Imagine the lightning-like stripe down the side of a yellowtail snapper or the marbled, almost serpentine pattern on a black grouper. The waters off the Florida Keys teem with such visually stunning marine life, and the crews of Gulfstream Fishing, Inc. know how to catch them. The Gulfstream IV, a 58-foot party boat that?s inspected twice a year by the US Coast Guard, motors approximately 60 passengers swiftly out to deep-sea fishing spots thanks to twin Detroit 8v92 turbo engines. Once anchored, the ship?s amenities?which range from men?s and women?s restrooms to a galley serving snacks?keep anglers comfortable between casts.
In addition to daily party outings, Gulfstream?s crews charter small-group trips that include evening shark fishing, offshore and inshore outings for trophies such as sailfish and tarpon, and trips onto coastal flats for catches such as bonefish and barracuda. They also organize private fishing charters to celebrate special occasions, such as a bachelor party or buying your first boat. An FAQ page answers many questions before guests head out.
Billy figured that with Key West's powdery beaches and paradisiacal waters, a business could grow itself if it supplied high-quality watersports rentals and guides who could unveil the beauty of the area. To that end, he began building a team and a fleet that would take guests on adventures both above and below water. Today, guides conduct jet-ski tours on Yamaha WaveRunners, as well as lead groups of kayakers and standup paddleboarders on tours that meander along the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. They also lead underwater ventures, such as scuba diving and snorkeling to technicolor coral reefs and historic ships that have lost the will to float. Individual equipment rentals cater to guests who prefer independent explorations. It's this breadth of tours and rentals that has earned Barefoot Billy's a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor.
It?s not an energy drink, a crimson bovine, or even a particularly misguided spelling of ?bread bowl.? Rather, the Red Bull is a 26-foot-long, cherry-red Nordic tugboat, and it provides a unique way to rub metaphorical elbows with the Florida Key's aquatic wildlife and sea birds. Clients can charter the boat for a historic tour of the harbor, and get a watery glimpse at the seaport, Mallory Square, and the Sand Key lighthouse. Or, they can commission Captain Bob and his crew to chauffeur them on dolphin-spotting excursions. The Red Bull is also available for fishing trips, and is equipped with a state-of-the-art fish finder.
Splashing out into the waters of the upper Keys, clients of Paddle! the Florida Keys explore surrounding waterways atop kayaks and standup paddleboards. Both professionally guided and self-guided tours are available, including the popular eco-tour, where paddlers will learn about the rich natural history of the area while keeping an eye out for manatees, dolphins, and wise old fortune-telling sea turtles. Hourly and daily rentals are available for watercraft?as well as bicycles?so visitors have an array of options for exploring by land or sea. Those that find they love paddling or that a seagull has stolen their favorite sun hat can purchase everything they need for a day at the beach in the onsite shop, too.
Captain Curt has been fishing and diving in the water of the Florida Keys since he we a young child. Now, as the owner of Curt-a-Sea Fishing Charters, he leads groups on fishing expeditions and tours in these same waters. His groups go fishing for tuna and wahoo offshore and redfish and snapper in the backcountry. Inshore, the fishers can look for sailfish and even kingfish by keeping an eye out for their tell-tale scepters. For a bait-free outing, try a snorkel or scuba trip down to a submerged wreck or coral reef. Meanwhile, island-hopping trips take visitors to the best beaches, shopping centers, and restaurants around the Keys.
If you want to become an incredible fisherman, growing up in the sport-fishing capital of the world is probably a good way to start. Islamorada native and second-generation charter captain Travis Upchurch draws on a lifetime's worth of experience during Reel Sharp Sport Fishing's fishing trips. Upchurch ferries his clients up to 12 miles out from shore to cast lines and wishes down into the gulf stream, where they can reel in catches such as mahi mahi, blue marlin, and skipjack tuna?and maybe even large sharks, tarpon, and amberjack, depending on the destination.