Time-Honored Tradition: Flats Fishing

Key West’s Backcountry Waters

Groupon: Get the Best Deal in New York Today!

If you fly into this fair city for some Key West flats fishing, you’ll see that the island is surrounded by miles and miles of shallow water, smaller islands, channels, and patches of mangroves. You’ll be able to  see how shallow the water is around Key West’s backcountry areas, because of the color change in the water. The shallower water is greener, and when it’s extremely shallow, it looks almost brown. You will even be able to see scars on the bottom on the Gulf side, where a giant yacht scraped across the flats during Hurricane Wilma. These are the flats, also known as the backcountry waters of Key West. There’s great Key West flats fishing in the shallow waters around the island, and people come from all over to try their hand at this very exciting form or sportfishing. People target redfish, snook, permit, bonefish, and tarpon, as these are the most desired backcountry fish types. You might catch sharks, jacks, and some barracuda. The grand slam is when you catch permit, bonefish, and tarpon all in one day.

Basics of Flats Fishing

Key West Flats Fishing

 Bonefish are extremely spooky, which means they are hard to catch. You have to cut your engine, pole along the flats, and look for them. This is advanced Key West flats fishing! When you see one, you must throw your bait in front of the bonefish so that he sees it in his pathway. It’s tricky! If you

get it too close to him, he’ll spook and swim away. After catching a bonefish and taking a picture of your proud self, release him back into the water ASAP. Make sure he can swim

Key West Bonefish

good before you let him go in case there’s a lurking predator.

Tarpon are often caught in the evening, and many guides advertise special tarpon trips. In fact, a lot of fishing guides specialize in tarpon fishing and do little else but go for these monsters. They get to be very large in size, and when they get hooked they jump in the air, trying to throw the hook. Sometimes they jump several times. Photographers love this, since it makes spectacluar


Key West flats Fishing