Travel Series: Key West, Fishing.
Key West has historically been a good place for those who enjoy the sport of killing. Early Key West inhabitants found flocks of flamingos (gone), massive sea turtles resting on the beaches (now protected), and Key deer (now protected), which are the size of dogs and only exist in the Florida Keys. By the time that Hemingway got here the only thing left to kill were the creatures hiding in the ocean.
I eat fish, sometimes meat and my dogs are not vegetarians either…I have no moral high ground from which to preach. But to me, killing for food and killing for sport are different. But no matter, charter boats are an important industry in Key West.
Fish are rated as to how hard they fight for their lives. The deep waters of the Atlantic allow tourists and fishermen to fish for mahi mahi (dolphin), tuna, marlin, or sailfish, some edible, but the large ones mostly hang on walls or collect grandeur in stories. Pole fishing is integral to Key West’s culture and many of these fish are consumed (with the exception of tarpon, bonefish and shark) by their fortunate anglers.
Both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are home to numerous shipwrecks, which are a bonanza for fisherman. In the deeper wrecks in the Atlantic, they fish for tuna, wahoo, kingfish, sailfish, bonito, barracuda, other game fish and, of course, sharks. Gulf wrecks are more shallow so they go after the beautiful permit, cobia, snapper, grouper, barracuda, and some brochures boast the Jewfish (now known as the more politically correct, Goliath Grouper), which is protected, so they shouldn’t be catching it all. (The Goliath Grouper was protected in 1990 due to the extensive lobbying efforts of Don DeMaria, a diver and spear fisherman who has dedicated his life to protecting it after he noticed its decline.)
From a brochure about Key West fishing: “Key West is home of the third largest living reef in the world. …If you decide to try some reef fishing in Key West you WILL NOT be disappointed.” I’ll bet the fish will be.
Learn more about Key West in these posts from Angela:
Fishing (this one)
Key West Quirkiness
Key West's Spirituality