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Key Largo Flats Fishing

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The abundance of the Everglades, Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean provide the perfect habitat for Bonefish Tarpon, Permit, Snook, Redfish and Trout on the seemingly endless flats that are only minutes away from the dock. The Olympic ability of the world record “Silver King,” the screaming reel that signals the sizzling runs of Bonefish and the nearly nonstop action of Trout and Ladyfish are just some of the excitement you can expect when you fish with our world renown Key Largo Backcountry Guides. Being located in Key Largo offers the great fishing of both the Everglades National Park and the Gulf. Sometimes the fishing on the ocean side is particularly good as well. The flats hold Bonefish and Tarpon, as well as some of the shallow ‘patch reefs for Snapper, Grouper, Mackerel, andYellowtail. All are options on a
Florida Keys Flats fishing expedition.

 

Everglades and Key Largo Fish Species

Bonefish

Weight: Up to 19 lb

Length: Up to 35 in long

Color:  Silvery in color with dusky fins.

The bases of the pectoral fins are yellow. Bonefish have deeply forked tails that provide power for chasing prey in lush grass beds. Keen eyesight and a skittish nature make these fish a prized trophy for saltwater anglers. They travel in small schools prowling grass beds and sand flats for shrimp, crabs and other invertebrates.

 

Tarpon

Megalops atlanticus

Weight: Up to 60 - 280 lb

Length: Up to 4 - 8 ft long

Color:  Bluish or greenish back

The two species of Tarpons are Megalops atlanticus (Atlantic tarpon) and the Megalops cyprinoides (Indo-Pacific tarpon). M. atlanticus is found on the western Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil, throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean.

 

Permit

Trachinotus falcatus

Weight: Up to 56 lb

Fork Length Minimum: 11" Max Length 3 ft

Color:  Silver with orange patches on it's chin, fins or belly. The flats in South Florida are famous for permit fishing, though researchers have recorded permit landings throughout the coastal counties, mostly by sport fishers. 

Snook

Centropomus undecimalis

Weight: Up to 50 lbs

Length: Up to 1.6 - 5 ft long

Color:  Possesses drab coloration.

Distinctive black lateral line. It can also possess bright yellow pelvic and caudal fins, especially during spawn. bThe common snook, Centropomus undecimalis, is one of Florida's most popular inshore game fish because of its spectacular fighting ability and merit as table fare.

Red Drum

Redfish, Sebastes or Red Drum

Weight: Up to 1 - 4 lb

Length: Up to 8 - 22 in long

Color:  Pinkish

Red Drum occur in the Atlantic Ocean From Massachusetts to Key West and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. They are rare in extreme southern Florida,along the Atlantic coast north of the Chesapeake Bay,and along the Mexican coast south of Vera Cruz.

Trout

Spotted Seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus

Weight: Up to 1 - 17 lbs

Length: Up to 15 - 20 in long

Color:  Gray or silvery with many

prominent black spots on sides.

Streamlined shape; large mouth with prominent canine teeth; color gray or silvery with many prominent black spots on sides. Background may be quite dark, or gold, when fish are in back bays or streams.

 

FISHING SYSTEMSDrifting; Still Fishing; Casting.

Many people have heard of Key Largo sight fishing the flats but are not sure what is involved. Sight fishing is a combination of hunting and fishing. We stalk the fish by using a long pole to push the flats skiff silently across the shallow grass flats. Using polarized sunglasses, the angler is able to see the fish in the water.  This gives you the advantage of presenting the bait, fly, or lure in a manner that will entice the fish to bite.

Like hunting, stealth is a key factor in sight fishing. Fish that are in shallow water are usually wary and sensitive to foreign noises or sudden movements. If you can see them, it won't be long before they see you. Quickness and accuracy are important for success. Sight fishing offers a level of excitement not found in other types of fishing.  There is nothing quite like seeing a school of 100 Redfish feeding in a foot of water.

There is no "best time" for Everglades sight fishing our flats. It's great all year round. The most important factor is sunlight. Cloudy days make seeing the fish nearly impossible unless they are tailing. By its very nature, sight fishing requires accurate casting for the best chance of success.

Some days, you may be casting to single Redfish or Trout. On other days, you may be casting to schools of reds or drum from 10-200 fish. Even if you are not the world's most accurate caster, it is always fun and exciting to try. Learn how to catch more fish while casting a spinning reel.

We use either light tackle spinning reels with 10 pound braided line or 5-8 wt flyrods with floating line and long leaders. The average Redfish and drum are from 5-8 pounds but fish over 20 pounds are caught on a regular basis.    A trophy sized Seatrout from 7-10 pounds is a daily possibility.