There are more that 200 wrecks to be found in the waters of Key West, ranging in size from major ship wrecks, WWII submarines, shrimp boats and ancient Spanish galleons. Mel Fisher was famous for finding the Atocha, a famous Spanish galleon, in 1985. Fisher unearthed coins, emeralds and bullion worth over $450 million dollars.
Wrecks in Key West are located from the Gulf stream, to the reefs, Hawks Channel, Quick Sands, Gulf of Mexico and even in the Harbor of Key West. These wrecks are home to the many species of fish that frequent these waters, both as residents and seasonal visitors. Pelagic, mid-water and bottom fish frequent these diverse habitats. That is why wreck fishing is so popular with sportfisherman. With so many species of fish and different locations, wrecks fishing is one of the most common types of fishing in Key West.
Each wreck will have a different species or two that favors that particular habitat. That is, one wreck may have a concentration of Amberjack, the next one may favor Jacks and African Pompano. A completely separate wreck may hold primarily Permit and Cobia. It is important to know the species of each wreck. Have your tackle ready when you get there, as the species of that particular wreck are often the most susceptible when you first arrive.
Deep Water Wrecks
The deep water wrecks will produce Amberjack throughout most of the year, and provide a sure source of action for everyone from the novice angler to the most die hard light tackle angler. Grouper and Snapper are common residents of structure of this kind. Sailfish, Wahoo, Kingfish and Barracudas are regular visitors, due to the high concentration of bait to be found in these locations.
Shallow Water Wrecks
The shallow water wrecks of the Quick Sands and Gulf are special, in that they often provide highly visual opportunities for the sportsman. Here, many of the species may approach the surface where, jigs, plugs and flies may be presented to individual fish. Amberjacks, Jacks, Barracudas, Permit and Cobia are common residents. Blackfin Tuna, Bonito, Kingfish and sharks are visitors on a regular basis. Large Mangrove Snappers, Red and Gag Groupers are the target of the bottom fishermen. The omnipresent Goliath Grouper is the troll of these wrecks, as they will extract their toll on any hooked fish that they can, or think they can swallow. Many of these giants would top the scales at 300 plus pounds.
With so many wrecks to fish and so little time, it is no wonder why Key West is considered by many to be the wreck fishing capital of the world.
Wreck Fishing Locations
The Dry Tortugas is the last, great vestige of sportfishing in the northern hemisphere. This remote group of islands are surrounded by more than ten thousand square miles of fishing resources that have remained relatively untapped due to the time that it would take to cover this vast and remote area.
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico, for our purposes, begins at the North side of the flats, along the lower Florida Keys and includes a portion of the Florida Bay, continuing to the West and North of the Dry Tortugas, encompassing more than 5000 square miles of fishable water within range of our hi-tech, offshore boats.
Key West offers the sportfishing enthusiast the largest variety of gamefish in the world. Other locations will argue that they are the sportfishing capital of the world, or the best for this species or that particular fish. There are more “I.G.F.A. World Records” from the waters of Key West than the next closest, several locations combined.
Marquesas is a magical word that conjures thoughts of tropical breezes, emerald green water surrounding a tropical island paradise. A ring of islands surrounded by acres and acres of pristine water and shallow flats where giant Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Mutton Snappers, great Barracudas and monster Sharks of all kinds prowl the flats.