Fly Fishing: The Double Haul Casting Technique

Here is my handsome husband, Capt. Steven Lamp, demonstrating the double haul casting technique.

Here is my handsome husband, Capt. Steven Lamp, demonstrating the double haul casting technique.

Being married to a fly fishing guide, I hear a lot of fishing talk. And one thing that comes up a lot is casting technique and what it takes to be successful at saltwater fly fishing.

Fly fishing in salt water is very different than fresh water fly fishing. Whereas with fresh water one is typically casting a short distance away, saltwater fly fishing requires long distance casting, oftentimes in windy conditions. And to make that long distance cast, the double haul technique makes all of the difference. 

The idea behind the double haul is to use maximum force through minimum effort to increase the line speed during the cast. A haul is a swift pull of the fly line with your stripping hand. So, the double haul is basically two pulls of the fly line. One on the back cast and one on the forward cast. 

To complete the double haul technique, you will need some practice, preferably with a fly fishing guide or a fly instructor. But the following with provide you with the basic steps of how to perform this cast.

Using an 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 wt fly rod with a weight forward fly line and section leader, begin with the fly line in front of you with most of the weight forward tapered out of the fly rod tip. Roll cast to straighten the line and make a smooth out haul. Sweep the fly rod back (backcast) and at the same time use your line hand to add a fast yet smooth pull or haul downward separating the rod from your stripping hand. Feed the line into your backcast by bringing your stripping hand back to the rod as the backcast demands it. As you come into your forward cast, pull your fly line to increase the load on the rod as you come forward increasing the line speed. If done properly, the line will “shoot” forward and launch the fly to the desired target with no more than two false casts.

Want to go fly fishing while you are visiting Key West? Or if you prefer using conventional or spin fishing gear, we do that too! Give Dream Catcher Charters a call at 1-888-362-3474.

See what is happening on the island during your visit by checking out our Key West Events Calendar, and for other things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Before making your dining reservations for while in Key West check out our restaurant reviews!

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!
Island Genn
Key West Concierge

Key West Aquarium

The main section of the Key West Aquarium located at Mallory Square.

The main section of the Key West Aquarium located at Mallory Square.

The Key West aquarium is one of Key West’s oldest tourist attractions. First opened in the winter of 1935, the aquarium had a bright future until the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 hit the islands and destroyed the overseas railroad and for awhile Keys tourism with it. For a time, the building served as a gun range for the US military. But in the mid 1940’s the aquarium reopened and it has been a popular attraction ever since.

Throughout the years many improvements were made to the building and to the exhibits, updating with the times. Today, the aquarium has some amazing exhibits, including American Alligator, Atlantic Shores, Jellyfish, Stingray Bay, Shark Feeding, and Touch Tank.

The American Alligator exhibit was one of my favorites. The baby alligators on display are on loan from the Alligator Farm in Homestead. When they alligators reach a certain size they are returned to the farm and swapped for babies. The Alligator room not only features these cute reptiles, but there is also a plethora of information about the American Alligator that you can read and be educated through.

While the Alligator exhibit was one of my favorites, the Atlantic Shores Exhibit was the most impressive of this little aquarium. It is an actual living red mangrove ecosystem that showcases the waters of the Florida Keys and why the mangroves are so important to the local environment. Local sport fish such as tarpon and permit along with tropical species like angelfish and parrotfish call this mangrove ecosystem home. Green sea turtles and nurse sharks can also be found enjoying their days in this exhibit.

The Jellyfish exhibit was very small, but the dark background and bright lighting made for a very cool viewing station for these gelatinous creatures of the sea.

The Stingray Bay allows for visitors to touch and feed the stingrays as these creatures are pretty docile and do not present a danger.

I always seem to miss the shark feedings, but they are offered daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 4:30pm so plan your visit accordingly!

And the Touch Tank is filled with all different types of species that you can touch and photograph for an amazing memory. Sea stars were so cute and my favorite in this display, but there were also conchs, urchins, cucumbers, horseshoe crabs, and hermit crabs.

In addition to these exhibits, there are many other sea creatures featured. Our group voted the scariest as the Moray Eel. Yikes! Seahorses were another group favorite. And other local fish and other sea life like corals, lobsters, pinfish, jacks, french grunts, and many others that I have now forgotten can all be found in one of the many displays.

Visitors to the aquarium can opt to take a tour or they can explore on their own. And this may be the only aquarium that is dog friendly (as long as they are leashed). I am betting that Indiana Bones is pretty mad at me right now for not bringing him along!

So is you are visiting Key West come check out the aquarium which is opened 365 days a year!

Be sure to keep up with my blog for information about Key West. From its long history to what is happening right now!

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West, be sure to read my other restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our previous restaurant reviews.

And to see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn
Key West Concierge

Fishing and Key West

Island Genn holding a dolphin

Island Genn holding a Dolphin

Just about everybody who comes down to Key West wants to do some fishing. What many people don’t know is what type of fishing they want to do. Yes, there are many different types of fishing charters for all budgets, experience levels, interests, and constitutions.

Private Charters are charters that you and your group go on and have the entire boat to yourselves, with the exception of the captain and crew. These are great because you get a lot of individual attention and you can focus on catching the species that you want to target. Boats used for private charters can generally accommodate one to six persons, depending on the type of charter. For instance, a Flats Fishing Charter boat can accommodate only two people while a Deep Sea Charter Boat can accommodate up to six people.

Public Charters are charters where you share the boat with other anglers. These can also be called shared charters, split charters, party boat charters, and head boat charters. These generally fall into two categories. Our sport fishing boats that go out deep sea fishing and can carry a maximum of six passengers offer split or shared charters. That means that instead of chartering the whole boat to yourselves, you can save some money and pay for a single seat or two, save some money, and get out deep sea fishing. A party boat or a head boat carry about sixty people and they generally bottom fish the reef just off of Key West.

Deep Sea Fishing is what people think of when they think of Ernest Hemingway. Papa often fished for Marlin and other offshore sport fish years ago when he called Key West home. Simply put, deep sea fishing is done in offshore in deep waters, generally through trolling baits along the surface of the water waiting for a monster fish to hit. The mate will strap you into a fighting chair and let you reel in the big one while the captain drives the boat from above. Species that we primarily target include pelagics such as Sailfish, Tuna, Kingfish, Dolphin (don’t worry, not Flipper), Wahoo, and Marlin. Deep sea boats can accommodate up to six anglers.

Wreck and Reef Fishing, also referred to as Light Tackle Fishing or Bottom Fishing is another type of offshore fishing, but instead of trolling baits for fish, anglers fishing bottom structure for species such as Snapper, Grouper, Amberjacks, Permit, and Cobia which live in this area. Most boats that run these trips can accommodate up to four anglers.

Flats Fishing is done on the flats, which are shallow water areas near the shore line, generally three feet or less in depth. This type of trip is generally run on a small skiff or bay boat operated by a guide that will spot fish for his anglers and tell them where to cast his bait using a fly rod or a spin fishing outfit. Up to two anglers can generally be accommodated on one of these trips. Targeted species primarily include permit, tarpon, bonefish, redfish, trout, and snook. This type of trip is very technical, but can be extremely rewarding for those that have the patience and skill.

Backcountry Fishing is similar to flats fishing as it is also done in the shallow, near shore waters. But unlike the more technical flats fishing, backcountry fishing is more catching and less looking. You are not locked into fishing the super shallow waters, but all of the protected waters inside the reef and amongst all of the islands that make up the Florida Keys. You may still get into some of the trophy species that the flats fishermen target, but we also look for barracudas, sharks, ladyfish, mackerel, jacks, snappers, and any other number of species that can be found in this area. These types of trip are generally run on bay boats or center console boats and can accommodate four anglers.

Family Fun Fishing is another type of fishing done in the backcountry area. But our goal here is to bend rods on whatever comes our way. This is a great trip for families with or without kids, newer fishermen, people that get sea sick, bachelor parties, and corporate groups. We can also add the element of snorkeling into the mix with these trips for some extra added fun. We can accommodate up to six passengers on these trips.

 All of these types of fishing are done in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico off of Key West and the surrounding Keys. But we also have a few special areas that we can fish as well.

The Marquesas are a group of circular islands about thirty-five miles West of Key West that have phenomenal flats fishing opportunities inside the islands as well as target ship wrecks around the islands for a well rounded Florida Keys fishing experience.

About another thirty-five miles passed the Marquesas Keys are the Dry Tortugas, which is a National Park that can only be reached by boat or seaplane. Dream Catcher Charters has one of the limited numbers of permits available to fish this area, which is rich with snapper and grouper. Because of the distance away from Key West, this trip is about ten hours long, and the center console boat used to fish out here accommodates up to four passengers. Winds must be fair to be able to get out to these fishing grounds safely and comfortably, so don’t count on making it out here when there are gusts upwards of 15 mph.

I can talk for days about fishing, but I aught not to here! So, if you have any specific questions, feel free to Email Me!

For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site. You can also visit our Key West Events Calendar to see upcoming special events. And for more restaurant reviews check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews.

Island Genn – Your Key West Concierge

Key West Fishing Report

September is a notable month for inshore fishing. The flats are alive with baby tarpon, bonefish, and permit, although there are many other species available as well such as sharks, jacks, barracuda, snook, redfish, and jack crevalles. Typically this time of year though avid flats fisherman, both spin and fly fisherman, tend to visit our area for the trifecta of tarpon, bones, and permit. I have to say that the Dream Team is doing a great job with their clients at it too.

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