Friday, April 28, 2017

Speck Feeding Frenzy Off Pine Island

Even though we're in the middle of tarpon season, on some mornings those silver bitches just won't eat.  When that happens it's time to bend the fly rod on the very reliable (and delicious) speckled trout.  Here's a shot of Andreas from Germany with one of several dozen specks he caught two days ago in Charlotte Harbor tossing Clouser Minnows over the 3' grass flats.  We had a blast with these fish and the action never stopped.  Thanks, Specks.  I love you guys. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tarpon In The Boat

I don't post a lot of tarpon photos because I just don't take a lot of tarpon photos.  Once my anglers get a solid hookup I can count on at least 10 to 60 minutes of barely controlled chaos on the boat, depending on how big the fish it.  During that time, my cameras are the last thing on my mind.  Getting some nice shots of this beautiful 3-footer from this morning off Pine Island was a real bonus.  My angler whipped this guy in just a few minutes on 20lb spinning gear and got to pose for a pics before sending it back to rejoin the school. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Beavertail Micro: The Perfect Ultra Skinny Skiff

The Beavertail Micro has been in production for almost four years and in that time has gained a huge following with the ultra skinny water crowd.  I poled the first prototype and currently have several friends across over Florida running Micros who all love their rigs.  This 400lb, 30hp stealth fighter was a home-run for Beavertail from the word go.  If you're looking for a perfect two person flats fishing machine you'll need to take one for a ride.  As an added bonus, it's actually rated for three passengers, making it even more versatile than any Gheenoe or Jon Boat.  I took the shot above today in Matlacha Pass of my buddy Ethan and his dad Todd on their  very tricked out Micro.  Doesn't get any better than that. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Last Dragons: Protecting Appalachia's Hellbenders

This has nothing to do with flats fishing but it's an excellent short film about a giant freshwater salamander that few people even know exists.  This is very well done and worth watching in the full screen setting:

The Last Dragons - Protecting Appalachia's Hellbenders from Freshwaters Illustrated on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

More Big Matlacha Redfish

I just had another week where none of my anglers landed any legal redfish.  They were all over the 27" top of the slot.  (Except for a single 16 incher that I thought was a trout until we pulled it out of the water.)  Bob from Cape Coral landed the 32" beauty in the photo above on a hunk of cut ladyfish tossed at a school of at least 20 others just off Matlacha.  He's mostly and offshore guy and had never caught a red and really wanted to try one for dinner.  I knew way before we landed this fish that it was over-slot and Bob was just a bit disappointed about that, but this is what we call a "High quality problem," on the water.  For a first red, this one was a real gem. 

On a side note, take a look at the color of this fish.  You'll notice that it's not really all that red, just slightly orange with a lot of white on the belly.  That's because our water all around Matlacha and most of Pine Island is still so remarkably clear.  We haven't had any rain in SW Florida for several months and almost no runoff is coming down the Caloosahatchee River.  The water temps are also several degrees below normal so the natural tannic acids from both the mangroves and grass beds haven't leeched out and stained the waters yet.  The flat where we caught this fish looked as clear as any in the Keys or Bahamas.  Redfish, like many other shallow species, can adjust their skin pigments to match the color of both the water and the bottom where they hunt.  If you take a look at my previous post you'll see a photo of one caught way up in the mangrove creeks a few days earlier with a much different color.  By mid-July, when our water is as dark as strongly brewed tea, all these local redfish will be the same shade as the bricks on Main Street in Ft. Myers.