Thursday, August 28, 2014

Seeing Red

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reds Of All Sizes Out There Now

There are so many of them schooling up that the water literally turns orange.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tailing Redfish On Fly

The redfish onslaught continues in Matlacha Pass. Low tides in the mornings and evenings produced tails by the hundreds all weekend. These are a few shots from just before sunset on Saturday.
One from a school of about twenty fish that I picked off with an 8-weight and a foam slider.
My buddy Tim Gleason hooked up from the bow of his BT Strike.

I can't say enough great things about this boat.  We easily chased down every school of tailing reds we spotted in less than a foot of water on a falling tide and never once worried about getting stuck.  The Strike is absolutely the best all around poling skiff ever built.

A close up of Tim's redfish and the foam slider he used.  When they're tailing in heavy grass these flies work better than just about anything.

We threw a small snook in for good measure.  We could have easily ran into deeper water and picked off a trout to complete the Slam but just couldn't leave the tailing reds.
A final big redfish waving goodbye as we started heading home.

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Beavertail Lightning Coming Soon

These are the first shots of the all new 20 foot Beavertail Lightning hull and cap just as they're coming out of their molds.   This boat is aimed right at the tournament angler and the first two are currently being rigged with a 200hp Evinrude and a 250hp Mercury.  The prototype hull saw some amazing speeds with the 200 earlier this summer.  I plan on heading up to Bradenton late next week to run the completed boat and will have a whole bunch of detailed photos after that.  The Lightning is scheduled to make it's first public appearance at next month's Tampa Boat Show.  Until then you can check in on Beavertail's Facebook page for more updates and pricing info.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Frigate Birds Off Pine Island

There is an active rookery for these frigate birds, also called man-o-war birds, in the northern part of Pine Island Sound.  They haven't been too common around here over the past few years so this is a welcome change.  When I was fishing down in the Keys they were an everyday sight. 

If you've never seen one in person, frigate birds are really amazing.  They have an almost 8 foot wingspan but can barely walk.  Look close and at these photos and you'll see they have tiny stubs for legs and unwebbed toes.  This means they can't swim or land on the water, but they can stay in the air for more than a week and fly hundreds of miles out to sea looking for food.  I've even seen them snatch flying fish right out of the air.  Frigates are basically the Predator Drone of the bird world. 

A female frigate bird, easily identified by the white head and chest.
The same female ready to land on her tiny feet.
An male frigate with all black feathers and a red throat pouch. 
A male in full display with his throat pouch inflated. 
A trio of frigates waiting for a breeze. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Redfish Feeding Frenzy Off Matlacha

Vic Maffee with the smallest of three reds we landed.
Redfish blasting the pilchards right at the surface.
I was hoping to chase some tailing reds on the excellent low tides this evening but a stiff north breeze ruined that plan.  We ran south instead looking for smooth water and stumbled across a couple acres of feeding fish near the power lines in Matlacha Pass.  The deeper water held big ladyfish, mid-size jacks, and small tarpon, all chasing bait right up to the surface.  The real action started when we floated into right up onto the flats and found hundreds of redfish going berserk in less than two feet of water.  These weren't as big as the ones I found out in Pine Island Sound over the weekend but they were fearless and chased everything we dropped in front of them.   It was a blast to see and the frenzy lasted for at least two hours. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tarpon Art

These are couple of recent creations from my brother Randy and his wife Ashley, who are both art teacher in northern PA.  They did this coffee table while they were here on Matlacha for vacation earlier in the month.  I'd love to keep it for myself but my kids would destroy it so it'll hopefully be for sale in one of our local galleries soon. 

This one I am keeping, and it's hanging front and center on my living room wall.  It's a life size tarpon my brother made with the wood from a Pennsylvania grain silo.  The name of my charter business was engraved using a Dremel tool.  You can see a quick rundown of how it came together by clicking here

This is one of my favorites that my brother made last year for my parents. He used old barn wood which he treated even further to withstand the Florida weather.  It still looks fantastic hanging at the front of their house on Matlacha. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Slam In The Sound

My buddy Tim Gleason and I fished a falling tide out in Pine Island Sound this morning. We threw only Gulps and flies and landed this Slam on a single flat near Cabbage Key.  Great looking water out there right now and the redfish are schooling up nicely.   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Beavertail Strike For Sale

This is the best technical skiff currently on the market powered by my favorite outboard, the Yamaha F70.  The full listing is right here at

Monday, August 11, 2014


My buddy Tim Gleason sticks one on fly from his Beavertail Strike off Little Pine Island.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Love Those Jacks

Check out the beautiful colors on this 5 lb. crevalle my cousin Joe landed this morning on a Rebel topwater.  Our dark summer waters bring out the bright yellows that don't usually show up on these fish in the clear water of the Keys. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Matlacha Redfish At Sunset

Perfect low tides at the end of the day brought out dozens of tailing reds just as the sun hit the horizon.  Despite the mess of floating grass, which is typical this time of year, I managed to land this 27 incher on a topwater lure.  Fish like this one have been pouring back into Matlacha Pass by the hundreds during the last two weeks and don't seem to be bothered by late day heat.  Just slow down your lures since they seem a bit sluggish at the end of the day, just like a lot of people I know. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bonnethead Sharks On The Flats

These small hammerheads have always been one of my favorite fish to target on the flats.  They very easy to catch if you just drag a live shrimp or crab in front of their nose and are a blast on light tackle.  My 7 year old nephew Matt is down visiting from PA and landed this one with me on Saturday.  This was his very first shark and he hasn't stopped talking about it since.  Bonnetheads do have a mouthful of sharp teeth but their size makes them relatively safe to handle, which is an added bonus for getting memorable shots for the kids.  Just get them back in the water quickly since the warm water can really exhaust them. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2007 Release Tarpon Bay 17 Flats Boat For Sale

This is an excellent 2007 17’ Tarpon Bay built by the Release boat company in Homestead, FL.  It's powered by a very reliable and quiet Suzuki 140 4-stroke with only 300 hours.  Some of this skiff's additional options are: 
Minn Kota RT80 24 volt trolling motor.
Garmin 541s full color GPS/depth finder.
Rear aerated 37 gallon live well.
Hydraulic steering.
Continental Trailer with removable tongue to fit in any garage. 
Locking rod boxes for 6 spin or fly rods up to 9'.
New starting battery.
All service records available
This boat is currently located in Cape Coral, FL.

The 17 Tarpon Bay is an all around great boat for anyone looking to fish both the flats and open water and is rated for up to four passengers. 
Email or call if you have any questions
$18,500 FIRM