Wednesday, July 29, 2015


It didn't last long.  Pouring rain again this morning.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pineland Spoonbills

Bad sunset and poor fishing tonight but at least the rain stopped and some uncommon birds came out to feed.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Matlacha Sunrise

Lots of rain coming and we won't see another one like this until next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Ernest Hemingway

Today was Ernest Hemingway's 116th birthday. 
Young Jack Hemingway and his awesome, awesome dad.
My dad took me fishing a lot when I was a kid, but our trips were never like this. 

There is so much manliness going on in this photo that you're growing chest hairs right now just from looking at it, even if you're a woman. 

I was searching for some old Keys pictures on Google when I came across this unbelievable gem.  It was taken off Key West sometime in 1935 onboard Hemingway's yacht the Pilar.  The fishing was obviously slow that morning so it looks like Papa settled into his second favorite pastime, drinking heavily. 

You should also note that the Thompson submachine gun, which was perfectly legal to own back then and routinely used by Hem to blast sharks, is unloaded.  Proper gun safely was obviously quite important to Papa, (at least during this point in his life.) 

Even though I lived and worked as a fishing guide in Key West for over a decade, I never really got into Hemingway's writing.  Seeing pictures like this might make me take another look at him.  I also have a young son right now and I swear to someday recreate this photograph with him on a trip of our own. 

Bokeelia Birds At Sundown

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Redfish

One of the best things about the redfish we have swimming around Pine Island is their color.  This one came from the north part of Matlacha Pass even this photo doesn't really do it justice.  The dark copper back and bright orange fins are typical of the fish we pull from the deep mangrove creeks all summer.  This fish hit a white Gulp shrimp rigged on a weedless 4/0 Owner Twist Lock hook, a great all-around artificial for anything swimming in the dark water. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beavertail Skiffs Owner's Tournament 2015

The 1st annual Beavertail Skiffs Owner's Tournament is happening on Oct. 17th in Ruskin, FL at the Resort & Club at Little Harbor and launching from their marina. This is open to ALL Beavertail owners including the older MN built boats. The entry fee is $50 per person with teams limited to four anglers per boat.  You can check out the sign-up page, which includes a lot more details, by clicking here

This is an all release tournament with no weigh-in. We'll also be holding a silent auction/raffle with some really great gear and all of the proceeds will go to our friends at the Wounded Warrior Anglers, a 501c charity based in SW FL.

Even if you're not a BT owner you're welcome to stop by on the 17th to check out the boats, buy some raffle tickets, bid on any of the auction donations, and help us raise money for a great cause. Hope to see you there.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Communication between guide and angler is always crucial when we’re sight casting with fly rods on the flats. Everyone knows and uses the good old fashioned clock system where the bow of the bo is 12:00 and the stern is 6:00. I even knew a guide down in Key West who had all the numbers from 9:00 to 3:00 actually painted on his skiff. That way you had NO excuse for missing a shot. (And with this guy, God help you if you did miss.)

Even though I’d never deface the bow of my Beavertail by painting numbers on it, there is some merit to that idea. I’ve always make sure every new angler understands the clock positions and like every other guide, I always tell my anglers to immediately point their rods in the direction I’m talking about once I spot a fish. To get on target even quicker I have them hold their arm out at full extension and sight down both their arm and rod as if it were a shotgun barrel. This also lets me see exactly where they’re looking from the top of the skiff’s poling platform. Then I can tell my angler to move their rod up, down, left, or right until they’re pointing directly at the fish.

One other thing I always try to make clear is when to start casting the fly and, even more important, when to stop. I’ve often found that most new anglers begin their cast as soon as I say “Tailing redfish at 9:00,” whether we’re in range or not. A simple reminder to wait until I actually say “Go ahead and cast,” after we both have identified the target is important and might need repeating once or twice.

Taking too many false casts is also a common error made by a lot of anglers and usually results in a spooked fish. It’s an understandable mistake with beginners since they’re not used to judging distances on the open water. I always remind them that I have a great vantage point up on the poling platform and they need to trust me when I tell them to drop the fly. This usually sound like “Drop it. Drop it. DROP IT!” and they still wind up taking two or three extra false casts anyway. It usually only takes one good missed shot for anglers to realize that listening is just as important as seeing.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Learning To Fly

I caught this juvenile osprey in mid-hover over the Indian Fields late yesterday. This is a great area to spot these birds by the dozens diving on mullet schools at low tide.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Boca Grande Tarpon From The Cheap Seats

I don't know anyone on this boat but they hooked this fish about 50 yards from me while my angler was busy swapping flies.  It was fun to watch and really made me wish I had some live crabs in the baitwell that morning. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tailing Redfish From Pine Island Sound

Local angler Brian Favara had to dig this 24" red out of the grass while it was tailing less than a boat length away this morning.  There are a lot of beautiful, slot-legal fish like this cruising the flats of northern Pine Island Sound right now.  Hit any flat near the islands around Orange Pass at low tide and you'll find them.  We've been using weedless rigs like Gulps on Owner Twist Lock hooks with a lot of success in the really thick grass out there. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Tiny Pine Island Slam

These are from one of the days last week when I was fishing with my buddy and long time angler Theo Chupein from NJ.  His first day started out with an impressive Inshore Slam and then we followed it up with this less than legal one.  Some days you take anything that the water will give you.