April 2016 Islamorada and the Florida Keys Fishing Report: Tarpon and Permit, Oh My!

Well spring has sprung on the flats of Islamorada and the Florida Keys.  And with the warmer water temps one of our flats favorites has been showing in good numbers: the tarpon.  Each day more and more fish have been showing in the backcountry and on the flats closer to home.  Most of these fish are large, 60-80 lbs or so, with some real slobs mixed in.  Calm mornings you can find these fish rolling and while you end up lining quite a few, it’s still amazing fishing.  Even better is if you find them feeding on baitfish schools.  That kind of aggressive feeding behavior is bound to result in a hookup.  That said, good fly casting is still the name of the game.  If your best cast is thirty feet after five minutes of false casting, better get practicing or better yet, invest in a casting lesson.  Far too many come to fly fish in Islamorada and the Florida Keys believing all they have to do is get a fly in the water and magically they’re going to catch all of our favorite flats species.  It’s not the case.  Doing anything with a fly here is the pinnacle of angling and good casting is a must.  I sound like a broken record when it comes to this stuff, but if you’re investing the money to come to Islamorada and the Florida Keys to fish, invest the time to work on your casting skills.  It doesn’t take much but too many anglers don’t even bother.  If you had the chance to play Augusta wouldn’t you at least hit the driving range?  Well that’s enough of a casting sermon.  On to the fishing.

The last few weeks we’ve been mostly targeting tarpon and permit.  Had absolutely amazing permit fishing the last few weeks.  Hundreds, yes I said, hundreds of the sickle tailed devils around.  All bunched up before they head offshore to spawn.  They ranged in size from juveniles to some beasts.  Nothing better than seeing dozens and dozens of tails spiked up on a calm morning!  As mentioned, more and more tarpon are showing.  We’ve had some incredible days the last couple of weeks.  When you look 360 degrees and see rolling tarpon everywhere it’s like striking gold!  When the wind has been really up we’ve been poling shorelines for snook but that has been tough fishing.  Most of the fish have been stuck well back in the mangroves and not moving an inch.  Hard to coax them out with a fly when it’s like that.  There have been a few redfish around.  Ditto for bonefish.

That’s it in a nutshell.  The coming weeks more and more tarpon will be showing up.  So come down and fish!  Until next time.  -Pete

  • Peter McArthur

    Pete, I appreciate your comments regarding practicing fly casting – I was going to come down and learn as I went but I will do my learning up north on dry land if I have to – what you said makes perfect sense. Thank you.

  • Peter McArthur

    Pete, I appreciate your comments regarding practicing fly casting – I was going to come down and learn as I went but I will do my learning up north on dry land if I have to – what you said makes perfect sense. Thank you.