Nathaniel Linville standing in water fly fishing

The Angling Company owner Nathaniel Linville fly fishes in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: © C1 Films

A Fly Fisherman's Voice - Nathaniel Linville

by Kate Thompson

A few blocks off of the main strip in Key West is a fly fishing shop called The Angling Company.

Much like many of the people who migrate to the warm climate and crystal blue waters of the Florida Keys, the owner, Nathaniel Linville, is originally from New York. What brought him here, however, was not the lively Duval Street or the delicious Cuban food. It was the lure of the big catch — and that's what the Keys are known for.

As Nathaniel puts it: "The Keys are a very special place, and are different from other destinations in multiple ways. First are the fish: you have the large tarpon, the bonefish, the cobia, the barracuda, as well as the offshore tuna and sailfish. Why this is unique is that it will provide you with a different experience each time you go out. Second are the guides. They are better here than anywhere else in the world."

He adds, "Fly fishing in the Keys is a two person game. You have a guide and you have an angler. The whole way that you fish is different. The boat is pushed with a pole and positioned by the guide, and then the fish is cast to by the angler. It gives you an opportunity to contribute the most as an individual to the transaction of actually catching a fish.

"I want to be as involved as I can be in that process. That is something that is really important to me. I mean there are parts of the world where you can't fish this way anymore because there are too many people doing too many different things. That is the last thing that makes the Keys special: the sanctuary protecting its waters to keep the balance.

"I think that we have a really great thing with the sanctuary. You don't have tours or airboat rides running around the backcountry, but there is still a lot of commercial activity out there. If it wasn't for the regulation and thus the preservation provided by the sanctuary, this place would be finished."

"If you let people for whom the health of the resource is imperative ... actually interact with it, those people will take care of it."
the angling company sign outside the store
fishing rods in a rack
box of flys for fishing

The Angling Company is a fly shop in Key West that sells fly equipment, clothing and outdoor apparel, books, tackle, and anything else a sanctuary visitor could need for fly fishing and outdoor boating. Photos: Kate Thompson/NOAA

Nathaniel Linville holding barracuda while sitting on a fishing boat

Nathaniel Linville and guide show off their barracuda catch. Photo: © C1 Films