Shallow water flats and fly fishing for tarpon, bonefish and permit
Key West is well known for it's fishing opportunities. Saltwater fly fishing has become so popular in the last decade and for obvious reasons - - the pursuit of fish with a fly is really something addictive. Once you land your first fish on fly here in the Keys, you've done something great and the memory of that fish will last a lifetime.
Updated fishing reports for the flats
Fishing in the Lower Keys - Winter Fishing 2013
Winter fishing in the Keys can be the most fun especially now that we have the option to go offshore on calmer days in a 24' Yellowfin bay boat. The tuna bite has been really good lately and last week I had the pleasure of watching my mom, Beryl Rea, catch her first blackfin tuna on fly. Not only did she catch her first tuna, it was 26- pounds! One of the fattest tuna I've seen this season. We've also done some snapper fishing on shallow wrecks and patch reefs. It's been a great alternative when the days are right and we can add one more angler which makes it fun to take a family out for a day on the water.
The flats has also been a good place to be these days. Our weather has been warm so the permit have been on the hunt. A good cold front would be nice just to get more of our winter-time fish up on the flats. This time of the year is terrific for barracuda. We have a fun barracuda tournament coming up on February 1st and 2nd. Winners enjoy a sizable bar tab at Hurricane Hole Bar & Grill plus many other great prizes, trophies and gift certificates.
Check it out at www.cudabowl.com
A special thanks to Yeti Coolers for the best cooler on the planet that now sits on my skiff ready to keep our meals and beer cold for all eternity.
For more information on fishing please email us or call 305-744-0903.
Featured Articles & Televison
"Getting Guided" on the Sportsman Channel. A new series featuring Capt. Justin Rea, Lance Gleason of 406 Productions and Mike Ward of Adipose Boats. The series shows you fishing in salt and fresh water through the eyes of a fishing guide.
Capt. Justin Rea was featured on "The New Fly Fisher" television show in two seperate episodes about winter fishing in the Keys. The Season Four episodes 420 & 422 show fly fishing in the Keys. Look on their website for more details on when it will air in your area.
Collier & Rea win 2008 & 2009 Super Fly - read more...
Rea & Greg VIncent of H2O Bahamas place second in the 2010 Del Brown Invitational Permit Tournament
Rea & Greg VIncent of H2O Bahamas win 2011 Del Brown Invitational Permit Tournament. Vincent caught the only permit in the tournament on the last day of fishing.
Collier & Rea win 2012 Super Fly
William Collier & Rea win Fly Division of the Redbone S.L.A.M. in Key West.
Fighting the 'Silver King' in shallow water
Fly anglers flock to the Keys each year for a shot at hooking (and maybe landing) a tarpon on a fly rod. The tarpon, referred to as the Silver King, provides gill-rattling jumps and long reel screaming runs. Feeding a tarpon a fly is not only exhilirating for the angler, but equally as exciting for the guide to see. Tarpon do have a season in Key West. Generally the migration is from April through June. Don't rule out any other month of the year though, tarpon can be found here year-round and depending on the weather can be actively fished for on the flats from February through November.
Key West Tarpon Fishing 2011
Don't wait until January, book your trip now for 2011 tarpon season. Inquire about booking a charter for Tarpon Season in Key West.
Shallow flats surround the Florida Keys and give fish like tarpon, bonefish and permit a healthy environment to feed with each rise and fall of the tide. Fishing for these prized species along with large barracuda, jacks, sharks, cobia, and mutton snapper present so many opportunities all within the serenity of a shallow pristine flat. We fish for these species by sight casting with live bait, plug or artificial lure and also with a fly.
Key West Permit Fishing
The ultimate in saltwater fly fishing
Permit are one of the most elusive gamefish on the flats. Their body shaped like a dinner plate gives them ultimate fighting power with the leverage of their body against the pull of a fishing line. Permit are found in larger numbers in the Lower Keys, Key West and Marquesas area. They can often be found tailing in shallow water on a calm day but this can also be the most difficult time to fish for them. Many guides prefer a little wind to help them get the boat closer to the fish without spooking him.
Bonefishing in the Florida Keys
The grey ghost of the flats
Bonefish are also found in the Key West area. Unlike our counterparts in Belize or the Bahamas, our fish tend to be larger. The average bonefish here in the Keys is 4-6 pounds with larger fish over ten pounds available.
Toothy creatures of the flats
Barracuda are a well known both on the flats and offshore for being "toothy' creatures. The barracuda will strike very aggressively and make mad runs sometimes jumping completely out of the water.
Many species roam the flats
Sharks are spectacular on the flats. There is nothing like seeing a bull shark pushing water on a flat while half his body is out of the water! There are many species of sharks that populate the flats around Key West.
Hard fighting jacks on fly
Jacks are fun and hard fighting fish. When they are schooled up, they can be easier to catch on fly. A plug or jig works well too. They range from a few pounds up to 15 pounds and can be found in deeper channels between flats or following a sting ray.
Lower Keys backcountry flats
Sugarloaf Marina is one of our launching points. Tarpon, bonefish and permit are all accessible from Sugarloaf Key by flats skiff. This area has intricate mangrove islands and vast sand flats.
Harbor flats and Lakes Passage
Key West Harbor has many adjoining flats and channels that are home to tarpon. The Lakes Passage offers shallow water grass flats that are perfect for permit fishing.
Florida Keys atoll
Twenty two miles from Key West are the Marquesas Keys. This atoll is teeming with fish. This sanctuary is host to many flats and hold all types of shallow water species.
Flies for tarpon, bonefish & permit
View the gallery of saltwater flies tied step-by-step for many of the saltwater flats fish including tarpon, bonefish, permit, cobia and sharks.
What's biting this week...
Read up on what's biting on the flats and offshore in this report.
Rates & Reservations
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