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Key West

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2012/1/11 15:43
From Bucks County
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Has anyone done any fly fishing in the key's?

Looks like I am going to be spending some time in Duck, which is near Islamorada and Marathon, would love any recommendations on Fly Fishing guides/captains for Permit/Bonefish on the flats.


Thanks

Posted on: 2013/1/24 16:32


Re: Key West

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I've gone with this guide and would recommend but he's out of Key West.

http://www.keywestflatsangling.com/

Posted on: 2013/1/24 18:18


Re: Key West

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Mike Wilbur is probably the best if he is still guiding in Key West and he protege Pat Bratcher is a permit wizard. This time of year is mostly fishing for big barracuda on the flats, but I got lucky with a monster tarpon that was warming itself on the flats on the Atlantic side during a mild spell in February. Winter is also good for grouper and snapper on the edges of the channels between flats and big mullet snapper on the flats. Key west is famous for its monster cudas on the flats during the winter and you often see them 35 lbs. or better on the edges of the grass flats. Needle gar imitating flies with pale lime green backs work well. Be prepared to strip your ass off.

Most of the best permit, bonefish, and tarpon fishing I have done is in late May and June. Bone fishing is on the back country side and the middle keys like Islamorada are your best bet, but the back country side of key west can also yield some big bones in the 11 to 14 lb. range. I have had good luck with the new weighted crab flies and shrimp flies for bones and permit.

Posted on: 2013/1/24 19:58


Re: Key West

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This post borders on cruelty.

Posted on: 2013/1/25 7:42


Re: Key West
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There are countless guides in the Islamorada area, although I can't recommend any one in particular from personal experience. Among the best known guides in the middle Keys/Islamorada area would be Sandy Moret, Steve Huff, David Kreshpane, or George Hommell. You might contact World Class Angler in Marathon or Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada for more info. The big name guides tend to be booked far in advance but they can point in the right direction to get a good guide.
This is a redundant post, but here's my reply to a similar question recently:

I too would strongly recommend a guide. There are flats everywhere you look in the Keys.....unfortunately, most are too soft to wade. FFing in the Keys is mainly a boat game. There are some shore/wading spots, PM me and I'll refer to some of them although the ones I'm familiar with are up RT 1 rather than in the immediate KW area.
The good news is is that May is prime time! Many FFers head to the Keys in Dec-March and wind up disappointed as the flats glamor species can be very spotty during the cold months (although there's a ton of other fish available, esp if you're willing to use spin gear). May is during the prime tarpon run (call your guide ASAP as they can get booked up early during the tarpon run). Tackle and rigging is complex and depends on too much to discuss here unless you have very specific questions. Generally, for bonefish you'll want a 8 or 9WT with a disc drag and at least 100 yards of backing. Tarpon are generally fished with 10-12WT rods and 12s are usually recommended for beginners. Permit and a host of other critters can be chased with 9-10WT rods - these include jacks, cudas, snappers, cobia, small sharks, mackerel etc. Floating lines are typical and bonefish flies are generally big and heavy in the Keys.
FFing in the Keys is difficult and I'd recommend you go with an open mind. Even the schools of mangrove snappers ("mangos" as locals call 'em) that swarm under every dock can be hard to feed a fly. If you really want to catch fish, bait and spin gear will open a heckuva lot more opportunities. A guide I'd recommend (I think he still guides out of KW) would be John Smouse. He guided me to my first permit in May 2008.
Good luck.

Posted on: 2013/1/25 8:24


Re: Key West

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On the Florida Bay side you have to be aware of big bull sharks at all times, so most guides don't want you wading.

Posted on: 2013/1/25 8:35
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Re: Key West

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2011/11/5 14:27
From MidAtlantic
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A good hat and mirrored dark high-contrast fishing sun glasses are also key on the flats. It can be very frustrating if you can't see the fish. Many flats fish are silver with mirror like sides that reflect their enviroment so you generally only see the line of their backs or tails. You need to train your eyes to look for water pushes, tails, backs, and other disturbences on the surface. Mullet snappers and permit will sometimes follow rays as the work their way across the flats. Be ready to cast behind any rays you see. It is best to determine what direction the fish are moving and cast well ahead of them and move they fly into their path . Moving a fly towards a fish from the back or the side will often spook them. Prey species don't attack the fish hunting them.

Posted on: 2013/1/25 8:47


Re: Key West

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2006/9/10 16:07
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I'd say the guys above have covered a lot of it, but let me emphasize this:

Quote:

Chaz wrote:
On the Florida Bay side you have to be aware of big bull sharks at all times, so most guides don't want you wading.


I'm not generally a shark fearing dude, but it is amazing how shallow you can find bulls in the keys. My buddy and I were grilling up some pompano and Spanish mackerel one afternoon out by the dock and he looks at me and says "Dude, look at that". I turned my head in time to see a six foot bull in about 3 feet of water four feet from the shore. It had been windy that week and the water on the bay side was cloudy. We had definitely been swimming there an hour before. Kinda gave me the heebie jeebies. I'll only get in the water if it's crystal clear after that. I'm pretty white, and still was, even after a week in the keys. I probably looked like a big fat school of poorly swimming lady fish in that cloudy water.

As far as guides go, I really learned a lot from this guy. I've only ever hired a few guides in my life, but this dude is in a league of his own.

One thing I would recommend, and it isn't exactly fly fishing, but was some of the most fun we had in all our years down there. Try to find some night access (we only stayed on places on the bay side with docks or canals), take a dip net and a flashlight. Shrimp eyes shine like deer. One of us would hunt shrimp (some years there's no hunting at all, they are everywhere, although this turns off a bit around March or April, but there are still some), we would then use our shrimp to catch lady fish. We would toss our lady fish to our heavy rod guy, who had basically a tuna stick and would semi filet the lady fish and drop it in. We hooked a ton of big stuff, although we mostly only landed nurse sharks, some of them were 5-6 feet long. We also lost a decent amount of 50 lb test. We still talk about some of those epic runs into the darkness.

In case you can't tell btw, I'm a bit jealous, as it's been a few years since I've been down. I wish you the best of luck. Please post a report!

Boyer

Posted on: 2013/1/25 9:29


Re: Key West

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2012/1/11 15:43
From Bucks County
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@Nimrod and Longwader - Thank you for the suggestions I will look in to both of them.

@Chaz, we doa guys trip down there every year, got a crazy video of a big shark being caught in like six feet of water.

@fishidiot - The very reason I asked for personal experiences is because there are countless numbers of guide boats.
Maybe I have written my post incorrectly but what I was looking for came from @Nimrod and @Longwader someone that had experience recently with a captain that had a good trip.

I am not sure why this type of post would be inappropriate for a forum since it's labeled "Fishing Locations" then I apologize.

Posted on: 2013/1/25 9:37


Re: Key West

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2012/1/11 15:43
From Bucks County
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Osprey,

I'l be sure to post a few pictures and make sure it's cruelty.

LOL

Posted on: 2013/1/25 9:38


Re: Key West

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2007/10/17 10:49
From florida
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Try the Florida Sportsman web site. The folks at Bud and Marys Marina would be a good source of guide recommendations. GG

Posted on: 2013/1/26 10:31
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Re: Key West
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2006/9/9 17:32
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Quote:

sroach wrote:
Has anyone done any fly fishing in the key's?

Looks like I am going to be spending some time in Duck, which is near Islamorada and Marathon, would love any recommendations on Fly Fishing guides/captains for Permit/Bonefish on the flats.
Thanks


sroach,
You asked for recommendations on guides. There's some confusion here because your title says "Key West" but your thread says Duck Key. Duck/Marathon/Islamorade are the "Middle Keys" and Key West is about 50 miles away from Duck. The guides recommended by Longwader and Nimrod are located out of Key West. This is a long distance away from Duck. Some guides will trailer a boat up and down the Keys (the Keys are 120 miles in length) but generally Keys guides work out of specific marinas. If you want to hire a Key West guide, you'll probably need to drive to Key West.
You didn't mention that you wanted recommendations of guides with whom we had personal experience.

Just trying to help.

Posted on: 2013/1/26 10:43


Re: Key West

Joined:
2012/1/11 15:43
From Bucks County
Posts: 157
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Matt,

That sounds insane, nurse sharks at night must be a lot of fun.

Thanks for the link for Capt Bryant.

Posted on: 2013/1/26 12:51


Re: Key West

Joined:
2013/1/15 12:02
From Pipersville Pa.
Posts: 547
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Sroach, I have fly fished the Keys for 36 years. Literally have caught hundreds of Tarpon, bonefish, a few permit. I have fished from Key Largo to Key West. Also I see you are from Bucks county. I am also, Pipersville. I would be happy to give you some pointers. And also a few places to wade for great bonefishing.

gencon

Posted on: 2013/1/26 16:03


Re: Key West

Joined:
2012/1/11 15:43
From Bucks County
Posts: 157
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Gencon,

Thanks, I'll take all the info I can get. Also, we should hook some type to fish local.

Posted on: 2013/1/27 15:19



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