Mirage

Islamorada, Florida, United States

 17 FT   2 PAX
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About This Boat

Bonefish & Permit...

The Bonefish is truly the "Gray Ghost" of the flats! They are covered with mirror like scales which provide them with amazing camouflage. They are also extremely wary of their surroundings. These two characteristics can make them quite a challenge to catch! This type of fishing requires a stealthy approach and accurate presentation. They possess a deeply forked tail and streamlined body, which makes for a blazing first run. Usually, they will rip off one hundred yards of line in a matter of seconds. A Permit is perhaps one of the toughest gamefish to fool. They inhabit the deeper edges of flats and are every bit as hard, if not harder, to catch than Bonefish. These broad fish put up a lengthy battle, seemingly not ever wanting to give up. These fish are best pursued on a light spinning rod with a reel capacity of at least one hundred and fifty yards of ten pound test line. Practice your casting! Your success for the day heavliy weighs on your ability to cast correctly. Bonefish and permit are always moving and need a fast, accurate cast. The typical fly fishing outfit is a nine weight rod and matching reel with the same capacity. Weight-forward floating lines are the most commonly used. The ability to single, double and water haul your fly line is very important, as these fish tend to move quickly and change direction frequently. Learn to shoot line on the forward and backcast! Practice your spin casting as well! We are able to catch them year round.. Spring and Fall offer us the best weather conditions.

Tarpon...

The "Silver King" of the Keys! A baby Tarpon starts at around ten pounds while the adults can average eighty to over one hundred and fifty pounds. Beginning about April, these large fish migrate throughout the Keys and peak at about May and are here till mid July. The smaller fish can be caught on lighter rods of ten pound class. The larger fish are caught on 20 pound spinning tackle while sightfishing the edges of flats. Depending on the size of the fish, the battle can last from twenty minutes to over two hours. Upon hooking one, they can put on an unbelievable aerial performance. You'll see the tarpon coming, make your cast and hold on for dear life! Year after year, clients come back to do battle with the Silver King, it's just that exciting! Whether a novice angler or seasoned fly fisherman, you can do this! Fly fishing tackle gets a little larger with the big boys. Ten to twelve weight rods are the norm. Once again, if fly fishing, better to practice before your charter. The ability to cast quickly and accurately with a minimum of false casting will have a dramatic impact on the success of the day. Your casting accuracy whether on fly or spin is paramount. Though they are caught infrequently throughout the year, our tarpon "season" starts about mid April and winds up about mid July. There is also a smaller run of tarpon in the Fall.

Snook & Redfish...

These fish are a bit more angler friendly and tolerant of a misplaced cast for the novice angler. They are found on the backcountry flats of Everglades National Park. There is nothing prettier than a quiet morning back in Florida Bay, searching for those squared redfish tails rising above the calm surface. Eight pound spinning tackle and an eight weight fly rod are a great match for them. The snook are usually found cruising the flats along with the reds. My snook fishing is limited to sightfishing the flats. I do not bobber fish for them along the mangrove islands. Please note, there is a lengthy, scenic boat ride to do this kind of fishing. It may be as little as 30 minutes or as much as 50 minutes to get to the best fishing. Snook are primarliy happier in the warmer months. Any cold weather tends to shut them down.. Redfish are pursued year round.. with bigger schools found in the Fall.

Sharks and Barracudas...

The flats of the Florida Keys offer several other species to catch. Although usually encountered while fishing for the other species,shark fishing these toothy critters still provide quite a pull. The Barracuda has a slashing attack when striking your bait. They'll zip out line almost as quick as a Bonefish and also provide an aerial battle for you. Larger Barracuda are most actively pursued in the Winter months. The sharks you'll encounter average about five to fifteen pounds in weight and include the Lemon, Bull, Blacktip and the Bonnethead. We can pursue larger sharks in the Summer.

Seatrout, Jacks and Ladyfish...

These are our "fun-fish". They are easier to catch than the other species and can provide a bit more action for the novice angler/child. These fish are found back in Florida Bay, the southernmost region of the Everglades National Park. This is a more relaxed type of fishing, the accurate casts and vision needed with the other species is not required. A camera is definitely needed. The Mangrove islands and wildlife surrounding them, provide many spectacular pictures. Please note, there is a lengthy, scenic boat ride to do this kind of fishing. It may be as little as 30 minutes or as much as 50 minutes to get to the best fishing. Seatrout are most abundant in the cooler months.

What is Sightfishing?

Sightfishing on the flats of the Florida Keys is truly a unique experience. There is abundant life above and below the water. The depth of the water that we fish upon, ranges from eight inches to about five feet deep. Most of the places we fish are calm and protected, so that even on windy days, we can make it an enjoyable day out. These shallow waters typically remain crystal clear, allowing you to view the world which you're floating upon. The challenging gamefish that inhabit these waters include the bonefish, tarpon, permit and redfish. Sight fishing requires a bit more skill and patience, but can be very exciting as you watch the fish inhale your fly or bait. Sight casting for bonefish, tarpon or permit is angling at it's most demanding form. Although I can usually show you plenty of fish, It is up to you to cast correctly to them. The more proficient you are before you make it down to fish, the better chance you have of hooking and landing your intended target. The most productive fly fisherman have their casting skills honed long before their charter. That way, they can learn to see the fish, learn how to properly strip the fly and set the hook. I will gladly work with you to help with your casting technique. There are other species that we can fish for that are much easier to catch and can keep much busier with IF you're just looking for action. Seatrout, jacks, ladyfish as well as sharks and barracuda provide an easier target for those folks just looking to bend a rod. It's really an issue of quality vs. quantity of fish caught. Many birds, rays, and crabs can also be seen as we quietly push across the shallow water.

Generally, these gamefish enter the flats to feed. The shallow water provides a refuge for the many shrimp, crabs and juvenile fish upon which they feed. It is for this reason, that we fish here. Most of the fishing that I do, involves "pushing" (or poling-as the guides refer to it) the boat forward from a platform above the motor. It is a process similar to the Gondoliers in Venice. This allows us to approach (hunt) the fish without alarming them. The neat thing about sightfishing is that you can actually see the fish that you're trying to catch. It is then that you would place your cast to them. As stated, some of the gamefish require a bit more skill than luck or the novice angler may have a frustrating day. Not to worry, I've got a policy of no stress & no screaming on my skiff. If you're patient, I'll be glad to give you a few pointers or tips to improve your casting whether flyfishing or spinfishing. You can do this! You'll never feel intimidated. I'll work hard to make your day a success. When the day is over, you will have mastered the basics needed to locate, hook and fight that fish you've dreamed about. You will have also learned a bit about the history and ecology of our islands. Most importantly, you will have had a great time. I'll provide you with first-class equipment from G-Loomis and Sage rods. Quantum spinning reels and Bauer flyfishing reels are also furnished. Or if you choose, bring along your favorite rod. Please discuss this with me as some equipment is not suited for our gamefish. All necessary bait/tackle and flies are provided.

Whether you want a challenging day stalking world-class tailing Bonefish or flycasting to schools of hundred-plus pound Tarpon or sightfishing for Redfish in the Everglades, I can take you there. Some may want just an easy day in Florida Bay, soaking up the sun and sights while fishing for Seatrout, Jacks and Ladyfish, I'll make your trip an unforgettable one. Please call or write and I'll be glad to discuss your plans and expectations. All saltwater licenses are provided. A large cooler filled with ice for your refreshments, is also onboard. The only things needed from you are your lunch, sunscreen, and a camera. If we do sightfish for Bonefish, Tarpon or Redfish, a pair of POLARIZED sunglasses in amber or brown work best and would aid tremendously in helping you to see the fish.

 Fly Fishing,  Light tackle
Skipper:
Barry Hoffman
Company:
Florida Keys Shallow Water Flats Fishing
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