Key West Fishing | Dry Tortugas

17lb Red Grouper on top water plug..

Tis the Season for Dry Tortugas Fishing out of Key West, Florida.

Few people get a chance to see the holy grail of their sport. Living here in the Florida Keys and guiding fishing charters out of Key West in many arenas I get a chance to see it quite regularly. And its always the holy grail.

A few days ago I carried out some folks for a nice long day to the West. Our adventure took us to the Dry Tortugas and parts in between. The weather was perfect, hot, calm, August Key West weather. The water was gin clear and the fish were very cooperative.

We started the day plug fishing for barracudas on some wrecks West of the Marquesas Keys. Looking for permit on the wrecks the barracudas make for a nice side line or entertainment factor in case the permit do not show. Such was the cast this day. We broke out the 10lb tackle with Daiwa Armor braid and chucked some MirroLure MirroDine series plugs at these shallow water Monsters. My folks landed about a dozen barracudas in all shapes and sizes with a larger fish weighing in at 21 lbs. Nice fun on light tackle.

Tackle Tip: I use a trace of #2 wire about 4-6 inches off of a 25lb fleoro leader to prevent bite offs. An Albright connection is key here not to use a swivel which makes the barracudas a bitĀ wary.

All you can say is WOW… Water so colorful your eyes hurt.

Off to the west we stopped by some structure that I like holding a mass amount of bait fish. Spanish sardines, baby blue runners and tiny bar jacks. All great attraction for the bonito that were crashing through.. Plug fishing here on 10 lb test was a great time. The Yellowtail snappers could not leave the plugs alone. We hooked a few bonito as well and off we went to the Dry Totrugas..

As we edged closer to the Fort the water started to clear up even more. It was heavenly as I ran the INTENSE toward the shallower reefs of the Dry Tortugas complex. In 80 ft of water I could make out the bottom with no issues. Gin clear and awesome.

There are many places to fish there. I usually chose some spots i have known through the years and some spots handed down to me from other fishing guides. This day was different as I wanted to find some new area to fish. It was easy enough. Casting lipped plugs and top water plugs we caught dozens of nice legal sized yellowtail snappers about every other cast. no chum needed as these fish were just swimming around out there over the spots i had found. The plug fishing was a blast with the smaller stuff so I moved into an area I call Jurassic Park where the fish are much larger and three times as mean. Casting in about 9 ft of water over some structure we came up with several 14 ++ pound groupers and some more big barracudas.

I really enjoy sight fishing and when I can do it for grouper.. That makes it all the much more fun.

For the dinner portion of our trip I went to the South of the Dry Tortugas Complex and we spent the rest of the day hammering 12 – 14 pound red grouper and mutton snappers. it was great fun.

The Dry Tortugas trip that I run is a pretty long day. usually lasting 10 hours to help with travel time versus fishing time the trip is a lot of fun. many different types of fishing from casting, jigging, live baiting and chumming. I will not kill fish caught inside the Fort boundaries but anything outside is fair game.

To Check out my Dry Tortugas fishing charters Call my office or see my web site. 1-305-292-7212


About Capt. Steven Lamp
Dr Catcher Is - Capt. Steven Lamp - Owner of Dream Catcher Charters is a veteran Key West fishing guide for flats fishing, deep sea fishing, wrecks and reef fishing, and fly fishing. An expert waterman and licensed captain since 1986. A Veteran of the United States Coast Guard Heavy Weather Search and Rescue, I.G.F.A. Certified Captain and Standing regional board member of The Florida Fishing Guides Association