Fly Fishing For Tarpon In The Keys

Last spring the boys and I headed down to the Florida keys to do some fly-fishing. We decided that tarpon was our first priority and that is what we would be targeting for the entire week. Let me tell you folks, fly-fishing for tarpon in the keys is no joke.

Why Tarpon?

Tarpon

Why tarpon? well first off it would be cool to catch one of these brutes on a fly rod don’t you think? Tarpon are prehistoric fish that can live in excess of 50 years. With this life span its not hard to see them from 30 lbs up to and exceeding 300 lbs. Tarpon are aggressive eaters and when hooked put up an amazing fight they are known for their acrobatic leaps and blistering runs. Sounds like fun if you are lucky enough to catch one right? Check out the video at the bottom.

Step One, Setting It All Up

We called up our friends from Key West Pro Guides and booked our fly-fishing guides for seven days, praying that the weather and tarpon would cooperate with us for that week. High winds are not a good recipe for tarpon fishing, not only does it put the tarpon down but it can be an uncomfortable and bumpy boat ride. Fly-fishing in high winds make it incredibly hard to cast to any rolling tarpon that we may happen to find. We prayed for good weather.

Hurrican Hole

We also booked some sweet accommodations, our accommodations were house boats docked in the marina and within walking distance to our favorite bar and grill, Hurricane Hole. Not only does this place have the best selection of cold beer but great food as well. FYI not only will they cook up your catch of the day for you but they have some of the best wasabi / teriyaki chicken wings around. Highly recommended.

Step Two, Excited To Fish

Salt water fly rods

After packing up our multitude of salt water fly rods as well as a couple of fishing shorts, a few t-shirts and sweat shirt or two. We hopped a plane from SLC at 5:00 am and deplaning in Key West around noon, with just enough time to drop off our luggage and jump aboard our awaiting guide boats for an afternoon hunting down some tarpon is a fantastic day in my book! Oh ya and ending the day with some delicious sea food and some yummy beer at Hurican Hole Bar and Grill doesn’t suck either.

Catching Tarpon? Not So Much

Amber Jack

To make a long story short folks. The winds were not in our favor that week, not to say that our guides didn’t get us some great looks at some schools of rolling tarpon, because they did and they worked hard to do it.

No we didn’t succeed in catching any tarpon but that didn’t stop our fantastic guides from getting us into some great fish! While the winds were up we made our way behind some larger keys and not only fished but were blessed with catching a lot of great fish. Some of my favorite fish we caught were Snook, Jack Crevalle, Barracuda and Mangrove Snapper.

The Bottom Line Folks

What an amazing opportunity and a fantastic seven days of fly-fishing on the salt water, living in Utah that doesn’t happen easily. I want to give a big shout out to our good friends at Key West Pro Guides, they worked so hard to get us into quality fish! If you ever have a chance to get down to the keys I highly suggest you look them up (KWPG), Its well worth it!

Key West

I am certainly a beginner at salt water fly-fishing but completely enjoy spending time to learn this different type of fishing as well as being able to experience all the fantastic scenery and landscape that Key West provides.

To Check out more fly-fishing click here

 

One Day!
Not on a Fly Rod But Still Cool!

Hope you enjoyed this article and please leave any questions or comments below. 

 

 

Fly Fishing Gifts For Everyone

Here is how we do it at Fly Fishing Gear For Beginners! Everyone can fly fish and it is so much fun as well as a fantastic life adventure. Let’s explore some of the great gifts for all anglers in this great sport.

As always beginners are on notice that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to start this journey. If you follow what we suggest then you can easily start fishing on a budget and decide how and when you want to progress. Check our process out here.

With that said, we always like to show the fly fishing beginners what is new and cool in the fly fishing community. Here is what we like…

Let’s start with a couple of cool books for the interested angler.

The Little Red Book Of Fly Fishing


Two highly respected outdoor journalists, Kirk Deeter of Field & Stream and Charlie Meyers of the Denver Post, have cracked open their notebooks and shared straight-shot advice on the sport of fly fishing, based on a range of new and old experiences—from interviews with the late Lee Wulff to travels with maverick guides in Tierra del Fuego.

The Bug Book

bug book
Complete guide to aquatic entomology for fly fishers, covering all the important insects and their imitations for the entire United States. Hatch charts, fly pattern recommendations, and important fishing strategies from Paul Weamer. This is the ideal reference for those just starting out or for those that want to have a more comprehensive view of the important insects.

Eddie Bauer Cotton Sheet Set

Sheets
Cotton Percale, Imported. Sheets are T200, 100 Percent Cotton percale. Set includes flat sheet, fitted sheet and 1 pillowcase
Fitted sheet has elastic on all sides for better fit.  Machine washable, tumble dry

Allen Cottonwood Fishing Rod & Gear Bag

fishing bags
Fits up to four 4-piece 9.5′ rods. Eight exterior adjustable dividers for rod, reels, and gear                        Multiple interior see-through zippered pockets. Padded carry handle, heavy-duty molded zippers, removable padded shoulder strap. Outer dimensions: 31.5″ x 9.5″ x 6″.
Main compartment inner dimensions: 30.5″ x 8.75″ x 3.75″.

What a great bag to have if you are an angler that loves to travel.

HUK Long Sleeve Fishing Shirt

100% Cotton
Machine wash cold/gentle/do not bleach. 60 40 cotton poly blend, super Fishing shirtsoft. Long Sleeved, light weight , Athletic fit. Awesome Fishing Gear

A flask is a must when fishing, MFC Maddox Stainless Steel Hip Flask


Stainless Steel. BPA-free so no unwanted taste or harmful chemicals leaching. Quality product – durable, functional and great looking. Great Gift

Just some cool stuff we wanted to share with all of our friends that like fly fishing gear for beginners.


 

Fishing From A Drift Boat VS Wade Fishing

People often ask me what do you prefer fly fishing out of a drift boat?  Or simply wade fishing?

 

Wade fishing

Wade fishing

 

Wade fishing is simply putting on your boots, grabbing your fly rod and walking up or down the river, stalking and casting to fish that you want to catch. It’s fun and exciting because you are navigating the river and you are trying to read the water to figure out where to cast your fly, and if you’re like me you find yourself in crazy situations that you wouldn’t necessarily think about unless you were stalking that next big fish.

When you are wade fishing you are taking your time, you are extremely aware of your surroundings and are paying particular attention to riffs, ripples, runs and holes (those are all fishing terms). Basically fish feed in riffs, ripples and runs and hold in holes, all of these are important to fish. While wade fishing you can take your time and explore all sides of, say a run, and fish from the bottom to the top and from one side to the other. This takes some accurate casting skills and, sometimes, some sort of patience. Don’t forget the riffs, ripples and holes though, fish will take a fly in all of these situations.

 

Fishing out of a drift boat

Drift boat

 

What is a drift boat? It’s a uniquely designed boat specifically designed for fishing rivers. It’s meant to float down the river and put the angler in great positions that a wading angler can not access. It also opens up a whole new world of fishing and casting techniques. However, this kind of boat is not meant for big white water, we will leave that to the rubber rafts.

When you are floating down a river you are going to cover a lot more water than if you were wading or walking it (a good days float is around 4 miles, it depends on how fast the river is flowing that day though). The biggest difference is that while floating you are covering more water and you’re not necessarily stalking fish you are casting to areas that you think the fish will be holding. Not to be confused because I think it’s still stalking but not as deliberate. You also have more opportunities to get your fly to float differently than if you were standing in the river.

When I first started fly fishing I seriously didn’t even know what a drift boat was, it was crazy amazing how naïve I was. I finally figured out that those people rowing down the river where getting to fish in areas that i could not get to just by wading.

When you first fish out of a drift boat you soon realize that it’s a bit different than simply wade fishing. You need to cast a little different and anticipate where the boat is going. You need to take into consideration how fast you are drifting as well as the direction and adjust your cast from there. However, the best news is, is that you find yourself casting to fish in areas that you may never have been able to when wade fishing. The downside is, is that you usually only have one or two casts into an area until the boat has drifted on by. The upside is you are going to cover a lot more water.

So what is the verdict?
Well I really don’t have a favorite. I love wet wading, getting my feet wet and exploring a river, figuring out where the fish are and taking my time to cast to every inch of an area that I think a fish will be feeding or holding. It’s exciting to put on your wading boots and waders and walk up, or down a river with the opportunity and hopes of landing a nice fish.

Fishing out of a drift boat is fantastic fun! You seriously feel like you’re a bit spoiled. You find yourself casting to areas you never thought you could before, hoping to find that monster fish you just couldn’t cast to while wade fishing. Its awesome to see and fish more water than you would while wading and let’s face it you’re in a boat.

I will say this though. I have caught as many fish during a day while wade fishing than I have out of a drift boat. In truth I can’t say one is a better way to fish than the other, they are simply different.

Fishing is fun and a good time for families as well as friends!!