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Keys Bait Shops

From Key Largo to Key West the Florida Keys offer an abundance of professional Bait and Tackle shops to meet all your fishing needs. Stop by and get the latest Florida Keys fishing reports. If you need bait in the Florida Keys visit the best in town!

fl keys fishing

The Florida Keys offers world class fishing in the Everglades Park, Florida Bay and Near Shore waters of the Florida Keys. for all levels of anglers. Reel Mell-O Charters welcomes all levels of Anglers! Book your Florida Keys Fishing Charter Today!


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Florida Keys Bait and Tackle Shops

Key Largo Bait and Tackle Shops:

Capt'n Pete's

102970 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037 (305) 890-6939


Yellow Bait Shop

01741 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037 (305) 451-0921

Captain Bad Bait and Tackle
103200 Overseas Hwy Ste 1, Key Largo, FL 33037 (305) 451-2248

Islamorada Bait and Tackle Shops:

Angler Eddy’s Live Bait & Tackle

90515 Old Highway, Tavernier FL 33070 

(305) 741-7625

Chris' Bait and Tackle
90800 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070
(305) 853-0191

Abel's Tackle Box
84341 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036

(305) 664-2900

Lower Matecumbe Bait and Tackle Shops:

Caloosa Cove Marina
73501 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036 (305) 664-4455

Marathon Bait and Tackle Shops:

Captain Hook's Marina and Dive Center
11833 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050 Phone:(305) 743-2444

Marathon Bait and Tackle
3740 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050 (305) 289-2248

Big Time Bait-Tackle
11499 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050 Phone:(305) 289-0199

Big Pine Bait and Tackle Shops:

Jig's Bait and Tackle
30321 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043 (305) 872-1040

Cudjoe Key Bait and Tackle Shops:

Cudjoe Sales Fishermen's Warehouse
22536 Overseas Hwy, Summerland Key, FL 33042 (305) 745-3667

Key West Bait and Tackle Shops:

Key West Marine Hardware Inc
818 Caroline St, Key West, FL 33040 (305) 294-3519

Key West Bait & Tackle
241 Margaret St, Key West, FL 33040 Phone:(305) 292-1961


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Florida Keys Bait Offshore Species

Blue Marlin

Description: color cobalt blue on top shading to silvery white on bottom; upper jaw elongated in form of spear; dorsal fin and pointed at front end; pectoral fin and anal fin pointed; lateral line reticulated (interwoven like a net), difficult to see in large specimens; no dark spots on dorsal fin; body covered with imbedded scales ending in one or two sharp points. Florida Keys Bait and Tackle.


Description: color dark blue on top, brown-blue laterally, silvery white underbelly; upper jaw elongated in form of spear; first dorsal greatly enlarged in the form of a sail, with many black spots, its front squared off, highest at its midpoint; pelvic fins very narrow, reaching almost to the anus; body covered with imbedded scales, blunt at end; lateral line curved over pectoral, then straight to base of tail. Common bait in the Florida Keys is Ballyhoo.


Description: bright greenish blue above, yellow on sides, with capability of flashing purple, chartreuse, and a wide range of other colors; body tapers sharply from head to tail; irregular blue or golden blotches scattered over sides; anterior profile of head on adult males is nearly vertical; head of females more sloping; the single dark dorsal fin extends from just behind the head to the tail; anal fin margin concave and extending from anus to tail. Best bait in the Florida Keys is rigged Ballyhoo or live pilchards.

Blackfin Tuna

Description: Blackfin tuna are the most abundant tuna species. They are equally shaped from the head and tail from their midsection, making look in shape like a football. Silver side, dark blue on the back and white on the stomach. Small gray finlets run from the second dorsal fin to the anal fin. Eyes are large size. Florida Keys Bait is pilchards, ballyhoo and trolled feathers and Tuna Darts


Description: Strong fish with broad depressed head; lower jaw projects past upper jaw; dark lateral stripe extends through eye to tail sometimes mistaken for a shark. When young, has a conspicuous alternating black and white horizontal stripe.

Shortfin Mako Shark

Description: lunate tail with similarly sized lobes; lateral keel at the base of the tail; deep blue back and white underside; underside of sharply pointed snout white; origin of first dorsal entirely behind base of pectoral fins; second dorsal fin slightly in front of anal fin; slender; recurved teeth with smooth edges.

Florida Keys Bait Backcountry Fishing Slam – Snook-Redfish-Trout

Snook - The local backcountry offers some excellent Snook fishing. The average size is 5 to 9 pounds and 24-34 inches. You will find them around bridges, mangroves, pilings just about any structure. They eat Mullet, Shrimp, Pilchards, Pinfish and a multitude of artificial lures or combinations of live and dead bait. Florida Keys Bait and Tackle.

Redfish - Redfish love the warm waters of south Florida, the oyster beds, mangroves, and grassy flats are their regular haunts. They are prolific, and definitely not timid when it comes to eating - Which makes them a great sport fish for light tackle and fly-fishing. Redfish are often seen "tailing" (very similar to bonefish) on the shallow flats as they feed.

Seatrout - Seatrout are frequently targeted from December to April. When fishing for them you can use the old standby a popping cork rig with a shrimp or artificial hanging below the cork. Remember Pop the cork Sea Trout come to the gurgling sound the cork makes.Sea Trout are found over grassy bottom and in the"muds" that is muddy areas where the bait is routing in the bottom stirring up shrimp and small fishes.

Florida Keys Bait Flats Fishing Slam – Bonefish-Tarpon-Permit - Florida Keys Bait and Tackle

Bonefish ("Grey Ghost") - Known for very fast and very long first runs, this is probably the species most synonymous with Florida flats fishing. There is a reason why they are called "gray ghost of the flats" and are a real light tackle challenge. Here in the Keys, bonefish generally average in the 6 to 8 pound range with fish of 10 to 12 or larger not uncommon. They are usually fished in water less than two feet deep, and sometimes are seen so shallow that their tails and dorsal fins show as they root out food from the bottom. This is called "tailing" and is the most demanding of angler skills. Bonefish prefer water temperatures over 72 degrees, but can sometimes be found in slightly cooler conditions.

Tarpon ("Silver King") - These incredible fish offer the ultimate in a shallow water big game fish. During the spring migrations, fish can average from 80 to over 150 pounds. They can be found rolling and feeding in deep backcountry finger channels, in shallow grassy basins or along the edges of bars and flats in 4 to 6 feet of water. Tarpon tend to prefer water temps in the mid 70's for the channels and usually need 78-79 degrees for the flats. The big fish are here in good to excellent numbers from March through July and small tarpon 8-20 pounds are here year-round, disappearing during cold fronts in winter.

Permit - The permit is a very strong and hard fighting fish, averaging 8 to 16 pounds. Fish in the 20 to 35 pound range are common with fish to near 50 pounds showing fairly often. They seem to tolerate slightly cooler and slightly warmer conditions than the bones, and are also here all year with February thru November probably being most productive. Permit are usually found in waters less than 3 to 4 feet deep and will also float in channels or off flat edges in calm situations.

Florida Keys Charter Fishing Tips - Florida Keys Bait and Tackle

Who's going? Is everyone fishing? Find out who in your party is ready for the trip and get a head count. Is everyone fishing or are some just tagging along to get some sun or to watch other bring in the big one. This will be an important question to ask prior to booking the Florida Keys Fishing Charter. Note: a Charter runs from 4 to 8 hours on the open Water so for those who have difficulty with the motion of the Boat remember there is no turning back because the others on the Boat paid to go fishing and time is money for the Captain. Get some motion sickness medicine before heading out.

What's your Budget? Great everyone is coming! Now we need to prepare for what we are willing to spend. A lot will depend on the type of fishing you plan on doing. Florida Keys Fishing Guides (fish inland and coastal Waterways) can take out one to three people and prices can range from $120 to $550 per day per trip. Private Fishing Charter (fish on large inland Waterways, coastal bays and off-shore) will let you rent the Boat with a full-crew for a half day or full day with prices ranging from $250 to $1200 per day per trip for up to six people at a time. Now the least expense Charter Fishing adventure is in way of what they call a "Head Boat" or a Deep Sea Fishing Boat head off-shore due to their size; can take out 20 to 60 people at a time and charge $30 to $80 per person. Note: pricing depends on the seasonality of the location; for example: Florida and the Caribbean in the winter months will be at premium rates versus summer months. Also ask what the price includes such as gas, gratuities, any taxes or fees, bait, drinking water, etc... if there is nothing included in the price find out the extras.

Start Shopping! What type of fishing are you looking for - inland and coastal Waterways or off-shore? A Fishing Guide will be the one to take you out on inland and coastal Waterways including backcountry fishing. The advantage a Guide has is there is only 2 or 3 people on the Boat, less rocking motion on the Water then off-shore or large bays and there is more to see and explore. Charter Fishing Captain would be the one to take you out off-shore in the deep blue ocean. The advantage a Charter Rental has is more people with bait in the Water the more opportunity to catch fish, catch larger fish including sharks, off-shore Boats are larger with typically a head (toilet), beverage bar/snacks and you’ll usually catch a quantity of fish not always quality. Which do you prefer? Go with the one that is right for you.

Once you find a Florida Keys Fishing Guide or Charter ask some questions... This is a sure way of not missing anything and choosing the right Charter or Guide prior to cutting the check and making the commitment.

Is there any cost for someone who isn't fishing but wants to ride along?

Are you kid friendly?

Is the boat in compliance with Coast Guard and state safety regulations?

In the event of bad weather, is the deposit (if any) refundable?

Is a fishing license required?

Is a head (bathroom) on-board?

Do you have or sell beverages on-board?