On the Fly column: Spring wanderings

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Will Sands and Captain Kris Suplee hold a Florida Keys tarpon courtesy.
Kyle Holt

Just as the fishing is heating up around here, many anglers with the itch (and the means) to travel are beginning to think about salt water destination trips. Spring Break isn’t just for coeds, you know. In fall and winter, many anglers are headed to Louisiana to cast at bull redfish or Christmas Island for bonefish and giant trevally. In springtime the wandering angler starts to think about the Florida Keys and Mexico or Belize to get shots at elusive permit and tarpon.

There are Roaring Fork Valley guides you may know that do both — guiding for trout in summer and salt water guiding in spring and fall. For the guide with the determination to work all year, this works out well. Owning a skiff and a drift boat isn’t cheap, but there are a few guides that make it work in their favor and pursue their passions the whole year long.

The spring tarpon migration in the Florida Keys is the stuff of legend, and it can be tough out there compared to the easy-going world of trout fishing here in the Rocky Mountain west. Most quality guides are booked a year out or more, so it pays to do your research and build relationships with people with their finger on the pulse of the waters they call home, wherever that may be. Many local fly shop employees have go-to guides and places that they strongly recommend.

Most shops around here cater to the salt water angler as well as fresh, and you can find everything you need from rods and reels to the right flies and lines to make your travel dollar stretch as far as it can. You don’t want to be that person that shows up for an expensive trip with the wrong gear and the wrong flies, so doing your homework and talking to professionals is a must. Whether you’re thinking about the Bahamas, Keys or somewhere south of the border, ask questions and pick the brains of those who have been there and done that, and go get your toes in the sand somewhere significantly warmer.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or

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