Try Dry Tortugas National Park for a Far-Out Fishing Experience


One of the greatest fishing or diving experiences you can imagine lies about 50 miles southwest of Key West in the Dry Tortugas National Park. Most anglers and divers opt at least for an overnight stay. And there are several live-aboard fishing and diving operations out of Key West.

Fishing the reefs yields incredible catches of snappers, groupers, grunts, amberjacks, cero mackerel and king mackerel, among many other species. You’re so busy fighting fish there’s barely time to sleep.

The diving is also spectacular, no matter whether you’re a spearfisherman or photographer or both. Thanks to sound management and the Tortugas' distance from the mainland, it has remained about as pristine as coral reef ecosystems can be in this hemisphere.

If you go on your own, keep in mind that about half of the park is closed to fishing, and the scientific reserves are off-limits to the public entirely. There are very sensitive spawning habitats and large populations of fish aggregated to spawn in these areas, which are vital to sustaining healthy resources.

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