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?

Back country fishing in Key WestThis 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.

» Schedule a charter with Captain John today! «

Your guide: Capt. John J. Smouse

Keys Flats Guide Captain John J. SmouseUpon 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.

October 2016

Bonefish, Fly Fishing, Keys Fishing Reports, Permit, Tarpon, Uncategorized No Comments »


We got really lucky earlier this month when Hurricane Matthew came towards Florida. Key West was spared completely, above is a picture of a bonefish we caught on the day Matthew was pounding other parts of Florida. Not very often Key West is the Safest place in Florida to be during a Hurricane. Also Pictured is The Royal Bahamian Navy Ships that were seeking shelter in the Key West Harbor.

Fishing has been loads of fun so far this month. October can be somewhat of a transition time on the flats. There are still a few stray Tarpon around on some of the calmer mornings. Last week we caught a few “resident” tarpon. As the water temps cool these fish will start to get lock jaw. But the other winter species will fire up. The basin fishing (trout, jacks, pompano, ladyfish, sharks, etc) has been showing signs of life and this should just get better and better as the temps drop. Barracuda fishing on the flats will also heat up as we approach the winter months.

So, you just never know what you might encounter in the back country this time of year. Give me a shout to get out there under these blue bird skies and take advantage of what Key West Fishing has the offer.

September Fishing

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Here’s just a couple pictures of the great Fishing we had here aboard the ShadowCaster this past week

Call Capt John today 305.587.7669

SawFish in the Shallows

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Here are a couple pictures of a Big Sawfish we saw the other day in the backcountry. This guy was cruising in only a couple feet of water and had this nice cobia swimming right on his back. The cobia couldn’t resist the crab we put in his face


Summer 2016

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Here are just a few pictures of some of the fishing aboard the ShadowCaster this past Spring. Thanks again to all the anglers that fished with me this past season!!!!
Key West is warming up, School is back is session and the tourist crowds have thinned out. Fishing is still great here in the Summer, so come on down and take advantage of the “slow” season. Fewer boats on the water means more fish for us!!!!!
I, Capt John, am the Owner and Operator of the ShadowCaster, so you fish with me, no hired captains here.


Change in the Weather

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The weather is starting to cool down and that is going to bring in all our “winter” species. Barracudas are one of the favorites on the flats this time of year. Sight fishing these speed demons is a total blast. They have it all; Speed, Aggression, Acrobatics, and a mouth full of teeth. Barracudas range anywhere from 5 pounders up to 25 pound beasts.
Also the cooler water temps are going to fill the backcountry with our action style fish. SeaTrout, Ladyfish, Jacks, Pompano, Blacktip Sharks, etc. You never know what its going to be on any givin cast.
Looking forward to the BlueBird Skies and cooler temps out there on the water.
Drop Capt John and email or call 305.587.7669 to get out there and bend the rod.

Fish Pics 2015

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Here are just a few of the great fish we have been catching on the Shadowcaster out of Key West. The Weather is great and so is the fishing. We should continue to see a strong Tarpon bite through the end of July. Summer is my favorite time to hunt Permit in the Shallows.
Remember I am owner/operator, so that means I run all the trips. I don’t hire other guides to run my trips and I don’t farm out trips to other less experienced Capts.

ColdFront 2015

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As I write this Key West is experiencing the coldest day since 2010. The temps were in the low 50’s this morning. But as the day goes on things are warming back up!!!! This weekend the forecast is to be back in the 70’s and next week (Feb 23) the weather looks very promising.
Tarpon are on everyone’s mind and its just around the corner. Prior to this cold front we have been seeing the fish start to show themselves. Might take a few days of warmth to get them going again, but I think that the fish are here and next weeks weather should be pretty good to get your shots at them. As we go into March and April they are going to be a primary target around here, so come on down to test yourself against one of the oceans strongest!!!

Fishing has been Great!!!

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Fishing on the ShadowCaster has been fantastic. We have been busy everyday putting our customers on fish. Above are some of the winter species we have been catching this week. Weather has been outstanding!!! Warm and sunny most everday!!! And the forecast is for more of the same.
With this warm of a winter I am expecting the Tarpon to be showing up next month. In years past with warmer than normal winters, Tarpon tend to start showing themselves in mid February.
We are looking forward to a fish packed 2015, come on down and get some!!!
Call Capt. John 305 587 7669

January 2015!!!!!

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Happy New Year.

2015 is starting out Great!!!! We have been catching a mixed bag of species. When the weather is right, and it has been lately, some of our resident Tarpon get hungry. A great fish anytime of year, especially in January. The migratory schools os Tarpon typically show up in mid-late February. And with this warm weather we have been having, I predict they will be here right on time.
But until they get here we have been busy catching the other winter species. Some BIG sharks have been cruising the backcountry feeding on Jacks and if you can find them they are a blast to tussle with in the shallow water.
As the rest of the country is freezing, we are still getting temps in the mid 70’s every day!!!
So come on down and enjoy the weather and catch a few fish onboard the ShadowCaster

Christmas in the Keys!!

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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!!!!

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