Marquesas keys permit fishing

Marquesas Keys Fly Fishing


If I had to spend my last day on earth apart from my family, I would spend it in the Marquesas Keys fly fishing for permit. I didn’t write this to draw unwanted attention to this magical place but because of my love for it. When you are in the Marquesas on the right days you feel completely removed from civilization. Things happen here that defy logic and awaken parts of your soul that you can’t explain.

The islands lay 30 miles West of Key West and are untouched by the hands of man. They are an ancient atoll made up of a circular series of islands with a harbor in the middle. They are surrounded by countless wrecks and some of the best fly fishing on earth. Boca Grande Channel seperates the Marquesas from the rest of the keys and it’s strong currents keep most boats away except on nice days. A Spanish galleon was found here in the 70’s and pirates used this place as a refuge. When the sun is going down you can still feel them.

Marquesas Keys Fly Fishing For Permit


The fly fishing for permit in the Marquesas Keys is as good as it gets. Lots of big permit call this place home due to the proximity of channels and nearby wrecks. Permit tail wildly here and cough and spit mud. If my life depended on catching a permit on fly, I would go here. Any serious permit fisherman must try fly fishing in the Marquesas.


Tarpon can be found in the Marquesas year round in all sizes. They eat flies very well here, particularly at sunrise. Big pods of slow rolling tarpon in slick calm water can be found most mornings. The Marquesas is also a great spot during the tarpon migration. It’s the first place they show up and the last they leave. Incredible numbers of migrating tarpon can be seen circling the Marquesas from March through July. Baby tarpon abound in the many channels and are prime targets on our Marquesas Keys fly fishing trips.


Bonefish in the Marquesas are smaller than the rest of the keys, but they are abundant and willing. Lately I have seen more than ever and I hope that trend continues. Even 2-3 lb Keys bonefish are great sport and help round out a grand slam.


Barracuda and sharks are everywhere. The turtle grass flats as well as shallow wrecks host hordes of these toothy critters. Sharks and I mean BIG sharks get up on the flats here. Hammerheads over 12ft in length can be spotted on the same flats we fly fish for permit. Life abounds here and rays, turtles, herons and more are a common sight.



I love showing the Marquesas to people, and once you have seen her give up her gold she never leaves you. If you are interested in fly fishing the Marquesas Keys let me know in advance. Weather conditions dictate if we can make the crossing and extra fuel is necessary.


Key West is the closest place to stay to the Marquesas Keys. Key West and Marathon Key both have airports.

Marquesas Keys fly fishing for tarpon on the flats
Marquesas Keys fly fishing for barracuda in the winter
Marquesas Keys fly fishing for permit, tarpon, and bonefish
tarpon on fly in the Marquesas Keys
big shark from the Marquesas keys on fly

Marquesas Keys Fly Fishing By Season


Winter (Dec.- Jan.) Marquesas keys fly fishing in the winter is arguably better than anywhere else in the Florida Keys. It’s further south so it’s usually warmer. The lush turtle grass flats trap this heat and will light up with permit, bonefish, and even tarpon in the afternoon. The big draw in the winter are huge barracuda on flats and in the potholes. These speed machines will sun themselves waiting for a meal to come by. They are great sport and the big ones are quite challenging.


 Spring (Feb. – May) This is the season when the Marquesas comes into it’s own. This is prime time everywhere in the Florida Keys, but especially so in the Marquesas Keys. Something magnificent takes place in February. After our first spell of warm nights and calm winds the fish come out of the woodwork. I mean permit and tarpon are EVERYWHERE. This is usually the best fishing of the year. They are hungry, and did I mention everywhere. As we get into March tarpon season begins in earnest. The early season fish eat flies quite well so this is a special time of year to say the least. It’s game time. The permit fishing is at it’s peak in the Marquesas Keys too. Permit in big schools are all over the flats, and tailing in usually breezy conditions is the order of the day.


Summer (June – Sept.) Great tarpon fishing will continue into the summer in the Marquesas. The real stars this time of year are permit. Summer brings glass calm mornings where permit can be seen tailing all over the flat. This is sneaky long leader stuff, but to me personally is as good as flats fishing gets. That is if you can break away from the tarpon rolling a couple hundred yards away. Fly fishing for bonefish is quite good in the summer as well. You can catch them tailing on the crown of certain flats most days.


Fall (Oct. – Nov.) This is the most underrated time of year in all of the Florida Keys. The weather is usually great, and there is absolutely no one around. The fishing is extremely good for permit and bonefish. This is the best fly fishing for bonefish in the Marquesas of the entire year. Schools can easily be found, and they aren’t too hard to catch. Permit tail happily most mornings on the turtle grass flats. The ocean side flats of the Marquesas and all the way back to Key West fish particularly good this time of year.