About Capt. Tim Carlile


Flats Fishing charters from Sugarloaf Key Marina
Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, Sharks, Barracuda




Capt. Tim Carlile demonstrates his poling techniqueHistory on Sugarloaf Key

Capt. Tim Carlile has been taking folks fishing since he was 18- years of age. Carlile followed in the footsteps of his father, Cliff Carlile, by learning the waters that surround the Lower Keys. Carlile not only runs charters for shallow water fishing, he also participates in many of the Keys fishing tournaments including the Key West Fishing Tournament. Carlile has taken top honors for most bonefish releases as a guide for many consecutive years.

Capt. Tim Carlile: He knows where to find bonefish

Article by Capt. Pete Peterson / Key West Citizen
November 1, 2009

This time of the year, it is a whole lot easier to find bonefish than it is to find a paying charter. So it's not too uncommon to find fishing guides out there poling each other around, pursuing one of their favorite game fish: Bonefish. If you have never caught a bonefish on light tackle, you have really missed a great angling experience.

When the wind turns gusty and it becomes difficult to pole and spot bonefish, you will find many flats guides hanging out at the docks hoping a fisherman will come by looking for a day of fishing. Wander out by the bait tank and you might get to hear some outlandish fish tales about past epic fishing adventures. Listen carefully and you might even hear a few true stories, many about the elusive bonefish. It usually doesn't take very long before someone brings up Capt. Tim Carlile's name, as he is well known for his success at finding these elusive fish and at getting his fishermen trophies in local bonefish tournaments.

Capt. Carlile has spent the majority of his life fishing the flats that surround the Lower Keys. In fact, his first "paying job" was at the Sugarloaf Marina. Tim's dad was running the marina back then and became frustrated when tourists ran his rental boats aground. He decided that maybe he should send his 11-year-old son along with the tourists to help them navigate the tricky shallow waters and tides. It turned out that Tim was a natural born fishing guide who knew the backcountry like the back of his hand. As a result, his dad's boats and lower units came back in one piece and Tim learned the art of guiding fishermen. Tim quickly found his calling as he loved everything about the backcountry as well as helping novice fishermen get their first trophy.

Tim and the sport of flats fishing came of age together and it wasn't long before "serious fishermen" were looking to book charters with this young knowledgeable guide. Today he is one of the premier fishing guides in the Keys and is in high demand as a tournament charter captain (he is often referred to as "Mr. Bonefish").

When I asked him about his most memorable fishing adventures, he humbly started off by saying that he should probably be called "Mr. Bonehead." Then he laughed, jumped out of his chair and starting telling me about the time he was poling a fisherman along the edge of the mangroves. The current overpowered his boat and an overhanging branch caught him just right, pushing him off his poling tower into the water. However, his favorite story was when the cobia were running along the edge of the flats and he took a guy out fishing when there was an unusually thick fog. He was running along, shrouded in a heavy mist, looking for one of the channels he had run through a thousand times before. Unfortunately, the fog was so dense that he couldn't find any familiar landmarks. All of a sudden, he glanced down and noticed that he was quickly running out of water. He intuitively figured that he must have drifted off course a little to the left, so he turned hard to starboard, confident that this correction would put him in the elusive channel. The water continued to become even shallower so he quickly swung the wheel again, but it was too late and he found his boat high and dry on a mud flats. He sat there with his puzzled fisherman as they watched the outgoing tide continue to recede. They were still hard aground when the fog finally lifted and then Tim realized exactly how far off course they had been.

While Tim is well known for his expertise in the art of finding and catching bonefish, he's quick to confide that his favorite fish to catch is actually tarpon. He smiles as he tells you how he loves the way they explode out of the water. Once the hook is set, they begin to challenge a fisherman's fishing skills and tackle to the breaking point.

Even after all these years chartering, he still loves being on the water and taking people out fishing. Many of his regular customers are now great friends and they anxiously look forward to coming back to the Keys each year to fish with him.

If you would like to fish with one of the Keys' most experienced and successful guides, contact Tim Carlile at 305-745-1503, or just stop by his second home-the Sugarloaf Marina.

The Sugarloaf Marina - 305-745-3135

Capt. Tim Carlile and Glorida RampfelCapt. Tim Carlile and his longtime girlfriend, Gloria Rampfel took pride in owning the Sugarloaf Marina for many years.

Since then the marina has gone through a number of owners but is still family owned and operated by Jimmy & Jeanie Johnson of Sugarloaf Key.

You can find Capt. Tim at this marina on most days even if he is not working out on the water. The Marina not only offers many conveniences for boaters, anglers and kayakers, but is a local meeting place on most mornings for coffee and gossip.