasts of the only living coral reef in continental America - not to mention the artificial reefs that feature an abundance of corals, fish, and other marine life - which is why it’s known as “The Dive Capital of the World.”

Because of its proximity to the Everglades National Park (just a few miles to the west), Key Largo visitors can also enjoy a nature trip in one of the most incredible ecosystems in the country. Vast wetlands, marshes, and mangrove forests that support a wide array of wildlife including crocodiles, manatees, sea turtles, and hundreds of bird and fish species, are just some of the sights one can expect in this natural wonder.

Aside from its natural beauty, Key Largo also offers some of the best accommodations in the region, with small vacation homes, condominiums, hotels, and resorts scattered around the island. And with shops and restaurants that cater to a wide array of customers, Key Largo truly is one of the best vacation spots in the country. 

Key Largo Fishing

As “The Dive Capital of the World,” the waters around Key Largo offer healthy ecosystems for a lot of fish species—about six hundred species of fish in fact. This only means that recreational fishing is quite amazing here as well. On the western side, Florida Bay and the Everglades feature both saltwater and brackish water that carry an abundance of fish, including tarpon, snook, bonefish, redfish, permit, grouper, snapper, and a lot more. On the other side of the island, anglers have the whole Atlantic Ocean to fish in, where one can catch some deep-sea giants, including wahoo, cobia, kingfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, tuna, sailfish, and sharks. It really doesn’t matter where you decide to cast your line—whether along the miles of flats in Florida Bay, on the coral reefs near eastern shores, or if you head out into the open ocean—Key Largo offers plenty of opportunities to fish for all types of anglers.

Planning to book a fishing trip in Key Largo? The best way to go about it is through fishing charters or fishing guides. If you’re a beginner or if you haven’t tried fishing in Key Largo before, a fishing charter or a guide can show you where you can catch some of the best fish in these waters. Not only that, the men and women who man these fishing boats are expert anglers themselves, which means that they can teach you all the tricks of the trade to help you land some trophy fish. And if you don’t have your own fishing gear, they also often rent out all the appropriate equipment you will need to catch any fish you want to target. 


Top Ten Fish Species in Key Largo, FL

The top ten fish species you can catch in Key Largo, FL is permit, snook, grouper, bonefish, redfish, tarpon, blackfin tuna, blue marlin, mahi-mahi, and wahoo.  

Fishing Seasonality in Key Largo   

As you know, Florida is called the Sunshine State because it’s pretty much sunny and warm here for most of the year. So yes, you can go fishing here any time you want as most fish are available all year round. However, you will need to time your fishing trip just right if you’re targeting a specific fish because some are more actively biting on a given month. To help you time your trip, here’s a quick guide:

  • January – sailfish and permit
  • February – sailfish and permit
  • March – bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish, and snook 
  • April – blackfin tuna and mahi-mahi
  • May – tarpon and grouper
  • June – mahi-mahi
  • July – redfish, snook, bonefish, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and marlin
  • August – blue marlin
  • September - bonefish
  • October – bonito, barracuda, bonefish, permit, and tuna
  • November – snook and redfish
  • December – grouper, sailfish, wahoo, and tuna

Lastly, you may also want to check the weather bulletin first before booking your fishing trip, especially between September and December. That’s because these usually are the months when tropical storms enter the region.  


Top Watersports in Key Largo

Key Largo is a popular tourist spot for a reason. It draws in thousands of domestic and international tourists each year because of the spectacular views of Mother Nature. But aside from its natural beauty, Key Largo is also a favorite destination for watersports enthusiasts. Here are some fun water activities you might want to check out on your visit to this paradise island:       

1. Charter Fishing

With coral reefs, flats, and the wide ocean just within your reach, fishing enthusiasts of all ages and all levels will surely love fishing here.  


2. Diving and Snorkeling

It’s called the “Dive Capital of the World”. With natural and artificial coral reefs that support a wide array of marine life just near the shores of the island, you will definitely not be disappointed.      


3. Boating or Kayaking

The best way to enjoy the views here is through a floating vessel—whether you’re paddling on a kayak by yourself along the marshes in the Everglades or you’re just kicking it with your friends on a sailboat in the Atlantic.


4. Parasailing

Soar up high and enjoy the island views from the sky.


5. Jet Skiing

Imagine taking in the beautiful views of the Keys while speeding through the open waters—that’s what a jet skiing tour in Key Largo is all about. 

Fish in Key Largo and beyond.