Kyle Schaefer

How many years fishing?

I've been fishing ever since I could hold a rod.  I got my first fly rod in 2nd grade after watching "A River Runs Through It"... yes, very cliche, but ever since fly fishing has been a major part of my life path and purpose.

How many years guiding?

I started my fly fishing guiding career right out of college in 2007.  I moved to Steamboat, CO and worked for Marabou Ranch and Steamboat Fly Fisher by summer and managed a couple ski shops by winter.  Since my days in Colorado I've guided for Golden Dorado in Argentina, managed guides and lodges in the Bahamas and I still passionately guide for Striped Bass in the summer with a focus on flats through my business Soul Fly Outfitters.

I am one of the owners and founder of Soul Fly Lodge in the Bahamas which takes up a big chunk of my year.

Who introduced you to fly fishing?

It was my purpose to find fly fishing.  It's gravitational pull lured me in as a kid and I just can't seem to shake it. I've had many teachers over the years and owe all the talented people around me for where I am today.

Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?

I spend about 3 months of the year guiding Striped Bass on the fly in Southern, Maine.  Once September hits I migrate back to the Bahamas for the remaining 9 months to operate Soul Fly Lodge, a bonefish & permit lodge that I founded in early 2020.  Every year is different for me but the theme of putting people on the water & teaching never changes... only the locations do.

I am enamored with flats & sight fishing.  More often than not I'll be found poling my favorite elements in Northern New England for skinny water Striped Bass.  
Soul Fly Lodge is surrounded by beautiful, expansive flats teaming with bonefish, permit, mutton snapper, barracuda, & triggerfish.  When I'm on the flats here, you'll catch me chasing my favorite quarry... the wiley Bahamian permit.  

What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?

June & early July are some of my favorite times for Striped Bass.  It's an exciting dynamic time with new fish showing up every week.  It's also a great time to target the big ones in shallow water.  

The fall is my favorite time of year to be in the Bahamas.  The permit are plentiful and the weather can be stable. 

What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?

The Bahamas are up there.  Easy to get to and LOTs of exploring to be had with all my favorite species on the hit list.  

The bucket list is very mood based for me... right now a wilderness float, miles from civilization sounds amazing. Otherwise, a remote flat usually does the trick.  New water is always exciting no matter where it is.  

What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?

There's a lot to like about T&T...  the history, the fact these rods are hand made 2 hours from my home in Maine, the design philosophy, and of course the people & service.  A T&T rod is designed with a big sweet spot so beginners and experts both fall in love with these easy casting yet highly powerful and accurate rods.  I've ruined many an angler by putting a T&T in their hand haha.  It's truly the rod you'll eventually own, just try one... they speak for themselves.

I fish the sextant, the zone and the Exocett SS rods most consistently.  For the flats the sextant is my jam.  7 and 8 weight for bones & smaller flats bass, 9 for the everyday striper rod & permit, 10 for big bass, big flies, big permit, cuda etc, 11 & 12 for offshore and bigger tarpon.

What's your current go-to fly?

That is almost an impossible question for me to answer, haha.  I love to tie and experiment so I've fallen in and out of love with a lot of different critters.  However, I always pick a fly that fires me up, one that I fully believe in.  

Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?

Being a flats focused angler my skiff has to rank in as the top answer to this question.  I currently run a Maverick 18 HPX.  Such a versatile and comfy boat.  From the Bahamas to Maine the 18 HPX is an awesome tool for me.

What's your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?

Sandwiches are my favorite food group.  Chicken salad with LTO, pickle and bacon when I'm fishing.  If I'm guiding, a few handfuls of nuts keep me rolling, especially if the fishing is good then I have a hard time pulling myself away from guide mode.  

My boat always has an iced cooler, snacks, reusable water bottles etc. 

What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?

The American Saltwater Guides Association blog.  I've read every entry.  It's prerequisite reading for any conservation minded coastal angler from the gulf to Maine.   

When I'm not fishing you'll find me:

Hanging with my main man Micah & my wife Kitri who are at my side everyday.  We, very much so, live fly fishing everyday at the lodge and back at home in Maine.  We're always taking care of clients and prepping for the next adventure or opportunity.  When I need to unplug from fishing you'll find me backpacking, writing or hopefully doing absolutely nothing and recharging the batteries.  

  • Kyle Schaefer from Soul Fly Outfitters
  • Soul Fly Outfitters Maine, USA
  • Soul Fly Lodge Bahamas with Kyle Schaefer
  • Kyle Schaefer professional fly fishing guide and T&T Ambassador