Check out the top places in the Sunshine State to fly-fish 24 hours a day.
Florida offers saltwater fly-fishing opportunities for more species in more sublime settings than any other state in the nation. And in some of the most productive areas, you can take advantage of this pastime 24 hours a day.
In many situations, a good fly-caster can out-fish experts using conventional gear by a wide margin. The fly angler simply has the advantage of stealth, the ability to match forage with lifelike patterns and the tool to present the fly most naturally – day or night.
By day, stalk the flats for tailing redfish, bonefish and permit, or attempt to fool the wily seatrout. By night, catch trout, snook – and I mean big snook – and tarpon under the mesmerizing dock and bridge lights as the inky tide rolls through the moonlight.
Here are top places in Florida to wear out yourself, and the fish, with the fly rod around the clock.
Enjoy flats fishing for bonefish and permit by day, and seasonal tarpon fishing. The teeming grass flats of Biscayne Bay offer some of the most challenging sight-fishing, even for the expert fly angler. By night, you can “disco fish” under the lights of nearby bridges and docks for big snook and tarpon. Trust me, the folks partying in South Beach who think they’re “closing the club” have nothing on this nightlife.
If You Go:
Naples and Marco Island
By day, explore the Ten Thousand Islands, a gorgeous wilderness labyrinth filled with diverse species. Cast poppers and streamers at towering mangrove shorelines filled with snook, redfish and tarpon. Dock light fly-fishing tactics were refined here by a legendary gentleman named Capt. Jim Grace. Match the hatch well, and you’re in for a tug of war with snook after snook, plus some burly jacks.
If You Go:
- Capt. Wright Taylor, flyfishmarco.com
- Capt. Roan zumFelde, naples-fishing-charters.com/naples-fishing/fly-fishing.html
Palm Beach and Martin Counties
By day, you can head from Treasure Coast towns like Stuart and Jupiter offshore to the Gulf Stream to tangle with tuna, mackerel and mahi, or fish the flats for the usual suspects. The Florida fly fishing options here are endless. Between the Lake Worth Lagoon, Loxahatchee River, and St. Lucie and Indian River Lagoon complex, there are more docks, bridges and snook than you can shake a fly stick at. Let’s not forget the big trout and tarpon, either.
If You Go:
- Capt. Mike Conner, captmikeconnerfishing.com
- Capt. John Meskauskus, stuartflyfishing.com
- Capt. Scott Hamilton, flyfishingextremes.com/charters.html
- Capt. Dino Torino, onlyonafly.com
The Tampa Bay area, including the major cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, supports vast sea grass flats and miles of mangrove shorelines where Florida fly fishing anglers sight- and blind-cast for snook, trout and redfish with great success. The Sunshine Skyway and Gandy bridges, among many other smaller bridges, hold snook and tarpon both day and night. Plus, there are hundreds of dock lights around this vast expanse that shelter even more snook, as well as trout and reds. It would take months to hit them all.
If You Go:
Gorgeous marshes dot the landscapes surrounding and running through this metropolis. Time the tides right, and you can sight-fish for tailing reds, or catch trout and reds as the water runs out, revealing the oyster bars beneath. If you want to catch a big sow trout, try it under the cover of darkness. These fish, along with redfish, stack up under the pooling glows of dock lights along the St. Johns River, which runs through downtown, and the Intracoastal Waterway.