Celebrate summer in the beautiful Florida Keys. Sure it’s hot, but hey, it’s summertime. Cool ocean breezes and more palm trees than highways or high rises make our island paradise cooler than most places. Locals know it’s the best time for fishing and diving. Plus you won’t have to wait for a table at your favorite restaurant.
What are you waiting for? Grab your swim suit, fishing pole and dive gear. Time to jump into a Florida Keys summer getaway.
Fishing, diving and fireworks top the list of ways to enjoy your summertime Keys getaway.
-Whether you’re a veteran SCUBA diver or a first-time snorkeler there’s plenty to see underwater at the reef. Light winds and sunny summer days produce great visibility.
-Sombrero Key light is just six miles offshore from Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway. It’s an easy run in a rental boat or hop aboard the Spirit Snorkeling Catamaran that leaves twice a day from our dock. The area around Sombrero Key light is designated as a marine sanctuary. Fishing and anchoring are prohibited in order to preserve this great coral environment. Don’t let the sanctuary designation scare you away. If you go on your own boat, simply tie up to one of the many mooring buoys, display your dive flag and jump in. Mooring balls closer to the tower are more shallow and better for snorkelers, those farther out are in deeper water and better suited to SCUBA divers.
-Outside the marine sanctuary areas, divers are free to spear fish and catch lobster as long as bag and size limits are observed. Lobster season starts with a two-day recreational season the last Wednesday and Thursday in July (before commercial lobstermen put their traps in the water). The regular season for lobster runs from August 6 through March 31. If you’re planning to hunt these spiny delicacies, be sure to have your fishing license with a crawfish stamp and a good measuring gauge. Know your bag and size limits and do your best to respect our underwater environment and it’s creatures.
-One fish that enjoys no bag or size limits is the invasive lionfish. Please, take as many as you would like, but be careful. Special care is required to avoid their poisonous spines. If you plan to turn your lion fish catch into dinner, here are a few recipes you may want to try.
-If you prefer to stay in the boat when you fish, you’ll find plenty of action at the reef and offshore.
-Summer is prime time for Mahi Mahi. Find them while trolling by targeting birds hovering over bait also keep an eye out for “floaters” and weed lines. Just like humans, these fish like to hang out in the shade when temperatures start to rise. If you’re lucky enough to find a school, keep the first hooked fish in the water to keep his buddies nearby while you catch your limit. Be ready for some fast and furious action. Sometimes anglers can catch their limit of ten per person per day (20″ minimum) in a matter of minutes. Booking a charter is a great way to enjoy dolphin fishing in the Florida Keys.
-Night time snapper fishing is another summer time treat. Anglers get to enjoy a hot bite in the cool evening with no sunscreen needed. A note of caution: If you’re not familiar with the local Keys waters, it’s best to hop on a charter. Ending up on a sandbar in the middle of the night, is one sure way to ruin a fishing trip and our environment.
-And finally, there’s the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at Sombrero Beach in Marathon. One of the best ways we know to celebrate our nation’s birthday. For a small town, Marathon goes all out to put on a big town fireworks show. It all happens at Marathon’s city beach, Sombrero. The fun lasts all day with plenty of music and food. It’s a perfect family outing. You can watch the fireworks from the beach, from the water or at various vantage points throughout the city.