Flats Fishing

An addictive way to go fishing and on many fisherman's bucket lists for the ultimate fishing trip. A combination of hunting and fishing, flats fishing is a technical form of fishing in the very shallow waters. Can be done either by fly fishing or spin fishing the challenge is in the spotting, casting and hooking the fish. Using shallow drafted boats "flats boats" the fishing guide maneuvers the boat into position for his angler to have a cast at a prize trophy fish. Generally all catch and release as the fish we fish for in the shallows are not typically edible. Some say that flats fishing was made famous right here in the Florida Keys.

bonefishing | flats fishing | bonefishA good fishing guide that is passionate about this form of angling is a huge part of the potential success in flats fishing as they need to be sharply skilled in knowing the tides, fish movements and be able to spot the fish. There is a special connection that anglers have with their flats fishing guides. Much like a hunter has with their guide. We specialize in putting anglers together with the right flats fishing guide for a great experience. When you call us to book a charter we ask many questions to learn more about how to best connect you.

Where Are The Flats?

The flats are located in the backcountry waters in and among the many islands that make up the horizon landscape. A flat can be made up of sand, grass, marl or old reef this is where the sport fish come to graze on the shrimp and crabs that live within. Less than 3 ft of water is considered a flat here in Key West. Some spots that we fish are less than 10 inches deep. Many times we call the super skinny waters "tailing water" where the sport fish we seek are actually tailing, swimming with their tails and sometimes even their backs out of the water. Its super exciting and adds to the whole adventure.

permit fishing, flats fishing, permit, Breathtaking scenery is usually a part of flats fishing. Some of the clearest water in the world and an estuary of mangrove islands inhabited by numerous species of birds and marine life such as turtles, sting rays, sharks and more. Serene is a great way to describe the flats. Calm and peaceful its easy to get lost in the moments that take your breath away out there.

What Do We Fish For?

Targeted species on the flats are typically bonefish, tarpon and permit for the traditional flats fishermen also called the "Key West Grand Slam" if you catch all three in one day of fishing. Other species we sight fish for on the flats are barracudas, cobia, sharks and jacks in the winter time as well as the occasional mutton snapper.


Flats Fishing Charters

For The More Specific Anglers

Some amount of skill should be brought by the anglers that wish to challenge themselves with flats fishing. We consider flats fishing to be more of a discipline than a geography. Flats fishing requires anglers to be in tune with the flats fishing guide to hear clearly the casting instructions and capable of making that cast in a moments notice with a spin fishing or fly fishing rod.

You DO NOT need to know how to fly fish to enjoy a really fun day of flats fishing with our fishing guides here in Key West. Being proficient with a spinning rod is just fine..

For those looking for a more relaxed flats fishing experience. See Backcountry Fishing. Same area but way more relaxed.

The Boats We Use For Flats Fishing

flats fishing skiff boatTraditional flats fishing skiffs are the most popular way to fish the flats. A small boat usually under 18ft in length that will float in less than 9" of water with three persons on board. They typically have a large casting deck for sometimes up to 2 anglers. A platform on the back is where the fishing guide stands on and uses a long push pole to maneuver through the shallow flats while stalking the sport fish that his anglers will cast to. A good technical flats fishing skiff can be quite tippy and good balance is needed to be comfortable standing on the bow and not feeling like you may fall off.

Flats fishing on a bay boatBay Boats are a great alternative to a flats skiff to offer some more stability. Under 24 ft of length bay boats provide more displacement allowing them to float almost as shallow. Bay boats come equipped with trolling motors to silently move through the shallow flats in search of the same sport fish. I wont say bay boats are the best way to fish the flats but more and more of my anglers are choosing the bay boats over flats skiffs to be more comfortable.

The Fishing Gear We Use

Flats fishing charters use mostly spin fishing rods and reels varying in size from 10lb to 20lb test on the flats. I generally keep it to 12lb test on my gear unless larger tarpon are being pursued on a day. We use several different types of live bait and artificial lures to catch fish.

Our flats fishing guides offer fly rods to those that wish to fly fish we use are 8wt for bonefish, 9 or 10 wt for permit and baby tarpon, 11 or 12 wt for large tarpon. You are welcome to bring your own.
Note: We can only fish one angler at a time using fly fishing rod.

Flats Fishing Trip Lengths That We Offer

  • 1/2 Day 4 hours
  • 3/4 day 6 hour
  • Full Day 8 Hours

We will only take 2 persons on a flats fishing trip be it on a traditional skiff or a bay boat. Anymore than 2 on a bay boat and we will call it Backcountry fishing.

Call For Rates For Flats Fishing Charters

Rates are including everything you will need for a day of flats fishing. Anglers are welcome to bring their own fly fishing or spin fishing rods. Please make sure you bring a hat sunscreen and sunglasses. See our F.A.Q. for more detailed information.

Booking A Flats Fishing Charter

Booking a flats fishing charter is easy. Because we feel the relationship with our clients is very important you will need to call us or email us to reserve a trip. That way we know exactly what you are looking for in your day of fishing and we can make sure you are on the right trip with us and you know what you will be getting.
Please review our Frequently Asked Questions Page for more details about bookings and questions that have popped up.

Call Us ---- 1-305-292-7212

Text Us ---- 1-786-847-3808



Flats Fishing Charters With A Theme.

Bonefishing - Made famous here in the Florida Keys. Sight fishing the flats for bonefish is a great way to enjoy flats fishing.