Jeff is no longer taking any trips, refer to his links page for a guide he recommends.

Why I’m a fishing guide in Big Pine and the Lower Florida Keys?

I love guiding the waters up and down the Keys, including Marathon and the saltwater fringes of the Everglades, but my base camp is Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys, the laid-back area about 30 miles up the fabled Overseas Highway from Key West. The back country and flats of Big Pine and the Lower Keys are famous among serious anglers for good reason, bonefish, tarpon and permit:

(1) Less competition = more & bigger fish: Big Pine Key doesn't have as much fishing guide pressure as Key West, Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo. The fish are happier, they spook less, and it's not uncommon to be the only flats fishing guide out there.

(2) Location, location, location: The region is known for its variety of flats, from hard bottom to sand, to marl and grass. The area is protected by the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, although sport fishing is allowed.

(3) Flats and Tides: The area's many mangrove islands produce complicated tidal differences. Good fishing tides can always be found somewhere. And that is very important when you make your living as a Florida Keys fishing guide.

(4) Superior wind protection: Those islands mean that we can find cover on all but the roughest days. That spells more fishable days and makes for better sight casting for the bonefish, tarpon and permit fishing I do.

(5) Off the beaten path: Big Pine and the Lower Keys are a great place to live, and the bonefish, tarpon, and permit seem to agree.

About the fishing…

One thing is certain: fishing in the Florida Keys with me, guide Jeff Belsik, is an experience you'll remember for a lifetime. On top of our bonefish, permit and tarpon, we have jack crevelle, triple tail, sea trout and several species of hard-fighting sharks. In the winter season (Dec. thru Feb.), packs of barracuda stalk the flats of the Lower Florida Keys on cool days when bonefish, tarpon or permit sometimes do not show up. There are plenty of sharks around, and sometimes they’re followed by scrappy jacks. On the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, jacks to 20 pounds are not uncommon in the winter.

Fishermen from up north can spend up to 150 hours a season trying to bag one 40-pound-plus muskie. Here in the Florida Keys, you can hook tarpon that weigh that much or more, and do it several times in a morning. In the winter, you could jump 10 big ’cuda. They'll rocket out of the water and make your drag scream ...on ten pound test; it's a blast.

We also have the occasional redfish and snook, but those fish are more predominant in Everglades National Park, off Cape Sable, and along the beaches of Sanibel & Captiva Islands. I know those waters too.

Big Pine is my home base but sometimes I will hit the road when conditions call me. I will guide in the Everglades and from Key West through Marathon in the Middle Keys.

The shallow flats of the Keys are excelling for both fly fishing and spin fishing. Some of my regular anglers love to use flies; others favor live shrimp or crabs. Still others want to cast plugs to tarpon, jacks or ‘cudas. I accommodate everyone.

Simply put, you’ll experience the most challenging, diverse and rewarding light-tackle sport fishing anywhere.

Ghost Hunter Fishing Charters • Captain Jeff Belsik • 29132 Palm Avenue • Big Pine Key, FL 33043

NOTE: All licenses and fishing tackle are provided. You are welcome to bring your own gear as well.