- Q. Do you offer split or shared charters?
A. Unfortunately, we do not, nor does any professional private charter fishing operation in Key West offer "split" or shared charters. You will find a few booking agents that offer it, but they are simply in it for the cash….. Let us explain.
Although quite common in some fishing destinations this practice was halted several years ago here on the island and frankly for very good reason. You see, Key West is truly a world class-fishing destination, anglers from around the world travel here to pursue our sport fish and pelagic species year round. Two things come of this...there is never an "off season" to fish here and the caliber of many of the anglers on the water any given day is typically very high and therefore demanding of the captain/guide. The ability for us to find two different parties interested in fishing on the same day for the same length of trip, wanting to target the same species, having equaled or like angling skills which is paramount, etc. is just impossible. Our poor captains typically found it impossible to keep everybody aboard happy and satisfied with their experience. The last thing we want is to have you step off our boats with anything other than a memory of a lifetime fishing adventure. For that reason, you will not find this type of charter available in Key West.
Because we believe this is "your day" we much prefer to tailor the charter to exactly the experience you are hoping for. We can take all of the factors at hand into consideration, date of your trip, length of time on the water, targeted species and type of fishing gear & equipment, your party's skill levels and experience on the water, etc. and create the perfect adventure for just "you". This ensures you of a perfect fishing trip and worth every penny! The day is all about you and your group enjoying the best that Key West has to offer…the best fishing, best guides, best equipment and no question the best results.
- Q. What is the reservation process?
A. To secure your reservation is quite easy. We require a small 20% deposit and we accept Visa, MasterCard, and AMEX credit cards for your convenience. Your personal check is also welcomed however your reservation is not secured until check is received in our office.
If mailing a personal check make payable to Key West Pro Guides.
Mail check to:
Key West Pro Guides
5130 U.S. Highway 1
Key West, FL 33040
For credit card deposits:
Please give our office a call at 866-259-4205 to provide entire card number and be certain to include the expiration date.
The complete billing address with zip code for the credit card.
A cell phone number you will be traveling with.
With this complete information we will place your secured reservation on our calendar immediately ensuring your charter and requested date. Next, we will forward to you via your e-mail address your confirmation letter. This letter contains all the information you could possibly need. Direction to our marina, local cell number for your captain and charter vessel, departure times and more. Please check the confirmation letter thoroughly for accuracy. Should you have any additional questions, concerns or require our assistance in any way please feel free to call us anytime daily from 7 AM to 11 PM at toll free 866 259 4205.
- Q. What about bad weather on my charter day?
A. What can any of us do about the weather? It is always a consideration in any outdoor excursion. Our policy on bad weather is quite simple and completely fair to our guests. We monitor our local weather constantly if any remotely trouble-some conditions are approaching the island. We collect our weather data from multiple sources but do not rely on television forecasts originating from Miami over 120 miles from our location. The 'generic' land forecasts do not apply to the surrounding waters around us. The National Weather Service has to forecast a 120 mile long chain of islands, there is always a chance for rain. We rely on a marine forecast that changes depending on what body of water we fish. Please consult with us with respect to the weather the day of your trip. Cancellations due to weather or sea conditions are always at the captain's discretion. If our captain cancels due to inclement weather you will be refunded your deposit in full. Of course we will try to reschedule your charter based upon our availability later in your stay or for future dates and/or return visits to Key West. It is important to understand if after conversation between guest and captain we leave our docks on questionable days a minimum of a ½ day charter rate will be charged to cover our expenses. Click here for additional cancellation details.
- Q. What if I experience seasickness or motion discomfort on our charter?
A. Everyone is differently affected by the motion of being on the water and the unfortunate truth is a very small percentage of our guests do experience motion discomfort more commonly referred to as "sea sickness". It is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about should it happen to you and there is little than can be done to make you feel better once you become sea sick or while you remain on the water. This is an effect typically of offshore fishing with the open ocean waves and swells bringing the discomfort on. Our recommendation for those who are concerned or have experienced this condition in the past is to fish the calm, protected waters of the flats and backcountry where there is absolutely no such thing as a wave or seasickness. If you choose to fish offshore there are a number of excellent precautionary drugs such as Dramamine or Bonine available everywhere over the counter. To receive the full affect these aids suggest at least 45 minutes in your system prior to your charter's departure. They will not work if you wait until your become sea sick before ingesting. Sorry but we do not refund due to seasickness.
- Q. Do your guides own their own boats?
A. Yes! All of our guides are independent owner/operators of their boats. In this way we ensure our guests the highest quality charter possible every trip off the dock. Our guides take a vested interested in your day, we want you to have a great time, tell others about it and come back to see us again and again. We would never trust your safety, comfort or the experience of your day on the water to a "hired guide" with little or no interest in your outcome.
Hired guides are after all working merely for wages and/or tips. It has been our experience that most hired guides are part-time, seasonal and/or straight out of Captains School with limited knowledge or our local waters. Therefore there is no comparison of your success between these two approaches to booking a guide.
- Q. Do you stand behind your guides and their experience?
A. YES! Absolutely we do! Our guide team consists of only hand-picked seasoned veteran guides, the most respected in the business. All are United States Coast Guard licensed and fully insured Captains. Most are native to the Florida Keys born and raised on the water. Many are second and third generation Key West captains. Our staff averages fifteen years plus professional fishing/guiding experience in Key West. 142 International Game Fish Association "World Record" catches speaks volumes of their ability on the water. Most importantly…all are highly trained in customer service skills to ensure you of a safe, pleasant and enjoyable trip. On the water it is always respectfully "yes sir". We have not lost our passion for sport fishing. We have not forgotten that without you, our guests and friends, we could not "live the dream" of fishing professionally in paradise. We truly appreciate the opportunity to become friends while fishing together in our world class waters. This is exactly why Key West Pro Guides enjoys the largest repeat clientele of any operation in the Keys. Anglers from around the planet return to our island and to fish with their favorite guides every year.
- Q. Do you offer "Packages" for Fishing and Hotels, Etc.?
A. Here at Key West Pro Guides, we focus on one thing, fishing. It's what separates us from commission driven companies that are only looking at making a commission. A major problem in this business that unfortunately started a few years ago, are the "online concierge services". While they offer "free services", they are simply hiding their commission in the rate they quote you with a "sale at all costs" mentality. We offer you links to some of the best hotels in Key West, where you actually get a better deal. We endorse only those properties that we know to be safe, clean and well managed. Our guests are important to us, it should never be about a commission driven decision when it comes to you and your family's well-being. Please ask for our FREE recommended accommodations list to be emailed.
- Q. Will I know who my guide is before my trip?
A. Yes! Of course… we inform you exactly who your guide will be and what boat you will be fishing from when you book and on your confirmation letter! Our Captain's biographies are posted on this website along with their boats and its features. If you would care to request a particular guide we welcome this. Guides are always reserved based upon their availabilities. We recommend securing your reservation well in advance if you would prefer to fish with a particular guide.
We never subcontract out our trips to guides not in our group and never book guides under our name to simply collect a commission.
- Q. What makes you directly involved in Key West fishing?
A. This business and website is owned by and operated by active, local Key West guides, not booking agents. We are intimately involved in our services as we earn our living daily from the water. Many companies have found it easier to merely book charters for commission by simply contracting your reservation out to any available hired captains, rather than actually guide themselves. Most of these businesses are not operated by experienced fishermen or professional Captains at all. They have zero actual knowledge of our local waters and fishing grounds, fishing seasonal patterns, migratory pelagic species, technics, etc. They are very gifted "talkers" working from a written script in many instances. Is this who you want to trust your charter to? We think not!
We produce our services. Every individual at Key West Pro Guides you come in contact with from your initial email or telephone call throughout your entire experience with us will be a true professional with years in the private charter fishing business IN KEY WEST! From reservations to front office to guide team and support staff, you will see us the morning of your trip, all day long and when the trip is compete. We truly take our business full circle and in house to provide you the best possible charter in Key West.
- Q. Do you provide food and what about alcoholic beverages for our trip?
A. We provide complimentary bottled waters and ice in our coolers for every guest/charter. We do not provide food although you are welcome to bring anything additionally to eat or drink onboard with the exception of hard liquor. Our warm tropical sun, motion of the water and hard liquor just don't blend well! Beer however is like plasma in Key West… you must have it! We welcome it aboard and expect you to enjoy a victory beer during your trip. We do ask that you drink responsibly and remember to keep yourself properly hydrated by including water with your alcohol consumption. It should be a given if you or anyone in your party becomes inebriated during your charter it is at the captains discretion to ensure safety first by returning to port. In the event our captain feels this is necessary no refund will be issued for poor behavior on the water.
- Q. How many people are allowed onboard?
A. Our charters are different from one another with respect to passenger capacity however in Key West understand that ALL private charter fishing vessels must operate under a Coast Guard regulation that absolutely limits the number of passengers onboard ANY vessel to 6 maximum. There is simply no way around this regulation either. It does not matter if the person is fishing or watching, does not matter if the person is 6 or 60, does not matter the size of the boat, it reads "six souls onboard" however this does not include staff.
In fairness more than 6 anglers onboard any fishing vessel is a bad idea. This would create an impossible task for the captain and may adversely affect your fishing experience. Light tackle vessels operate with a captain only, no deck mates are onboard so with the duties of operating the boat, baiting hooks, rigging tackle, landing caught fish, etc. regardless of how talented, one pair of hands can only achieve so much in a timely fashion. For this reason we suggest 4 passengers as a maximum for the ultimate fishing experience however we are most happy to accommodate your group up to 6 guests per vessel on our reef & wreck and offshore charters.
Backcountry charters can also accommodate up to 6 passengers depending upon the boat reserved. In general the backcountry is calm very shallow water and therefore by design our typical backcountry or "Bay Boats" at 24' in length are 4 passenger vessels allowing us to access 100% of these remote and isolated fishing grounds. Larger center console boats are somewhat limited to the areas we can safely fish.
Flats charters are 2 passenger maximum charters. Flats skiffs are small 16' to 18' boats on average and must be "poled" by the guide across mere inches of water in pursuit of the flats species. We do offer our 18' Egret Flats skiff set up for a third angler available by request and based upon availability of course.
Clearly as the largest and certainly best equipped charter fishing operation in Key West for the past 20 plus years we long ago refined the art of running multiple boat outings for larger than 6 passenger groups. We are recognized as the "go to outfit" for larger groups, family outings and corporate affairs and for good reason. We have the staff, fleet of boats and understand the idiosyncrasies of providing great customer service ensuring that 1 big group ambiance so important to most large group outings.
- Q. Should I bring my own gear?
A. We provide absolutely everything for our guests with respect to fishing gear. From conventional equipment to light tackle spinning gear to level winds to fly gear, all top of the line and in perfect working condition. Bait caster type reels are not typically used much in Key West as many times our super clear waters and wind conditions require smaller live bait presentations so spinning gear is king here. However, we understand many anglers prefer to fish with their personal gear and we welcome you to bring it along. If you have questions regarding rigging or fly fishing equipment lengths & weights, patterns, etc. please call Captain Roc at 866 259 4205 our resident expert.
- Q. Do you offer discounts?
A. We do! We gladly offer all active military a 10% discount on any and all charters. It is but a small token of our appreciation for all our military personnel and what they sacrifice for us every day. Many of us at Key West Pro Guides are veterans as well and we look forward to fishing with those who so unselfishly give allowing us to live our dream of fishing for a living in paradise.
Key West Pro Guides in general has never discounted trips during the 17 plus years we have been in operation here in Key West. Understand…to discount a trip by ANY guide means the expenses for that trip must also be reduced. Not surprisingly the profit margin on a private, all inclusive light tackle charter is very small. To discount would require that we cut corners we are not willing to do.
For example...We fully expect to run to the most remote and distant therefore productive fishing grounds for you, not stop well short and fish lesser waters that are highly pressured daily by other guides and locals alike just to keep fuel costs down. Many charter operations in Key West today due to high fuel costs limit their travel distances to maintain their profit margin. Not us! We certainly expect to provide you with whatever it takes for an outstanding day on the water. From fuel to fresh live baits, attractants, top of the line equipment in perfect working condition, etc. Our pledge to you is to provide you with all the necessary tools to ensure your very best opportunity for success and ultimately world class fishing action. Never would we "take a shot" by using frozen or cut baits left over from yesterday. Never would we think of not rigging the equipment you will be fishing with from top to bottom new and fresh...hooks, lines, leaders, tippet, etc. vs. leaving on yesterday's left-overs to reduce costs chancing that potential "fish of a life time" to tired or worn gear and equipment. This list goes on forever...
As the largest and clearly most productive charter fishing outfit in Key West for several years now, we only know how to give our guests 110% every time off the dock. We do not cut corners, we never stop working for you and we never take a "good enough" attitude for you...this is exactly why we enjoy the reputation of being the "very best of the best" in the Florida Keys. We earn it by providing you with the "best of the best" start to finish. You could ask yourself if a discount is actually saving a few dollars or maybe wasting all your money on a far lesser experience. After all how often does one get the opportunity to fish in one of the premier fishing locations on the planet? Is it worth the risk?