Fly Fishing Guides and Boat Rentals

Written by Edward Hill
February 9, 2022

Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

An Introduction to Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is a type of fishing where anglers cast and present a fly (artificial lure) to the fish to eat – whether on a boat or from shore. Sounds simple at first, but there’s a whole world to learn!

Whether hunting the skinny water of the Florida Keys for bonefish, chasing bass on a muddy river, or off Montauk casting to stripers crushing bunkers, Boatsetter has the fly fishing guides, captains, and boats to get you hooked up for your next fly fishing trip. 

Fly Fishing Guides on Boatsetter

With the launch of Boatsetter Fishing in 2021, we’ve built out our fishing charter and fishing guide presence, but we’re always looking for more top-tier partners to join! If you’re a fly fishing guide or charter and interested in listing, let us know by sending us a quick email to and we can get you started on Boatsetter, or you can start listing your guide operation here

Because of the nature of fly fishing, fly fishing guides normally have smaller groups than offshore charters. The boats tend to be smaller and hold fewer people, but that doesn’t mean the fish are. These captains below take groups of two or three fly fishing anglers into the skinny backwaters to hunt predator fish in a thrilling way. From 100 pound tarpon to finicky permit, a fly fishing guide is well worth the money to learn the ecosystem. 

Finding Fly Fishing Boats and Skiffs

  1. Filter locations search to “Fishing”
  2. Filter search to Boats Under 25′
  3. If you want a guide, select the “Captained” filter

To find the best fly fishing skiff or boat to fish on your own, search the locations where you’re going to fish in Boatsetter’s search bar. Smaller boats tend to work best for fly fishing, so we recommend setting the boat length under 25′.

When renting a skiff for fly fishing, keep in mind that boats with flat bows and minimal cleats make for the best boats to fly fish from, since when casting a fly rod anglers will have excess line at their feet that easily tangles. A typical saltwater fly fishing skiff will look like this. Some will have standing towers to help give the caster and the guide a better angle. Bass Boats and Jon Boats also work well for fly fishing and are more popular inland and with freshwater. If you’re fishing inshore, we recommend boats without T-Tops since they can get in the way of a backcast. 

When fly fishing offshore, having a boat with simple gunnels is helpful for not snagging line. Also, a center console with not too large of a T-Top is helpful so your backcast does not get snagged. 

Top Fly Fishing Locations for 2022

Wherever you’ve got water, you can fly fish! When first becoming popularized in England and Scotland, there were very strict rules about fly fishing. Only cast downstream, only fish in freshwater, etc., etc. Over the last 200 years, though, fly fishing has evolved to whatever eats can get a fly thrown at it. From carp in dirty ponds to marlin off Costa Rica, it’s hard to put fly fishing in a box now. 

The Catskills Mountains, NY

Fly Fishing in the US got its start in the old mountains of the Catskills. Home to famous fly patterns such as the Royal Wulff, the area has made a name as the birthplace of fly fishing in America. Explore with a highly maneuverable Jon boat!

Florida Keys, FL

Hemingway made this the American Mecca for sportfishing, and it has continued to deserve its place as a holy ground for sport fishers in the US. The Keys are home to some of the largest bonefish (and smarties) in the world. Capt. Mike of Blackfoot Charters in Islamorada runs a great fly fishing guide operation targeting bonefish, redfish, snook, and sharks that haunt the flats. 

West Yellowstone Area, MT

A veritable garden of Eden for fly fishers. With rivers, tributaries, stillwaters (what fly fishers call lakes, since we’re special), and the chance to catch enormous trout, this is a must-go. The Madison River is one of the most famous rivers in the US and boasts over 5000 trout per mile. Pontoons work well for fly casting due to their open flat bows. 

San Diego, CA

Tired of hearing about catching trout on the fly? Then how about Mako sharks… in San Diego, you can hunt and catch sharks on the fly! Not to mention, tuna, mahi mahi, and rockfish. This Cobia is a great rental for fly fishing. 

The Everglades, FL

Snook, tarpon, redfish, you name it, the ‘Glades got it! Small skiffs like this unlock a whole ecosystem to fish and explore, and fly fishing guides will have the local knowledge to make sure you get hooked up. 

Charleston, SC

A premier redfish fishery. Reds are one of the top targets saltwater fish on the fly. They’re known for their aggressive eats in shallow water and bullheaded fights. Center console bay boats with flat bows like this Sea Pro will give the angler a nice perch to cast from. 

State of the Union: Fly Fishing In the US


  • 7.8M Fly Fishing Anglers 
  • 54.7M Americans fishing

History of Fly Fishing 

Fly fishing is a type of fishing that uses artificial lures made from feathers and animal hair fished from long, narrow fishing poles. Depending on who you ask, the earliest documentation dates back to Japan or England. Both England and Japan have remarkable trout fishing and their ancient rivers make for incredible backdrops. Both destinations are modern-day pilgrimages for many fly fishing anglers. 

Dame Juliana Berners wrote what is often considered the first book on fly fishing, “The Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle” (published 1496) ,which details information on the fly rod, lure construction, and fishing seasonality. From the 15th century, fly fishing progressed and gained a reputation as a way to enjoy the natural world and commune with nature, and now it’s a booming worldwide industry and the fastest-growing segment of anglers in the US.

Catch And Release

Many fly fish anglers practice Catch and Release fishing. Meaning, after they hook and land a fish (trout, bonefish, snook, marlin, or whatever it may be), they revive the fish and release it back into the wild. This helps maintain healthy fish populations for future generations. “Gamefish are too valuable to be caught only once,” remarked pioneer Catskill fly fishing angler Lee Wulff in 1938.

Read Up

Curtis Creek Manifesto (Link), Sheridan Anderson: A great introduction to fly fishing. An illustrated book with the ethos behind the sport, it has all the practical knowledge you need to start catching fish on the fly. Great for kids and adults. 

The Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle: (E-Book), Juliana Berners: For the historian fly fisher and Old English reader. 

The Longest Silence (Link), Thomas McGuane: For the poet angler. McGuane is a voice of a generation of fishers. 

The Feather Thief (Link), Kirk W. Johnson: A true crime story about fly tying and fly fishing! 


Fly Fishing Film Festival: Catch the film festival as they make their tours around the US, or see the videos online.

A River Runs Through It: For Brad Pitt’s casting scenes. Trailer here.

Fly Fishing Community

  • Share your posts on Reddit on our Boatsetter r/fishingcharter thread or /flyfishing 
  • Tag @boatsetterfishing on social for the chance to be shared
  • Flylords on Instagram – quality fly fishing photography and lens into the fly fishing guide scene.

Ready to wet some lines? Find fishing guides and boats for rent through Boatsetter.

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