Key Largo, Florida is a popular destination for anglers looking to catch a variety of fish species, including the ultimate prize for many: sharks. Shark fishing in Key Largo offers an exciting and adrenaline-filled experience, as anglers test their skills and equipment against some of the ocean’s most formidable predators. But before setting out on your next shark fishing adventure in Key Largo, it’s important to have the right knowledge and tools to ensure a successful and safe trip. In this guide, we’ll provide expert tips and tricks for catching more sharks, as well as important information on regulations, licenses, and gear needed for a successful and responsible fishing trip.
Best Shark Fishing Spots in Key Largo Florida
Key Largo Florida is known for some of the best shark fishing spots in the country. Here are some of the top spots to try your luck:
- Islamorada Humps: Located just offshore, these underwater mountains attract a variety of shark species, including bull sharks, blacktip sharks, and hammerheads.
- The Elbow: This spot is known for its deep waters and strong currents, which make it a popular spot for catching large sharks like tiger sharks and great whites.
- Alligator Reef: This coral reef system is home to a variety of marine life, including sharks like lemon sharks, nurse sharks, and blacktip sharks.
- Tennessee Reef: This artificial reef system is a popular spot for catching reef sharks and other shark species.
- Key Largo Dry Rocks: This reef system is known for its abundance of marine life, including sharks like blacktip sharks and nurse sharks.
Remember to always practice responsible fishing and follow all regulations and guidelines when shark fishing in Key Largo Florida.
Types of Sharks You Can Catch in Key Largo Florida
Key Largo Florida is home to a wide variety of shark species, making it a popular destination for shark fishing enthusiasts. Here are some of the types of sharks you can catch in Key Largo:
- Blacktip Shark: This species is known for its high jumps and fast runs, making it a popular catch for anglers.
- Bull Shark: Considered one of the most dangerous sharks in the world, the bull shark is known for its aggressive behavior and powerful jaws.
- Hammerhead Shark: This unique-looking shark is easily identifiable by its hammer-shaped head. Hammerhead sharks can be found in Key Largo waters during certain times of the year.
- Lemon Shark: This species is known for its yellow-brown coloring and is commonly found in the shallow waters around Key Largo.
- Nurse Shark: The nurse shark is a bottom-dwelling species that can be found in the coral reefs and shallow waters around Key Largo.
- Tiger Shark: Known for their size and strength, tiger sharks can be found in the deeper waters around Key Largo.
Best Time of Year for Shark Fishing in Key Largo Florida
The best time of year for shark fishing in Key Largo Florida depends on the species you’re targeting. Here are some general guidelines to help you plan your shark fishing trip:
- Blacktip Shark: The best time to catch blacktip sharks is from January to April.
- Bull Shark: Bull sharks can be caught year-round in Key Largo waters, but the best time is from May to October.
- Hammerhead Shark: The best time to catch hammerhead sharks is from May to September.
- Lemon Shark: Lemon sharks can be caught year-round in Key Largo waters, but the best time is from March to June.
- Nurse Shark: Nurse sharks can be caught year-round in Key Largo waters, but the best time is from March to June.
- Tiger Shark: The best time to catch tiger sharks is from April to September.
It’s important to note that shark fishing in Key Largo is regulated and certain species may have restrictions on when they can be caught or kept. Always make sure to follow all regulations and guidelines to ensure the sustainability of the shark population.
Best Baits and Lures for Shark Fishing in Key Largo Florida
- Bonito: This oily fish is a popular bait for shark fishing in Key Largo. It can be used whole or cut into chunks.
- Mullet: Another oily fish, mullet is a good bait for catching larger shark species like bull sharks and tiger sharks.
- Bluefish: Bluefish is a popular bait for shark fishing in Key Largo. It has a strong scent and can be used whole or cut into chunks.
- Squid: Squid is a versatile bait that can be used for a variety of shark species. It can be used whole or cut into strips.
- Live bait: Live bait like pinfish, grunts, and blue runners can be effective for shark fishing in Key Largo.
When it comes to lures, large and flashy lures like spoons and jigs can be effective for attracting shark species. Always make sure to use heavy-duty gear and rigging when shark fishing in Key Largo to handle the size and strength of these powerful predators.
Recommended Gear for Shark Fishing in Key Largo Florida
Shark fishing in Key Largo Florida requires specialized gear to handle the size and strength of these powerful predators. Here are some of the recommended gear for shark fishing in Key Largo:
- Rod and reel: Use a heavy-duty rod and reel designed specifically for shark fishing. A reel with a high line capacity and a strong drag system is essential.
- Line: Use braided line with a minimum of 80-pound test. This will ensure that you have the strength and durability to handle large shark species.
- Leader: Use a heavy-duty leader with a minimum of 150-pound test. A wire leader is recommended to prevent the shark from biting through the line.
- Hooks: Use circle hooks in sizes 10/0 to 16/0. Circle hooks are designed to hook the shark in the corner of the mouth, reducing the risk of injury to the shark and making catch-and-release easier.
- Harness and fighting belt: A harness and fighting belt will help distribute the weight of the shark and reduce fatigue while fighting it.
- Gaff and landing net: A gaff and landing net are essential for safely landing the shark and bringing it onboard.
- Safety equipment: Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and use a safety line to prevent falling overboard while fighting a shark.
Always make sure to follow all regulations and guidelines when shark fishing in Key Largo, including size and bag limits, catch-and-release practices, and required permits and licenses.
Best Shark Fishing Charters in Key Largo Florida
There are many shark fishing charters available in Key Largo Florida, so choosing the best one for your needs can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best shark fishing charters in Key Largo:
- Key Largo Fishing Adventures: This charter offers half-day and full-day shark fishing trips with experienced guides and top-quality gear.
- Reel Deal Charters: Reel Deal Charters offers half-day and full-day shark fishing trips, as well as customized charters tailored to your specific needs.
- Fish Key Largo: Fish Key Largo offers half-day and full-day shark fishing trips, as well as nighttime shark fishing charters for a unique experience.
- Deep Sea Fishing Key Largo: This charter offers half-day and full-day shark fishing trips with experienced guides and state-of-the-art equipment.
- Captain Easy Charters: Captain Easy Charters offers half-day and full-day shark fishing trips, as well as customizable charters for groups of all sizes.
Always make sure to research and compare different shark fishing charters in Key Largo to find the best fit for your needs and budget. Look for charters with experienced guides, high-quality equipment, and good reviews from past customers.
Regulations and Licenses for Shark Fishing in Key Largo Florida
Shark fishing in Key Largo Florida is subject to certain regulations and licensing requirements to ensure the conservation of shark populations and the safety of both the sharks and the fishermen. Here are some of the regulations and licenses you need to be aware of:
- Fishing license: All anglers over the age of 16 must have a valid Florida fishing license to fish for sharks in Key Largo.
- Shark fishing permit: In addition to a fishing license, anglers targeting sharks from shore or a pier are required to have a free shore-based shark fishing permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
- Species-specific regulations: Different shark species have different size and bag limits, so it’s important to check the FWC regulations for the specific species you are targeting.
- Catch-and-release guidelines: When releasing a shark, it’s important to handle it carefully and release it as quickly as possible. The FWC recommends using non-stainless steel circle hooks, cutting the leader as close to the hook as possible, and reviving the shark by gently moving it forward in the water.
- Protected species: Some shark species are protected and cannot be harvested or targeted, such as the great white shark and the whale shark. Make sure to check the FWC regulations for the latest information on protected species.
Always make sure to follow all regulations and guidelines when shark fishing in Key Largo to ensure the sustainability of the shark population and the safety of all involved.
Where to Stay When Shark Fishing in Key Largo Florida
There are plenty of options for accommodations when shark fishing in Key Largo, from budget-friendly motels to luxury resorts. Here are some of the best options:
- Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort: This resort offers comfortable rooms, an outdoor pool, and a private beach, as well as a fitness center and on-site restaurants.
- Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo: This all-suite resort offers spacious accommodations, a private beach, and a pool, as well as tennis courts and a marina.
- The Pelican Key Largo Cottages: These quaint, beachfront cottages offer a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, with easy access to the ocean and a heated pool.
- Courtyard by Marriott Key Largo: This hotel offers modern rooms and suites, as well as an outdoor pool and fitness center, and is conveniently located near several popular shark fishing charters.
- Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden: This resort offers unique accommodations in a lush botanical garden setting, with access to a private beach and a pool.
When choosing your accommodations, consider your budget, preferred amenities, and proximity to shark fishing charters and other attractions in Key Largo.
Expert Tips and Tricks for Successful Shark Fishing in Key Largo Florida
Shark fishing in Key Largo can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it also requires some knowledge and skill to be successful. Here are some expert tips and tricks to help you catch more sharks on your next fishing trip:
- Use the right gear: Shark fishing requires heavy-duty gear, including rods, reels, and lines that can handle the weight and power of a shark. Make sure to choose gear that is appropriate for the species you are targeting and the type of fishing you plan to do.
- Choose the right bait: Sharks have a strong sense of smell, so using the right bait is key to attracting them. Fresh or frozen fish, such as mackerel, bonito, or mullet, are good options, as are squid, shrimp, or cut bait.
- Be patient: Shark fishing can be slow at times, so be prepared to wait for the right bite. Patience is key, as some species of sharks may take hours to take the bait.
- Watch the weather: Sharks tend to be more active in warm, calm weather conditions. Keep an eye on the forecast and plan your fishing trip accordingly.
- Practice catch and release: Sharks play an important role in the ocean’s ecosystem, so it’s important to release them safely and unharmed after catching them. Make sure to have the proper tools and equipment, such as pliers, de-hookers, and a release device, to safely release the shark back into the water.
Shark fishing in Key Largo Florida can be an exhilarating experience, but it requires the right gear, bait, patience, and knowledge to be successful. By using the expert tips and tricks mentioned above, you can increase your chances of catching more sharks while also practicing responsible fishing techniques. Remember to always prioritize the safety and well-being of the sharks and the ocean’s ecosystem by practicing catch-and-release methods. So, get out there and enjoy the thrill of shark fishing in Key Largo Florida while also being a responsible angler.
Meet Nic Armitage, a devoted outdoors enthusiast with an insatiable love for fishing, boating, and a wide range of adventurous activities. His passion for the great outdoors knows no bounds. Nic is your trusted guide into the world of nature, sharing his experiences and expertise on the Shaman Mountain Sports and Outdoors Blog.