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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I would reach out to you saltwater experts locally before making a fool out of myself with calling up a fly shop asking stupid questions.

Here is my debacle.... I just found out that I won an award at work which is flying my wife and I to Naples Florida. Putting us up in the Ritz-Carlton and hosting many activities and a couple free days to do with as we wish.

Being the fine husband I am, I figured I would let my wife ogle at the pool boys for a day while I go try to learn how to spot cast 75 feet to fish I have only seen on Instagram.

Here are my questions and preconceived concerns...

I hear all saltwater guides are total pricks. Will I be getting ridiculed constantly because I cannot double haul a spot cast inside a bucket 40feet away? My skill level is at best an intermediate angler fooling some dumb Idaho cutthroat. I would place myself at the bottom scale of intermediate as it relates to our waters (predominantly rivers and streams) Would it be a waste of my money at this point with my current skill level? I really don't want to shell out $400-$500 for a day of casting ridicule and limited hook-ups.

We will be going the first week in March. Is this a decent time of year? Seems Sam if the Tarpon and Permit are the sought after fish.... anyone know that area, or have any idea if this area is decent? Or if you really need to travel down to the Keys to get into better fishing? I know nothing about that area of the country other than they have rigged voting booths, a bunch of old people, and have to rebuild their communities every few years after getting hit with hurricanes.

To fish... or not to fish... that is the question.

Thanks for the advice and input.
 

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Hi: First, I have no experience fishing in the Naples area however a few comments:
1)
http://www.floridagofishing.com/locations/sw/naples-city-of.html
Check out this link. The canals and Naples Bay would offer you the opportunity to fish for snook, redfish, and perhaps baby Tarpon.

2). Not all guides are pricks. On the contrary, some are fine gentlemen! Do your homework prior to the trip. Try to get references, and check them.
ALSO, not all guides are fly fishing guides so be certain you hire someone that specializes in fly fishing, and is willing to teach. See point 3.

3). When hiring a guide, BE HONEST about your ability. No one likes to be surprised. If you need tackle, be certain to ask. All good guides have appropriate boat rods; just be certain those are fly rods!

4). Practise casting. Hire an instructor (if at all possible) and learn to double haul. Honestly, it isn't hard, will improve your distance, is essential to casting in the wind, and best of all, a good instructor can have you doing this cast quite quickly. (If you are good at learning from videos, Simon Gawesworth from Rio just released a video walking you through learning a double haul. It is quite good.)

5). Practise with the appropriate tackle! Double hauling using a 3-5 weight is very different from doing the same cast with an 8 or 9 weight (or heavier), and bigger flies! (Cut the point off your practise flies to start!). Your arm & body need to adjust to the heavier tackle.

6). Practise casting in breezes or actual winds. Air is always moving in the tropics. And contrary to what you might have been told, if you can pop your practise fly into a hula hoop, you will catch fish. I practise casting into the wind all the time.

7). If you can spare two days in a row, your chance of getting fish is almost always greater on the second day as you will have worked out some of the kinks.

Finally, fishing is supposed to be fun. Do your homework (re: appropriate guide) and go and enjoy yourself. Call the shops, ask questions. Hoping someone on here can give you more specifics for the Naples area.
 

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Sorry, one more thing. Never go on your first saltwater fly fishing trip with unreasonable expectations. I've been a guide - it is called "fishing" not "catching" for a reason. Practise casting, it will help a lot. Some days the fish will co-operate, but other days due to a multitude of conditions, they won't.
Personally, one of my best guided trips ever was on the south shore of Oahu on a walk and wade trip in off-season, looking for bones. I paid $500 for the day, the guide worked very hard for me, and showed me a great time. I cast to only three bones that day, all very big, but for varying reasons I didn't connect. I tipped him $100 at the end of the day. Had a great time, but didn't hook a fish. However I saw barracuda, octopus, shrimp, various small reef fish, and various birds I had never seen. Had a wonderful time. To me, that was the measure of a great fishing trip.
 

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It's the Keys tarpon guides that had the bad rep. The guides in Naples were more relaxed, but it is important to tell them that they shouldn't be unhappy if you can't land all the fish you hook. I used to fish there in mid-February because of an annual corporate meeting, and it was too early for tarpon. Lots of reds and seatrout, but the most fun fish for me were the jacks because of how hard they fight. The Orvis-endorsed shop down there was a good source for guides (used to be Everglades Angler, but I see it's something else now).
 

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Yes, you should fish during your Florida trip. First week of March is too early for the adult tarpon migration at Naples, so you are better off booking a guide who will take you south into the Everglades. The earliest I have landed an adult tarpon (just north of Naples) was late April. If you just want to cast an 8wt for snook, redfish, baby tarpon then you can fish locally in early March. The weather and tides will be a factor, so you could get skunked or have a good day. A cold front and north wind = bad news.

Take casting lessons from a certified pro. It is critical for trout anglers. Cast a 12 wt and get comfortable putting out 60 feet in one fluid motion (the Saltwater Quick Cast). Practise accuracy and quick cast with an 8 wt.

It pays to try something new even if you are not prepared. I hooked a big 120 lb tarpon my first trip during a wedding. I booked the guide at the last second and had a great time. He was nice.

Thought I would reach out to you saltwater experts locally before making a fool out of myself with calling up a fly shop asking stupid questions.

Here is my debacle.... I just found out that I won an award at work which is flying my wife and I to Naples Florida. Putting us up in the Ritz-Carlton and hosting many activities and a couple free days to do with as we wish.

Being the fine husband I am, I figured I would let my wife ogle at the pool boys for a day while I go try to learn how to spot cast 75 feet to fish I have only seen on Instagram.

Here are my questions and preconceived concerns...

I hear all saltwater guides are total pricks. Will I be getting ridiculed constantly because I cannot double haul a spot cast inside a bucket 40feet away? My skill level is at best an intermediate angler fooling some dumb Idaho cutthroat. I would place myself at the bottom scale of intermediate as it relates to our waters (predominantly rivers and streams) Would it be a waste of my money at this point with my current skill level? I really don't want to shell out $400-$500 for a day of casting ridicule and limited hook-ups.

We will be going the first week in March. Is this a decent time of year? Seems Sam if the Tarpon and Permit are the sought after fish.... anyone know that area, or have any idea if this area is decent? Or if you really need to travel down to the Keys to get into better fishing? I know nothing about that area of the country other than they have rigged voting booths, a bunch of old people, and have to rebuild their communities every few years after getting hit with hurricanes.

To fish... or not to fish... that is the question.

Thanks for the advice and input.
 

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I just had a great morning today out of Everglades City sight casting big orange flies to aggressive bull and spinner sharks. Way more fun than tarpon IMHO. Things are slow for everyone too yet one of the guides we talked to was really down on sharks. Some of the most fun I've had watching a friend with a fly rod so I'm not embarrassed to admit it.

Practice casting as much as possible. Learn to cast without rocking the boat:no weight transfer on your feet. As guide friend says "if you can cast 30ft without rocking, we'll catch fish. If you rock the boat you better be able to cast 80ft"

Full day is $700.

Be very honest about your skill level with guide and let him pick target species.

Consider a night snook trip too for great sight fishing action with shorter casts usually and those are often cheaper trips.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

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Good morning from Naples FL, my winter home.

First let us start with location, you said the Ritz. Well both of the Naples’ Ritz’s are very nice (understatement). One is a golf resort, not near the water, and the other a beach resort. If you are at the Ritz on Vanderbilt you will be on a lovely beach giving you access to several miles of water front that, depending on weather, you can walk and fish. Beginning in March you may be able to find beach snook showing especially since we have had a mild winter and the water temp hasn’t dropped as much as normal. Small sparse white or olive and white clousers retrieved on the slow side. 2 to 3 inches. Bring a few (a dozen), if you get into lady fish, they are fun but will chew up your fly. Walking south from the Ritz will put you into a mile of beach without much foot traffic. Walking to the north will take you to a state park, but more beach foot traffic. That said if the wind is blowing, as it can especially from the west, beach fishing is not the easiest. Along the beach water clarity varies from clear to murky with the weather and wind.

The Everglades water is not clear like you see in pictures of the Keys. It is murky and frequently downright muddy, so if you have the time and inclination (money) a guide in the Everglades is an excellent option. There are a few very good ones. Some are booked years in advance. Since you mentioned your casting skills, I will suggest Capt. John Hand. He is experienced in the area and I know that he has been finding a few laid up tarpon of late. John is Orvis endorsed and also a IFFF Master Casting Instructor. Since he doesn’t depend on guiding for all of his living you may find his fee more attractive. From the Ritz it will take you a good hour to get to Everglades City. While you only 100 miles due north of Key West, it will take you over 5 hours to drive there. Miami is about 2 hours from the Ritz. Please keep in mind that while FL is flat, you can’t get to many places in a straight line. Book now to insure a date. If you need other names or want to float a name by me, PM me. BTW, most guides are only prickish if you are. I only know of one exception around here. They want you to catch fish, but at the same time they have seen and heard it all. If you only plan to fish with a guide, they will supply gear, just make them aware.

While on the subject, if you want to get some casting instruction before your Everglades trip call Joe Mahler. He is one of the best instructors I have ever meet. He also does fresh water guiding to some real nice bass in the area.

Bring an 8wt with floating saltwater line for beach fishing. I use the RIO redfish on the beach with 9’ 15 lb test leader. Get a spool of 15 and 20 mono leader and a spool of 30 lb bite tippet for when things break off. The local fly ship is Mangrove Outfitter. Both Tom and Patrick are very knowledgeable. The local ACE Hardware and West Marine also sell general fishing gear. You will need a FL fishing license which you can get on line.

Final note. Read about and practice the Saltwater Quick cast. See the note above. People come this far without practicing the cast they need and go back home disappointed blaming everybody when all they need to do is look in the mirror.

Mike
IFFF CCI
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Mike. Great advice and exactly what I was looking for. We are staying at the Ritz on Vanderbilt. We did get some warmer weather come through here in Idaho, so getting outside and practicing some casting is on the agenda for the weekend. I will have a decent amount of free time for that week, so possibly getting some casting instruction would be time and money well spent prior to a guided day in the glades. Bank is picking up the cost of the Ritz Sunday through Thursday, so I am trying to decide whether to extend the stay there thru Saturday and pay the Ritz rates or find something cheaper to help ease the cost of a guided trip. Any recommendations for nice, more affordable hotels?

Thanks again. Feel free to pm.

Good morning from Naples FL, my winter home.

First let us start with location, you said the Ritz. Well both of the Naples' Ritz's are very nice (understatement). One is a golf resort, not near the water, and the other a beach resort. If you are at the Ritz on Vanderbilt you will be on a lovely beach giving you access to several miles of water front that, depending on weather, you can walk and fish. Beginning in March you may be able to find beach snook showing especially since we have had a mild winter and the water temp hasn't dropped as much as normal. Small sparse white or olive and white clousers retrieved on the slow side. 2 to 3 inches. Bring a few (a dozen), if you get into lady fish, they are fun but will chew up your fly. Walking south from the Ritz will put you into a mile of beach without much foot traffic. Walking to the north will take you to a state park, but more beach foot traffic. That said if the wind is blowing, as it can especially from the west, beach fishing is not the easiest. Along the beach water clarity varies from clear to murky with the weather and wind.

The Everglades water is not clear like you see in pictures of the Keys. It is murky and frequently downright muddy, so if you have the time and inclination (money) a guide in the Everglades is an excellent option. There are a few very good ones. Some are booked years in advance. Since you mentioned your casting skills, I will suggest Capt. John Hand. He is experienced in the area and I know that he has been finding a few laid up tarpon of late. John is Orvis endorsed and also a IFFF Master Casting Instructor. Since he doesn't depend on guiding for all of his living you may find his fee more attractive. From the Ritz it will take you a good hour to get to Everglades City. While you only 100 miles due north of Key West, it will take you over 5 hours to drive there. Miami is about 2 hours from the Ritz. Please keep in mind that while FL is flat, you can't get to many places in a straight line. Book now to insure a date. If you need other names or want to float a name by me, PM me. BTW, most guides are only prickish if you are. I only know of one exception around here. They want you to catch fish, but at the same time they have seen and heard it all. If you only plan to fish with a guide, they will supply gear, just make them aware.

While on the subject, if you want to get some casting instruction before your Everglades trip call Joe Mahler. He is one of the best instructors I have ever meet. He also does fresh water guiding to some real nice bass in the area.

Bring an 8wt with floating saltwater line for beach fishing. I use the RIO redfish on the beach with 9' 15 lb test leader. Get a spool of 15 and 20 mono leader and a spool of 30 lb bite tippet for when things break off. The local fly ship is Mangrove Outfitter. Both Tom and Patrick are very knowledgeable. The local ACE Hardware and West Marine also sell general fishing gear. You will need a FL fishing license which you can get on line.

Final note. Read about and practice the Saltwater Quick cast. See the note above. People come this far without practicing the cast they need and go back home disappointed blaming everybody when all they need to do is look in the mirror.

Mike
IFFF CCI
 

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For the last couple of years i spend a month every five months flyfishing on the gulf side from Crystal River to the North down to the Everglades in a flats boat. Here are a couple of thoughts and reiterations. Casting, and casting with a wind, is paramount; a 80 foot cast is not necessary, however you will catch more fish if you can place where you want it. Fish live under or right at the mangrove edges. Out on the flats, potholes, or reef edges, placement is more forgiving. Snook, ladyfish (fights just like a tarpon in a 2~3' package), jacks, and seatrout are great fun on a fly and usually available in greater numbers. Sharks are a lot of fun on a fly rod, and, will put a big grin on your face! Snook are somewhat similar to fishing for trout in Idaho; ambush feeders from structure, current seams, aggressively will take a fly. If fishing for snook in the mangroves, six inches can make a huge difference in that they typically want the fly right at the mangrove edge or under the mangroves. Many times i am no more than 16'~25' away. I have used Mangrove Outfitters in south Naples and recommend them also. The Everglades and water around Everglades City is beautiful and wild. However, IMHO you don't need to travel that far. The Ten Thousand Islands area borders Naples to South; it is loaded with the same fish. If you obtain a guide, ask him what type of casting you should practice before the trip in addition to what has been mentioned in the thread. $500~550 is my limit for a guide, have not found what value the extra premium prices provide... Walk/Wade on the beaches is a great idea if the wind cooperates. You may be able to find a beach guide option for $250 who will teach you the basics and spend 2~4 hours with you so you can be productive on your own. If you find yourself with extra time on your hands to do forum research, here is a "skinny water" forum i have found informational; www.microskiff.com

Best of luck! Pics and stories are always appreciated!
 
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