Best Florida Fly Fishing Towns

Elaine Sutton
• Monday, 28 December, 2020
• 7 min read

It’s not an exaggeration to say that every single drainage ditch, pond and other small bodies of water hold fish. If you would like, you could pull over on the size of the road, toss a fly into water filled ditch and spend the entire day catching fish.

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(Source: traveler.marriott.com)


Anglers are putting away their traditional tackle and trying their hands at fly fishing all across the state. Whether you’re targeting the rivers in the Everglades or the saltwater flats, fly angling can be successful in Florida.

These fish expect natural presentations so before you book your trip, make sure you feel confident in your casting abilities. While this is a broad area, the Biscayne Bay Flats are a must-visit for anyone looking to fly fish in Florida.

You’ll find a massive number of flats filled with fish. In Biscayne Bay, you’ll catch Bone fish, Permit as well as Tarpon.

Saltwater fly fishing is quite a bit different from freshwater fly angling so don’t be frustrated if you find yourself skunked on your first visit. Where to Fish on Biscayne Bay There are a variety of ways to access the national park.

If possible, you’ll want to fish Biscayne Bay from a flats boat so you can gain full access to all the unbelievable water. If you desire, you can camp on Elliot Key, the park’s largest island.

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(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Fish don’t hit if your flies are slapping the water too hard. Mosquito Lagoon is another legendary area to fly fish in Florida.

Only located 45 minutes from Orlando, these bodies of water are home to a massive amount of fish. You’ll find Redfish, Trout, Shook and Tarpon in Mosquito Lagoon.

If you begin casting wildly, you’ll ruin your chances at landing fish. Fishing flats is a learning experience, but quite rewarding once you discover the necessary methods.

Attached to the fly line you should have a 12-foot leader with 12 pound test tippet. This is going to ensure that the fish don’t snap your fly directly off of your line.

Having intimate knowledge of the huge watershed is key to finding and hooking into the Redfish, Sea Trout and Shook found in the area. This shows that they’re feeding on the bottom so be sure to tie on heavier flies that can get lower in the water column.

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(Source: fishingbooker.com)

All of these are located in Southwest Florida and are filled with a nice amount of fish. You can fish grass flats, beaches, mangroves and a variety of canals.

If you want a full introduction to Floridaflyfishing, Pine Island Sound is the place to visit. The Malacca Pass is a great place to visit on these windier days due to the cover that it will provide.

You’ll find Redfish, Sea Trout, Jack Crevasse, Mackerel, Tarpon and Shook within these areas. These fish are going to require some extra power to manipulate, but don’t pose a threat to any of your gear.

You won’t regret spending a few days fly fishing Pine Island Sound! They’re a great place to fish if you don’t have time to spend a few days on the coasts.

If you’re interested in teaching someone how to fly fish, these lakes are a great place to try! You’ll have plenty of success catching pan fish and be able to do so from shore or on a boat.

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(Source: gudgear.com)

Strip poppers in the mornings and evenings and use streamers in the middle portions of the days! Sarasota Bay is another must visit for anyone looking to catch some quality saltwater fish on the fly.

It’s filled with mangroves, flats, oyster bars and plenty of other structures for these fish to hide. Parts of the bay are heavily developed, so if you can, fish this water from a flats boat.

There are few tributaries that run into the water so it stays clear almost all year long! Shook, Redfish, Trout, Tarpon, Mackerel, Bluefish and Jacks all thrive in these waters and grow up to impressive sizes.

Tarpon fishing can be world-class so be sure to visit in the fall or spring. Sarasota bay offers a nice amount of protection from the wind.

If you want to work on your casting and have success catching fish, Sarasota Bay is a great place to visit. Tampa Bay is a great place to wet your fly line.

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(Source: traveler.marriott.com)

It’s easily accessible and provides great opportunities at catching some large fish. Tampa Bay is the place to visit if you’re in search of some large Redfish.

Redfish are a favorite for many fly anglers so if you haven’t attempted to catch them, you should. Do your best to stay in the lesser populated areas of the bay, but even if you can’t, you’ll still manage to catch quite a few fish.

Where to Fish in Tampa Bay If possible, focus on the section between the mouths of the Manatee and Alicia Rivers. You can even fish these areas from shore if you don’t have access to a boat.

Any fly angler who visits Florida could easily spend their entire trip in Everglades National Park. Both the fresh and saltwater areas of the park are filled with trophy fish.

The National Park Service provides great resource for the Everglades. You’ll find Tarpon, Jack, Barracuda, Mackerel, Yahoo and even some Black fin Tuna.

florida fishing beach palm saltwater fly destinations keys everglades season
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Plan a trip to experience the beauty and be sure to pack your fly rod! The amount of flats and fishable water is impressive and is the reason many professional anglers choose to spend a few months here every single year.

You’ll want a shock leader as well because those toothy fish have the tendency to do some damage! Dexter Simmons has been fly fishing Key West waters for years.

It’s manageable for anglers of all skill levels and is great to fish from a kayak. You’ll have a chance to fish Mangrove trees and some nice flats.

Living in the northern US, I can’t wait for my annual pilgrimage south in February. With the sunshine warming my bones and a guide poling across a flat, I can tackle the second half of a northern winter.

I’m super passionate about everything flyfishingfishing ; writing, teaching and even video. The turtle grass is a key component of this marine eco-system because it serves as a nursery for crustaceans and bait fish; which is the preferred forage for backcountry game fish like tarpon, permit, and bone fish throughout the year.

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(Source: traveler.marriott.com)

Located just 45 minutes east of Orlando, Mosquito Lagoon fly fishing trips should be on your list if you want to target redfish, sea trout, or black drum. Your best bet is to plan a trip with an experienced guide during the fall or winter months when water levels are low and fish are roaming across the grass flats.

The scenic waters of the Took River can equate to a fantastic Floridaflyfishing experience for anglers who want to pursue juvenile tarpon, shook, or redfish from a kayak. The backcountry tidal rivers found in this part of the state are lined with hundreds of mangrove islands, oyster bars, and feeder creeks; which equate to prime habitat for shook, redfish, tarpon and spotted sea trout.

Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, Lake Manatee is another serene spot for kayaks, canoes, and small boats (there is a 20-horsepower limit on outboard engines). Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida.

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1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_grouper
2 www.aquariumofpacific.org - https://www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/queensland_grouper
3 www.daf.qld.gov.au - https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/fish-identification-information/fish-species-guide/fish-species-id-info/profile
4 fishingbooker.com - https://fishingbooker.com/fish/queensland-groper-giant-grouper
5 australian.museum - https://australian.museum/learn/animals/fishes/queensland-groper-epinephelus-lanceolatus-bloch-1790/