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.

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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.


Winter Time Fishing

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Our first Cold Front has come through the fabulous Florida Keys and it has brought some cooler temps. With the wind shifting to the East and NorthEast the water is cooling down and we are starting our Fall and Winter fishing.

Some of the species we will target throughout the coming months are Jacks, SeaTrout, Redfish, Pompano, ladyfish, Sharks and Barracudas. Yesterday we had a blast targeting all these species with light tackle. This type of fishing is for all skill levels and it is not uncommon to hook and catch dozens of fish. You just never know what the species will be on any given cast.

Permit Fishing will remain a great option throughout October in between these windy cold fronts.

Call Capt John @ 305 587 7669 to get off the island and really enjoy what makes Key West such a great place.

Sept. 2012

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September is a great month to fish here in Key West. Above are just a few of the fish we caught over the Labor Day Weekend. Permit fishing is great this time of year, with the calm winds and the bright skies. If you are patient enough to put your time in and do the hunting, chances are you are going to be rewarded with some great shots at these elusive gamefish. People often ask me “What is your favorite fish?” Well my answer without question is Permit. When the conditions are right, it is a great species to target.

Sharks are also all over the flats right now and are a blast on spinning tackle. Lemons, Blacktips and Bull Sharks are going to be a great target through September.

ShadowCaster has some open dates in September, so call Capt John @ 305.587.7669 and Let’s Go Fishing!!!

August 2012

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Calm seas and Light winds of Summer are here. Sharks are going to be a main target throughout August and September. Lemons and Blacktips are going to be the most common with the occasional Bull and HammerHead making an appearance. Just last week, while fishing for Lemons a 10 Ft Hammer showed up and engulfed a 5lb Jack Crevalle and the fight was on.
There are going to be some “resident” Tarpon around in the early morning hours and we have been having some pretty good success with then this month.
Permit fishing is great during the warm months on Summer. This can be the time of year that you may encounter large schools of them feeding on the flats. A well placed live crab usually gets the job done.
Give me a call @ 305 587 7669 to get out on the water!!!

Summer 2012

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Summertime is here in Key West and the fishing is Great!!! Just yesterday we managed to hook 8 Tarpon and brought 5 boatside. What a Day!!! Tarpon are going to start their push northward throughout the month of July, so get in on the action now while these fish are still around.
Permit, Bonefish and Sharks are going to be a great target over the course of the summer. Above are just a few of the fish ShadowCaster has been catching this summer.
Give Capt John a call at 305.587.7669 or drop me an email to take advantage of some great Summertime Fun!!!!

April 2012 Fishing

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Tarpon Season is in full swing. Anglers aboard The ShadowCaster are catching multiple Tarpon!!! Above are some longtime customers showing their stuff. Jeff and Will’s last fish of the day stayed in the shallow water for a great pic!!! And check how Josh Bowman demonstrates the Perfect “bow”!!
There are a few days in April still open for some great fishing. Give me a call @ 305 587 7669 and we’ll get you hooked up.

Tarpon Fishing

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This week Key West and the Florida Keys has been bombarded with sustained 25-30+ MPH winds. That has kept boats at the dock doing maintenance. But the good news is the Tarpon are here. These high winds have been warm, so the water temps did not drop to drastically. Once the winds subside (this coming week) and the water has a day or two to clean up, the Tarpon fishing should resume.

Fishing for The SilverKing has been outstanding. Above are some pics from a 2 day trip with Capt. Tom “Shore Lunch” Mannas (of Peerless II Charters out of Lake Erie), Ryan “Web-designer Extraordinaire” Valentine (http://aetomic.com/) & Mike “Take Me Home” Krysiak. Over the two days we hooked 17 Tarpon and brought 13 to the boat. This was Tom’s first ever Tarpon fishing trip, he managed to boat a few and get some great pics. I think we spoiled him.

ShadowCaster has some open dates in April so give Capt John a call @ 305.587.7669 to get in on some great Key West fishing!!

February 2012

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February has been an exceptionally warm month here in KW (just like the rest of the country). For this reason we are seeing the migrating Tarpon showing up around the island very early. No one is complaining!!! Above are some shots of fish we have been catching the last few days. Tarpon fishing is getting into full swing with the Spring time weather. There are also lots of Big Jacks and Barracudas in the shallow water. Permit fishing has been really strong over the last few days and should just improve as the Spring approaches.
So we are looking forward to some great fishing conditions to come and to fish boat side. Give Capt John a call to take advantage of some of the best fishing of the year 305.587.7669

January 2012

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This is the time of year again for targeting those big Barracudas and Jacks on the flats. Yesterday I had Vinny and Vinny (no relation) from New York out and we hit the flats west of Key West. The sun was out and the fishing was great. We managed to land 7 nice Barracudas on a half day. Watching a Cuda crash an artificial in shallow water is a sight I never get tired of.
There have been some really nice Jacks following the Sting Rays up on the flats during the incoming tide. Above are a couple we caught this last week.
Also during the Winter months the channels and basins are filled with life. We have been having a blast catching Sea Trout, Jacks, Lookdowns, Ladyfish, Pompano and an assortment of other critters. This type of fishing is for any and all skill levels, as it can provide some nonstop action.
The weather looks great for the foreseeable future so give me a call @ 305.587.7669 to get hooked up!!

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

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Winter has arrived in Key West. This is a great time of year to target the flats around Key West. After the cold fronts push through, the blue bird skies and cool temperatures are right behind. As the water temps drop we are going to be targeting nice big Jacks and Barracudas on the flats. Always ready with a rod armed with a live crab for the Permit that can show up out of nowhere. This a a very visual type of fishing and provides some spectacular bites.
When the wind is up we can still get out there and bend the rod on some fish. The basins and grass flats come alive with Sea Trout, Jacks, Ladyfish, Pompano, and Blacktip Sharks. This fishing is for all skill levels and came be filled with action. Give Capt John a call @ 305-587-7669 to get out on the water and experience what Key West is all about!!

Action Fishing

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

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October in Key West brings the changes in weather. As we start getting the cold fronts coming down from the north, everything changes. This is the time of year that we will start targeting Sea Trout, Jack Crevalles, Blacktip Sharks, Ladyfish, Pompano, Redfish and a handful of other species. This type of fishing is for everybody, you don’t have to be an experienced angler to get in on the fun. It is done on light tackle and can provide nonstop action. Just the other day we caught over 75 fish!!!
If you catch the weather right, in between coldfronts, there are still going to be some great opportunities for bonefish and Permit on the flats. Barracudas are also going to turn on as the water temps start to drop and sight fishing for Cudas in shallow water provides some of the most spectacular bites.
Call Capt John @ 305-587-7669 to take advantage of the cooler weather and some great fishing!!

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