Aeon Marine/Beavertail Skiffs are kicking their 2014 Demo Days early this year. The first event will be held right here at one of my favorite spots on Matlacha, the Olde Fish House Marina at 4530 Pine Island Road. Starting at 12 noon this Sunday, the 15th, Beavertail owners Will and Elizabeth Leslie will be on hand along with several different boats in the water for free test rides. This will also be the first public demo of their all new 2014 Micro which was just introduced last month and at less than $20k has been racking up the orders. After you check out the boats stick around the Fish House for lunch and some great live music starting at 2PM.
My friends Will and Liz up at Beavertail in Palmetto, FL are loaning me one of their latest 2014 Micro skiffs in a few days. I plan on bringing it down here to Pine Island to hit some of our flats on the negative low tides for tailing reds and then showing it off a bit next weekend. I'll have it at Cape Tool and Tackle's annual open house and pig roast on Saturday, the 14th starting at 10AM. This is a really fun event thrown by one of the best bait and tackle shops in the area and located at 405 NE Pine Island Road in Cape Coral. There will several different seminars by local captains and some good deals in the tackle shop but the $5 plate of wild hog is more than worth the trip.
It was a little slow out in Matlacha Pass this afternoon during the incoming tide but the few fish we landed really decent. The 29" redfish went back in the water to make more redfish and the 22" trout went onto my grill to make dinner. Both of these fish hit white Gulp Jerk Shads. Absolutely gorgeous out there with near record warm weather and very low humidity. Great week coming up, too.
This is a shot I took about fifteen minutes after sunset tonight. We were there to see Santa but once again my daughter wouldn't go anywhere near him. I guess he is kind of intimidating but this scene was worth the trip.
December means one thing to me as a fishing guide here on
Pine Island:negative low tides.Seeing that little minus symbol in front of
the water levels on the tide chart, especially when the lows happen in the
early mornings and just before sunset, is almost as good as finding presents
under the tree on Christmas morning.These
are some of the best conditions to chase tailing redfish and almost every day
this month has a tide of 0.0 or lower.For die hard skinny water anglers this is as good as it gets.
My favorite times to hit these ultra-shallow flats are about
an hour before the bottom of the tide and then the first two hours of the
rising water.This is when I usually
find the redfish feeding most aggressively since their prey, which is mostly
crabs and finger mullet, is easily pinned to the bottom.This is also when the reds stick their tails
straight up into the air and start waving them like signal flags.It’s easily one of the coolest things you can
see out on the flats.
One other thing to look for out there that will help you
find hungry redfish are cruising stingrays.The bigger rays attract them like a magnet on certain flats in Pine
Island sound and I’ve seen more than a dozen reds hanging on their backs
waiting for a crab to flush from underneath.This is also a common behavior for other species of gamefish so it’s not
a bad idea to toss a lure or fly at any passing ray.Some of the biggest trout and jacks I’ve ever
seen have been landed this way. The rays
are easy creatures to spot on the negative low tides, too.Just look for the large pushes of water or even
their wingtips poking above the surface.
Last month I wrote about the best way to go after low tide
reds with flies, which is basically to bonk them right on the head with light
spoon patterns.That tactic obviously
won’t work if you’re throwing heavier artificials with spinning gear.One lure I’ve had great success with that
doesn’t spook them as easily are Gulp Jerk Shads rigged on weedless swim bait
hooks.These can be dropped right in a
school of feeding reds and usually get pounced on immediately.With 10 pound braid you can throw these light
Gulps very accurately and for a surprisingly long distance.And Gulps really are the one artificial that
actually does work better than live bait (most of the time.)
One last thing to know about working schools of fish on a
falling tide is to obviously approach them with caution, and I don’t mean that
in order to avoid spooking them.The
water during a negative low can disappear for a long time, especially on a
windy day after a cold front.It’s very
easy to get shoved up onto a flat or pole your way into an area while you’re chasing
tailers and not get back out, even in a very light skiff.This would be a really miserable experience
if it happened at sunset.Keep in mind
that the numbers you see on a tide chart are predictions and nothing more than
that.While very accurate, the depths
and times of posted tides can vary significantly, especially when strong winter
weather happens.Keep that in mind when
you’re fishing around negative lows this month and you’ll keep yourself out of