Family fishing in the Florida Keys

Published On: September 26th, 2023Categories: Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing

A family fishing charter is a great way to have some fun with the kids.

Summer is officially over, and temperatures on land and sea are starting to cool. The holidays are right around the corner, and families looking for adventure on the ocean are beginning to book their vacations in the Florida Keys.

We look forward to the familiar faces of repeat clients coming to the Keys yearly for unforgettable deep-sea fishing. When the water cools down, pelagic fish come closer to land, mackerel show, and the snapper bite well. It is one of our favorite times of year because taking families fishing in the Florida Keys is our favorite thing to do!

Mangrove Snapper is fun to catch and delicious to eat.

Our Goal

Here at Manicsportfishing Charters, we have many repeat customers who come to fish with us every year. This is important because repeat clients are necessary in a competitive atmosphere like Marathon, Florida. Our focus on customer service and accommodating our clients’ needs is why we have been a five-star rated fishing charter company for many years.

In addition to our deep-sea fishing boats, we have double-decker tri-toon boats equipped with waterslides, watermats, pool noodles, snorkel gear, and fishing rods. We offer competitive prices for clean boats along with a top-notch crew . Our goal is to ensure our customers enjoy their time on the water and make memories that last a lifetime.

Clients often ask us what fishing trip is the best to book on their family vacation. We usually ask them what their goals are first, as fishing in the Florida Keys provides us with multiple options year-round.

Yellowtail Snapper

Yellowtail Snapper caught on a three hour trip last week.

Reef Fishing

One suggestion we often make is Reef fishing. The Florida Keys has one of the largest natural reefs in the world, teeming with fish. The water is stunning, and the fishing, especially during winter, is incredible.

We offer 3 and 4 Hour Reef Fishing trips. Reef fishing trips are the most popular for a couple of reasons. First off, the reef is relatively close to shore, and it’s a quick ride to get out fishing and a short ride back.

Fishing on the reef in the Florida Keys not only provides constant action but it also provides a natural aquarium. While fishing on a reef trip, you can expect to see dozens of species beside the boat. Of all these species we target, the best eating and the hardest fighting ones.

We use light fishing tackle which provides not only a great fight for young children, but adults as well. The fish you can keep on the reef is usually plenty to feed you and your family throughout your stay. Local restaurants here in Marathon will cook your catch for you. We encourage folks only to keep what they eat and release the rest of the fish they catch.

If you want to take some home, we have many companies in town that will flash freeze and vacuum seal your fresh fish. They will then ship it to your home any day that you specify.

Mutton Snapper

This young man caught this Mutton Snapper on the reef.

Wreck Fishing

The second most popular trip we recommend is wreck fishing or a Reef and Wreck Combination trip. This six-hour trip is best for families comfortable staying on the boat longer and wanting to target some larger fish. The trip starts fishing on the reef, as described above. The goal is that everyone on the boat will get their hands on a rod and catch fish at some point. They will get to take photos with their fish and then keep or release it. Regardless of the goal, the photos, the smiles, and the memories spent with the family are most important.

Once everyone on board has had their share of fun catching fish on the reef, we will move to the deeper water to wreck fish. Most of the sunken wrecks we fish start in 135 feet and will go as deep as 300 feet. For this type of fishing, we use fewer fishing rods and maneuver the boat around the wreck to perfectly position our fishing rods and presentation.

And once we hook a fish on the wreck, everyone on the boat will know it. The drag screams while the fish is peeling out line. The adrenaline goes through the roof, and the fight is on. Our job is to maneuver the boat and provide instructions to assist with fighting and landing a huge fish.

Because wreck fishing takes patience and endurance, we often recommend shorter reef fishing trips to families with small children.

Wreck Fishing Charters

Mom caught this mutton snapper on a sunken wreck.

Offshore Fishing

We also offer offshore trips during the winter time, such as for sailfish and tuna. When it comes to family fishing trips this style of fishing is less popular than our reef and wreck fishing charters in winter because they typically produce less fish. However, the payoff is terrific when those types of trips are successful. If you have older children, or patient ones, offshore could still be a good option.

Another reason why we do not run as many offshore fishing trips in the fall and winter is simply because the offshore fish are in close and they will sometimes swim right up to our boats on the reef! We have caught sailfish, tuna, mahi, kingfish and mackerel all while on anchor in the fall and winter.

These tunas were caught offshore three days ago on the first day of Autumn.

What You Can Catch

Below is a list of some fish you can expect to catch on the reef and the wrecks. There are plenty more, but these are the most common. If you do not recognize some of them, we encourage giving them a search and learning a little about them before your trip. It can enhance the experience even further!

  • African Pompano

  • Amberjack

  • Blue Runner

  • Grouper (black/red)

  • Grunt

  • Jack Crevalle

  • Lane Snapper

  • Mackerel (king/spanish/cero)

  • Mangrove Snapper

  • Mutton Snapper

  • Sailfish

  • Yellowtail Snapper

Family Fishing Trip

Fishing on the Reef is a great way to catch some dinner while you have fun.

What You Should Bring

When you fish with us, we provide water, ice, a safe boat, and a professional, experienced crew. We always recommend bringing some beverages, even though we have plenty of water and ice; the more drinks, the better. A towel and sunscreen is also advisable. We ask our clients not to bring glass bottles onto the boat for safety reasons.

To ensure you have a great time, we also recommend bringing a positive attitude and trusting that our advice is sound and our techniques have been perfected over the years. Good music, great people, and, even more importantly, family time is the real goal.

It is common for the children to thank us when we return to the dock, which warms our hearts. After graciously accepting their thanks, we usually remind them to thank their parents, grandparents, or whoever arranged the fishing trip for them.

We understand that fishing charters may seem costly, but fortunately, most folks understand what it costs to operate a safe, comfortable, and respectable five-star fishing charter business.

This young man proudly displaying one of the Mangrove Snappers that he caught.


We realize you may be overwhelmed with options for charter companies for your family, but doing your research is important. Feel free to read our hundreds of five star reviews and see why we think you should choose us. After all with us all you have to do is choose a boat and a fishing trip and we will handle the rest!

Thank you from all of us at Manicsportfishing Charters in Marathon, Florida. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and get to come out on the water and have a wonderful time. Visit our contact page for more details.

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