Key West Fly Fishing with Captain Justin Rea

Saltwater fly fishing draws anglers from all over the world to the Florida Keys. Our waters have so many species of fish to offer that it is like no other place in the world. We have gin clear water and shallow sand and grass flats that are home to some of the most sought after fish in fly fishing. Tarpon, bonefish and permit are some of the more popular species for fly fishing. We have a year-round climate that keeps these fish here even when they migrate there are always the ones who decide to call the Keys their home, at least for a little while.

My experience with fly fishing started when I was very young. I took my first guide trip in my early 20s and started guiding in saltwater in 2002. Since then I have learned a lot about our fishery and how to protect it so it can be enjoyed for future generations.

My specialty is fly fishing and I offer guided fishing charters on the flats for tarpon, bonefish, permit, sharks and barracuda. I also do some guiding offshore for tuna, sailfish, wahoo, grouper and snapper on occasion. My charters are open to anglers of any ability and I have both spin and fly tackle on hand.

Please feel free to email me with any questions about the area or to inquire about booking a charter.

Finally catching a break, and some tarpon

April is historically known to be the beginning of the tarpon migration. At least that’s how it’s written in many of the magazines or books out there. Fact is there can be tarpon here all year long and if the temperatures are right they can start sliding through late January to February.

But let’s talk about the past few days – great tarpon movement and some great fish landed. I certainly love it when a plan comes together. I really look forward to this time of the year. A lot of my anglers are not just clients but have become friends that I look forward to seeing and fishing with.

The fish are going to be laid up in the basins and move on the ocean and along the Gulf edge. Early morning they can be difficult to see for the untrained eye. I always tell people to look for purple. That seems to describe their coloring especially in deeper water or where there is darker bottom.

Bonefishing has not been all that bad either. Look for the bones to be abundant throughout the next few months into the fall. They are a great species and sometimes the most forgiving for the novice fly-rodder.

Offshore I’ve heard the yellowtail bite is really good. Although I don’t head offshore much this time of year I can certainly refer a few great guides to do the deep sea fishing.

Follow me on Instagram @captjustinrea

Fly Tying

Saltwater Fly Patterns for the Florida Keys, Bahamas and Caribbean