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.


Jack’s Shark

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Without a doubt one of the best parts about my job is watching kids catch a fish of a lifetime. Seeing the joy and enthusiasm on a young childs face when they finally see the fish they have dreamt about catching is what fishing is all about. Here is a pic of Jack and his full size BlackTip Shark. He fought this fish to the boat without any assistance and he was sure glad he did. He also caught Jacks, Trout, LadyFish and an assortment of others.
Barracudas are loving the cooler waters of the shallows. They will be a prime target for the next couple months. Schools of these big jacks are prowling the flats and are ready to eat anything in their path.
Give Capt John a call 305.587.7669 or drop me an email to get out on the water.

All The Winter Species are Showing Up

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Winter Time fishing in Key West has Started. We are seeing some great action in the backcountry, getting multi-species trips quite often. This is the time of year you can catch a different type of fish each cast. You just never know what it might be.
Sharks, Trout, SkipJacks, Bluefish, Pompano, Jack Crevalle, Etc are all on the menu.
Lets not forget about the Big Barracudas that frequent the flats in the winter. I am really looking forward to catching these speed demons this year, they can provide some of the best light tackle action of any fish around.
So Give Capt John a shout at
305.587.7669 or Drop me an email to take advantage of some great winter time fishing under Blue Bird Skies

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October 2016

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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
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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

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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.
305.587.7669


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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.
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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

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