Florida Keys Bonefishing Guide - Flats Fishing Charters


with flats & backcountry fishing guide Capt. Luke Kelly

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Florida Keys Bonefishing

The bonefish must have started it all. When it comes to shallow water sight-fishing on fly or light tackle, it doesn’t get much sportier. Fast and almost transparent to the naked eye, bonefish prove their ranking amongst saltwater trophy fish around the world. Considered by many as a challenging fish to catch; bonefish have certainly built themselves quite the reputation throughout the Florida Keys flats fishing community, and beyond.

Catching Bonefish on the Flats

Given such titles as the Grey Ghost and Silver Bullet of the flats. Television has done a great job of depicting these gamefish with their long shiny tails high in the sky when on the flats. While at times a common occurrence; bonefish do this only when feeding from the sea-floor in a depth of water shallower than they are long. It should be known that this, more often occasional “tailing behavior” is very hard to see from a distance, especially for the untrained eye in any type of windy condition.

So..... How does an angler go about sight-fishing this ghostly bonefish? Allot of it boils down to having a fair amount of sunshine while floating over the flats. Angler and guide must use their eyes and mind when hunting bonefish in their vast shallow water habitat. Patience is a huge factor. Once the bonefish is spotted, the angler must then, and only then, make a timely and accurate cast in the direction of the bonefish. If accomplished with the first attempt, the angler is often rewarded with a tight line.

Now..... Why would someone want to catch this small and somewhat difficult fish to catch? The beautiful expanse of shallow clearwater flats in-which bonefish will take you should be enough. But this small fish delivers much more once hooked! Ultra light-tackle rod and reel outfits are commonly used to achieve proper presentation of bait or fly when bonefishing. The word “fast” would be an understatement when describing them. A medium size bonefish can pull close to 100 yards of line from a light-tackle reel when hooked on the flats in a matter of seconds; going nowhere but far from the skiff when caught in only two feet of water. The only thing comparable is fishing for permit in shallow water, both deliver a great fishing accomplishment.

Best time of year for Keys bonefish

The best time of year for bonefish in the Lower Florida Keys and Key West is between March and October, with peak months being June, July. Average bonefish size for the Lower Florida Keys is between 3 and 8 pounds with largest bonefish present during September and October.

June, July, August, September, and October produce a special time of year for bonefish and Keys flats fishing in general. This is when flat-calm mornings are common, thus giving way for the infamous “tailing conditions” that Keys flats fishing has become so famous for. The fins and tails of tarpon, permit, and bonefish can be seen piercing the surface of shallow water on a daily basis during this calm time of year. Charters normally begin around sunrise during these months, thus ending by 2-3 pm on account of the heat also produced during this time of year.

Keep bonefish wet, in the

water however possible!

Whether preferring fly or light-tackle bonefishing. First priority is providing a pleasant, memorable, and successful Florida Keys bonefishing charter.

Explore the Florida Keys inshore flats and backcountry while sight-fishing for bonefish in a clear and shallow depth of water. A unique Florida Keys fishing experience, second to none!

Phone: 305-304-3152      Email: keyflat@mac.com

Capt Luke Kelly