Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Matlacha Redfish On Fly

Things finally fell into place today and one of my anglers landed a beautiful redfish on a #2 crawfish orange Bunnybone fly. Rick Diecke came down from North Carolina and caught this perfect 26 inch red using a 9-weight Sage Xi-2 with a Lamson Velocity reel. Rick finally landed this fish just south of the Matlacha drawbridge after casting to dozens of others in the Pass all morning.

Despite the very low tides we're not seeing any of these redfish tailing which makes fly fishing for them even more difficult. Tossing a Zara Spook or live shrimp would be especially effective right now but not nearly as challenging as using a fly. The water is still ten degrees colder than it should be but if you're after reds there's no shortage these days.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Beavertail Vengance Coming To Key West, Updated

Some friends and I are working with the guys at Beavertail Skiffs on a new project and we'll be heading to Key West early next month with their newest skiff. The Vengance is a fantastic flats boat that has all of the performance and quality of other hulls costing at least $10,000 more. We'll be at the Hurricane Hole Marina on Stock Island from April 3rd to the 9th. Mark Fisher, Beavertail's owner, will be there until Wednesday the 7th so you'll also get a chance to meet him in person and test drive the skiff for yourself. We'll be out on the water for most mornings and afternoons but should be back for Happy Hour so that'll be the best time to stop by the marina. If you happen to be in the Lower Keys and want to see the boat in person just shoot me an e-mail at

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Creature From My Backyard

Actually it was in my neighor's driveway this morning. It came out of our backyard wetland after yesterday's record setting monsoon rainfall.

Of course I had to study it much closer.


And then it bit my face off.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Reds Every Day

Matlacha Pass is loading up with redfish right now that our Winter From Hell is finally over. We're still at least ten degrees below normal temperatures but the reds don't seem to mind. I stuck to sight casting on my trips this week and managed to pull in a couple decent fish, including this 22 incher pictured here. Fly fishing has been especially tricky since the water is still perfectly clear so casting shrimp works much better. Several guides have reported catching over a dozen fish in the deeper holes out in Pine Island Sound by blind casting and soaking cut bait. I don't use that method too often but more power to them for making it work so well. Anything to get the anglers back to Southwest Florida after all we've been through so far this year.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tampa Sportsman's Expo And The New Beavertail Vengance

This is Beavertail's new Vengance skiff and it's easily the best looking flats boat I've ever seen. It's a complete departure from their previous line of skiffs and totally new from bow to stern. The best part of all is the price. The Vengance shown here lists at $27,000. That's easily $10,000 less than a comparable skiff from Maverick or Hell's Bay.

I had a great time at the show and the highlight was spending an hour chatting with Beavertail's owner Mark Fisher. He's a great guy and very accessable to anyone interested in his boats. You can find a lot more information about the Vengance and the company, now located here in Florida, by going to their website at

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sightcasting To Matlacha Redfish

Our water is as clear as the Key West's right now and this makes it really great for sightcasting to cruising redfish, and there are a lot of them around these days in Matlacha Pass. We found dozens of really nice, slot sized redfish swimming along the shorelines of both sides of the Pass yesterday. I also spooked nearly every one. They could clearly see me just as soon as I saw them and they were even tougher to fool than almost any Keys bonefish.

I finally landed the red pictured above by casting ten feet in front of it and getting the timing just right for the fly to cross his path. Once he saw the #4 rabbit fur pattern he didn't hesitate and pounced like a good redfish is supposed to pounce. It was a perfect 24 inch red and was also the first fish that took me into the backing in some time.

After Saturday's front our water is back into the lower 60's but there are no cold spells forecast for this week. Yet. The redfish don't seem to mind at all and our bright skies are actually making this the best sightcasting time of the year.

Right now my guiding schedule is wide open and I've even lowered my rates due to the poor economy. A half day is now $275 and a full day is $400. Times are tough for everyone and if dropping my prices will help get someone out on the water that's the least I can do.