Keys Flats Fishing: Welcome!
Welcome to Key West, a truly year-round and world class fishing destination. Whether you came here for the party on Duval Street or to relax with friends and family, one thing is for sure: A trip to the Back Country of Key West to catch some of the most sought after fish the ocean has to offer should not be missed.
What is the Back Country?
This area to the North of Key West is known as The Great White Heron and Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Many visitors to Key West never get to experience this area that still looks today like it did hundreds of years ago. In the Back Country you are surrounded by living mangrove islands, beautiful white sand flats only inches deep and calm, narrow channels all filled with amazing wildlife.
Your guide: Capt. John J. Smouse
Upon graduating from the University of Georgia, Captain John settled in Key West and has been guiding his customers to trophy fish since 1997. As the owner and operator of the Shadow Caster he insists on delivering a personalized fishing adventure. With Captain John you can expect Professionalism, Preparation and Performance, qualities that Capt. John has learned from the best in the business and keys to his continued success.
On the Shadow Caster you can rest assured that Captain John will always have a well-thought-out fishing plan and the appropriate bait and tackle to handle any situation. Whether you are the seasoned angler or the beginning fisherman, Shadow Caster is about catching fish and enjoying what makes the Florida Keys such a great place.
The “Season” is booking up fast!!! As the temps drop all around the US, we are still having days in the mid 70’s and Sun-Sun-Sun!!!
Tarpon fishing has become a year round fisheries, IF you know when, where and how to fish for them. The huge schools of migratory fish are long gone, but there are still some stragglers out there. And if you play your cards right and the conditions are there you are going to still see Tarpon rolling in certain spots and they will eat a well presented live bait.
Our other winter species have been providing our anglers with great action and long lasting memories.
Barracuda fishing has remained strong with some really Big fish out there. Our Basin action (trout, jacks, pompano, lady fish, etc) has been consistent using artificials.
Sharks also love to lurk the same areas. We always have a Shark bait on the ready for BlackTips, Lemons, and Bull Sharks. Some of these fish have been topping the 200lb mark!!!!!
Drop Capt John an email here through the site or call 305.587.7669.
Happy Holidays to everyone and see ya in Key West!!!!
While its getting Cold up north, Key West is maintaining mid 70’s weather. That is actually a cool down for us in the Conch Republic and with those cool temps comes a new batch of fish to target.
This is the time of year that people love. Fishing in the back country basins and channels can be filled with life. Some of the target species for the coming months are going to be Sea Trout, Jacks, Pompano, Redfish, Ladyfish and of course if you find those there are going to be predators around. Blacktip, Lemon, Spinner and Bull Sharks love to hang around the edges of these schools and can make for some spectacular catches.
Barracudas are going to be showing up on the flats on these cool bluebird sky days and they are nothing short of amazing in the shallow water. If you’ve never caught one of these fish in 2 feet of water you will be shocked at their speed and power.
The ShadowCaster has gotten some new shoes!!!! 2014 115HP Yamaha 4 Stroke. In my opinion the most reliable, efficient motor on the market.
Days are booking up here so give Capt John a call at 305 587 7669 to get off the rock and experience what Key West is really all about!!
Usually in December we are not even thinking about Tarpon, but with all this great warm weather South Florida has been given the Resident Tarpon have been in the feeding mood. Above are a few Pictures on some of the fish we have caught this week aboard the ShadowCaster. Tarpon fishing this time of year is very fragile and our next cold front will put an end to this. But this weekend (Dec 14 & 15)looks like its going to be good and warm.
SeaTrout in the backcountry has been fantastic as well. The fish have all been nice big fatties!! Mixed in with them have been Jacks, Ladyfish, Bluefish and Big Sharks. Lots of action for fishing in calm water with light tackle.
Give me a call at 305.587.7669 or drop me an email here to get hooked up!!
Our first cold fronts are hitting Key West as I write this report. It is going to get in the 70’s this week, not bad for a cold front. The fishing is going to get better and better as our water temps slowly drop. The Big Barracudas are going to start foraging on the flats looking for that warmer shallow water. I haven’t found a person that doesn’t love catching a Cuda on light tackle in the skinny water. A really amazing show by one of the oceans top predators.
The BackCountry basins are going to start filling up with our “fun” fish. These are the Jacks, SeaTrout, Sharks of all types, ladyfish, bluefish, snappers, etc. Not uncommon to catch a large variety and quantity of fish in these areas.
So call Capt John at 305.587.7669 to get in on the action!!!!
This is why I love what I do everyday:
“One thing Key West has in abundance is flats fishing guides. Here’s why I fish with John:
The short of it is: John does whatever he can to make your experience outstanding. First, John finds out what you want to do. Then he customizes your trip to meet your desires and your skill level. If you don’t know what you want, or how good you are, John will design a trip to give you a broad experience, and adjust the day as conditions and ability come clear.
Sure, John is experienced, knowledgeable and always ready early. He uses the best bait and his tackle is in pristine condition. You’d think that is a “given” for a professional fishing captain - but believe me, it is not.
My son wanted to catch barracuda. He has serious hip problems. John set up a cushioned seat on the bow - my son caught 15 ‘cudas in one day. My wife wanted to catch her first fish in the sea, and “bend a rod”. She caught eight (I think) redfish, all 24 inches plus, and a few big Jacks and a few ‘cudas. Yes, I’ve caught Tarpon - lots of them - plus Permit and ‘cudas in February and March. Even a 40+ pound Jewfish. We killed nothing - John’s preference, always.
But the key to John is this: when my wife threw her lure into the mangroves, Before she could say “oh no!”, she had a baited rod in her hand and John was pointing out fish. When I jumped a Tarpon off, John had another rod in my hand before I could say my version of “oh no!”. John runs around the boat to make sure you fish continuously. Never criticizes or rales on the client. This, too, should be a “given”, but believe me, it’s not. It’s fun to watch John coreograph the dance when both fishermen hook up at the same time. His focus is on your experience - many other guides simply don’t get this.
My wife sums up John with a simple “John is a gentleman”. Yes, he is.
Happy New Year. We are off to a great start to 2013. The weather has been fantastic and the fishing is right on track for our winter action style fishing. There have been huge schools of Jacks crashing bait all along the edges of the flats. We have been having a blast throwing top water lures into the melee and watching as multiple fish actually fight over the lure.
The Barracudas pictured above were bonus fish mixed in with the feeding frenzy. Cudas really provide some blistering runs and spectacular leaps. These cudas love to scour the flats during the winter months.
Shark fishing has been awesome as well. This time of year it is all about BlackTips and Spinner Sharks. Some of them have been pushing the 100lb mark!!!
Also the basins are providing some action for numbers. Here we having been catching some of the smaller jacks, redfish, sea trout, ladyfish, pompano, and of course there are sharks around those schools waiting for an easy meal.
Give Capt John a call @ 305.587.7669 to book your fishing adventure for this year!!!!