There’s probably no greater thrill in the world than fishing for sharks in Key West. Sharks are monstrous yet beautiful creatures, and fishing for them in Key West is an up close and personal experience.

Shark fishing is definitely no joke, but with Captain Pepe there to guide you, you’ll have a safe and incredible experience that you’ll never get tired of talking about. Here’s everything you need to know about shark fishing in Key West.


Sharks are catch and release fish

Bull Sharks

The bull shark is one of the most powerful creatures you’re ever likely to encounter. Captain Pepe will ensure your party’s safety, but fishing for bull sharks is not for the timid or the faint of heart. They’re responsible for many of the shark attacks you read about, but catching one is a fisherman’s golden dream.

Size and Appearance

As the name implies, the bull shark is known for its blunt nose and its love of smashing into things with its head. Typically found in the warm water at shallow depths not far from the shore, bull sharks are mean, aggressive, and offer a fishing experience you’ll never forget.

In terms of appearance, bull sharks usually display a gray color on top that fades to white as it descends to the underbelly. Always enormous and impressive, adult bull sharks range in size from 6 feet to 9 feet long and typically weigh between 200-300 pounds.

Fishing for Bull Sharks in Key West

The first requirement for bull shark fishing is a great guide like Captain Pepe. Like you read above, bull sharks like to swim in shallow waters close to the shore. As far as bait goes, it probably goes without saying that you’ll want to go with larger fish for catching bull sharks. Bull sharks are especially fond of freshly caught tuna, mackerel, and mullet, but they’re just as quick to go after cut barracuda as well. They’ll also hit artificial lures if you use a chum line to attract them.

Lemon Sharks

The powerful lemon shark is one of the most commonly caught sharks in the waters of Key West. Named for the yellowish color of their skin, lemon sharks are easily distinguished from other sharks once you spot them in the water. Interestingly, the lemon shark has especially terrible eyesight and relies on a magnetic sensor in their snout to attract their prey. While they have been known to attack humans, this kind of aggression usually comes only from fear and is very rare.

Size and Appearance

Lemon sharks average between 8-10 feet long and can weigh up to 200 pounds. Although they can be found at depths of up to hundreds of feet, lemon sharks prefer to forage in sandy, nearshore areas where they can use their color as camouflage. Lemon sharks are catch and release only, but the thrill of the fight they put up is well-worth the effort.

Fishing for Lemon Sharks in Key West

Like most sharks, the lemon will eat just about anything in front of it, but they’re especially fond of bonita and barracuda. If you’re fishing for them near a reef, you can use chum to attract their favorite prey fish to your boat and have a good chance at landing a larger, deep-water lemon shark.