Sarasota Fly Fishing Charters

Sarasota fly fishing charters

Sarasota fly fishing charters

Capt Kelly Stillwell offers Sarasota fly fishing charters to anglers. Sarasota is a great little resort city on the west coast of Florida. Sarasota Bay is sandwiched between the larger Tampa Bay to the north and Charlotte Harbor to the south.  Sarasota offers visiting fly anglers several fly fishing opportunities that target a variety of species.

Contact Capt Kelly at (941) 376-0605 or

4 hour Sarasota fly fishing charter is $500, 6 hours is $700, 1-2 anglers

Capt Kelly is an Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide. He has been running charters full time in the Sarasota area for over three decades! The boat he uses is a 23′ Ranger bay boat. This is the perfect platform for the conditions in Sarasota. Floating in inches of water is simply not a priority for the type of fishing that anglers encounter in Sarasota. Therefore, stability and the ability to run in a little chop are more important, whether it be tarpon and mackerel out in the Gulf of Mexico or night fishing or drifting the flats inshore.

Speckled trout, mackerel, bluefish, pompano, jacks, ladyfish and more are available on the deep grass flats. This is an excellent choice for both novice fly anglers as well as those looking for action and variety. Long accurate casts are not required, it is fairly easy fly fishing.


Sarasota fly fishing charters

Snook, redfish, and jack crevalle will be found around oyster bars and mangrove shorelines. Snook and largemouth bass will be found in rivers in the cooler months. I focus on four Sarasota fly fishing charter packages for anglers visiting Sarasota; the flats on Sarasota Bay, the inshore Gulf of Mexico, night snook, and giant tarpon in summer.

Sarasota fly fishing flats charters

Casting a fly while drifting the submerged grass beds in 5′ to 10′ of water is the most productive technique for anglers seeking action and variety for anglers Sarasota fly fishing.  A Clouser pattern on an intermediate sink tip line will produce speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, pompano, ladyfish, and more. This is relatively easy fishing that does not require great casting accuracy, it is the most common trip. Also, two anglers can fish at the same time.

Sarasota fly fishing charter

More experienced fly anglers may choose to target snook, reds, and jacks. This is much more challenging and will produce fewer fish, though the reward might be a trophy snook. Often times, several different types of fly fishing can be done on one trip; hit the snook early then move to the deep grass for action. It all depends on conditions and the goals of the angler.

Sarasota fly fishing charters in the inshore Gulf of Mexico

Sarasota fly fishing charters

When conditions are right the inshore Gulf of Mexico offers truly world-class fly fishing. Schools of Spanish mackerel will feed aggressively on the surface as they trap the helpless forage. False albacore grow to 12 pounds and when the “bonita” are working there is nothing more exciting that hooking one of these little tuna fish on fly! Tripletail, cobia, sharks, and other species will also be encountered at times.

Night snook fly fishing charter in Sarasota and Venice, Florida

Snook are nocturnal feeders, therefore it makes perfect sense to fish for them at night. The primary pattern consists of fishing lighted docks and bridges. The lights attract shrimp and glass minnows, which in turn attracts snook and other game fish.

night snook fly fishing

Night snook charter is $550

Tides are very important on a night snook charter. Outgoing tides are preferred, but as long as the water is moving fish will bite. Small white baitfish patterns such as a Crystal minnow perform well. I like to use an 8wt or 9wt outfit. While most of the fish are “schoolies” in the 18″ to 22″ range, some larger fish will be hooked as well. Speckled trout, bluefish, jack crevalle, ladyfish, and other species will also be caught. The area to the south in Venice, Florida is particularly productive. It is locally called “Snook Alley” for good reason!

Fly fishing charter for tarpon in Sarasota

fly fishing for tarpon in Sarasota

Tarpon charter is $700

Many anglers will make the case that tarpon are the ultimate game fish, and for good reason. These beasts grow to over 200 pounds and are sight fished by anglers off the area beaches from May through August. Heavy tackle is required. I like to use a 12 wt outfit. The basic game plan is pretty basic. We get out on the beach at first light and sit a few hundred yards offshore. Early in the season the tarpon will be in large schools. The idea is to get in front of them and cast a fly as they move through. Later in the year these school break up into smaller pods and even singles. They are harder to dial in but often take the fly more aggressively.

Read more about fly fishing for tarpon in Sarasota