Great Outdoor Escapes: Cook Your Catch

I think we can all agree, the Florida Keys are a must-visit for any outdoorsman and their family. No one needs me to sit here and convince them that the Keys are worth visiting… the crystal-clear water, tropical climate, and world-class sportfishing/scuba diving/boating opportunities speak for themselves. And boy doesn’t that sound appealing as we endure through these last cold, wet, and dreary weeks of winter?

But what I can offer you is insight into a little gem you’re not going to want to miss on your trip to the Keys: that is, the beauty of restaurants that offer Cook-Your-Catch.

Starting at the very beginning… you’re going to have to go fishing. (A phrase that no outdoorsman is ever mad to hear). Whether you’re taking your own boat for an entire week on the water or chartering a half day trip… go with what works best for your travel situation and do what you need to do to catch the fish.

We let our guide know the goal was to put dinner on the plate and he put us on some Yellow Tail Snapper. This, however, did not come without paying the price of my first run-in with sea sickness. As I bobbed up-and-down-up-and-down, doing my best to keep my eyes on the horizon, I felt like I’d been initiated to the next level of the fisherman’s club. But none-the-less, the fish were caught, and the anticipation of the delicious dinner to come pulled me through.

With our catch filleted and bagged, it was time to kick back until dinner. This is where the beauty of the cook-your-catch restaurants really enhances a vacation. Cooking, cleaning, and prep work is replaced by a dip in the pool and nap in the hammock.

While many restaurants throughout the Keys offer to cook-your-catch, my family’s favorite is Lazy Days located in Islamorada at mile marker 79. With live music and a deck that overlooks the ocean and catches the island breeze… the atmosphere is just as pleasant as the food.

Lazy Days gives you a variety of options to choose from, as to how you’d like your fish cooked. Blackened, Coconut Fried, and Lazy Days style are just a few of my favorites. Coconut fried comes with a citrus marmalade glaze. While fried fish is smothered in garlic butter and parmesan cheese for Lazy Days style. With a sampler variety platter, there is sure to be a flavor for everyone in your party.

Just be prepared, this will be the largest platter you have ever had set down in front of you. You may think you can’t eat one more bite, but remember this final very very important detail. If you don’t finish your dinner with a piece of key lime pie, you’re doing your Florida Keys vacation all wrong.


Happy Travels, Bailey