Saturday, January 29, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I was going through some of my old photos this afternoon when I came across this one from my former home on Vieques. This is an interesting shot for several reasons. It was taken in 2003 on a windy and stormy day at a place called Purple Beach, located on the island's north shore. A few years earlier this spot was completely off limits since it was used by the Navy and Marine Corps as a bombing range and to practice amphibious landings. There's even an old M-60 tank hull sitting up on the hillside past the beach that was used as a target.
The very tall angler's name is John Dukes and I can't remember where he was from. To his left is Capt. Franco Gonzalez who, before I moved to Vieques from Key West, was the only fishing guide on the entire island. The fish John is holding is the very first permit ever caught on fly on Vieques. It also might be the only one ever caught on a fly down there because in the five years that I guided on the island, none of my anglers managed to land one. I had several hooked up but they all managed to get free. Unlike Key West, there just weren't that many permit on Vieques so we rarely got shots at them.
Finally, if you click on the photo and enlarge it, you'll notice that Capt. Franco is wearing a Green Bay Packers hat. I kind of remember him being a Cheese Head for some reason, but I'm a die-hard Steelers Fan so he looses a few points in my book for that one. Either way, Franco is a great guide and Vieques is an awesome bonefishing destination and you might even get a shot at a permit while you're at it. If you're heading that way give him a call at (787)450-3744.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
here to check out their website or stop by Monday through Saturday.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
My buddy Jory Pearson, owner of Florida Paddlesports, brought his father-in-law Walleye Wayne out on my boat this morning. The conditions were pefect for sight fishing and the water temps were hovering right around the 60 degree mark in the south part of Matlacha Pass. Unfortunately, nobody told the fish how perfect everything was and they were lockjawed for most of the morning. Right around 2:00 pm, with the tide really rising and the water hitting the magical mid-60's, the reds started getting active and Wayne landed the beautiful 30 incher in the top photo on a Badonk-a-Donk. This is a great topwater lure and puts out an irresistable vibration that reds can't resist. Make sure you have a couple in your tackle box. Since this redfish was over the slot limit it was released after the pictures. A short time later Jory got slammed by the 23 inch trout that ate his DOA paddle tail jig. This fish was the biggest sea trout of the year so far on my boat and was sent right to the grill. Even though the catching was slow this was a great example of quality beating quantity.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Capt. Mike Bartlett's new blog. I've posted a lot of reports from and about Capt. Mike before and I consider him one of the best guides in all of the Keys. He's a great fisherman, patient with beginners, and most importantly, he never yells at his clients when they make mistakes. There aren't too many guides like that down there. Do yourself a favor and give him a call at (305)797-2452.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Capt. X was one of the best fly fishing guides in all of Florida. Unfortunately he strayed from the path and picked up a spinning rod one too many times, breaking his oath of loyalty to the fly fishing Mafia. Now that his identity is fully protected he's free to cast plastic lures and even live bait at anything he wants, such big redfish like this one caught right outside of Jug Creek. Even though this fish was a fat and very legal 25 incher, Capt. X released this red to grow bigger and be caught another day.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
My buddy Capt. Mike Bartlett came up from Key West to chase some of our big Pine Island redfish. The water temps in Charlotte Harbor shot up almost ten degrees in the past 24 hours and this gave us a thick fog all morning. That didn't matter very much since a negative low tide and dead calm winds in the Sound had the reds tailing everywhere. Less than ten minutes after we started poling a huge flat close to Useppa Island Mike was casting to a huge orange tail rooting in the grass. The fish pounded the slider and after a handful of strong runs he had the 30 inch red in the boat, his biggest on fly to date. My Matlacha neighbor Bill Heindl almost matched this catch a short time later with a 29 incher of his own. Since both of these fish were over the maximum slot limit they were released after the photos.