Q?1. What does it cost?

My flats fishing rates (1-2 anglers) for bonefish, redfish, tarpon etc,are $625 eight hours (full day) OR $575 six hours (three-quarter day) and $525 for 4 hours (half day) dock to dock. * Two anglers maximum. The flats boats are small, and a third person on board will not allow me to get in the shallower waters (flats). If you have three or more anglers, it may be best to take my larger bay boat. It will take up to 4 anglers max. The larger bay boat is also recommended if you feel you may need a more stable platform to fish from. We also use this vessel for gulf, patch reef and ocean trips. Rates are $725 eight hours, $675 six hours, $625 four hours. These rates are for 2 people/anglers. There is an additional $50 for each additional angler, 4 anglers max. These rates include your fishing license, tackle, rods,bait, flies (if flyfishing on my smaller skiff) and a cooler with ice. All you need is what you would like to eat or drink.

Q?2. Can I split a charter with someone?

I occasionally get requests to split a charter if I can find another party seeking the same. Unfortunately, I have never been able to do this for anyone, at least on the same date. Most anglers look forward to fishing with a buddy or by themselves, getting all the "shots"  If you are able to find a fishing companion while here, I'll welcome him/her aboard and we'll head on out at half price to you!

Q?3. How many people can fish from your boat?

I can fish from 1 to 4 anglers. If fishing the flats, I fish only two anglers at a time on my boat. The flats boats are small and not conducive to fishing three anglers, especially if flyfishing or sightfishing for bonefish, tarpon, permit or redfish on the flats. Three people will hamper my ability to get into the shallow water and do my intended job. If you have to have a third person, whether fishing or not, we will take my larger boat. Rates for both are above (Q?1). We will fish the deeper channels and edges of the flats for redfish, snook, seatrout and jacks. Best to hire a second boat, and bring along a fourth angler if everyone wants to fish ON the shallow flats.

Q?4. What kind of fishing do you do?

I am a shallow water flats guide, specializing in SIGHTFISHING the flats for bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook and redfish on fly or light tackle. I do not stake out and chum for fish.  For those with children and those looking to fish for easier targets, I do occasionally venture out into the Everglades National Park for easier species to catch such as seatrout, jacks and ladyfish.In the months of May and June, I am only flyfishing for tarpon. I also able to fish the reef and if the weather is cooperative, I can fish offshore in my larger vessel.

Q?5. What does it include?

The cost includes all anglers per boat, all licenses, bait and tackle and flies. You are responsible only for your lunch and liquids. There is already a cooler with ice onboard. Please do not bring a cooler. There is no room available for it. Sunscreen, wide brim hat and polarized glasses (in an amber or brown tint) are also a good idea if we are sightfishing the shallow flats. I would also suggest a light weight pant/shirt in the months of June, July, August and September. If we fish the Everglades, the strong sun and possible bugs may be uncomfortable to some.

Q?6. Do I have to bring my own tackle?

No, I have all first quality equipment available to use for free. Sage, Tibor, Shimano.  Bring a favorite rod if you like, but discuss it with me beforehand so that I can give you some recommendations. Here are some recommendations. Fly fisherman, IF you are bringing a fly rod, 8 or 9 wt if bonefishing or redfishing and matching reel w/ 200 yds backing capacity. If tarpon fishing, an 11 or 12 wt and proper reel w/300 yds backing. Please have a 3 to 4 foot butt section of leader and proper leader already attached to fly line (nailknotted).  We will supply any additional leader material and flies for you. It is not necessary to bring your gear bag with you on the boat. I may not be able to store it on the boat. I can assure you we'll have all you'll need. Please leave any rod tubes in the car, and have your rod together and strung up when ready to board. IF bringing a spin/light tackle outfit for bonefish or redfish, a 7 foot fast action spinning rod suited for 10 pound test and reel capacity of 200 yds of 10 pound test and a quality drag system. Note, All tackle, plugs and leader will be provided for you. It is not necessary to bring your tackle box aboard. I may not be able to store it on the boat.Don't forget, if you'll be fishing on your own (not on the skiff) .. you'll need a FL fishing license.. FWC fishing license info If you're fishing with me.. I supply it for you.. no fee.

Q?7. Do I have to bring lunch?

You need only to bring lunch and liquids for yourself. I do not expect you to provide it for me. If it is arranged beforehand, we can do a Key's shore lunch and take a break from the heat at one of the many restaurants that dot the mainland. If your spouse is with you.. might be a good time for a restroom break. My cooler will hold approx 8 12oz cans of soda/water and a few sandwiches. Please keep that in mind if you plan to bring gallons of water. There is dry storage for those items that do not require cold storage. Please do not bring a cooler to take on the boat.

Q?8. I am bringing my spouse, and there is concern for a rest room.

Hey Ladies,  no problem!  At approximately 11:30 or so,  we can take a break and head to shore for a stop at a marina or take a break at a restaurant for lunch. more on this here

Q?9. How do I contact you?

Please leave a text or message on my cell phone. My cell phone is 305 393-2587. I typically do not answer the phone while i am out fishing, asI am being paid to fish and not chat on the phone. I promise I will return your message as soon as i get back home and take the time to answer all your questions fully and properly. I will return your message after 5 pm that evening. You may also send an email to flatsguide@gmail.com. All charters are booked online after I can confirm your date(s).

Q?10. Where are you located?

I am located approx. two hours from the Fort Lauderdale Airport OR one hour 45 minutes from the Miami international Airport, and two hours from Key West Airport.  see this page for more information..

Q?11. What Marina do you leave from?

I am known as a "trailer guide" which means I am NOT docked at any particular marina. Instead I trailer my skiff to the better places to fish, rather than spending your valuable fishing time running to them. I usually leave from the North Islamorada area, at the Tavernier Creek Marina Complex. Mile marker 91. As you drive south from Key Largo and come over the short bridge you will see multiple buildings on your right side. They are all blue and white striped and very large in size. There are large red letters reading TAVERNIER CREEK MARINA (they're six feet tall and one hundred fifty feet long, you won't miss them). Make the first right turn after the bridge into the complex. The road doubles back along the highway to it's end at Chris' bait and tackle shop. The tackle store has a blue canvas awning.  It is very important to call me on the eve before our charter, to confirm our departure place and time, which may change overnight.  There are many other places I will launch the skiff from, depending on the weather and the availability of the fish species in that area, these include the Biscayne Bay area and John Pennecamp Park.more...

Q?12. What time do we start fishing?

Fishing time starts at our agreed upon departure time, which is usually 7- 7:30 am. Sometimes I make other arrangements (i.e.: tarpon trips, cold weather, hot weather, inclement weather, busy weekends) When you call me the evening before our charter, I will confirm the time and place of our departure.

Q?13. How do I book a trip?

I will require a $100 deposit for each day chartered. Call me at 832-429-6918, let me know the day(s) you would like to fish, and I'll hold the day(s) for one week. While on the phone I'll give you an address to send the deposit to. Personal checks, cashiers and travelers checks are fine. If you would like to make a deposit with your credit card, please go here and scroll down a bit. online deposit  Please note: I am unable to process a credit card for any remaining balance after your charter. Upon receiving your deposit, I will forward a confirmation letter/email to you.

Q?14. I am arranging a trip on short notice, less than one week, do I need to send a deposit?

No, it probably won't make it down here in time anyway.  If you book a charter with me that is less than one week from the departure date, and I have not received a deposit from you, YOU MUST call me the evening before the charter, no later than 8 PM, so that I know you have arrived and will be at the dock in the morning.  I suggest to do this as well if you have sent a deposit. more...

Q?15. Do you discount multiple days chartered?

Sight fishing the flats requires a lot of work on my part, especially if the wind is up. I do not stake out and chum. The sight fishing that I do requires me to manually (with no motor or electric trolling motors) push close to 1000 pounds of vessel and passengers throughout the day. The harder I work, the more fish we find and hopefully the more fish you catch. Pushing a boat for eight hours a day is tough demanding work. I won't work any less harder on additional dates booked and feel I shouldn't get paid any less for my determined work ethic. I work harder than most guides, in an effort to insure a successful day on the water for you. Instead, maybe try and find a friend to split the cost or fish half days.

Q?16. I thought I'd call you when I arrive in the Keys to book a trip. Should I do this?

I don't recommend it, especially if you'd like to charter with me. The better guides are booked months in advance especially during peak season and if you call me last minute, most of the guides that I would recommend, if I am booked, are probably booked as well. Might want to check out my availability here. You'll see I get booked up in some cases, months or a year in advance.

Q?17. What is your cancellation policy, Do I get my deposit back?

This is my only occupation, and I am not extraordinarily wealthy, although I hope to be some day.   ;)  A deposit ensures I will be gainfully employed that day. Policy is: All deposits received are held if scheduled trip is canceled without a 14 day verbal telephone notice. No exceptions.  Deposits for charters that are canceled with less than 14 days notice, will be credited toward a trip within one year from original departure date if original departure date can be rebooked.

Q?18. What if the weather is bad? What is your refund policy then?

Sometimes we may get a little rain or encounter some cloud cover during your charter. However, if the weather is dangerous, (lightening or winds in excess of 25) I will gladly refund your deposit to you. I don't care to be out in that stuff myself and am looking forward to a lengthy stay here on earth. I've actually got a nexrad radar unit on the skiff. We can track any nearby storms should there be inclement weather and make an educated decision on a path to better weather. You can expect a breeze here of 10 to 15 mph. Most of the locations I fish are protected and sheltered from the rough seas even if it blows 20 or more.  If I've a day available later in the week (and better weather seems possible), and you are able to, I will try and accommodate you as best I can.

Q?19. What can I expect to catch?

My job as a guide is to match ones angling expertise with their expectations. Sight casting for bonefish, tarpon or permit is angling at it's most demanding form. Although with the right conditions, I can usually show you plenty of fish, It is up to you to cast correctly to them. The more proficient you are before you make it down to fish, the better chance you have of hooking and landing your intended target. The most productive fly fisherman have their casting skills honed long before their charter. That way I they can learn to see the fish, learn how to properly strip the fly and set the hook. I will gladly work with you to help with your casting technique. There are other species that we can fish for that are much easier to catch and can keep much busier with IF you're just looking for action. It's really an issue of quality vs. quantity of fish caught. . more...

Q?20. Children and bonefish. Huh?

Children under the age of 15 tend to need a bit more action during the day, so we'll typically fish for easier species such as seatrout, snapper, jacks and ladyfish. The patience and focus needed while sightfishing for redfish, bonefish, permit or tarpon is rare indeed from a young person. (even some adults) Bonefish and the like demand patience, cooperation and a calmness factor on the skiff to be productive. If feel you must take a child bonefishing, best to limit it to a half day.

Q?21. Where should I stay while I'm there? Can you make any recommendations?

Here is a link to some hotels/motels that have been recommended by previous clients.  hotels I have not stayed at them nor do I receive compensation from them. The prices and accommodations of these hotels can vary greatly due to holidays and season. It is by no means an all inclusive list. You might try looking up TripAdvisor for the towns of Key Largo, Tavernier, or Islamorada. Please call for pricing and amenities of each hotel. I'm sure each would be glad to send you a brochure so you can make a final decision. If you stayed in either town (Key Largo or Islamorada), you would not be far (at most, 20 minutes) from our fishing departure spot.  Also if you plan to stay in Key West, you are approximately two hours away. Marathon is approximately 50 minutes away. more...

Q?22. What should I bring with me on my trip?

The boats are small and don't have lots of storage. Keep gear to a minimum. Here is a link to some common items you might want to carry with you. list of gear Feel free to bring a few self tied flies along, but remember, I'll have all  tackle, leaders, hooks, and a stripping basket with me. No need to bring that giant Abel tackle bag along. more...

Q?23. How many fish can I keep to take home?

ALL of the species caught are returned alive to the water from which they came. It's my policy to release everything due to the large amounts of fish taken from the shallow waters of the Florida Keys each day by the many guides that frequent the same areas. As a guide, it is my job to set an example so that the fishing might be as good as is is today, ten years from now.  Having fish for dinner is definitely not an issue here in the Keys! There are plenty of restaurants nearby,  serving the freshest seafood possible. Remember where you are, practically fish central!  I will take high quality digital photos of all fish landed, and will gladly upload them to your email. You'll have those to keep forever. If you feel you must take home what the regulations allow, please tell me beforehand and I will bring a small bag to put the fish in for you to fillet and take home with you. (I'm not allowed to run with scissors, and certainly am not allowed to handle a sharp knife.) ;0)

Q?24. When is the best time to catch a bonefish, tarpon etc.?

Remember, while sightfishing, the weather plays an important role in our ability to find a species. Generally we fish year round. The weather conditions and ones abilities typically dictate what we fish for. I most enjoy sightfishing the flats. That is to say, we are fishing in very shallow water with two anglers maximum, stalking the shallow water species such as bonefish or redfish. This can be done year round with a few exceptions on the bonefish.. It may be too hot in the Summer or too cold in the Winter to pursue them for more than half a day as the weather dictates the water temperatures. I have had some of the best bonefish in the dead of Winter, providing the conditions allow it. So, we can pursue bonefish and redfish year round on the flats. Tarpon migrate in and thru the Keys and the best time to pursue them is late April thru early July, with May and June being the best time. They are year round residents, and again, provided the conditions are correct, we'll may find them at any time of the year. Just coming to fish? No problem. There is ALWAYS something to throw at. Our lake never freezes over....

Q?25. Florida's rules and regulations (DO I NEED A FISHING LICENSE?) -

You DO NOT need to purchase a fishing license while fishing with me. I will provide it for you. Remember, I am a catch and RELEASE guide. In and effort to keep our fishery healthy, I release all fish back to the water. .What's in season, how big do they have to be? For an updated listing of catch limits visit the Marine Fisheries Organization If you fish on your own, from the beach or bridge.. you'll need to obtain one... FWC Fishing License info

Q?26.  Gratuities. (i've tried to hide it at the bottom)

This is an issue I hate to discuss when my clients ask me at the end of a charter, "What's a normal tip?"I offer this as a suggestion when fishing with me or any other guide.  When clients ask me how much is it proper to tip your guide, I usually cringe and give them this piece of advice. First and foremost, It is most important that you feel your guide has worked hard to put you in front of fish (even though it has been totally overcast or very windy). Has he done his job of explaining the process of casting, seeing and hooking fish?  Has it been an enjoyable experience out on the water? Most guides, including myself, tend to judge the quality of the experience and effort provided for the day by one's gratuity.   I've received tips of $100 per day and those that have just walked off the boat. At the end of a day I tend not to look at checks written or a wad of cash handed to me to count, so as not to seem they are mandatory. I also understand the charter can be a year long savings experience for some. I can assure you, they are GREATLY appreciated. Here in the Florida Keys, where we've the highest cost of living in the state of Florida, (as well as outrageous fuel prices nowadays) they certainly help out. IF you feel you'd fish with me or another guide again, here goes.  As a guideline, full day $50-$100. half day, $30-$50. If you'd like to see a chart from a survey on tipping, based on 144 respondents, please look here

Thanks! I look forward to fishing with you.-- Barry

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Capt Barry Hoffman fishing guide

©1995-2016 Capt Barry Hoffman & FlatsGuide.com

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305 393-2587 cell or email

Specializing in sight fishing for bonefish, tarpon, redfish and permit on fly or light tackle.

Capt. Barry Hoffman's

Florida Keys Flats Fishing