There is a long storied fly-fishing history attached to Florida and the Florida Keys. It is without a doubt the modern birthplace of saltwater fly-fishing in North America. Fly-fishing in The Keys was made famous by such legendary names as Ernest Hemingway, Billy Pate, Stu Apte, Jimmie Albright, Flip Pallot and Andy Mill.
The Florida Keys is a coral cay archipelago of some 130 islands extending 110 miles south of Miami’s Biscayne Bay in a southwestern arc ending at the uninhabited Dry Tortuga islands. The islands of The Keys are connected by a series of bridges and causeways. The southernmost inhabited area is Key West, which is a mere 90 miles from Cuba across the Bahamas Strait.
Islamorada is considered to be the sports fishing capital of the World. This is the home base for our incredible fly fishing guide.
I have been travelling to Florida annually for over 30 years. Throughout that time I have fished with countless fishing guides. Until now, I have struggled to find a guide that met the standards to be included in our guide collective. We expect our guides to be professionals. We wont endorse a guide unless they are courteous, safety conscious, honest, friendly, encouraging, inclusive of all skill levels, show exceptional fly fishing knowledge of the species and techniques. So when we finally had the good fortune of meeting Chris, we were overjoyed and immediately asked him to be part of our team.
Our Florida Keys Fly Fishing Guide is a young, energetic, professional full time-guide that takes his job seriously. He knows the flats and lagoons of The Keys as well as any guide that has polled the back country. He has been guiding in The Florida Keys for over 16 years. He has an intimate knowledge of the species, their food source, the best tides and the techniques required to provide his clients with an outstanding day of flats fishing. Professional guides require professional equipment. Chris trailers his Hells Bay Flats Boat from Miami to Key West to make sure that his clients have the best opportunity to target the species of their choice. When not guiding he is constantly on the water scouting the flats for changes in fish habitat, behaviours and searching out new locations.
Tarpon fishing has long been the reason why fly fishers travel to Florida. But south Florida and The Keys have many outstanding saltwater flats fishing species available. Bonefish, Permit, Snook and Redfish are all prime fly-fishing flats targets.
Tarpon are the giants of the flats. The Silver Kings, Poons, Megalops. They are the high flyers of the flats. Their long screaming runs, acrobatic leaps and mammoth size make them a species at the top of the saltwater fly-fishing food chain.
The Gulf coast, Atlantic coast and The Keys are renowned for the springtime migration of huge tarpon. The tarpon fishing in Florida is as good as any where in the world. The best thing about The Keys is that Tarpon live here year round. You don’t have to be here during the spring migration of thousands of fishermen from the north to have a chance at hooking a giant. During the spring, our guide prefers to avoid the crowds and target tarpon in remote locations or to target other species like bonefish and permit on flats away from the tarpon show. He is always thinking about providing the client with the best possible experience.
Equipment: 12wt Rod with floating line and ghost tip. Optional Clear Sink Tip. Leader: 30lb Fluorocarbon with 80lb bite Tippett. Flies: Chartreuse Tarpon Toad, Black Death.
Despite what you might have heard, Bonefish are alive and well and flourishing in South Florida. Perhaps not in the numbers of past generations but the bonefishing is with out a doubt on the rebound and there are still good numbers of bonefish to keep any fly fisher excited. The secret is to fish with a guide that has the knowledge and experience to know where the bonefish will be.
Equipment: 8wt Rod with floating Bonefish taper line. Leader: 10lb Fluorocarbon. Flies: Size 4 & 6 Gotchas, Tan & Pink Crazy Charlie's, EP Spawning Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp.
Permit, black tailed devils are the fish of saltwater fly fishers dreams. They are a finicky, spooky, annoying, frustrating species with a bad attitude. You can think that you have made the perfect cast, with the perfect fly, with the perfect strip to feeding fish and come up empty more times than your psyche is capable of coming back from. But we always come back. It’s an addiction without a 12-step program. Where is Dr. Phil when you need him?
If you are addicted to the pursuit, then you have come to the right place. The Florida Keys boasts some of the healthiest populations of Permit anywhere to satisfy your craving.
Equipment: 10wt Rod with floating Bonefish or Permit taper fly line. Leader: 16lb Fluorocarbon. Flies: Size 2 & 4 Crab patterns.
Florida Keys Seasons
January & February: Snook and Bonefish.
March: Snook and Bonefish. Tarpon start to arrive in Islamorada and Biscayne Bay.
April & May: Snook and Tarpon. Bonefish in Islamorada and Marathon areas.
June: Snook, Bonefish & Tarpon. Islamorada to Marathon.
July: Bonefish smaller Tarpon and Permit. Islamorada to Key West.
August: Bonefish smaller Tarpon and Permit. Big Pine Key to Key West.
September: Bonefish, smaller Tarpon and Permit. Islamorada to Key West
October 1st half: Snook, Tarpon and Jacks (mullet run). Islamorada.
Florida Keys Guide Rates:
Half Day $450.00 US (4hrs), ¾ Day $550.00 US (6hrs), Full Day $700.00 US (8hrs)
Louisiana Redfish Season
October 2nd half: Redfish, Black Drum. Cocodrie, Louisiana.
November & December: Redfish, Black Drum. Cocodrie, Louisiana.
Louisiana Guide Rates:
Cocodrie, Louisiana: Full Day $750.00 US
If you need help with accommodations just let us know. We can provide you with recommendations to meet any budget or level of luxury.
Florida is one of the most accessible fly-fishing destinations in the world. It is a safe and comfortable location where travellers know what to expect and can arrange the level of accommodations that suits your budget or tastes. The Florida Keys are a Tropical Caribbean style paradise where you can drink the water and eat the food without the fear of getting ill. Fly-fishing travel can be expensive. Expectations are always high. Months of planning should be rewarded. It’s refreshing to travel to a location where the experience and the guide exceeds all expectations.
Come to the Florida Keys for an amazing saltwater fly-fishing experience.