In recent years, fly fishing the flats of the Caribbean has become an expensive passion for me. I like to go at least once a year, usually in the spring when the weather here in Idaho can be still be relentlessly cold. And I usually try to do a lot of my flats fishing on my own—walking and wading the flats might be my favorite discipline of fly fishing
But, at least once a trip, I try and hire a guide for a day or two to get into some of the more remote waters, regardless of where I’m fishing. And this brings on a completely new challenge. Fishing from a flats boat, a skiff or a panga requires something of an internal reset.
First, as noted in the video from RIO above, it requires teamwork between the angler and the guide. It’s not like fishing from a drift boat where the person at the oars might suggest where to cast to the anglers in front or behind them. The guide is usually standing, sometimes elevated on a poling platform, and he or she will have two things most anglers in the front of the boat won’t have: A better perspective from which to see fish; and the experience needed to know where the fish might be.
The video above is hugely helpful, particularly if you’re planning your first flats trip and want to know what to expect. It covers everything from how the boat fits on the clock face to the importance of keeping your deck clear of things that can snag line—nothing is more frustrating than casting to a cruising permit only to have your line tangle on something that makes your cast fall short. Shots at permit don’t come along all the time, and chances are, by the time you get ready to recast, the fish is long gone.
Check it out, and get ready to hit the flats. It’s a blast.
— Chris Hunt