About Dry Tortugas
The Dry Tortugas is one of the most untouched fisheries in all of Florida. Designated as a national park located about 68 miles west of Key West, the Dry Tortugas offers a great overnight fishing charters for experienced anglers as well as novices. We love showing families the true beauty of the Dry Tortugas including the centerpiece Fort Jefferson which can be explored by foot as a excursion during your fishing charter. We typically recommend a 3 day 2 night fishing charter for the best Dry Tortugas fishing experience but we can have a successful charter on a 2 day 1 night charter as well.
Departing from Key West, we have about a 5 hr transit to do a straight line transit to the Tortugas area. Typically, we will arc out from Hawk Channel so that we can troll baits beyond the reef for pelagics (Dolphin, Tuna, Wahoo) enroute to the bottom fishing grounds. We will start doing some of our bottom fishing in and around an area known as “Tail End Buoy”, about 45 miles West of Key West. From there we continue fishing various areas based on the conditions farther West, staying South of the Fort (Fort Jefferson).
Our Dry Tortugas fishing charters like to be anchored up for the night sometime around 6pm. This allows us to prepare the cockpit for dinner, and to prepare dinner prior to dark and allowing viewing of Sunset. Once we anchor for the night, we will stay in that area until the next morning. For guests that chose to wet a line during the night, they are more than welcome to. We just have to caution them not to limit out the boat while everyone else is sleeping. We will always make sure the boat is anchored around a productive area.
For the next morning, we will assess the previous day’s (and night’s) catch and formulate the plan. If you want to focus on bottom species, the rest of the day will be for that purpose. If we/you decide to break the second day up into some pelagic fishing, then that’s what we will do. As we work our way back to the East (toward Key West), We will be watching our distance to port and will keep the guests updated on our remaining fishing time before we pull lines in for the transit back. We will return to the dock the second day around 4pm. On a 3 day charter we have an additional day to fish and we can plan the best possible day of fishing in the Dry Tortugas depending on the weather and fishing conditions.
Snapper fishing for Yellowtails is almost always exceptional once we head West on a Dry Torgugas fishing charter. We try to only target the larger sized fish. Mutton Snapper can be hit or miss in the shallower water (50-80′), and we will normally target them in the deeper water (up to 240′). You are allowed to have 10 Snapper per person, per day. Only 5 of which can be Mangrove Snapper. With the exception of Red Snapper, all other snapper are open to harvest. There will be a “mini season” for Red Snapper, August 23-25th.
Grouper fishing is always good in the Tortugas, but in the summer months they tend to be pushed off the reef and in the deeper shelves. Red and Black Grouper (some Scamp) are the most common catches. Current Grouper Bag limit is 3 per person, per day… Only 1 of which can be a Black or Gag Grouper. Grouper are open from April 1st through December 31st. The exception to that is the Snowy Grouper (deep water species), which is now closed (as of May 31st).