Traveling Angler Profile: Fly Fishing the World with Lacey Kelly

Lacey Kelly permit fly fishing

Capt. Lacey Kelly is the real deal. An accomplished saltwater angler, Capt. Lacey has extensive experience on the flats in Florida as well as Belize and has also fished at numerous destinations globally. Capt. Lacey recently took time between travels to take on some questions for The Venturing Angler:

Where in the world have you fly fished?

Mostly Florida – pretty much the entire state! Belize, Mexico, Montana for trout, B.C. and Idaho for steelhead.

What is your favorite destination and why?

Belize – I lived there for two years chasing “The Man” aka the elusive permit.
I not only made some lifelong friends, but I got to experience the highs and lows of catching permit on fly. It’s not everyday that you land a permit on fly. It taught me patience and persistence. I went about a year and a half until I landed my second one. I was forced to focus on the details more than I ever have with any fish I was pursuing. In turn I became a better angler with much thicker skin!

Credit: Colorblind Media
Credit: @cavinbrothers at Colorblind Media @colorblindmedia

What is the most memorable travel experience you have and why?

Simms 2012 shoot in Belize. Experiencing three totally different places in the country in a matter of 7 days was off the chart. The first leg of the shoot started at the Garbutt’s Lodge fly fishing for permit in the backcountry tailing in muddy water. That blew my mind. A long boat ride out to Blue Horizon to fish with the legendary permit guide Lincoln Westby blew my mind even more. Like a perfect symphony on a rising tide the permit were like ballet dancers, fluid in every move. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my life. Last leg of the trip was San Pedro which is where “The Man” and I came to terms. Caught my first permit on fly and it forever changed my life.

What has been the best trip so far and why?

Would have been the last trip I made to Islamorada this past May 2016. I worked all season guiding hunting and fishing at Florida Outdoor Experience and I was overdue for some bow time. The very first day of my fish-cation I landed a permit of a lifetime bruising over 20lbs and fed 6 tarpon. It was by far the best day of fishing I’ve ever had and leaves me daydreaming daily about the Florida Keys.

Lacey Kelly redfish

Do you have any travel coming up?

En route to Louisiana to fly fish for reds in a week. Stoked to witness what everyone’s been chatting about out there. I hear it’s epic redfishing.

Is there a specie that you are dying to catch? What is it about that fish?

Giant Trevally. The gangster of the flats. It seems to me like they are the Cape Buffalo of fish. Angry and irrational. I can’t wait to get a taste of pure chaos when one slams my fly!

Credit: Luke Williams Photography @ctm_luke
Credit: Luke Williams Photography @ctm_luke

When you are not on the water, what do you want the most out of a trip and why?

To connect with like-minded folks. It’s not just the fishing that always matters. It’s the camaraderie and the friendships that make what we love to do even better. So I’d like to say that the company on a trip is almost as important as the fishing.

What is your dream trip and why?

Seychelles for a month on a liveaboard. Doing nothing but fly fishing everyday for GTs and permit. I crave wide open spaces and no cell phone coverage. It allows me to focus without any interruption. I hope one day that I’ll be able to experience one part of the world that is still really untouched in the grand scheme of things.

Lacey Kelly barracuda

If one song where to play in a video short of your most recent fly fishing trip, what would it be?

“Lochloosa” by JJ Grey & Mofro
It’s about the places we go to get away from everything and centers on keeping those places that way. My place is the Florida Keys. I don’t go there to escape reality but to get back to reality.

What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?

My camera. I cherish the travels and the folks I’ve encountered along the way. Capturing those perfect moments is what it’s all about in my opinion.

Lacey Kelly fishing

As you have traveled, what environmental issues have most concerned you?

The trash. I’ve spent quite a bit of time venturing around Central America and it’s heartbreaking to see all of the garbage washed into shore. Costa Del Mar has a campaign called “Kick Plastic” to try and alleviate problem from escalating. It’s changed the way I think about plastic and our footprint on and off the water. Check it out!

To check out more from Capt. Lacey Kelly, please click here.

And to follow Capt. Lacey Kelly on Facebook, please click here.

Leave a Reply