Key West in March - recommendations? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Key West in March - recommendations?

02-09-2002, 12:24 PM
Hi all - my first visit to your board.

I'll be in Key West in early March, and would love to do some fishing. Any information or recommendations regarding guides, locations, tackle, fly patterns etc. would be welcome.

Most of my fishing is done from my kayak in the San Diego area.

Thanks in advance!

-- Russ

Capt. Mel Simpson
02-10-2002, 03:06 PM
I would start with Jeffrey Cardenas' shop in Key West, he can help you with what to expect to fish for and guides. There are some important things you need to find out when you choose a guide: (assuming you are a flyfisherman)
Make sure the guide is a real flyfishing guide, not a "light tackle" guide.
Ask what you will fish for, what kind of rods, reels, lines, flies he uses. (You want him to use top name brands)
Find out what kind of boat he has, make him describe in detail how it fishes, how shallow, dry, etc.
Ask about the conditions, weather, wind and heat.
You can not ask him too many questions, it's your money and more important it's your experience.
If there is anything else you think I may be able to help you with, please ask.


02-10-2002, 03:35 PM
Thanks for the advice, Mel.

Do you happen to know the name of his shop? I get the impression there are lots of shops down there.

-- Russ

Capt. Mel Simpson
02-10-2002, 05:10 PM
"The Saltwater Angler", 1800-223-1629

Good luck, Mel

02-11-2002, 07:09 AM
Capt Mel is spot on with his info. If you want to flyfish with a guide make sure he is a flyfisherman. Another good question to ask is this (and word it just so), "What is the best way to fish for fish X?" If he says anything about chumming or bait or casting jigs or plugs then say thanks and call somebody else. A lot of sw guides have gotten into the flyfishing thing and they don't flyfish themselves so they don't know how the boat needs to be positioned and where you need the wind and a myriad of other things. These guys are great anglers for the most part but most can't help the regular fly angler who only has one chance to try for a fish they may have never seen before and want to catch it with a flyrod. Good luck on your trip. I don't know much about Key West specifically (I fish Islamorada area whe I go down there) but if you can find a light that hangs out over the water, I am pretty sure you will find tarpon under it at night, and if you throw a small white streamer of some kind at it, you will have a pretty good chance at hooking it.

02-11-2002, 10:02 AM
...Here are two diverse contenders to consider...both worth their weight in crabmeat!...

Capt Steve Impallomeni (305)292-9837 (featured on Spanish Fly) is an energized back country fly rod expert who WILL put you onto fish and he REALLY knows his stuff...great flats boat and fly gear...besides being STRAIGHT ACES and a pleasure to fish with!

Capt Ken Harris (305)294-8843 is a light tackle/offshore guide who specializes in shark, sails, kings, and whatever else is hot. He specializes in live bait, kites, jigs, conventional/spinning. etc... and WILL produce excellent results with NO WORRIES!...and if you asked Jose for open water guide advice, he would say call Ken!

Better call ASAP because the good guides fill up fast with last years' satisfied repeat customers...and the SLUGS wait for the unwary targets of opportunity!

02-12-2002, 07:39 PM
...I happened to talk to Capt Ken Harris this weekend and I stand corrected...
He has too many "records" to mention (sixty-something) and it seems better than half are on the FLY...Tiger sharks etc etc...
When we went out we caught sails, kings, and a few small sharks all on light conventional. He dah man!

03-01-2002, 09:27 PM
just came across this site has some good video pics of fishing [ some fly] and a good overall promotion of the area to theend [Keywest]


03-01-2002, 09:38 PM
I also suggest you contact our new Florida Keys Correspondent Ben Ianotta Jr, who makes his residence on the Keys as a guide and a writer.

You can email Ben at:


03-01-2002, 10:22 PM
Read "West of Key West," edited by John Cole and "Marquesa" by Jeff Cardenas before you go. If you're being guided out of Key West and taking full days with your guide, try to get to the Marquesas--an archipelago of mangrove keys twenty five miles west of Key West. In March, I saw--and you can expect to see--bonefish, permit, a few small tarpon, hungry, stubborn jack crevalle, and barracuda and sharks. The place is magical. The bird life is astonishing. And the silences are rare beyond belief for a fisher used to temperate coastal angling. No place like it.

And report back. Safe trip.

03-01-2002, 10:33 PM
If you don't want to pay Key West or Islamorada room rates the whole time, check out Parmer's Place on Big Pine or Torch Key (305.872.2157). An old fishing camp turned into a motel. And there's a kayak rental place nearby. You can explore some bayside (northside) flats on your own.