Hawks Cay
Fishing Packages

Florida Keys, USA
Offshore and flats fishing


With direct access to some of the richest fishing grounds in the world, our sportfishing charters offer the premier Florida Keys offshore fishing experience. Within minutes of stepping aboard one of our top-notch vessels you will be fishing clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean for trophy game fish, hard-fighting bottom dwellers, and delectable table fare species.

Whether you’re vacationing in the Florida Keys with your family and just want to venture out for a fun day at sea, or are on a non-stop fishing adventure with your friends and seek constant rod-bending action, our locally-respected captains and crews will go out of their way to ensure you catch fish, and have a great time while doing so. From "dinner and a show" half-day trips, where we take you to the reef to catch fish for the table and then offshore to pursue the biog trophies; to full-day swordfishing excursions out to the ledge, we’ll be happy to customize your trip to the style of fishing you wish to accomplish, and the types of species you desire to catch.

Our location - Hawks Cay Florida Keys 


Midway down the Florida Keys, there’s an island called Duck Key. It’s small. Secluded. Yet central to Miami and Key West, and easy to reach by car, boat or plane. Duck Key has a few distinguishing Florida Keys vacation features: Aquamarine water all around. Glorious sunrises and sunsets. An island sensibility that lulls you to relax – unless you want to fish first! All of this and more awaits you at Hawks Cay!

Our offshore fishing

Reel in marlin, sailfish & swordfish at Hawks Cay

The Florida Keys haven’t always been a destination for big game fishing. For decades, Florida Keys fishing guides never ventured too far from the near shore reefs. But then Ernest Hemingway came along and changed how people went fishing in the keys. Papa, as the author came to be called, discovered the blue-water bill fishery by accident. Legend has it that Hemingway liked to run his boat Pilar to Havana where he had a lady friend. Every time the author crossed the Gulf Stream, the author hooked his share of marlin, sailfish and Tuna in an area called The Humps.

These seamounts, or underwater mountains, rise more than a thousand feet off the ocean floor, triggering a natural upwelling of nutrient-rich seawater, than in turn attracts baitfish, and baitfish attract BIG FISH!

Without The Humps, blue-water fishing in The Keys would not be the same. The underwater topography is what makes this region ground zero for marlin, sailfish and tuna, mainstays for many Florida Keys outfitters. The captains who work out of Hawks Cay on Duck Key get their share of purists who head south just to catch billfish. But anglers typically catch other species, including tuna and mahi mahi, on most marlin and sailfish trips.

Most blue-water hunters will target the true superstar of the Florida Keys, the legendary blue marlin. This open-ocean predator is a deep-sea hunter known for its epic trans-Atlantic migrations. The best time to target these monsters is during the spring and summer months, and unlike their cousins, the swordfish, blue marlin hunt primarily during the day, using their long, sharp bill to slice through schools of fish.

Anglers who target marlin should expect a fight. Most fish take four to six hours to land. And there are some real behemoths out there. The Florida record tipped the scales at 1046 pounds.

Many Florida Keys fishing charters target sailfish, another offshore species found in the Gulf Stream beyond the 100 fathom line. A fast-growing species, sailfish can reach a length of four feet in less than a year.

Sailfish move inshore during the summer months, but peak fishing season is usually in winter and early spring, when the water is a little cooler. The typical fish is in the 60 -to 80-pound range. The state record, a 126 pounder, was caught near Big Pine Key.

Rounding out the big three of big game fishing in the Florida Keys is the mighty swordfish. Swordfish are masters of the darkness, sometimes caught at depths up to 2,000 feet. Most fish are caught at night, however in recent years, many charter boat captains have been fishing for these fantastic sport fish during the day.The 612-pound state Florida state record was caught near Key Largo.

Our Flats fishing

Bonefish, permit, snook, tarpon, redfish, trout, sharks and others

We love the challenge of stalking the flats for bonefish and permit, and running into the backcountry waters of Florida Bay to catch snook, redfish, speckled trout, sharks and more. Whether it’s time to catch a tarpon, or you wish to target one of the other many challenging inshore game fish that we offer here in the Keys, we are honored to have you as our guests.

Bonefishing and Permit in the Florida Keys

Out in the Florida flats, bonefishing is a unique challenge

Some say that bonefish, Albula vulpes, can outrun any fish in the ocean. These torpedo-shaped masses of muscle can cover 100 yards in the blink of an eye leaving even the most experienced anglers asking what went wrong.

Are you up for the challenge? Even masters can be humbled by the mighty bonefish... That’s why the world’s top sportsman fishing in the keys put this species at the top of their must do list. 

Bonefish are typically found in clear water less than one foot deep, which makes for a unique challenge stalking them. Bonefish have only one means of defense – speed. They are a favorite prey of both sharks and barracuda which makes this inshore species exceptionally skittish, especially in shallow water.

The preferred method is to pole a flats skiff across a flat with the angler stationed on the bow. Bonefish like to root around for food, kicking their tails up out of the water, hence the term “tailing bonefish.” When the guide spots a bonefish, the order to fire is give – one o’clock at 50 feet. Hopefully the bait, which can be everything from a live crab to an artificial fly, will land in the path of the fish.

The average size of the bonefish caught in the Keys is 3 to 5 pounds but fish weighing 10 pounds or more have been caught in local waters. In fact, a 16 pound 3 ounce monster was once landed near Islamorada, setting a new state record for bonefishing.

Peak bonefish season is runs March through October. Many anglers who want to catch a bonefish try to tie their trip into snook season, which runs pretty much year round, thanks to good weather and virtually unlimited number of sheltered fishing spots.

In April 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made bonefish a catch-and-release fishery, eliminating the long-standing one-fish bag limit. A recent study conducted by biologists at the University of Miami estimated the single bonefish in the Florida Keys contributes about $3,500 to the local economy each year. That's nearly $75,000 over the lifespan of the average bonefish. 

Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys


Tarpon can be found in the temperate and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. These fish are prolific swimmers; fish tagged in Florida were later found as far away as Louisiana and South Carolina. This species is also unique among sport fish because they can "roll" on the surface, "gulp air" and subsequently travel far into stagnant, brackish waters with little oxygen.

Tarpon, thick-bodied monsters with mouths like 5-gallon buckets, are known for their fighting prowess and jumping ability. The Keys and Florida bay, one of the state’s last great unspoiled estuaries, has long been synonymous with the "silver king" of gamefish, Megalops atlanticus.

Tarpon are scavengers and will eat just about anything. Despite their large size, they feed on surprisingly small organisms, including mullet, ladyfish, pinfish, grunts, crabs, threadfin herring, scaled sardines and even catfish. Anglers can cast live bait at schools of tarpon as they swim a few hundred yards off the beach. The fish sometimes travel in pods of 100 or more. Small groups are often observed swimming in circles, or "daisy chaining," a courtship ritual.

Tarpon anglers search for these schools and try to lay their baits ahead of the pod. The small schools are notoriously skittish, and as a result, there is a strict code of conduct among tarpon fisherman: If a boat is casting to a pod of fish, an approaching fishing boat moves quietly down the beach and awaits its turn.

In 1989, the state began charging anglers $50 for the right to kill and keep a tarpon, a trophy fish most people consider unsuitable for the dinner table. Prior to the passage of the "tarpon tag" law, anglers killed about 2,000 fish a year. Today, the state sells 300 to 400 tarpon tags annually, and about half of those are actually used by anglers.

Tarpon, thick-bodied monsters with mouths like 5-gallon buckets, are known for their fighting prowess and jumping ability. But for their large size (up to 8 feet and 280 pounds) and voracious appetite, tarpon are relatively light feeders and prey upon small fish and tiny crabs flushed from the big bay on an outgoing tide.

Tarpon can only be fished recreationally in Florida. The majority of recreational anglers practice catch and release since the fish is not considered to be of any food value. However, anglers can possess them for trophy purposes at the cost of a special permit. Limit-two per day.

Female tarpon are the larger of the species and can achieve lengths of 8 feet and weigh more than 350 pounds. Biologists believe some tarpon may live to be 60 years old. The largest tarpon on record was caught in 2003 off the coast of Africa and tipped the scales at 286 pounds. The largest tarpon caught in Florida weighed 243 pounds.

Tarpon can grow to 8 feet and weigh 280 pounds. They are found throughout the estuaries and coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea and in the eastern Atlantic as far north as Nova Scotia.

The migratory habits of this species, sought by sportsmen on Florida's west coast since the 1880s, have been the subject of much discussion. For decades, anglers knew tarpon gathered during the summer in places such as Boca Grande Pass to feed. Where they went afterward was anybody's guess. So far, anglers have taken DNA samples from about 13,000 tarpon, including about 4,000 last year.

Snook Fishing in the Keys

How to catch snook during snook season in Florida

The first thing you learn fishing in the keys is that a successful snook fisherman must be smart, skillful, patient and above all persistent. Every angler wants to land a lunker, but a trophy specimen of the species Centropomus undecimalis, can be particularly elusive.

Snook are easily identified by the black lateral line running from gill to tail, which is why veteran anglers often call them linesiders. The common snook, largest of the four species found in Florida waters (the other three are the sword-spined snook, fat snook and tarpon snook), is prized for its fighting ability and as table fare. This silvery green fish is easily identified by the black lateral line running from gill to tail which is why veteran anglers often call them "linesiders". Anglers armed with a little local knowledge cane head off on their own, but the chances of success are much higher if they contact one of the more reputable Florida Keys outfitters such as those found at the Hawks Cay.

If you go, be prepared for non-stop action. Snook feed when the water is moving. The reason is simple: An outgoing tide flushes baitfish off the grass flats. Snook, like most predators, try to expend as little energy possible in pursuit of prey. They let the tide do the work.

Many anglers compare snook to largemouth bass because both species are structure-oriented and often lurk along shadowlines and dropoffs to ambush prey. Snook are notorious tackle busters, like tarpon, and if timed right, both species can be caught on the same trip.

While snook can be kept certain times of the year, most conservation-minded anglers practice catch and release. Studies show that 98 percent of snook survive after they are returned to the wild. Anglers can help insure the survival of this prized sportfish by setting the hook quickly so the fish does not swallow the bait. If possible, keep the snook in the water and use a pair of pliers to remove the hook. Barbless hooks simplify the process. Handle the fish as little as possible to increase its chance of survival.

If you want to take a photo to show the folks back home, do so as quickly as possible. There is no greater thrill than fighting a big snook then watching it swim away unharmed.

DUCK KEY (Hawks Cay) FISHING Overview

No matter if you're an old salt or have never cast a line into the ocean before, Duck Key has a collection of  wonderful species of fish.

florida11.jpgOffshore Fishing: Duck Key offshore fishing charters take you out to the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean where you'll pursue trophy game fish such as swordfish, marlin, sailfish, dolphin (mahi mahi), tuna, wahoo, and more.

florida13.jpgReef Fishing: Located just a few miles from Duck Key, the Florida Keys coral reef is home to snapper, grouper, mackerel, sailfish, cobia, jacks, and sharks—just to name a few species. You never know what you might catch on your Duck Key reef fishing charter!   

florida14.jpgTarpon Trips: Duck Key is within casting distance of three of the Florida Keys best tarpon bridges. There's nothing quite like hooking a hundred-pound tarpon and watching him soar through the air as the Florida Keys sun sets in the background. (Seasonal)  

florida15.jpgFlats Fishing: Presidents, athletes, celebrities, and professional anglers alike have all journeyed to the islands in search of the elusive "gray ghost," the Florida Keys bonefish. Stalk the flats with your guide and site cast to bonefish, as well as permit, tarpon, redfish, barracudas, and sharks.

florida16.jpgBackcountry Fishing: Duck Key is just a short boat ride from the fishy waters of Everglades National Park, commonly referred to as the "backcountry." Fun for all skill levels, backcountry fishing offers a chance to catch tarpon, snook, redfish, speckled trout, sharks, jacks, and more.

Our lodges:

3 Bedrooms/2.5 bath
fully furnished lodges

Our 3 bed, 2 ½ bath Florida Keys units offer extended living and dining areas to accommodate families and large groups. Each unit sleeps up to 8 people.  1,320 square feet. Two-story vacation rental with complete kitchen, two outdoor terraces, full kitchen, a queen bed in the master, two queen beds in the second bedrooms, and a queen bed in the third bedroom. Our lodges are located in Marina Village.


  • Linens and towels stocked prior to your arrival
  • Full kitchen with coffee maker, toaster and blender
  • Separate dining area
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Washer and dryer
  • Private parking

Village Highlights:

  • Laid-back seaside  
  • Close to marina boat slips
  • Private decks or screened lanais
  • Waterfront promenade to take a stroll and get ice cream
  • Centrally located between all Duck Key restaurants and attractions
  • Tropical décor and furnishings

Close to:

  • Hawks Cay Marina & Dockside Store
  • Dolphin Connection
  • Alma and Beach Grill Restaurants
  • Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center
  • Charter Fishing Boat, Dive Boat, Watersports
  • Harbor House Restaurant

Our offshore boats

50 ft Viking

The Tailwalker II is a smooth-riding 50’ Viking that is designed for the ultimate VIP Florida Keys fishing experience. The Tailwalker II is equipped with satellite TV, air-conditioned cabin, tuna tower, tournament tackle, full head, and more. Throw in the experience and sportfishing skills of Captain Scott Walker, and your group is guaranteed to have a wonderful day on the water.

Eagle Eye 26’ Regulator
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Known for its smooth and comfortable ride, the 26’ Regulator Eagle Eye is the Cadillac of the open fishermen.

It handles all sea conditions extremely well, with minimal rocking and pitching in the waves, and is powered by twin 225 four-stroke Yamahas that get you where you’re going fast and quietly.

The Eagle Eye is decked out with top-of-the-line tackle and electronics, and features two live wells, a tee-top for shade and an onboard head (restroom).

The Eagle Eye has the speed and versatility to fish 30 miles offshore in the Atlantic one day, and venture 40 miles to fish the far Gulf wrecks the next.

The Eagle Eye can accommodate up to four anglers.

Our flats boats

21’ center console bimini top flats running boats with 175+HP outboards

Soc Et Tu Um
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The drag-screaming run of a bonefish racing across a shallow grass flat; the fantastic aerial display of a tarpon leaping from the water to try and shake your hook free; the satisfaction of finally landing your first elusive permit on fly. These are just a few of the thrills you’ll experience while shallow water fishing in the Florida Keys.

Hello, I’m Captain Billy Whitney, and for nearly 20 years I’ve specialized in fly and light tackle fishing in the calm, clear waters of the Florida Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Whether you’re a begining angler or an expert with the fly rod, join me for a memorable day on the flats or in the backcountry as we hunt for tarpon, bonefish, permit, snook, redfish and more!

The Soc-et-tu-em is a fast, spacious 20-foot custom skiff that is equipped with poling platform, built-in cooler*, modern electronics, top-of-the-line fly and spinning tackle and much more.

Tarpon Time
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Hello, I’m Captain Jeff Malone, and welcome aboard the Tarpon Time at Hawks Cay . As my boat name suggests, I have a tremendous passion for catching fishing’s greatest prize-large Florida Keys tarpon. In all my years of fishing in the Keys I’ve discovered that few thrills compare to making the perfect cast, then watching anxiously as a 100-pound tarpon engulfs your fly or bait and begins his drag-screaming run and high-flying acrobatics.

In addition to tarpon fishing, I offer a variety of styles of fishing using both fly and spinning tackle. One of my favorite activities is to take kids out to bend the rod on snapper, jacks and barracudas, and to help them get better acquainted with the basic saltwater fishing techniques in the process. I also love the challenge of stalking the flats for bonefish and permit, and running into the backcountry waters of Florida Bay to catch snook, redfish, speckled trout, sharks and more.

Whether it’s time to catch a tarpon, or you wish to target one of the other many challenging inshore game fish that we offer here in the Keys, I am honored to have you as my guests aboard the Tarpon Time and look forward to sharing with you the ultimate Florida Keys shallow water fishing experience.

The Tarpon Time is a 21ft Egret Moccasin with a 175hp 4 stroke Suzuki engine. It is a great boat for fishing in skinny water, and for anchoring up around bridges and in Florida Bay. It is fast, comfortable and stable, and because it rocks very little you never need worry about getting seasick.

The Tarpon Time has a poling platform, ample bow space to make your casts from, and is equipped with first-class fly and spinning tackle and gear.

Im Hooked

Whether it’s fishing the Duck Key flats for prized permit and bonefish; spending an exciting day in the backcountry catching tarpon, redfish, and snook; or just enjoying an afternoon on the water bending the rod with your family and friends, the Florida Keys offer an unrivaled inshore fishery for all ages and skill levels to enjoy.

I’m Hooked flats and backcountry fishing charters specialize in fly and light tackle fishing, and use only the highest quality fly and spinning gear. Just tell me what you want to fish for, and I’ll do my best to help you land your fish of a lifetime!

Hi, I’m Captain Joel Tomlinson of I’m Hooked  here at Hawks Cay . I was born in Owosso, Michigan and grew up in a tight-knit family where fishing and hunting played a big role in my life. I owe much gratitude to my uncles for taking me along on their many outdoor excursions and educating me on what I have based my career on today—my love and passion for the water.

After serving in the United States Army and overseas in Iraq, I was ready for a much needed vacation. My father and I set off for the Florida Keys for a weeklong getaway, and now that vacation has been extended into a seven-year permanent residence.  Even though I’m not a true born “conch,” my love for the water and for life in paradise makes me one at heart.

Over the years I’ve fished with and learned from some of the best captains in the world. I spent three years guiding with Saltwater Experience, and have competed in many local fishing tournaments, including the Swamps Guide Ball and IGFA Redbone Series events.

Interested in free range, fair chase big game hunting & wingshooting? Visit:

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"Anglers who target marlin should expect a fight. Most fish take four to six hours to land. The Florida record tipped the scales at 1,046 pounds!"

Inshore Species
Bonefish, Permit, Snook, Grouper & Tarpon

Offshore Species
Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Dorado, Swordfish, Cobia, Tuna, Mahi Mahi


  • Offshore Fishing package aboard our 50’ Viking including 4 nights and 3 days fishing:

2 guests: $6700 per person
4 guests: $4100 per person
6 guests: $3235 per person


Offshore fishing aboard our 26’ Regulator  including 4 nights and 3 days fishing:

2 guests: $4950 per person
4 guests: $3275 per person


Flats Fishing package for Bonefish, Permit and others aboard Soc-et-to-em, Tarpon Time and Im Hooked including 4 nights and 3 days fishing:

2 guests: $4375 per person
4 guests: $2975 per person



Packages include:

- Boats, captains, deckhands for 3 full days fishing
- Tackle and bait, drinks on boats
- Lodging on premises in our 4 star lodge for 4 nights
- 3 meals per day
- Open bar in lodge 4 days