Key West fly fishing is iconic. Endless expanses of crystal clear skinny waters interspersed by backcountry rich in flora and fauna, leading out into the deep blue of the Straits of Florida… Could there be any better way of unwinding than picking up a fly rod and getting out on these waters? We don’t think so.

What to catch

Fly fishing in the Keys is famous for the Grand Slam of Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit—and Key West is no exception. This impressive threesome tops the list for most Key West fly fishing guides and attracts anglers in their thousands. All three are found in these waters in late summer and fall. Saltwater fly fishing really doesn’t get better than this.

Out of the big three, Tarpon could well be the ultimate target on the fly. These monstrous fish can weigh well over 100lbs and can be caught on light tackle in very shallow waters. Usually, you have to travel miles offshore to tackle a fish like this. But they’re right here. Try fly fishing for Tarpon in Key West, and you will experience a fight like never before. Your weapon? Nothing more than some 12-weight line.

Where to go

Fly fishing trips in Key West will usually either take you to the flats or the backcountry. Flats fishing is the ultimate challenge for experienced anglers, who will test themselves by sight fishing for their target and perfecting their cast to land it. This requires patience—lots of it—as well as stealth, precision, and a good guide. 

Meanwhile, in the backcountry, beginners can learn the ropes of saltwater fly fishing. Here, the fish are eating hungrily, foraging around and picking up what they can get. With more activity in the waters, stealth and silence are less important here. Our advice: ask your Key West fly fishing guide to show you the ropes here, before putting your new skills to the test on the flats.

Key West

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Top Targeted Fly Fishing Species in Key West

Tarpon

Permit

Barracuda (Great)

Bonefish

What People Are Saying About Fly Fishing in Key West

"November fishing trip"

Mark Hansen fished with Capt. Mike Wilbur’s Chaser Key West on December 2, 2016

Captain Mike was I great learning experience. His ability to cast a fly 60ft was amazing to see. The fish were hiding on this day in Nov. but it didn't stop Mike from moving around and trying different approaches. We caught many Jacks and enjoyed every minute. Will probably try this again in the Spring..! Thanks again Captain Mike!

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