By Capt. John Lee, Pro Staff

Everyone raves about the Florida Keys or Central America as being top class for flats fishing. Yet some of the best and most accessible flats in the world are available right in the Everglades. During peak times of the year, the fishing can’t be beat. The Everglades are only a quick 40 minute drive from Naples, Florida.

Everglades City, right in the heart of the Everglades, is a unique town that is tailor made for fisherman. The Rod and Gun Club located right in the heart of the city, is a fisherman’s paradise as well as a historical landmark. It has housed past United States Presidents and offers a comfortable nights stay right on the banks of the Barron River.

The Barron River is located right on the edge of Everglades National Park and is home to some of the best fishing around. Local guides can be hired to shuttle anglers out to the areas reefs which are less than 15 minutes off shore. Fly anglers can regularly cast to cobia and permit, which frequent these area reefs. The main attraction however is the inner-mangrove maze, which attract all species of fish. The mangroves can produce trophy redfish, snook, snapper, and monster tarpon weighing up to 60lbs.

Any time of year can produce trophy fish, but the prime time for anglers hoping to access a variety of species would be April-October. Winter is the best time to target big snook, redfish, and cobia. Favorite colors for winter flies are white or rootbeer, with some flash tied in due to the tides being muddy.

Boat ramps and marinas are readily available to those who own their own boat, but a GPS is a necessity.

Local knowledge of the area is always the best way to learn the tricks and the hot spots for that time of year.

Learn to watch the tides because all fishing is keyed off of the tides in this area.