Only a few days ago in mid-June, I had six hours to fish with Hai which gave us the time to take in all the diverse freshwater spots and habitats where peacocks lived and hunted. This range from urban Miami to the fringe of the Everglades. The fishing was stupendous and we converted 11 strikes into 8 catch and releases.
Hai Truong Fishing
Phone – 786 405 4146
Adventures Out of the Island Inn Sanibel
While I’ve traveled the better part of the globe in pursuit of piscatorial pleasures, Sanibel Island on Florida’s West Coast has drawn me back decade after decade. My first criterion for angling travel is excellent fishing and Sanibel satisfies that need with some of the best snook fishing in the world. There are also abundant populations of redfish and seatrout year-round plus seasonal tarpon, kingfish, mackerel, and false albacore migrations. Whether in the Sanibel backcountry or the Gulf of Mexico, there is always something ready to pounce on your fly, lure, or bait.
The precious comparative rarity that Sanibel offers is superb fishing along its beaches. If your destination has the Gulf as a backyard- as does the Island Inn- all you need to do is walk from your room across the sand dunes and start casting at the water’s edge.
I have used the Island Inn for years. Its wonderful rooms, amenities, and restaurant sit on a very snookish stretch of shell-blessed beach.
And from late spring until late summer when the gulf is at its calmest, you can expect to see and present a fly or lure to snook after snook crossing right at the water’s edge. This fishing is especially excellent on the incoming tide up through high slack. You can also catch mackerel, seatrout, pompano, redfish and even tarpon right from the beach. There’s a great deal to do all around you when you beach fish. You can gather some fine shells, sit down and have a picnic on blanket and sand, take some pictures, or shed some gear and go for a swim.
My fishing format when I stay at Island Inn includes sightfishing and blind casting the beaches and also fishing with a guide in the abundant backcountry. The guide I use most often is Captain Mike Smith (239-573-FISH). I start my day of beach fishing at dawn by casting to minnow “sprays” and/or diving birds since the sun is not high enough to sight fish. After a couple hours, I’ll enjoy a delicious complementary breakfast at the Inn’s Traditions restaurant. After the repast, I’ll either return to the beach for actual sight fishing with a better-positioned sun or I’ll meet Mike at the Punta Rassa boat ramp. My arrival this time was preceded by a week of southerly winds, leaving a roiled and muddy Gulf. Sight casting for snook would be impossible for the next two days I had allotted for fishing. Although I could have used rattling plugs with applied attractant and probably caught snook, I turned my attention to writing projects and fishing the flats with Mike.
Trips that become stories are most satisfying when they ooze success. We’d be fishing windy conditions and I wanted pictures, so I was quite willing to use the most successful methods- which in this region is “whitebait” (A.K.A. live scaled sardines). The heat of June is not an easy time to get loads of properly sized whitebaits, but Mike had netted a sufficient number of them.
This day was pleasantly more challenging for me since we did not use “chummers”, but instead relied on my spot casting an individual bait –like a lure- to shadowy pockets alongside and under the mangroves. In the five hours that we fished, I released around forty snook to six pounds, lost just as many, and had plenty of missed strikes. In addition, we hooked and released three nice redfish.
Midday thunderstorms started forming. We could see the sheets of rain falling out of the clouds flat, blackened “bellies”. The first flash of lighting touched the water a few miles away, telling us it was time to go. On the way back to the boat ramp, I reflected on the astonishingly large biomass of young snook in the area.
On the second day of fishing, Island Inn’s General Manager Chris Davison joined us. Once we came aboard, Mike pointed his Lake and Bay towards the deep reaches of Pine Island Sound. During the run of about forty minutes, Mike mentioned he wanted for us to have a change of pace.
Today, Mike had loads of whitebait but they were somewhat small. We were able to make good casts with Mike’s Temple Fork Outfitters rods and Daiwa spinning reels filled with light braid. Chris was the first to bend a rod with a nice redfish. The skies above were clear and the sun beamed loads of heat into the morning water. The effect of this was that we’d have to try multiple spots as the fish were not bunched up like on colder days with low water. Chris caught a few more snook while I caught a large redfish, a flounder and two small snook.
We were able to get the photos I needed so we called it a day. Of equal importance was the afternoon of fun I had planned at the Inn.
Island Inn Sanibel
3111 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel, Florida 33957
Captain Mike Smith- Mangrove Island Charters
Radiant Fishing on the Vessel New Moon: A Report
Ocean fishing off South Florida’s Gold Coast during April and May can be truly golden. This is an excellent transitional period that features the presence of cooler weather fish like sailfish, mackerel, and kingfish alongside inshore pushes of gamesters like blackfin tuna, groupers, and snappers.
I had some family members who were ardent anglers converging on Miami during this period. Just before their arrival, there was a string of three flat summery days which caused the ocean fishing to fall off. But by the time of their arrival in the Magic City, the weather conditions resumed with the lively, vibrant breezes of Spring. The weather forecast for the day of our trip called for brisk southwest winds. This was coupled by a new moon spring tide which could make for a fast moving water column from top to bottom.
I booked the charter boat New Moon out of Haulover Marina, quite close to the inlet of the same name. My friend Adam Goldstein was the first mate and the skipper was Captain Jack (as he is known). Though circumstances forced myself, Anthony Ho (of Curacao) and Gary Mims (of Miami) to grab a Sunday afternoon charter, our concern about tons of boat traffic was completely unfounded. As inshore anglers, we forgot that the ocean is a rather big place.
As we left the dock, Adam netted a large amount of horse pilchards that completely blacked out their huge livewell. Adam mentioned that the live bait would be our basic offering for the top and mid-depths. For our bottom rigs, Adam and Jack planned on adding a chunk of fresh goggle eye to the live bait.
We made a short run to a wreck a few miles from the inlet and anchored upcurrent of a sizeable wreck. After the vessel was in place, Adam started chumming copious amounts of pilchards. The action began immediately and never stopped for the five hours we fished. We caught and released kingfish, bonito, black grouper, gag grouper, yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, sandbar sharks, and a large hammerhead shark. In addition, we hooked four sailfish, but they all came unbuttoned. It was a truly exciting trip.
New Moon Sport Fishing
10800 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida
Sea, Sky, and Travel – Moments Etched in Image
Though photos got their start for me as support for content in articles and books, they’ve evolved into recording and journaling my passion for travel. Some of the destinations appearing here are St. Maarten, Miami, Alaska, Barbados, Belize, The Yucatan, Sanibel, Flamingo, Sarasota, Curacao, the Florida Keys, Israel, Greece, Louisiana, Italy, and Argentina. When photos are for my amusement instead of commercial requirements, I have no shame breaking all the rules. Focus and camera shake might be tossed to the wind, as will noise and graininess. Sometimes I saturate and boost to diabetic levels. My depth of field approaches are not consistent. I do think photos should be special units of emotions (both good and bad) and cherished memories as well as the traditional representational approach. Sometimes, it’s best not to just think out of the box- it’s best to leave that encumbrance entirely. More can be found at www.flatsfishingonline.com.
In this short clip I use a free app called Fishin Mobile to figure out where to fish.
This app is free in IOS and Android. It has everything in one location.
First thing I look at is weather. Mainly I look if it’s raining or not then look at cloud cover. Then I look at the wind direction and speed. This let me determine location. I then look at the tides to figure out the timing of when to be there. I rarely use Solunar but it is on this app as well and some times they work great!
Weather, radar, tides, solunar, moon phases, maps, logging, gps, google map.
Fishing for Spotted Seatrout: From the Carolinas to Texas
Jan S. Maizler
Details: 128 pages 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-6006-4
Please note that while you may order this book at any time, it will not be available for shipment until approximately one month before publication date
“Despite having fished seatrout for years, I hadn’t any idea how much I didn’t know until I read Maizler’s definitive new work on the species.”–Doug Olander, editor in chief, Sport Fishing Magazine
“Maizler’s name has been inexorably linked to seatrout for decades. This book is an overdue, welcome, and essential addition to our angling literature. Kudos to the master!”–Glenn Law, executive editor, Salt Water Sportsman Magazine
“From seatrout habits to state-by-state seatrout fishing techniques, Maizler covers everything one needs to know with regard to becoming a successful angler for this popular species.”–Tommy L. Thompson, author of The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida
Known as “everyman’s fish,” the spotted seatrout is one of the top ten species for recreational fishing in the United States.
In Fishing for Spotted Seatrout, Jan Maizler, a world-renowned light tackle expert, shares more than 30 years’ experience and innovative tactics for catching this popular fish in its range from the Carolinas to Texas. For beginners, he offers an overview of the unique characteristics and habits of the spotted seatrout. For more seasoned fishermen, he presents an in-depth analysis of the different tackle, baits, techniques, and tidal conditions for achieving the best catches. A chapter on weather and season will help ensure angling success, regardless of conditions the calendar brings.
Maizler discusses chumming–a technique widely applied in other fisheries but mostly unknown for seatrout–and recommends the paddleboard, the newest vessel for hunting the spotted king. He also explores region-specific practices like wading, prevalent in Texas, and trolling live shrimp, common in Biloxi Marsh, and argues that their use can and should extend beyond these regions. Moreover, he demonstrates how to apply these new techniques on your next fishing expedition.
Covering every aspect of angling for this magnificent gamefish, Maizler’s comprehensive guide belongs on your bookshelf and in your tackle bag.
Jan Maizler, former International Game Fish Association world-record holder, is the author of nine books, including Fishing Florida’s Flats.
Other JAN MAIZLER Books
Fishing Florida’s Flats: A Guide to Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, and Much More
Adventures in the Glide
By Captain Justin Price with Jan Maizler
By Captain Justin Price
Recently I was presented with the opportunity to run and fish East Cape Skiffs’ new super shallow draft model, the Glide, in the Mosquito Lagoon. Needless to say I jumped at the chance and was fortunate enough to have a few days off to put this vessel to the rigors of full-on flats and shallow water fishing.
Keeping it Simple-
Fishing Day One-
My 9yr old daughter Kailey joined me on the first day of fishing in the northern Mosquito Lagoon. Our strategy of staying up shallow in the islands would no doubt be easy in the Glide. We set out just as the sun came up, working our way through shoal water trying our best not to encounter any manatees along the way.
The first spot had some nice redfish working shorelines feeding on mullet and other small baitfish. Kailey was on the bow casting soft plastics with hopes of a strike on any given cast. With no success there we made a move which gave me another opportunity to drive this sweet little skiff.
The water in the northern Mosquito Lagoon has been pretty low on the low tides keeping the fish concentrated in the sand holes and shallow sloughs. After a three minute run, our next spot revealed redfish and big trout tailing in the grass. I continued to push forward through the shallows to some nice sand holes where we were welcomed by a school of 75-100 mid to upper slot “happy” redfish rolling and flashing on the surface. Once Kailey saw them, she made the perfect cast, swimming a D.O.A. soft plastic on the surface right in their midst. A wad of fish charged the lure in a competitive frenzy. One “lucky” fish won the fight resulting in a bent rod and screaming drag for Kailey. After releasing the first fish, we continued to work the school and brought a few more fish to the Glide, including myself fishing from the poling tower.
We decided to finish the morning cruising around the lagoon and taking a stop on an island which is our ritual when on the water. Our Glide was a tiller model with no bells and whistles. It was super light, powered by a 20hp Suzuki and a perfect match for the speed and weight ratio of this design. The hole shot was remarkable, leveling the skiff out in seconds.
Fishing Day Two-
Fellow guide and good friend Captain Joe Roberts joined me for the second day on the Glide. He was quite interested in experiencing this little skiff’s performance. We launched early around 5:30am from Beacon 42 in Mosquito Lagoon with just enough color in the sky to see and cross the open lagoon that was already rolling with a solid northwest wind. Surprisingly enough, crossing in the chop in “quartering” fashion, the Glide handled smoothly and we stayed completely dry.
We were only going to be out for just a few hours so we went right to where the redfish were hanging out recently. Joe took the bow first and we started our search for some large redfish that had been tailing lately on the edges of the flat. I kept the bow into the chop as I poled looking for giant tails. Joe and I were impressed at how quiet the Glide was and how well it tracked. After searching for a bit we had only managed to catch and release a few trout with the largest at five pounds, but there was no sign of the giant redfish.
We decided to give it a few more minutes and switched positions with me on the bow and Joe on the pole. I grabbed my 8-weight and started to blindly work the edge in anticipation of a trout to take the fly. Joe pushed us up shallow to look for some slot size redfish while also keeping our eyes peeled on the edge for the giants.
Without success, as we started to push off the flat, Joe called out, “there they are!” Tails and backs were breaking the surface as the fish hovered in only two feet of water. While Joe gets me in position for the cast he joked that “they’re not going to eat that fly. If you get one to eat not even land him, I’ll buy you a six- pack of your favorite beer!”
I laughed, knowing very well how hard it is to feed a fly to our big Mosquito Lagoon redfish. What happened next surprised both of us and I’m not talking about my perfect cast. Even though I was shaking I managed to lay the fly just out in front softly and only stripped the fly twice before one of the fish ate. It pulled the line very hard from my finger tips and before I knew I was into my backing.
This is something I had not seen in a long time. We both thought for sure this battle was going to go on for a while as the fish took us off the flat and into some deeper water. Between fighting the fish and screaming with joy I turned to Joe and told him what brand of beer I wanted and how cold I would like it to be when he delivered it. We finally got our first look at the fish near the Glide, anticipating a few more runs. Surprisingly, it came up on the surface rolling over exhausted from the battle in just under ten minutes.
We were both overwhelmed with excitement while getting photographs and then, a quick but thorough release. That redfish is my biggest to date measuring 40” and around twenty pounds. My day was complete so I finished the morning on the poling tower pushing Joe to some shallow water tailing redfish with no success. We made our way back to the ramp just cruising and enjoying the ride in the Glide.
A Look at the Glide-
The East Cape Glide is an excellent micro skiff with an overall length of 17ft and a width of 58”. The model featured in the images was built with simplicity in mind with a 20hp Suzuki that sips fuel. There is a storage hatch in the front that is completely dry for personal belongings or PFD’s. The rear hatch it is divided into two buckets- one for tackle or other items to be stored and the other can be a livewell.
Underneath the deck just in front of the back hatch there is open storage for easy access to tackle or a camera case. The under gunnel storage allows for six rods total with plenty of room for fly rods.
As far as performance, the Glide handles quite well in the turns. It is very dry for a skiff this size in a decent chop. The Glide planes out super quick, allowing it to jump up shallow without chewing up the bottom. I never measured the draft but it was very impressive in just mere inches. This skiff poles really easy, quiet with the bow in the chop, and tracks great.
Most people would be concerned about how tippy the skiff may be but in my opinion its not bad at all considering the size of the skiff. I guide and fish from a canoe as well as my East Cape Lostmen. I stand and pole my canoe around without a problem so making the adjustment to the Glide was not an issue for me at all.
All in all it’s a great skiff and priced well too, with endless options available. Where I fish in the Mosquito Lagoon located in East Central Florida this is a perfect two man skiff for our area or others areas in the country where a shallow drafting micro skiff is needed. Whether you’re a recreational angler who likes to fish solo or with a second angler or if you’re a guide in need of a second boat for those days you have a single client you need to check out this sweet little skiff. You will be impressed!
East Cape Skiffs
Captain Justin Price
Punta Gorda, Florida Winter Fishery
Though our first angling day was besotted by frontal winds and rain this past Friday, Saturday dawned calm, clear, and with a bit of fog. Thanks to Captain Ralph Allen of King Fisher Fleet for some great guiding. As always, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida came through for our efforts with superb support. Here’s a few images of our adventure.
Boca Paila Lodge, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Boca Lodge remains one of the flagship flats fishing and shallow water destinations of the Yucatan. All it takes is one quick flight from any American hub to Cancun and you’ll be picked up by their personal van. The drive -which lasts a couple hours- will take you through the historic ruins of Tulum and along the trendy posadas to the south of the city. About a half hour’s drive down the road to Punta Allen and the lodge appears out of the palm tree and beach vista with the vast Caribbean on your left and the endless lagunas on your right. This destination has been under the ownership of the Gonzalez family from the start and continues to please anglers and non-anglers alike after decades of operation. And the best news is that the highly-publicized crime to the north is basically a non-issue in the Yucatan. Here’s a collection of images from this wonderful place.
CONTACT DATA: www.bocapaila.com
Belize River Lodge’s Long Caye Outpost
Belize River Lodge has long been a mainstay of flats and inshore fly and light tackle fishing in this marvelous country. One can almost call it a venerable institution with a history of having served some of the world’s best anglers. A couple of years ago, the lodge (BRL) acquired an excellent offshore property on Long Caye, which lies offshore smack dab in the heart of incredible flats fishing. While I was there with friend Captain Ken Collette, we caught bonefish only steps away from our breeze-swept second story room. But let me not get ahead of myself. When Long Caye opened, Barry and Cathy Beck covered the new operation from a fly fishing perspective. Very soon thereafter, I was on my way to the very same venue on behalf of the light tackle and lure community. The pictures that follow suggest- as they should- this tropic island and surrounding flats is the stuff of angling dreams.
CONTACT DATA: www.belizeriverlodge.com