Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pine Island Fishing Report: Big Trout Invasion

The water is still about 10 degrees warmer than normal on the flats and that has really helped the sea trout stay hungry.  My anglers easily caught their limit over the last two days and most of the fish have been near the top of the 20" slot.  These big trout are hitting almost anything during the rising tides but white jerk baits have been getting the best results, even better than live shrimp. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pine Island Bird Photos

White pelicans near Charlotte Harbor.
Anhinga with a meal.
Bald eagle chicks.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Surviving A Stroke At 28 Years Old

This has nothing to do with fishing but this short video is more than worth watching by anyone who needs a kick in the pants right now.  Jonathan Miller grew up across the street from us back in Altoona, PA and has been handed more than a fair share of adversity in his life.  His stroke and the way he deals with it is the kind of stuff that makes me feel ashamed when I gripe about it being too windy on the flats.


If you liked that video you can check out his blog here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

One Fantastic Bonefish And Permit Video

Stop whatever you were planning on doing for the next 7 minutes and watch this. It's light on the fishing but heavy on the fish, and is just all around excellent.

 For those of you who've never heard of him, Marc Montocchio is a well known marine photographer and he gets absolutely everything right in this video, from the editing to the stills to the music. This is what it's all about:

Getting the Shot: Bone & Permit from 36North on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter Tarpon Fishing In The Keys With Capt. Mike Bartlett

I didn't catch any tarpon on my trip to Key West last week but they're definitely down there.  No one is better at finding them this time of year than Capt. Mike Bartlett and here's a great article he just wrote for Fishmonster Magazine.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pine Island Fishing Report: Redfish And Big Trout In The Sound

Bright blue skies made sight fishing in northern Pine Island Sound a blast over the last few days.  With water temps in the mid-60's the flats have been exceptionally clear and spotting the big schools of reds is easier than ever.  Unfortunately, getting close to them isn't a walk in the park.  They seem to spook exactly when my anglers start to think about casting, which isn't uncommon behavior on calm days.

Dr. Mark Lucas from Missouri finally made the fish cooperate and scored the 24" red and a handful of nice trout on live shrimp and Gulps this afternoon.  We hit the top of the tide around 1PM and the redfish were hanging on several oyster bars north of Useppa but vanished as soon as the water started falling.  The trout hit right at the end of the day and we didn't land any that were under the 15" slot. 

We're looking at a great week with air temps in the mid-80's and no cold fronts in the forecast.  The water will hit the mid-70's in a few days so I plan on chasing tarpon on my next few charters. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Key West Bonefishing With Capt. Mike Bartlett

Every time I'm on the bow of my buddy Mike's Beavertail BT3, I catch fish. It's as simple as that, and this last trip was no exception.
 
Yes, that's a double header on bonefish with the fly rod.  Not the kind of thing that happens very often in the Lower Keys. 
 
Mike also put me on a couple more fish schooling in less than a foot of water on the flats west of Key West.  They were a fantastic run on my old 8-weight RPLXi. 

Despite what you may have read on other sites, Key West and the entire FL Keys still have a very healthy bonefish population.  If you head to that area and have the services of a veteran guide like Capt. Mike Bartlett, you will land one of these guys without too much hassle.  Contact Capt.Mike at 305-797-2452. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Robbie's Marina Tarpon Photos

I just got back from another excellent trip to the Keys and I never miss a chance to stop and feed the tarpon at Robbie's. I usually spend at least a half hour there and always wind up with a handful of interesting shots. Here's a cool sequence of a sardine dropping into the bucket.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Antique Outboard Motors

I saw this collection of fully restored outboards at last week's Naples Boat Show. They came from as far back as the 1920s to the late 50s and all of them were capable of running.  They were real works of art and the prices ranged from just over $1000 to $9500 for the Elto Quad pictured above.  I need one for my living room. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gator Trout Invade Pine Island

One of my favorite anglers, Eddie Max from PA, scores again today with an impressive pair of trout caught in Pine Island Sound. Eddie landed these fish, one 23" and the other 24", on white Jerk Shads and hour before high tide.  We were also surrounded by schools of big redfish but Eddie only managed to land three undersized rats on the same bait.  Oh well, you can't have everything some days. 

By the way, it was a record setting 85 degrees out there today and the water temps are in the mid-70s.  Tarpon season is here.