Marco Island Florida
Marco Island may always live in the shadows of Florida’s more renowned fly fishing locales. And that may be alright for those who vacation there and take in a little fly fishing. To be sure it isn’t the Keys, there isn’t a fly shop, nor are there much in the way of fly fishing guides, although a few will take you fly fishing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t fly fishing opportunities, and it is tailor made for the do it yourselfer on a budget.
Speaking of budget you can get a fairly extravagant hotel for under $150 a night, and there are also decent accommodations to be had at a more modest price. But I have found when traveling with a non-fly fishing companion the extravagant hotel room, allows for more hours on the water. Besides a happier companion the nicer hotels also allow you beach access. And beach access is fly fishing access. There are three spots to concentrate on. And they are the southern tip of the island at Caxambas Pass, which is within walking distance of many of the beach front hotels. Expect to see Redfish and Snook within an easy cast. Early mornings and late evenings are best for the least skittish fish, but sight casting is fun and readily available almost always.
To the North is Tigertail Beach, a public access point for which you are charged a parking fee. Plan for an hour or so walk to the North tip of this beautiful spot, until lands end. Snook and redfish fill these channels especially in the evening and morning try to plan around the tides, as low tides leaves water levels extremely low. Summer months also bring baby tarpon.
If the backcountry is your ticket, you are in the right spot. To the south of Marco Island is an endless maze of canals that fill in the evening with snook. Late fall through late spring provide hot fishing action with evening of twenty five fish or more common. High tides are best, and watch your backcast as you are literally fishing on the highway in many spots. Tamiami canal along highway 41 may lack the pristine beauty of a Montana lake, but it makes up for it in diversity of species, and do watch out for the occasional alligator.
From this area the Everglades National Park and 10,000 Islands can be reached. Which offers perhaps a lifetime of fishing opportunity, guides are plentiful although finding a fly fishing only guide is doubtful. There are numerous guides that do fly fishing trips, though they tend to be booked in advance.
Back at Marco Island, if you are desperate for night fishing the island canals offer plenty of lighted docks that often fill with snook. Generally one cast is all you get, so accuracy and presentation are a must. Too close and they are spooked, too far and they not interested.
Necessary flies include the clousers, deceivers, and seaducers, in a variety of colors. Also some shrimp patterns and crab patterns and you should be set. Six to eight weight fly rods are plenty, floating line 12-17 pound test and away you go.
Marco Island seems to be in a constant growth pattern, yet remains compact, with miles of wilderness just a short drive away. Scenery is spectacular and you can feel like you are lost in a faraway land without too much effort. For the fly fisher on a budget, it features some exotic fly fishing opportunity without expense of guides and remote travel.
And by the way there are some excellent restaurants there too.