4, 6, or 8 hours
Availability: this activity often sells out. Book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
Take your own private boat and personal guide to hunt Bonefish, Permit, Sharks and other game fish in the crystal-clear waters of the Key West Backcountry.Highlights
- World-class multi-species fishing in a scenic marine wilderness wonderland.
- Personalized fishing fun for all ages and experience levels.
- Full-time professional guides with deep knowledge of the waters and the fish.
- Specialized Flats Boats that get on the fish silently in the shallowest of water.
- Top-of-the-line fishing equipment plus all bait, tackle, and ice included free.
- Authorized reseller of FishKeyWest.com™ Charters.
Float through a fisherman’s dream land – crystal clear waters stretching wilderness miles around, ultra-shallow flats dropping off into tide channels and passes, patch corals, white sand bars, and mangrove islands. Just you and the guide - the ride is nearly silent: the tap of water on the boat, birds, and an occasional slap from a jumping fish the only sounds as your guide poles the skiff along the edge of the flat. The guide points off to the right of the bow, where a lump of limestone sits in 3 feet of water on the edge of the drop into the channel. You flip the bright green surgical tube lure a few yards past the lump, let the lure drift a bit farther with the tide, then reel a fast retrieve. As the lure squirms past the structure, a yard-long silver-blue lightning bolt streaks in, slams it, and blasts into a run that strips the reel down in seconds. You rear back and the light rod bends double with a Barracuda on.
This is Flats Fishing in the Key West Backcountry, thousands of square miles of unspoiled shallow water flats, reefs, sand banks, islets, and mangroves lying mostly along the Gulf side of the southern Keys and stretching west to the Marquesas Keys. A trip out to the Flats is more than fishing – it is a safari into one of America’s most amazing natural wonders. A marine ecosystem formed around the remnants and rubble of the ancient coral formations that preceded the living Great Florida Reef that lies 6 miles offshore to the south of Key West today. On the Flats, large expanses of clear shallow water cover a fairly uniform and level bottom comprised of coral, limestone, sand, or turtle grass meadows, and broken by channels and passes that connect the Gulf of Mexico with the Atlantic Ocean.
The entire Key West Flats are within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 2900 square nautical miles of protected natural marine environment. Needless to say, these waters teem with fish, birds, and marine life. The Marine Sanctuary, along with the catch-and-release ethic practiced by most Flats fishermen has ensured that excellent fishing remains available today. Barracuda, Bonefish, Permit, Sea Trout, Sharks, Snapper, Tarpon, and many other sport fish hunt the Flats for baitfish, crustaceans, and shrimp. In this marine wilderness, the scenery is as spectacular as the fishing. Dolphins, manatee, turtles, and bird life compete with the wide-arching sky and incredible sunrise and sunset views. The waters are often as calm as lake water, and Flats fishing is characterized by peace and relaxation broken only by the adrenaline rush of fighting a six-foot shark on a saltwater spinning rod.
The water is often perfectly clear, and pursuing game fish here at times combines the best of fishing and hunting in an exhilarating pursuit known as Sight Fishing. This sport requires silence, stealth, patience, and sharp eyes as the fisherman works to locate a fish, slip up on it, and make an accurate bait presentation before the target spooks and flashes away. To facilitate this specialized fishing style, Key West Flats Fishing is often done from light, flat-bottomed, shallow-draft skiffs outfitted with raised spotting towers and carrying no more than two fishermen. The guide stands on the tower, poling the craft silently through water that may be less than 2 feet deep while scanning ahead for signs of feeding or moving fish.
The most commonly used gear is light tackle, either spinning or fly-fishing rigs. Experienced fly fishermen come to the Flats to put their skills to the ultimate test by taking high-jumping Tarpon or hard-running Bonefish on a salt water fly. Trophy hunters go for the Flats Grand Slam – Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish all in one day. Thrill seekers tangle with Blacktip, Bull, and Lemon Sharks. Beginning anglers come for the fast action provided by the wide variety of fish species and nearly limitless fishing possibilities that the Key West Flats are known for.
The ultimate fishing trip is right here at your fingertips because Cool Key West, Key West’s number 1 online concierge service, now has the honor of being an authorized reseller of the legendary FishKeyWest.com™ Private Flats Fishing Charters. This means we can offer full access to Key West Flats Fishing trips led by the expert captains and guides of Fish Key West. Whether you want to fish alone, with a significant other, or with a child, Key West Flats Fishing is a great choice, and a Private Flats Fishing Charter allows you to work with your guide to design the perfect day of fishing. These fishing adventures into the amazing marine wilderness of the Key West Flats fill up quickly, so book your Key West Flats Fishing experience now.