Flats Fishing is not All Sunshine

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Should Have Brought the Rain Coat Photo by Louis Cahill

I was in The Fish Hawk picking up a few things before heading to the Florida Keys for my first ever week of flats fishing.

My friend Gary Mariman asked me where I was going. When I told him he gave me a piece of advice that saved my trip.

“Take a fleece,” were the first words out of his mouth.

“Really?” I thought. It was already warm enough in Atlanta that I wasn’t carrying a fleece. “You’ll freeze your ass off,” he insisted. Gary, the creator of the Tarpon Toad, knows a thing or two about flats fishing so I took his advice and he was right. I’d have died without that fleece.

It’s tempting to think that it never gets cold in the tropics but I have fished in the Bahamas in two layers of fleece. That was highly unusual but I’ll never go down there without one. I’ve fished in the Keys in April when the temperature never made it to seventy. Even if it’s not uncomfortable to fish in shirt sleeves, running in the boat can get chilly.

The big couplet is water. If you get caught in the rain or splashed by spray you can get hypothermic on a chilly run. You never want to be on a flats boat without rain gear no matter what the weatherman says. The spray from the ocean is just as wet as the rain. Carry a good rain coat and a pair or rain pants that you can get into quickly.

If you’re planning a trip to some tropical paradise to do a little fishing, remember to have a plan B. Along with the sun screen, the buff, the sun gloves and the wide brim hat, take my buddy Gary’s advice. Take a fleece and certainly some rain gear, if not for the simple reason that nothing keeps the sky blue like a raincoat.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Flats Fishing is not All Sunshine

  1. I go down to Steinhatchee, Fl quite a bit to fish the turtle grass flats for speckled trout and redfish… There have been days during the summer, as far north as Steinhatchee, where I’ve spent the entire day fishing in a pair of rain pants and my simms jacket, mainly related to rain and wind like you said. On days like that, it sure is easy to freeze your ass off when you’re making a run.

    • Cool looking photo Louis…. The last trip I took to Steinhatchee was in late August and there was a day that it rained off and on all day. One of the systems that moved through looked about as ominous and spawned three water spouts (that we saw) South of the river mouth where we were fishing. On returning to the marina we learned that a couple of guys had rented a boat from the marina and found themselves in the middle of the same storm, and in the path of one of the water spouts. One of the guides was witness to the rental boat being spun around in the water as the water spout went right over the top of them. They of coarse were soaked when they got back to the marina, but were fine and able to laugh about it. Gotta say I’ve defintiely never been that close to a water spout. Lucky for them it was a small one I guess. Anyways just thought I’d share that little story. Later guys

  2. Ah yeah I remember that post now. That’s defnitely a cool experience. I’ve never been that close to one, but they are definitely amazing to watch. One of nature’s wonders for sure.

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