Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beavertail Skiffs At The Naples Boat Show This Week

Another great boat show starting Thursday through Sunday and your chance to see the latest Beavertail Lightning along with a handful of other great skiffs.  Excellent barbeque at this show, too.  Click here for more info and directions

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tricky Week Fishing Around Pine Island

January is a very challenging month on the flats here in SW Florida. Our negative low tides can be great for tailing redfish, but when they happen during a cold front it can shut the bite down for days.  Last week was the usual mix of excellent one day and rotten the next conditions but we've still managed to bring in the fish, especially the sharks and sea trout.  Here are a few recent catches. 

Danielle from Kansas City with a sharpnose shark.  These are a small species and this one is almost full grown.
Joyce from Chicago with a keeper trout on a windy day.  This was her first fish ever so the weather didn't bother us a bit.

Capt. J.T. from Big Pine Key with a baby snook, also on a windy day.  There are lots of these little guys out there right now.

Joe from Wisconsin with a small but beautiful blacktip shark.  These fish can reach 200lbs so this one was also just a baby.

And finally, here's a quick video that my friend Marty from Pine Island put together from his own skiff last summer featuring bent rods and reggae music to remind us all that better fishing is just around the corner. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

East Coast Snook

My buddy Paul Murray lives in West Palm Beach where they have some of the best nighttime snook fishing in all of Florida.  The shoreline over there is heavily developed but just about every dock is outfitted with underwater lights that attract a ton of fish.  Paul sent me this shot of his nephew Oliver who was on vacation from the fly shop in Yellowstone, WY where he works.  They pounded the snook with fly rods this week and released 15 the night this picture was taken.  Fishing the dock lights is an absolute blast.  You loose a lot of flies but you rarely find these fish more willing to eat. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pine Island Trout On Fly

My buddy Tom Cleaver from Matlacha got to work on his double-haul yesterday and landed this great looking speck with a #2 Clouser Minnow.  We were fishing near the northeast tip of Pine Island and landed at least two dozen other trout like this one on spinning gear while we were at it.  The weather was so excellent it almost made me cry.  Temps in the upper 70s, low humidity, and flat calm seas.  Of course, that all had to end today with an approaching cold front and 20 knot winds.  That's January  in SW Florida for you though. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sundowner Over The Keys

I didn't take this photo but REALLY wish I had.  It's a US Navy F-5N Tiger of the VF-111 Sundowners squadron based at NAS Key West.  These old Vietnam era fighters are still used to simulate Russian MiGs in air-to-air combat training against front line Naval and Air Force squadrons.  Most folks recognize them from the 1985 movie Top Gun, which used a handful of F-5s painted solid black as the bad guy's fictional MiG-28.

Back when I was guiding down in Key West these sleek little jets were a common sight in the skies over the western flats, usually in formation with the more modern and larger F-14s and F-18s.  One of my semi-regular clients was a pilot with the Sundowners and I constantly tried begging and bribing him with free fishing for life if he'd just take me up for one short ride.  Sadly, that never happened. 

Photographer Jose Ramos did manage to snag a ride and got this awesome shot, which is currently a finalist in Air and Space Magazine's annual photo contest.  It's also my favorite so check them all out and vote for yours here

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Jill Perkins Is Better Than You

So what did you catch with your fly rod this morning?

I met this very nice lady and her husband yesterday while I was at the Charlotte County Boat Show.  They're the current owners of the very first Beavertail skiff ever built, a 2004 B-1 model which they won't sell, and we had a great talk about fly fishing in the north part of the harbor.  Jill mentioned that she'd been getting some very big snook lately and I asked her to e-mail me some photos which I got late this morning.

I like to think that I have this whole fly fishing thing nailed, especially since I've been doing it full time for the last 20 years.  Then someone like Jill comes along and sends me flaming back down to earth like an Iraqi MiG. 

So let's talk about the fish in these photos.  They were obviously both caught on fly.  That is more than a serious accomplishment in itself.  The top one was close to 40 inches.  I've never landed a snook that big on any kind of tackle.  The bottom fish was 36 inches and Jill caught it this morning in Charlotte Harbor, also on fly.  I slept in this morning because I didn't have a charter and thought it was too cold out there.  Yeah, I made the wrong call there. 

There's so much we can learn from these photos.  For starters, there are still a lot of very big snook in SW Florida, no matter what anyone says.  Second, fly rods can be just as productive as any other kind of tackle in the right hands.  Third, Jill Perkins is better than any of you since these are the only big snook pictures I've seen in a long time.  And finally, she's better than me, too. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Beavertail Skiffs At Charlotte County Boat Show

Starting this Thursday, the 15th, you can stop by the Charlotte County Fairgrounds and check out a good portion of the Beavertail line up, including the amazing 20' Lightning pictured above as well as a demo BTV currently for sale.  The boat show runs through Sunday and I'll be there at least a couple of those days. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


If your entire tackle box contains nothing but 3" Gulp Shrimp and you rig them on weedless swim-bait hooks like the one in the photo, you're in great shape.  There is almost nothing that swims around Pine Island right now that won't hit this combo.  Just remember to work them slower than normal right now since the water is cool.  The big trout absolutely love these. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Beavertail Skiff's Pine Island Owner's Tournament

Congrats to my buddy Tim Gleason (bottom row, 2nd from left with the arm full of prizes) for winning the inaugural BT owners tournament this morning on the flats off Pine Island.  The conditions were slightly better than terrible, with temps in the low 60s, negative-low falling tides, solid cloud cover and strong winds straight out of the northeast.  Despite all that, every one of the ten boats involved managed to catch fish and it was Tim's 27" red that put him on top. 

This tournament is going to become and annual event and the next one held will be open to any Beavertail owner and their guests no matter where they live.  We're just getting started with the planning so keep checking in here or on the BT Facebook page for more details. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Big Trout Return, For Now

We had some great pre-cold front action yesterday afternoon just south of the Matlacha bridge.  I didn't hit the water until 12:30 to catch the rising tides and it paid off on nearly a dozen slot sized trout for my anglers.  All of these fish had big full bellies so they were probably filling up before tonight's coming cold snap when temps drop into the upper 40's.  It'll be a brief one and we should be back up near 80 by the weekend. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last And First

Twin brothers Quentin and Peter came out with their parents and landed the last fish of 2014 on my boat during a cloudy New Year's Eve charter.

Then I hit the water for a few hours on New Year's Day and managed to bring in this undersized red.  I also lost a nice snook and trout right next to the boat so it was almost an epic start to 2015.