Capt. Scott Collins, Florida Keys Fly Fishing

Flats & Fly Fishing the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is known as the “Major Leagues” of sight fishing with fly and spin. Nowhere else are tarpon, bonefish, and permit found in greater abundance or size.

Anglers the world over travel to pursue the species that frequent the shallow waters of the Keys. Prime times exist for each species, but all can be successfully pursued nearly every month of the year.

Fishing the flats is more akin to "stalking" or “hunting," as the guide quietly poles boat and angler across the shallow flats in search of feeding fish. A successful hunt requires a team effort of stalking the fish, correctly positioning the boat, making the cast, and feeding the animal. It’s an extremely rewarding experience for both the angler and guide when this process comes to fruition, made even more so with the release of the quarry. The perpetual pursuit of the successful hunt beckons anglers back year after year in hopes of reaching this pinnacle of fishing success. Though not successful every time out, the pursuit of wild fish in natural surroundings has its own rewards.

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What You Need to Know to be Successful

Experienced Florida Keys anglers would tell you that the most important key to fishing success will yield the same answer: having the right guide.

If an angler would like to pursue Tarpon, Bonefish, & Permit in the shallows, having a patient, experienced and hard working guide is a must. Weather and tides change daily, and fish react and follow different patterns as a result. Guides who have spent years on the water chasing these fish understand these factors and adjust their methods accordingly.

Ask any of the top Keys guides what the most important factor to angler success is and they will all give the same answer: the ability to cast a reasonable distance, quickly and accurately. This can not be stressed enough. Practice prior to your trip. If you wish to use your own tackle, make sure it is well suited for the quarry and in tip-top condition. And don’t forget the personal items! A dark brimmed hat, quality polarized sunglasses, sunscreen and non marking shoes are essential.

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