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With Florida keys as the world's sports fishing capital, it's not surprising that Islamorada fly fishing is considered every angler's dream. Big fishes, trophy fishes, ridiculously smart fishes and elusive fishes can be found in the Florida keys, hence every saltwater angler knows Islamorada is a rite of passage.
Islamorada fly fishing guarantees you the ultimate bragging rights, because fishes aren't easy catches. They won't bite your hook just because you showed up. You have to work for it. Anglers must be capable of skillfully casting over great distances (at least 30 and 80 feet) with tackles weighing 8 and 12, while the wind howls and groans - because as long as you're in Florida keys, the wind will be too. All while standing. So yes, you'll deserve bragging rights if you can successfully complete a fly fishing trip in Islamorada.
Islamorada Fly Fishing Species
Before hauling yourself over to the sunshine state, here are the main species you can expect to find, so you can plan your gear accordingly. If you're having trouble deciding which will work for you, don't worry, Islamorada fly fishing shops abound - their guides will be happy to tell you what you need. Here are some species you could cross off your list after fly fishing here.
The ultimate silver king! Go sight fly fishing in Islamorada with tarpon availability rivaling any other place in the world. You can find them from the months of March all the way through September, but peak season is during the summer - when they all come out to play in schools. Tarpon schools weigh between 50 to 150 lbs. but occasionally you'll find a 200 lb trophy tarpon. Good luck catching it though, cause it'll give you the fight of its life - literally speaking.
Florida keys flat fishing is best known for its incredibly swift bonefish and the tackle challenge they present. Bonefish don't weigh much here, just around 6 and 8 pounds. Bigger ones weigh around 10 and 12 lbs. Islamorada fly fishing for bonefish is typically done in shallow waters - often less than 2 feet - with the bonefish dorsal fins and tails showing above the water as they root food out at the bottom. Because their tails present such "dangling" targets, this is usually known as tailing. Don't be fooled though, because these seemingly easy targets require a great deal of skill.
Are best known as fighters. Strong, hard bonefish weighing 8 to 16 pounds, with 50 lbs. seen as trophy, love warmer weather conditions. They can be found in waters with 3 to 4 feet depth, but will occasionally float off some flat edges when the water's calmer. They're considered one of the most challenging species to nap, and the fight they'll put will be the stuff of legendary tales.
These bronze fishes, with distinctively black dotted tails can be caught all through the year, more so towards the end of spring, all through the fall. It takes about 3 years for redfish to reach full maturity, and by this time, they're about 27" tall or more. After they reach full maturity, most stay in shallow shores to catch easy prey (they feed mostly on craps, shrimps and other crustacean fish) before moving into deeper waters to complete their life cycle by breeding. If you're hoping your Islamorada fly fishing trip will result in a trophy sized redfish catch, best catch them while they're embarking on a feeding frenzy during the late summer.
Where to Fly Fish in Islamorada
The Florida keys is made up of a group of small islets that provide ample fishing game. But for anglers, it's the backcountry on Islamorada's Atlantic region - with its skinny waters - that turns Florida keys into a fishing extravaganza. No matter the time of year. Peak season is around end of spring, where the game is plentiful;, and will grab onto almost anything - but will be incapable of resisting live blue crabs.
As a hotspot of fly fishing, Islamorada features lots and lots tournaments - including Islamorada shark fly tournaments. If you think you have what it takes to compete, then come over.
Are Guides Necessary for Islamorada Fly fishing?
If you're a local, an experienced angler who can read the water accurately, and have your own boat, then no. It's always advisable to enlist help from a reputable firm, to help you navigate the waters. Know what's worse than a self acclaimed saltwater angler who hasn't been to Islamorada? An angler who's been but caught nothing.
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