Home Consumer Florida Keys Party Boat Fishing: A Complete Guide

Florida Keys Party Boat Fishing: A Complete Guide


The amazing fishing opportunities of the Florida Keys aren’t a secret to anyone. It’s the only living coral barrier reef in the US, a perfect getaway for anglers to spend their vacation and escape to this Caribbean-like paradise. How can you share this experience with others with minimal investment? Party boat fishing in the Florida Keys!

What is party boat fishing? What can you catch? Where can you go fishing on a party boat? In this guide, we’ll answer all these questions and many more to help you decide whether a group fishing tour is for you. Let’s dive right in!

What should you expect from party boat fishing?

Those who’ve ever been on a party boat, fishing the Florida Keys’ productive spots, know that it’s a truly unforgettable experience. However, there are a few things you need to know before you set foot on board.

  • You’ll share the boat with a group of strangers. Party boat fishing is among the most affordable options for those who want to fish the Florida Keys and not break the bank. You’ll be surrounded by people you don’t necessarily know. But you can use that to your advantage! Make new friends with fellow anglers of all levels and ages.
  • The bigger the boat, the bigger the crowds. While most party boat captains prefer to limit the number of anglers on board, you might still be fishing with dozens of other people. This is especially true if you’re fishing on a party boat as big as 70 feet!
  • The basics are usually included. Just like on private charters, party boat fishing trips usually come with tackle, bait, and fishing licenses included. However, you’re welcome to bring your favorite rod with you – but make sure to let the crew know in advance just in case.
  • On-board facilities. Luckily, there are usually toilets on board party boats, along with built-in ice boxes for your freshly-caught fish. In addition to that, there might be enough shade for you to take a break from the summer sun for a while.
  • Cleaning & filleting services. Depending on the crew, you might get a complimentary fish cleaning and filleting service, or pay an extra fee to get your catch ready for dinner later.
  • Tips are always welcome. It goes without saying that complimenting the crew for their hard work is never a bad idea. They usually do their best to offer the best service possible, so thanking them with 15% of the trip price is standard practice.

Despite all this, don’t forget to talk to the crew before the trip. Even though you might not get all the attention of the crew during the trip, it’s never a bad idea to discuss your ambitions before you hit the waters. The crew might give you valuable advice on which lure to use or which spots to pay extra attention to.

What should you bring on a party boat fishing trip?

First of all, the most important thing you need to bring on your party boat in the Florida Keys is your good mood. Then, you can just follow our checklist to make sure you have the best fishing experience!

  • Suitable clothes. Make sure that you’re dressed in comfortable clothes. You need to be able to maneuver, since you’ll most likely be moving around the boat a lot. Slip-resistant footwear, shorts or baggy pants, and a breathable shirt will do the trick.
  • Food and drinks. The majority of Florida Keys party boat captains provide all the necessary fishing equipment, but food and drink aren’t normally included. You can hit a local store before the trip and keep your snacks and drinks in a small, non-glass cooler.
  • Raincoat. Even if the weather forecast doesn’t promise rain, there’s always the possibility of seaspray. Pack a light raincoat if you’re planning to venture out to offshore waters.
  • Wash rag. A towel is a necessity for anyone who’s planning a fishing trip. Fishing can sometimes get pretty messy!
  • Sun protection. You’re probably already aware of the sunny climate of the Florida Keys. Make sure to not forget sun protection – a hat, shades, and sunscreen.
  • Hand sanitizer. A small hand sanitizer is a must, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll be fishing with dozens of other people, so keeping your hands germ-free is a good idea.
  • Sea sickness medication. While the Florida Keys’ inshore waters are normally calm, you never know what to expect when fishing offshore. If you’re prone to motion sickness or you’re stepping on a boat for the first time, take some Dramamine before the trip just in case.
  • Cash. Having some cash on you is pretty useful since you might be able to buy some snacks and drinks on the boat. As well as that, tips are also normally paid in cash at the end of the trip.

What fish can you catch and where?

Party boat fishing in the Florida Keys isn’t like any other experience in the Sunshine State. There are over 800 keys (small islands), with the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, and everything they have to offer, too. Here, you only have to travel 3-9 miles out to fish the mighty Florida Keys reef system, with the open ocean beyond.

Below, we’ll talk about reefs, wrecks, and the offshore grounds for your party boat Florida Keys fishing adventure. You can also learn more about party boat fishing in specific destinations, such as Islamorada here or Key West in this guide.

FishingBooker, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, June 29, 2022

Republished with permission


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