Key West Flats and Backcountry Fishing

Surrounding many parts of the Florida Keys are shallow saltwater flats. These flats tend to either have sea grass and a soft bottom or are hard rock bottom. Depending on the tide different fish swim up on these flats to look for food, and various other fish follow them up there. Flats fishing is usually sight fishing, which is more like hunting. The guide poles the boat from a platform in the rear of the boat and looks for fish in the distance and directs the angler were to cast to target the fish. It requires more casting skill then other types of fishing, since you need to have the ability to land the bait in the path of fish swimming the flats. Primarily fish targeted on the flats are Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon, Sharks and Barracuda. Sharks and Barracuda are considered lesser of flats fish because they are much easier to catch and don’t have the fighting abilities of the other fish, but in foot deep water they can still be a blast.

Backcountry Fishing is a loose term used to describe fishing north of the Keys. In the upper Keys the Everglades National Park is north of the Keys and consists of huge shallow water bays surrounded by mangroves. The area is a fish garden of Eden and massive amounts of fish make up the ecosystem. Fish common in the Everglades are Sea Trout, Snook , Mangrove Snapper, Redfish, Jew Fish and sharks. Sea trout are a commonly targeted fish in the Everglades by the guides out of Islamorada. They school up and are caught by the dozen in some sections of the Everglades Park.