Sunday Classic / 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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4 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Flats Fishing is not All Sunshine

  1. I live in Florida and the coldest I have ever been (Wisconsin winter included) was one summer when caught in a rainy thunderstorm running back to the dock without rain gear. Shivered hard for hours afterwards.

  2. On a flats trip to Turneffe Flats, Belize, had a couple of heavy and windy tropical storms in August. Froze my a** off, in summer! Had raingear of course, but sure wished I’d had my fleece, trying to hunker down under that mangrove!

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