Tampa Bay Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Fishing • 4/13/2016

5/5 Stars

Flyfishing Tampa Bay
First Spotted Seatrout on fly.

“Captain Russ took my teenage son and I on one of our most fun fishing days ever. We had never fly fished salt water before, so we were looking for some instruction as well as a variety of fish. Captain Russ is a patient teacher and got us onto fish early and often. Excellent guide, clean boat, good gear – I won’t hesitate to call him the next time I’m in Florida.”

Andrew Keenan fishing Tampa Bay • 4/11/2016

5/5 Stars

Andrew Keenan with Spotted Seatrout.
Andrew Keenan with Spotted Seatrout.

“In the past I have not had the best experience with saltwater fishing. Captain Russ changed all that. He created more opportunities to catch fish through insightful instruction and knowledge of the area. We had a chance to fly fish and spin cast. My 82-year-old father-in-law and I lost count of the number of fish we caught. Next time I’m in St. Pete I plan on hiring him again.”

Large Tampa Bay Spotted Seatrout
Matt (Father In Law) with Captain Russ Shirley of Salty Fly Charters.

Captain Russ’ fishing note …

“Thanks Andrew, appreciate the kind words and testimonial. Thank you for choosing Salty Fly Charters. Glad you experienced Tampa Bay fishing at it’s finest. Hope you can come back to fish Tampa Bay for other fish species including tarpon, snook, redfish and many more! It was a pleasure having you and Matt on board the Salty Fly, hope we get to do it again.

Fishing Tampa Florida
Andrew Keenan & Matt (Father In Law) fishing with Captain Russ Shirley of Salty Fly Charters.

David L.

5/5 Stars

I recently spent a thoroughly enjoyable morning on Tampa Bay fishing with Capt Russ, the first thing I noticed was that he is very particular about his boat – and rightly so, it was immaculate. The second point of note is that he deals with safety first and does not treat the boat ride as a race – everything was done in a measured fashion. And so to the fishing – as a relative novice to saltwater fishing (and having had a not-so pleasant experience with a guide on the Keys) I was a little apprehensive about catching fish. Russ quickly put me at ease, gave me some invaluable casting tuition, and then proceeded to help me locate and catch c.6 different species on fly. We did not connect with any tarpon, which was just as well given my limited experience – however, having had a little tuition and having caught a lot of fish, I would feel a lot more confident of my prospects next time out. I would also recommend taking Russ’ advice on how to fish for tarpon. I have spent a lifetime fly fishing in freshwater and it takes practice and good tuition to get rid of some bad casting habits that will ill serve you on saltwater. All in all the experience was both educational and a lot of fun, I hope to be able to return to fish with Russ in the not too distant future.

Tom C.

5/5 Stars

My brother and I had the opportunity to fish with Capt. Russ Shirley. Since we were camping at FT. Desoto Park, he picked us up at the boat ramp in the park. We both agree that we received great lessons on fishing with a fly rod (my brother) and a spinning rod (me). Capt. Russ worked to put us on fish and teach us how to catch them. What a great way to spend a day, fishing and learning great salt water techniques. Capt. Russ had a great boat and great equipment. 
He is prompt in replying to requests for information and intent on providing the fishing charter that the client wants. We had a great time on the water and would recommend Salty Fly Charters to any who would ask.

John S.

5/5 Stars

I Had the privilege of fishing with Capt. Russ last week while on vacation in Madeira Beach, Florida. I am impressed with his knowledge of saltwater fly fishing and his experience with the waters surrounding the Tampa Bay area. I had expressed my desire to catch a Redfish on a fly and was successful with accomplishing my goal thanks to his being knowledgeable as to where they could be found at this time of year. I am pleased to recommend Capt. Russ and Salty Fly Charters to anyone desiring a quality day of fly fishing with an excellent guide.

George B.

5/5 Stars

I spoke with Capt. Russ Shirley several times on the phone prior to booking a fly fishing trip with Salty Fly Charters. Capt. Russ was very accommodating in making arrangements to spend a day on the water in St. Petersburg in September 2011. He supplied all of the fishing gear so I did not have to which made things easier with air travel. I have been fishing/fly fishing all my life, but this was my first time saltwater fly fishing. He was extremely helpful in providing instructions/tips with casting, selection of flies, searching for fish, and saltwater fishing. Capt. Russ was as much a teacher of the sport of saltwater fly fishing as he was a guide. I had a great time and I am planning on another trip with Salty Fly Charters.

Mike S.

5/5 Stars

Hands down, the most professional, knowledgable guide in the Tampa bay area! I would reccomend capt. Russ to all that are novice to the most experienced light tackle or fly fisherman!

Don J.

Spent a full day on the water with Captain Russ with a friend over the weekend. We met up at the boat ramp just before sunrise and were out on the water in a matter of minutes. Back at the ramp late in the afternoon. I have done several fly fishing charters on the east coast of FL and this my first in the Tampa/St Pete area. Thoroughly impressed with the experience. I am a beginner fly fisherman and I found the short lesson that Russ gave me was invaluable. He spent about 20 minutes on casting technique and I was able to see vast improvement and by the end of the day I felt quite comfortable. The best lesson I have ever had. We fished many spots for a variety of species including red fish, trout, lady fish, etc. Russ was very knowledgeable not only about the fish but saw a vast number of water birds which Russ helped us identify. Spectacular location, great guide, excellent equipment, enjoyable company and we caught a bunch of fish to boot – what more can I say – Thanks Capt’n Russ.

Dick W.

5/5 Stars

There are three things you want from a guide, and Capt Russ fulfils all three. (I live in UK, and my travels have only taken me to Tampa twice, and both times I have fished with Russ. I would always contact him and hope he is available to fish with me next time I come.)
1. Finds fish. This is the key thing for a guide to do, and Russ puts you where the fish are.
2. Has a Plan B. sometimes the fish disappear for no reason. Important to have a guide with options, and puts you somewhere else near a fish.
3. Is encouraging. Nothing worse than a guide who makes you feel small. Russ rapidly works out your limits, and makes sure you are PI in situations you can handle, and improves your skills in a gentle, positive way.
That’s three – and one more for good measure, he is great company, so you have both fish and fun.
I commend him to you.
 Dick Warner

Greg B.

5/5 Stars

Captain Russ Shirley provided me with several opportunities to be successful in my quest to catch tarpon! He is very knowledgeable and his experience is evident when he guides. I strongly recommend using his service for fly fishing for tarpon!

Greg Z.

5/5 Stars

A business associate and I recently were able to fish a full day with Captain Russ and he certainly provides all that you need from an experienced guide. My guest is a very experienced freshwater fly fisher and captain Russ provided expert instruction on how to transfer the skills of freshwater fishing to the heavier tackle needed in saltwater. Aside from the valuable instruction, he was also able to keep both our lines tight the entire day even though she was using fly equipment and I was on conventional spinning gear. I have spent many days fishing this area and was able to catch some of my personal best trout that day with Captain Russ. We had a great time and I would highly recommend Captain Russ to anyone looking to take on the many species the Tampa Bay Area has to offer

Marshall H.

5/5 Stars

I spent a half day with Russ in Tampa Bay in September. We had planned our trip by phone. Though I’ve been a flyfisher for many years, this was my first time in saltwater. I learned a lot! Russ is a very clear instructor, offering helpful suggestions and the reasons why they work . 

I learned that I need to improve my flycasting (not a surprise!) to increase my chances on saltwater. Probably caught 20 fish or so, though, so for me it was a great day. 

Finally, Russ is a very pleasant and interesting person — an important point when you’re both in the same small boat for several hours. I enthusiastically recommend him and will book with him again when I’m next in the area.

Jason K.

5/5 Stars

The best birthday present was a day spent fishing with my wife and Capt. Russ. We began the morning watching the tarpon roll and jump as the sun rose over one of the fingers near Gulfport Yacht Club. Russ helped improve our techniques to get longer casts and more fish. Russ took us to a spot he calls the “blues”, which was well-named for the abundance of blue-fish – very exciting time catching blues! If they weren’t hitting our line within seconds after casting, Capt. Russ quickly got us to a spot where we had non-stop action! He was very accommodating to tailor the experience to meet our needs. We stayed safe and had a blast! Thanks Capt. Russ!