Before your trip…

Don’t worry about a fishing license…it has already been taken care of on your behalf and is part of the provided service!

Clothing
For the majority of the year, you can expect temperatures above 80 degrees. Although the months of November through March can call for a heavy windbreaker jacket, most of the time a light pair of pants and a long sleeve shirt will be proper attire. Having a sun-mask, such as a buff is recommended. Bring a hat with a dark underside to the bill. This will knock down some of the glare from the water and help you see the fish better. Anglers have different preferences when it comes to footwear. Boat shoes, non-marking tennis shoes, and sandals are all acceptable. Wading boots are not necessary, as Islamorada offers only a few opportunities for wading. If you are planning to fish on your own from land during your visit, then go ahead and bring some wading boots. One thing not to forget is a rain jacket. The Florida Keys are simply a chain of islands. Rarely does it rain all day, but the keys do experience minor rain showers regularly. Brining a rain jacket will tip the odds in your favor.

Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a vital part to your flats fishing experience. Given the fact that most flats fishing trips involve seeing the fish before you cast to them (sight-casting), a high-quality pair of polarized lenses are a must. Smith Optics makes a great pair of glasses for sight-fishing on the flats. The Chroma-Pop polarized brown or polarized bronze mirror lenses offered by Smith Optics are recommended. The polarized low-light ignitor lens is great for low light conditions. Anglers that show up with grey lenses often experience difficulty in seeing the fish. The waters of the Florida Keys are emerald green and a brown or amber polarized lens will work best.

Fishing Gear
Whether you are spin-fishing or fly-fishing, you can be assured that the equipment provided for you will be of the utmost quality. Understandably, a large number of fly-anglers like to bring their own equipment. That being said, here are some parameters to keep in mind. Anything less than a seven weight is not necessary in the Florida Keys. A seven weight is only useful in very calm conditions for bonefish, snook, and redfish. Otherwise, expect to use an eight or nine weight when targeting bonefish, snook, and redfish. For permit, a nine or ten weight is appropriate. If tarpon is your fancy, a ten, eleven, and/or twelve weight is recommended.

Flies
The best and most useful flies are always provided. However, if you would like to sit at the vise and amp up for your visit to Islamorada, there are a few things to remember. Every fly should have a weed guard except for Oceanside tarpon flies. Most bonefish patterns used in and around Islamorada resemble a tan or brown crab about the size of your thumbnail. Permit patterns have a similar crab resemblance but are larger in size and weigh more. Redfish and snook patterns are tied with additional flash and are bulkier. Very little weight, if any, is necessary for redfish and snook flies. Typically rabbit fur, marabou, and deer hair are used in redfish and snook patterns. Tarpon flies are tied more sparsely when used on the Oceanside. Light brown, brown, furnace, yellow, and orange are a few good colors to use. Backcountry tarpon flies often involve use of the color black and are bulkier than Oceanside tarpon flies.

Gratuity
Please remember that your captain wants to catch fish just as bad, if not more, than you do. Even a fishless day involves a lot of work and preparation for your captain. Showing your appreciation through an additional gratuity is respected and remembered by your guide. An appropriate tip can start around $100 per day. If you feel you had an excellent experience and want to tip more, please feel free to do so.