Angling in the Sport Fishing Capital of the World

Fishing in Islamorada is something anglers from all over the world dream about! With its location in almost perennially warm weather and waters, almost any fish that you’d find swimming in the Atlantic Ocean can be caught of these shores. Read on to discover why Islamorada is known as the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World”!

How to Start Fishing

One of the best ways to experience fishing in the Florida Keys is to charter a boat with a professional captain. Put your trust in these locally run operations, who know the best fishing spots and techniques. Best of all, when you use a licensed charter captain, they have your fishing license, equipment and everything else covered. Here are a few of the charters that we recommend.

Kay Kiv
Seahorse Charters
Carib Sea Charters
Florida Keys Fun Fishing

If you’re staying at Topsider Resort, you can fish right from the comfort of the resort at our private fishing pier. Most Florida beaches allow surf fishing and people are known to stop at bridges to fish off as well!

Tips for Fishing from the Pier

If you plan to take it easy on the pier then here are a few tips to help you out:

  • You Don’t Need to Cast Far: Fish like to hide out around the pier and their pillars, so dropping in straight from the pier is the best idea.
  • Look for Cloudy Waters: The meeting of cloudy and clearer waters indicates more activity under the waves, for the most part, try dropping a line there to hook a fish.
  • The Right Bait: Regardless of whether you’re pier fishing or engaging in other types of fishing, the right bait is always important. Live bait is preferable, and on Islamorada, there are plenty of shops to find it. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals or the shopkeepers, they will gladly point you in the right direction of what has been working! Check out Abel’s Tackle Box, Angler Eddy’s Live Bait & Tackle, and Tackle Center of Islamorada for the right direction!
  • When to Fish: Generally speaking, Sunset and Sunrise are the two best and most popular times to go fishing. In both cases, being early is best; right before sunrise and right before sunset are the perfect times to set up and get ready to enjoy the rise and fall of the sun with the calmness of fishing.

What’s Swimming Beneath the Waves

The Florida Keys, and Islamorada in particular, are home to a variety of fish! Whether you are an experienced angler or just getting started, there are fishing opportunities for every level.

Here are some of the most popular catches that visitors have been known to snag while fishing the clear waters of the Keys.

Dolphinfish (Mahi-Mahi)

The dolphinfish, or better known by its Hawaiian name Mahi-Mahi, is one of the most popular fish to catch while vacationing in the Florida Keys. During the summer months, the Gulf Stream delivers tons of baitfish to the area attracting predators such as the Mahi-Mahi. Best found right off of Islamorada, spotting the birds also hunting for baitfish is a surefire way to find where the fish will be biting.


Tarpon, a medium-sized predatory fish, can be found almost anywhere you want to fish. Catch them in the channels or flats of the Keys, or even while surf fishing. If you can find out what the Tarpon are hunting for, you’re sure to be reeling in a fish in no time!


Two of the most recognizable sport fish in the world, Swordfish and Sailfish, are staples of a Florida Keys fishing experience! Best found while on a private charter, part of the fun is the fight of reeling them in and the accomplishment of hooking one of these iconic fish! Swordfish are best caught in the months between May and November, while Sailfish are more likely to be found during the winter months from November to January.

There are plenty more fish in the sea other than these to find while in the Florida Keys, so if you’re chartering a boat make sure to ask your Captain what they might recommend for a day out on the waters.

Have Fun!

The best part of fishing is just enjoying yourself and having a nice relaxing time. Remember to enjoy yourself whether you’re out there on the waves on a fishing boat, fishing off a pier or bridge, or even relaxing on a sandy beach fishing in the surf!