A school of Yellowtail Snapper. Some of the other fish we catch in the Florida Keys areTuna, Wahoo, Blue & White Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Sharks, Kingfish, Mutton Snapper, King Mackerel, Grouper, Cobia, Tarpon and more.

Florida Keys fishing in Islamorada. Offshore and backcountry sportfishing at it's finest in the heart of the Florida Keys. Aptly named: "The Sport Fishing Capital Of The World!"

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How-To Series


Courtesy of Fly Fishing specialist Captain Dexter Simmons of Key West. Visit his website at: www.KeyWestFlyFishing.com or email him at captdexter@prodigy.net

Fly Fishing Basics

Sight fishing on the flats for Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon is an acquired skill.  Many anglers who are successful on trout streams or bass lakes expect to be just as successful on the flats on their first trip.  Preparation and experience is the key to success.  Preparation usually means reading every book and watching every video you can get a hold of and studying the various techniques. 

When you plan for your first trip on the flats, keep the following skills in mind. 

1.  Learning to "spot the fish" underwater or tailing near the surface or "pushing water" is the most important skill that must be learned.  If you can't see the fish, then how can you cast accurately?  Blind casting rarely works when sight fishing the flats.  Usually "spotting the fish" comes with experience.  If you are a  fresh water angler, you can develop this skill by learning to spot the fish underwater in your favorite stream or lake.  Polarized sunglasses (amber tint) are a must of course.  And if you see the fish, then the next step is to place the fly near the fish.

2.  Accuracy in casting the fly in front of the fish is tough to accomplish when it is windy, and it is usually windy on the flats.  Normally, a cast of 50 to 80 feet or more is needed to get the fly to the fish before they swim too close to you and spook (get scared by you and run away).  Therefore, learning to "double-haul" the fly line is a critical skill that must be mastered to cast long distances and increase one's chances in reaching the fish accurately with the fly.  If you have access to a lake or stream or beach that is in a windy area, then try practicing your double haul with a "forward cast" into the wind, down wind, and cross wind, then practice your "back cast" the same way.

3.  Once the fly reaches the fish, then presentation or "stripping the fly" takes over. The fly must move as the natural bait would move in order to trigger the fish's instincts to take.  Again, experience helps a great deal in knowing how and when to strip the fly.  To learn more about the stripping techniques for Tarpon, check out the video "Fly Rodding for Tarpon" with Billy Pate.  To read a couple of articles on Bonefish and Permit fly presentation, click on these links:  BONEFISH http://www.keywestflyfishing.com/ffamer.htm    PERMIT  http://www.keywestflyfishing.com/ffamer2.htm  

4.  Finally, once the fish takes the fly, then the angler must strip set the hook before gradually lifting the rod tip.  Lifting the rod too quickly can result in a tippet break off when the fish feels the steel and runs for his life.  And then the fight has just begun.  It is a big ocean, and the fish will usually try to run to deep water, break you off on bottom structure, or throw the hook by jumping (Tarpon).  Knowing how to deal with these situations comes with experience that can only be gained on the flats.  So what are you waiting for?  Read all the material you can find on the subject, watch all the videos, practice your casting, then plan your trip


Before you travel to the Florida Keys, contact Capt. Dexter Simmons for a "live report"!  Call Capt. Dexter at 305-745-3304 or email captdexter@prodigy.net Capt. Dexter Simmons
Tight Lines and Screaming Reels!



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