Key West fishing charters black fin tuna

Key West Winter Tuna Fishing Craze

Key West winter tuna fishing can be quite the frenzy. Many people book 4 or 6 hour afternoon charters during the winter months to target Blackfin tuna in Key West. Blackfin tuna put up a fun fight and make a great sushi roll for dinner. With their big eyes and bright gold stripe, they are also a beautiful fish to catch. So, on this perfect afternoon in February in Key West, we headed out in search of a Key West winter tuna bite.

Blackfin tuna tend to like cooler weather and the evening hours, especially close to sunset. Today’s charter wanted to target blackfin tuna specifically, so we headed out for a 6 hour evening trip to give ourselves the best chance at finding them. Finding Key West winter tuna can some times be difficult, as they pop up when and where they want to. They can disappear as fast as you find them, too.

Key West winter tuna

Blackfin tuna – the Key West winter tuna – are the smallest of the tuna family. However, these are the tuna we see by far most frequently here in the Florida Keys. I’ve heard tall tales of yellowfin tuna having once roamed the waters of Key West, but that was long before my time, and a story for another day. On this charter we did see some bluefin tuna swim past the boat, but we don’t mess with those big boys here. Bluefin only come through the Keys when they are spawning or migrating. While they have been caught here, it is incredibly rare.

The blackfin tuna is still plenty of fun to target. Watching them bust in the distance under hundreds of tiny birds is always an amazing sight to see. Once you hook into one, reeling in even this small tuna will prove to be quite a challenge. For such a small tuna, it is pound for pound nothing but fight and muscle. That gold flash you see, when you finally can see color as it nears the boat, is a beautiful vision, and they are always a fun gaffing experience.

Blackfin tuna on the ride back to Key West, FL

My favorite part of the evening, winter tuna charters, is the free sunset cruise on the way back to the dock. While I’m typically an early morning, sunrise kind of woman, Key West does have some of the most beautiful sunsets around.

Don’t forget to stop by our YouTube channel to see the video of our tuna!

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