Just off the beaten path, far from the lights and excitement the main drag, and a world away from the crowded beachfront is an area in the north reaches of the island known as the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. The locals refer to the area as the "Back Country" because this patch of land on the northern expanses has been mostly untouched by the hands of man for hundreds of years.
It is the home of living mangrove islands, native plants and animals, and some of the best fishing on the island. The water is only a few inches deep in most spots, which makes it easy to see the activity below the water's surface. The water is also teeming with fish and other catches, making it a very nice way to spend an afternoon. This article will take you through some of the things to expect when Key West fishing the flats.
The Nature Of The Flats
The flats are shallow waters, usually less than three feet deep. There is also a pronounced drop off signaling the flats' end and the beginning of the larger more expansive ocean. Fishing in these waters has been compared by anglers to a safari because of the diversity of flora and fauna living around the flats.
Because of the shallow nature of flats, they have also been compared to hunting. While fishing in this destination, you will be able to actively pursue your fish, which will give you ample opportunity to hone your skills as an angler. Because of the challenge, many experienced anglers consider the flats on the island to be among the best spots in the United States.
What You Can Expect To Catch
One of the first questions asked by fishermen before they set off on an excursion is, "What can I catch?" The answer to that question is simple, yet hard to pinpoint. For the most part, you are guaranteed to find bone fish, tarpon, and permit. At times, you may see lady fish, or even red fish. Predator fish like shark and barracuda have also been known to frequent the shallows of the Back Country.
How To Make It Count
Of course, none of the great spots and good recommendations in the world can help if you simply can't catch any. In this situation, it might be helpful to hire a guide. Unless you are a professional fisherman, an experienced instructor will be a great addition to your party. Most have been on the island Key West fishing the flats for many years.
You will also want to make certain you have the right boat for the situation. As mentioned earlier, the waters around Back Country are very shallow. Because of this, you will need to take a flat skiff to navigate the area. You can usually kill two birds with one stone by chartering a flat skiff and captain to help you for the day.
What Makes a Good Fishing Trip?
Ask most avid fishermen what makes a good fishing trip and you will probably get a variety of answers. While most consider the number of fish caught to be of the most importance, it is not the only consideration. A successful fishing trip should be relaxing, enjoyable and productive. To ensure the best of all three, it makes sense to be prepared.
In addition to the requisite reel, line and bait, there are a few additions that will add to your enjoyment. Fishing often times involves camping, and you cannot go camping without a flashlight or two. In addition illuminating a campsite and helping light the pathway between camp and the river, a quality LED flashlight is a major benefit while fishing by the waterside. If fishing at dawn or dusk, a flashlight will help you better prepare your fishing pole and bait for use.
The right knife is an important part of a good tackle box as well. Nothing can make fishing seem like an unpleasant chore than attempting to clean your day's catch with the wrong sort of knife. A fillet knife with a sharp blade makes quick work of your cleaning chores. Choose one with a fixed or locking blade but it still flexible to cut through the delicate skin of your fish.
Fishing pliers are also a very important asset. Fishing pliers run the gamut from a simple set of pliers used to cut wire and attach weights to more elaborate fishing multi-tools that contain scissors, multiple sizes of pliers, wire cutters and more. Pliers can make difficult fishing tasks much simpler and do not cost a lot of money.
Choosing the Right Equipment
There are a variety of considerations that you must use when determining the right equipment for you. The length of time you are typically on a fishing trip, the type of facilities that you stay in and the type of fish that you catch.
The longer you are gone and the more primitive the conditions, the more important it is to have multiple fishing lights. LED flashlights and headlamps are excellent choices when you need auxiliary lighting. The LED bulb is long lasting and provides a clear and bright light.
The weight and size of your fillet knife and fishing pliers should be determined by the types of fish you catch. Of course the fisherman that fishes in the open ocean will need much more heavy duty equipment than the fisherman interested in teaching their young son or daughter the basics in a pond.
Regardless of what your intentions, fishing is much more enjoyable if you invest in the proper equipment and take proper care of it. Proper care ensures that your fishing equipment will last as long as possible. Some items such as an LED flashlight, may last decades. A fillet knife, properly cared for and regularly sharpened may last just as long. The best way to extend the life of fishing pliers is to purchase a pair that is made to do the job. Attempting to cut wire or remove hooks with a pair of pliers made for a smaller job is the quickest way to break the pliers and possible injure yourself in the process.
Fishing is a relaxing and fun way to enjoy the outdoors if you are properly prepared with the right equipment.
~Ben Anton, 2008
Most people equate fly fishing with trout. This is, however, not always true. You can, in fact, also fly fish for bass. This is becoming increasingly popular in the United States due to the fact that it is possible to fly fish for both large- and smallmouth bass. When attempting to fly fish for bass, it is important that you first master the basics of fly fishing.
Why Should You Choose To Fly Fish For Bass?
Many people who enjoy fly fishing are not aware that you can fly fish for bass. In some instances, they do not know the ins and outs of bass fishing, or do not own the appropriate fishing equipment or a large enough boat. This should not deter any avid fisherman! Fly fishing for bass can be a very rewarding experience!
Bass are, in fact, excellent fish to catch with a fly fishing rod. They will always present an adventurous angler with a challenge as they are large, feisty, aggressive fish that will fight to the last.
Using A Fly Rod To Catch Bass
Although it may seem so, it is not such a strange thing to fly fish for bass. In fact, there are many different types of fish that can be caught with a fly rod, including trout (the most popular type), pike, carp, and small- and largemouth bass.
When fly fishing for bass it is first and foremost imperative that you have a good, durable fly rod. This is important because bass are naturally large, aggressive fish so you need a rod that will withstand a lot of pressure and weight. Fly rods do, however, offer you a clear advantage when fishing for bass - the motion of the rod and the fly on the water provides a lure that bass cannot resist. They are naturally eager biters and catching them with a fly rod makes it even easier.
Types Of Flies And Rods Used When Fly Fishing For Bass
If you decide that you want to try out fly fishing for bass, you should most definitely invest in a Wooly Buggers. This specific type of fly is perfect for catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass because it is large in size. When it comes to fishing for bass, it is best to use a dry fly of any size; however, it has been said that the larger the fly, the better your catch.
The best rod to use when fly fishing for bass is a 6 to 7 weight fly rod. It is also a good idea to use a fly rod that has a sinking as well as a floating line. Some people are able to catch bass with a 4 to 5 weight fly rod, but since the fly you will be using will be larger, it might be harder to cast out the fly. In any case, it is important to find a rod that feels best to you. Find one that you can handle that fits you comfortably. If you choose a rod with a comfortable cast, you are sure to catch bass while also having fun.
Fly fishing for bass can be an extremely fun-filled, exciting endeavor, whether your purpose is sport, relaxation, or food. If you have not done so already, try it immediately! You will have the time of your life!