Fly and light tackle guided fishing on the flats of the Florida Keys, Florida Bay, Pine Island, Key West, Islamorada and Everglades National Park.

Welcome to Florida Keys Flats Guide Fishing with Florida Keys fishing guide: John Kipp. John has thirty-plus years of living and working as an Islamorada and Backcountry fishing guide in the Florida Keys - The Home of Flats Fishing!

florida flats

Call Captain John Kipp at 305-393-0932 and get to know about Florida Keys Fishing Trips and Guided Tarpon Fishing. When it comes to fishing guides, John is an expert when it comes to giving fishing trips in the Florida Keys, the Lower Keys, the Florida Bay, Pine Island, Key West, Islamorada, Everglades National Park and more areas in the southern Florida peninsula. He specializes in providing customers with Guided Flats Fishing, Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Fishing. Fish commonly caught includes Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Permit and Bonefish (otherwise, called Bonefishing). When customers go fishing in the Florida Keys with John Kipp, they get the most out of their day and have stories to tell about the fish they caught.

What makes the Florida Keys so special when it comes to Flat Fishing? The answer involves a long history of the area. This region, which incorporates the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, has been supporting human habitation since the arrival of the first Native Americans. This was because the wealth of its marine resource, its fishery, provided a dependable year-round food source. For centuries the ready availability of fish, shellfish, alligators and turtles supported the indigenous cultures of South Florida.

Then came the Europeans. In the early 1800's Fort Jefferson was built on the Dry Tortugas and the city of Key West was founded. It was at this time that European settlers began emigrating from the Bahamas to the Keys. These people were to become known as "conchs" (pronounced 'konks'), this name later being applied to anyone born in the Keys. In the late 1800's Flamingo, located on Florida's south coast in what is now the Everglades National Park, emerged as a settlement founded on fishing and farming. In the early 1900's Henry Flagler built his famous "Overseas Railroad" which provided rail service from Miami to Key West. The consequence of all this development on the marine resource was the establishment of a commercial fishing industry that became an important facet of the local economy. For that reason, the commercial harvest of the fishery was the predominate form of fishing in the Keys and Florida Bay. Sport fishermen were few and brave. The only fishing guides were moonlighting commercial fishermen. No one fished on the flats.

It wasn't until the 1930's when a few Islamorada and Lower Keys fishing guides began exploring a new idea, i.e., poling a skiff to stalk wary, spooky gamefish in clear shallow water. Once they had mastered the intricacies of stalking fish in shallow water these early guides then had to develop ways to increase the angler's chances of catching the targeted fish. In those early days their biggest handicap was their tackle. The need to make long, accurate casts pushed the design limitations of the rods, reels, and lines. Prior to that, sport fishing was done by trolling, drifting, or bottom fishing. The only people who sight-casted were anglers fly-rodding for trout. So, it was this burning desire to catch these fish that compelled anglers and guides to make the necessary modifications in their tackle and technique in order to be able to accurately cast lures or bait to unsuspecting bonefish, tarpon, or permit. It was within this milieu that necessity fueled the idea of introducing fly fishing into the saltwater scenario. What better way to make a long, stealthy presentation than with a fly rod and weightless fly. Thus the art of flats fishing began to evolve.

In evolutionary terms, flats fishing was in about the Late Cretaceous Period when he entered the scene in the early seventies. At that time the boats were made of wood, the rods were made of fiberglass, the reels are now museum pieces, the monofilament we had was adequate, however the flylines were a different story. Their properties were such that with one line an angler might have the feeling he was casting over-cooked spaghetti, with another line, baling wire. By today's standards our gear could easily have belonged to Fred Flintstone.

John's first visit to the Keys was when he was eighteen years old and in college. Prior to that, he had grown up in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. He lived on the Severn River where everyday of his childhood was watching the tide ebb and flood. He spent those first eighteen years in boats fishing, crabbing, and exploring the Bay and its tributaries. Read More About Captain John Kipp.

Captain John
Your Guide, Captain John Kipp.

Memorial to the Pioneers Florida Bay: The life and final resting place of Jimmy Albright, Cecil and Peggy Keith, and Jack and Dori Brothers. It was an honor and a privilege to have known and worked with these people
A tribute to the pioneers.