Friday, December 2, 2016

Beavertail Skiffs Demo Day On Matlacha

If you're looking for a new toy from Santa stop by the Old Fish House Marina on Matlacha tomorrow from 10AM to 4PM and check out the latest Beavertail Skiffs.  They'll have a pair of all new Mosquitoes, as well as a Micro, Strike and Vengeance all in the water for test rides.  You can also meet with company owners Will and Liz to talk options and pricing.  This is always a very busy event but the Marina is an excellent place to hang out, have lunch and listen to some live music in between boat rides.  Hope to see you there. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Still Some Red Tide, But Plenty Of Redfish Around Pine Island

Yes, we're still getting over the lingering red tide that killed a lot of bait (and quite a few gamefish,) in Charlotte Harbor and along our Gulf beaches.  This has been going on for over two weeks now and is finally dissipating enough that I'm hearing of good catches off the north part of Pine Island.  I've spent the entire time south of the Matlacha Bridge where the algae bloom never reached and had no problem putting my anglers on fish each morning.  Getting them to eat was another story, of course. 

This morning I had a very rare day on the bow of a skiff with a rod in my hand thanks to my buddy Tyler.  As expected, it was too windy to fly fish so the spinning gear came out instead.  That never bothers me, especially when the reds are extra spooky.  Whipping a fly line back and forth over their heads is never a good thing but a well placed live shrimp is hard to refuse.  That's what fooled the one in this photo, a perfect 24 incher that was in a small school hugging the mangroves near McArdle Island.  He'll be turned into ceviche tomorrow afternoon and there are still a few hundred more out there just like him. 

Be careful with the low tides this week, the water is much skinnier than the charts are reporting thanks to the wind.  But if you've got the right boat, kayak, or paddleboard, reds like this should be easy to spot along the south Matlacha Pass shorelines. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pine Island Fly Fishing Club Meeting On 11/28

The monthly Pine Island Fly Fishing Club meeting will happen on Monday, Nov. 28th at the Matlacha Community Park Civic Center at 6:30 PM.  Parking is free and we only ask a $3 donation to cover the cost of renting the hall.  This is always a great time with lots of local info and a chance to meet up with other SW Florida anglers.  Hope to see you there. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Winter Pompano Are Here Early

The best tasting fish on the flats of Pine Island is also one of the best fighting for their size, especially on the fly. Pompano are a common catch over the deeper grass flats right now, especially for the folks dropping shrimp-tipped jigs on the bottom. Yes, you'll have to put up with a few too many catfish using this technique but a nice legal size pomp is more than worth it.

Sight fishing for them with a fly rod, like my buddy Phil did in the photo, is a lot harder. Obviously, you'll need some clear and shallow water to do this. The sand bars running along the east wall of Charlotte harbor are already a good place to find them. Schooling pompano are fast movers and often travel with mullet. They can even look the same so as a rule I have my anglers cast to every dark shape I see running across the sand that isn't an obvious catfish. Stingrays are also a magnet for pompano (as well as a lot of other gamefish) since they constantly spook crabs and shrimp out from under their wings as the float across the bottom. Fish will cling right to their backs and pounce on anything that moves. If you see a large ray, drop your fly on it and start stripping immediately. Pompano prefer crab and shrimp patterns but I've had them hit Clouser Minnows and even tarpon flies.

Last year these fish were all over the Charlotte Harbor sand bars just before Christmas but they seem to be here a month early. Our recent, and quickly fading, red tide didn't seem to affect the pompano and I didn't see any dead ones floating anywhere. The water is beautifully clear in the Harbor right now and just keep getting brighter. Get up there and give these guys a shot.

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Beavertail Skiffs At The Ft. Myers Boat Show

Stop by the Ft. Myers Boat today through Sunday and you can check out hundreds of different boats from kayaks to million dollar yachts.  Two of the newest Beavertail skiffs will be there, a Vengeance and Mosquito, will also be on display and offered for sale at a special show weekend price.  You can also meet Capt. Blair Wiggins from the Addictive Fishing TV show at the Beavertail booth on Saturday from 10 to 6.  This is always a great show and the weather is fantastic this weekend.  Hope to see you there.