Key Largo Reds on Fly


Every once in a while, a fishing opportunity comes along, and no matter the circumstances, you can’t pass it up. Even though I was fighting a serious sinus infection, I decided that I could either stay home and feel terrible, or I could fish and feel terrible. One sounded slightly more enjoyable than the other, so I packed my truck, hooked up the boat, and took the opportunity to meet a group of friends gathering in Key Largo for the weekend. I couldn’t pass up the chance to drive down to the Keys, split a room, and reserve a slip for my skiff at an affordable cost.


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Overseas Highway


We arrived fairly late on the first night and checked in at Rock Reef Resort. We were greeted with warm hospitality and shown where to park the skiff. Note: there is plenty of space for parking; however, be aware that the driveway down to the ramp and slips is narrow. If possible, it is best to unhook your trailer and roll it down the driveway into a spot – you will need to separate vehicle and trailer to park anyway.


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Slips on the back side of Rock Reef Resort, Florida Bay in the background


We dropped our stuff off in the room, which was spacious and comfortable, and proceeded to meet up with some good friends for dinner. We sat down at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen and had a great time laughing about life, and of course talking about fishing. Honson and Captain Jeremy of Purple Isle Fly Fishing provided a little bit of local knowledge to assist us along the way. This became extremely helpful, simply because both my fishing partner and I had never fly fished in Key Largo.


Honson and I
Honson Lau of Purple Isle Fly Fishing


The morning of day two started off slow, and I was feeling pretty miserable. The Z-pak antibiotics and some Tylenol saved the day. Conditions were less than favorable with winds blowing between 15-20 knots. We decided to cross Florida Bay and go for some protected areas. The ride across open water was rough, but once we reached our destination, we were rewarded with amazing shots on redfish. Water visibility was murky, but we were still able to sight cast to fish within a reasonable distance.


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Water visibility


My buddy Mike started out on the poling platform, and the first fish landed was a decent-sized red, on a DOA Bloodworm 3″ Shad Tail. We promptly switched, Mike was on the bow, and the second red was landed on the same artificial moments later. At this point, we decided that we would both switch to the fly rod. It didn’t take long for Mike to land the first fish on fly, an upper slot red.


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Caught on a Green Micro Redfish Toad


Again, we traded positions, and I followed suit to land my first saltwater fish on fly, a beautiful 28″ silver redfish. Practicing my casting technique on bass pounds for months had finally paid off. The fight was unbelievable, and to top it off, was in a mere 6″ of water. I was thrilled to not only land this fish, but experience the difference between catching the same species on fly instead of on spin. The next few pictures sum up the event.


Key Largo POV

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Key Largo Red on Fly
Caught on a Green Micro Redfish Toad…I’m in love with this fish!


Once the excitement died down, poling and bow positions were swapped a couple more times and we both landed a few more fish on the fly rod. We headed back in, and even though the chop in Florida Bay handed it to us in more ways than one, we couldn’t have been happier.


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Caught on a Green and White “Mojo” – Mud Dog Saltwater Flies
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Caught on a Green and White “Mojo” – Mud Dog Saltwater Flies


My general consensus after this trip is that even though the conditions and circumstances may not be perfect, always keep a positive attitude and make the best of the situation you’ve been dealt, it may work out in your favor. I learned to suck it up when you’re sick, and make it happen. I cannot wait to return to the Keys, spend time with good friends, and broaden the species I’ve caught on fly.


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Relaxing on a day three – beautiful clear flat in Key Largo