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.

  • Big Florida Keys Barracuda

February Fishing Report 2017

February started off very positive in the fishing realm. The weather was beautiful this year for our annual Cuda Bowl Fishing Tournament. The tournament was Feb. 2-4 and was based out of Hurricane Hole Marina.  During the two day event there were a record 418 barracuda caught and released. The largest being 53.5 inches caught by Tom del Bosque of Boca Raton, FL.

My angler John Chinuntdet of Moorseville, NC won First Runner-Up in the fly division with a total of 202.5 inches. The full results of the event can be seen at

After the tournament was over the weather just kept on being nice. Seasonal highs in the high 70s and light winds. With my anglers we ventured all up and down the Keys flats and even ventured out past the reef on the calmer days for some tuna and snapper.

Just last week the calmest weather rolled in and low and behold there were some big tarpon showing themselves in the backcountry. Tarpon, bonefish and permit were all happy and willing to eat a fly even! The large barracuda pictured in this article was caught on the flats and is one of the largest I’ve seen yet this year. This guy was a slob!

We had a little bit of a front come through last evening but the sun is already shining again. If we stay in the mild weather pattern we can expect the fishing to just get even better. This is one of the best times of the year to target permit on the flats. They head offshore soon to spawn and there won’t be as many on the flats for a while.

Coming up in March is the March Merkin Permit Tournament. This even is scheduled for March 13-16 in Key West. I’ve fished this event every year except the first and it’s a great event with great folks who share a passion for permit.

Fly Tying

Saltwater Fly Patterns for the Florida Keys, Bahamas and Caribbean