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Keys: Charters and Guides



There's no shortage of accomplished charter captains to take you fishing in Key West, but the very best captains will provide you with a good, entertaining and informative trip into their waters no matter the fishing success that day. That's an important truth about the sport that we all need to keep in mind. We've categorized charter operations into categories by the class of their vessel: sportfishing charters, the big yachts of the fishing universe, can accommodate up to 6 people, center console charters can comfortably ride 4 to 6 people, and flats charters, which ride one or two anglers.

Of course, the kind of fishing you'll pursue on each of these types of boats differs, too. Flats charters primarily operate in the shallows of the backcountry keys and channels. They might run down to the Marquesas or up the Keys some distance to a particular destination, but their purpose is for the stealth pursuit of gamefish in shallower waters and the nimble maneuvering in tight quarters which that sport might require. Center console boats can be comfortable, fast fishing machines, built to pursue a wide variety of those backcountry and Gulf species but also able to travel long distances offshore, up and down the Keys, looking for pelagics. Commonly, they fish with a variety of light tackle gear-spinning, casting and trolling gear. Sportfishing boats are most commonly used for fishing at the reef and beyond, or in the Gulf, especially when a few people want to fish and the fish pursued might require bigger tackle.



There are a few important precepts to keep in mind when chartering for a trip. Talk to your captain in advance about the trip you want to make—what you hope to accomplish, what species you'd like to catch, and what he expects the fishing might be like at that time of the year. It's fair for both parties to understand the others' expectations. Good charter captains will do everything that they can to give you the best day of fishing possible, because for them, a happy customer often turns into a repeat customer—and that's the very best kind for them. In truth, well-established charter captains build their entire careers on repeat clients.

It's very important to talk in advance with your captain about what you'll do with the fish that you catch on the trip. Will you keep it all? Give some to the captain and crew? Release it all? For all parties involved, a common understanding of this important matter should be known upfront. If there is any disagreement, it should be handled before the financial transaction for the charter fee; otherwise it's hard to amend the misunderstanding.



Similarly, cancellation policies and deposit refunds should be clearly understood in advance. Generally, cancellation of trips due to rough weather is at the captain's call, and that should be made clearly known in advance.



Finally, on that note, charter crews work on tips. Standard tip for a captain, or for a captain's mate, is 15 to 20 percent of the charter fee. That may seem expensive, but running boats is expensive and it's a seasonal business for the operators and mates. They work hard when the visitors are in town, and after the season, there's often not much work to be had.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbLVgeuKZ94




Sportfishing Charters



Premium Picks:

Capt. Brice Barr • Double Down Sportfishing • (305) 304-2314 • Charterboat Row

Capt. Rob Harris • Got Ta Go Charters • (305) 587-6718 • Oceanside Marina

Capt. Mike Weinhofer • Compass Rose • (877) FISH-N-KW

Capt. Billy Wickers • Linda D • (305) 745 4736 • Charterboat Row




Other Sportfishing Charter Options:



































Capt. Ted Baier

Lethal Weapon Charters

(305) 744-8225

www.lethalweaponcharters.com/
Capt. Harry Bethal III

Bow'd Up Charters

(305) 797-6046

www.bowdupcharters.com/
Capt. Art Duplessis

Wild Bill Sportfishing

(305) 744-7957

www.wildbillkeywest.com/
Capt. Richie Gomez

Captain Conch

(305) 304-5816

www.keywestcaptconch.com
Capt. Richard Houde

Southbound Sportfishing

(305) 293-8565

Charterboat Row

www.southboundsportfishing.com
Capt. Steve Magee

Ramarezi

(305) 294-0803

www.keywestsailfish.com
Capt. Jay Miller

Outer Limits

A&B Marina

(305) 923-1043

www.keywestcharterboat.com
Capt. Brad Simonds

Southpaw

(305) 393-2306

Oceanside Marina

www.southpawfishing.com
Sea-Clusion Charters

Oceanside Marina

(800) 818-5667

www.seaclusion.com





Center Console Charters



Premium Picks:

Capt. Pepe Gonzalez • Pepe's Charters • (305) 304-0983 • Garrison Bight Marina




Other Center Console Charter Options:

































Capt. Bill Delph

Delph Charters

(305) 294-4456

www.delphfishingcharters.com
Capt. Rob Delph

Second Generation

(305) 294-4456

www.delphfishingcharters.com
Capt. Dan Duimstra

Shark River Charters

(863)444-1688

Marathon, FL

www.sharkrivercharters.com
Capt. Rush Maltz

Odyssea Sportfishing

(305) 797-5060

http://www.odysseafishing.com/

Capt. Steve Rodger

Spear One Charters

(305) 294-9311

http://www.spearonefishing.com/
Capt. Paul Tyron

Tailchaser Charters

(877) 290-4413

http://www.tailchasercharters.net/
Capt. Ted Lund

Overunder Sportfishing

(866) 682-8862

http://overundercharters.com/
Capt. Pat

Boo Ya Charters

(305) 292-6692

http://booyakeywest.com/
Captain Paul D'Antoni

Seize the Day Charters

(305) 923-4412

Garrison Bight Marina

www.fishinkeywest.com





Flats Charters



































Capt. Steve Lamp

Dream Catcher Charters

(888) 362-3474

www.dreamcatchercharters.com/
Capt. Doug Kilpatrick

Key West Flats Fishing

(305) 294-3618

www.keywestflatsfishing.com/
Capt. Lenny Leonard

(305) 304 0154

Key West Bight

www.bonefishingkeywest.com
Lindsey Harper

Miss Inclined

(305) 296-3673
Capt. Justin Rea

StingRea Charters

(305) 744-0903

www.flyfishingthekeys.com
Capt. John J. Smouse

Shadow Caster

(305) 587-7669

www.keysflatsfishing.com/
Capt. Rick Mager

Flats Fever

(305) 296-9794

www.flatsfever.com/
Capt. Michael S. Vaughn

Helicon

(305) 923-7743

www.heliconfishing.com/
Mike Wilbur

Chaser

(305) 296-7201

www.chaserkeywest.com





Partyboat Fishing





















Yankee Captains

1-888-88-CAPTS

http://www.yankeecapts.com/
Captain John's Greyhound V

Charterboat Row

(305) 296-5139
Gulfstream Key West

Charterboat Row

(305) 296-8494

www.gulfstreamkeywest.com
Tortuga IV

Conch Harbor, 951 Caroline Street

(305) 293-1189

www.tortugacharters.com





Dive Shops & Lobster Trips























Dive Key West Inc.

www.divekeywest.com

(800) 426-0707

info@divekeywest.com
Lost Reef Adventures

www.lostreefadventures.com

(800) 952-2749
Easy Day Charters

www.easydaycharters.com

(305) 294-3095
No Worries Charters

www.noworriescharters.com

(305) 393-2402





Ramps and Marinas















Garrison Bight City Marina & Ramp

1801 N. Roosevelt Blvd.

(305) 809 3981
Oceanside Marina

5950 Peninsula Ave.

(305) 294 4676
A & B Marina

700 Front Street, #103

(305) 294-2535

www.aandbmarina.com





Tackle and Gear Shops





















The Angling Company

333 Simonton Street Key West, FL, 33040

(305) 292-6306

www.anglingcompany.com
Saltwater Angler

243 Front Street

(305) 294-3248

www.saltwaterangler.com
Garrison Bight Shop

711 Eisenhower Drive

(305) 294-3093

www.garrisonbightmarina.net
Key West Bait & Tackle

241 Margaret Street

(305) 292-1961

www.keywestbaitandtackle.com





Dry Tortugas Information



The No-Fishing Zone

The Dry Tortugas Research and Natural Area, implemented by the State of Florida and the National Park Service on January 19, 2007, effectively prohibits fishing in 46 square miles of the roughly 100-square-mile park. On the north side this is contiguous with the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve, established in 2001. Excepted from this no-fishing zone is the one-mile radius area around Garden Key. Recreational vessels will be allowed to beach at Loggerhead Key so people can visit the light house and view wildlife, including birds, but no fishing is allowed at or near Loggerhead Key.

The National Park authorities are in the process of setting up mooring and boundary buoys for the R.N.A., but in the meantime, recreational vessels will be allowed to anchor in the R.N.A. on sand bottom only, for diving and snorkeling. For more information on the closure, visit www.nps.gov/drto, and follow the link to the Research and Natural Area site. Questions about trips and fishing in The Dry Tortugas National Park can be directed to Chief Ranger Bonnie Foist's office (located in the Everglades National Park's offices) at (305) 242-7730.

There's a visitor fee of five dollars for the park, payable on the honor system at drop boxes at Garden Key. Put your boat registration number on the form with your payment, and the fee covers your entire stay. There is also a three dollar per night fee for each camper.




Kayaking



Rock stars pay thousands of dollars a night to stay on secluded island retreats a lot like the Dry Tortugas, and as long as you like camping, you can make it your own (nearly) private island retreat for little more than a song. Within the one-mile-radius fishing zone around Garden Key lie plenty of fishable wrecks, ledges and bottom structures that hold sizeable yellowtail, mangroves, amberjack and grouper, among other species. Spearing and lobstering within park bounds are prohibited.

The extensive travel and gear this trip requires makes it much more worthwhile for a two night stay. First, bring plenty of fresh water for your time there. Three important “dry” items go on my list of gear: dry chum, dry ice and dry bags. The dehydrated chum, available at tackle stores, lightens the load, as did the dry ice in a cooler, and dry bags protect gear like cameras, GPSs, and a very important hand-held VHF radio, kept on the kayak at all times. It's not necessarily a survivalist's trip, but it may feel like one.

Two ferry companies in Key West transport visitors, including campers and their kayaks, to the Tortugas, by reservation only.

Sunny Days Catamarans: (305) 292-6100/(800) 236-7937. www.drytortugasferry.com. $150 per person, plus camping and entrance fees, plus $35 for kayak transport.

Yankee Freedom II: (305) 294-7009. www.yankeefreedom.com. $164 per person, includes park fees, plus $45 for transport of kayak no longer than fifteen and a half feet.




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