Spring Fling

The Florida Keys are a fishing Mecca which attracts countless fishermen annually, ranging from tourists seeking the thrill of latching onto a hard-fighting saltwater fish, to world-class anglers in search of that next record score. Nearly everything swims in these waters, from bonefish and permit on the flats to snapper and grouper on the reefs to blue marlin and swordfish in the Gulf Stream. And it's this wide variety of opportunities that make it difficult for many fishermen to decide what to pursue here.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Key West is the anchor of the Florida Keys and features the greatest variety of fish.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Spring fishing on the patch reefs off Key West can be superb. Snapper and grouper fishermen typically anchor up over likely looking structure in about 40 feet of water.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Once anchored, the chum basket goes over- slowly releasing its contents and drawing in reef dwellers.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Red grouper are popular targets, but must be 21 inches to be kept.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Outdoor Life Deputy Editor Gerry Bethge gives fly-rodding for grouper a try. According to Captain Frank Piku (305-509-1547), limber fly rods impart tantalizing action to bottom-fished jigs and often out-fish regular gear 3-to-1.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Kris McGrath shows off a fly-rod caught red grouper.Outdoor Life Online Editor
A sub-keeper-sized grouper about to be released.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Moray eels score a 10 on the gross meter.Outdoor Life Online Editor
The spring bite in Islamorada includes a strong run of kingfish.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Catch-22 mate K.J. Zeher hurls a castnet to gather bait.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Islamorada legend (left) Richard Stanzcyk (800-742-7945) holds court aboard the Catch-22.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Perhaps the most accomplished and renowned female angler in the world, Joan Wulff, joined in on the kingfish blitz.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Spring is south Florida is also sailfish time. This sail sucked up a pitch-bait.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Prized for their acrobatics, sails provide great sport on light tackle.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Even after an hour-long battle this sail still had the stamina to tailwalk.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Stanzcyk estimated this sail at 70 pounds- big for Islamorada waters.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Barracuda are typically thought of as trip-saver fish.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Bud n' Mary's is likely the most famous marina in all the Keys.Outdoor Life Online Editor

Saltwater action in the Florida Keys.