South Carolina, commonly known to us sportsman as the “lowcountry”; is a part of the world rich in history, good food, great fishing, and that good ole’ southern hospitality of the true south. I had an opportunity to make my first visit to the lowcountry this early Fall. This was a great opportunity to live all the great things I had always read and heard about via old writings, bayside discussions, and social media. I spent a couple days in Beaufort and then in Charleston, taking part in some flood tide and lowtide fishing, cast and blasting, and without a doubt the best southern food this foodie has ever tasted.
The floodtide was a completely new experience itself. I witnessed the giant tides flush into the spartina marsh and fill in the once dry fields of spartina grass teaming with fiddler crabs and snails.
As the water rose, redfish began to snake their way into the grass, subtlety pushing over blades of grass like ninjas, sneaking into clearings and tailing on fiddler crabs.
And as the tide rose up and covered up the tails of redfish, it marked time to stow away the fly rods and replace it with a shotgun in hand. Shooting birds out of a flats skiff was a definite first and definitely won’t be the last. Rather then be stealthy, the name to this game is to make your presence known, flushing marsh hens (clapper rails for those curious about what they actually are) out of the grass, allowing us to take the shot. This is a practice rich in history to itself.
The cast and blast experience in the lowcountry was greatly complimented with some of the most beautiful coastal scenes I had ever witnessed.
Special thanks to my hosts for making my first visit really special:
Capt. Owen Plair (http://www.redfishbeaufort.com/)
Will Abbot (http://www.floodtideco.com/)
Andy and Connie Villacres
Len and Jeannie Villacres
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
An Image Roundup of Recent Story Trips
Jan S. Maizler
Here are some images of trips that took place through the late Winter into early Spring and stretched from Florida’s Space Coast to the Keys.
Some of the guides involved were Justin Price, Butch Moser, Butch Constable, Hai Truong, Gus Montoya, Rob Munoz, David Accursio and Martin Carranza. Thanks to all !
I have been so busy with the Salty Fly 2014 this year I have not had much time to fish and worst of all much time to talk about fishing here on Saltyshores.
My fishing has been limited to 2 hours here and 2 hours there and less time to even write about it much.
Now that all that is over it’s time get it all going again for 2014 with fishing good old Tampa Bay.
Capt Jeff Hagaman Called me up yesterday asking me if I was busy. Thought of not going did cross my mind. Since I would not have to tow a boat and he was cool with me being out only for a half a day I decided to get on the water.
The weather was the best it’s been in a week this morning. A little chill in the air but a light jacket made for a very comfortable ride.
One board today was writer Lace Allenius and Co-host of the Chevy Florida Fishing report Brie Gabrielle. Lace was doing an article with onshore offshore mag. Brie was here fishing and getting footage for the TV show. The weather could not have been better today for both of these task to be done. With the great lighting I was hoping to get some good images to share with you guys.
After a very short run, we got on the trolling motor. Once we moved into position the fish was already biting. Using available white bait Jeff had gotten earlier this morning the girls caught snook and trout using the free lined style.
After things slowed we moved to find us a redfish to complete the Tampa bay inshore Slam. FYI snook, redfish, trout is our Slam.
Once we got to the redfish spot Jeff got in his tower and trolling motor. This tactic did not take long to find the pod of redfish. I must say getting them to eat was quite a different story. Jeff switch to using cut bait and Brie did get an eat but it was quickly lost.
An hour goes by with out an eat but the school of fish was quite happy and hanging around. They were belly rolling and flashing in the shallow grass flats. Jeff explain that’s the problem. It is too shallow they need more water to get comfortable and start to feed.
It took a while of following the school around on the trolling motor but finally they started to feed as the water level slowly rises.
The fish was plentiful the bite was slow but before I had to leave we got a really nice redfish. Probably the largest one I’ve seen caught on the flats this year. Brie got the eat and reeled it in as I get my camera gear ready. For the most part the fight was captured with the go pro to use on the TV show. After they were done I got some cool shots of the red fish before leaving.
Glad I got out today now it’s time to pack and head out to to do some more fishing.
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.
Recollections of Fish Past
As the year draws to an end, it seems fitting to dwell awhile on special fish and moments that gave me a recent past I could be thankful for as an angler with fond passionate memories. To paraphrase Thoreau, in the deepest sense, fishing has nothing to do with fish. But perhaps on the other hand, it certainly does. Here’s a small fraction of those memories that often appear on the stage of my mind.
Yesterday in the Everglades National Park
My friend Paul Raffety and I fished with Captain Steven Tejera on Friday, December 20. We launched in Flamingo and fished as far north as the Shark River. Though the winds were honking, Steven kept us on the fish. Here’s few images of our trip.
A Review of Three Outstanding Destinations Visited in 2013
Many of the joys of the outdoor life are reflections back over great moments and realizations of dreams. And that’s often done by using photography not just a means of expression but also an homage to recollections of things past.
I’ve traveled to many fishy places far and wide over the years. For 2013, three stand out.
El Pescador Lodge, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Cajun Fishing Adventures, Buras, Louisiana
Cabbage Key, Pine Island Sound, Florida
SaltyShores Close-Up: Naples, Florida with Captain Will Geraghty
Naples could be called an ideal Florida destination and residential city. For outdoors and fishing enthusiasts, Naples proper and the huge Everglades National Park to the south offers a superb biomass of birds and wildlife plus astonishing angling around the clock. Yet it is a special city that can claim such wonderful snook fishing right in the midst of downtown year-round and alongside its’ beaches in the summer. The Gulf of Mexico sends fresh breezes across the city and offers postcard sunsets that are memory-making.
Naples beaches are blessed with sugary sands and graced by a landmark pier. Downtown Naples has superb shopping, art galleries, and excellent restaurants. And golfers will find all the courses they need in the area.
I asked friend and colleague Captain Ken Collette to join me on a long overdue sojourn for a day of inshore fishing with Captain Will Geraghty (www.naplessportfishing.com). Ken readily accepted and we made plans to meet Will the following friday at the Port-of-Call Marina just minutes from downtown historic Olde Naples. The time of the meeting was set at mid-day so Will could be ready with live bait already onboard in his spacious livewell.
The Day Arrives-
Ken and I left Miami early in the morning and took a leisurely drive across the Tamiami Trail (US 41) which lead us directly into the heart of our target zone of Will’ s dock and the Naples shopping district. We were right on time for breakfast at The Café on Fifth Avenue and we dined on sumptuous egg croissant sandwiches, rainbow granola parfaits, and strong Colombian coffee.
The end of our meal and a little exploring coincided nicely with meeting Will at the marina. As we came aboard and shook hands, Will tossed a couple live pilchards overboard into the Gordon River. Their landing into the water was greeted by the huge predatory splashes of big jacks awaiting them. I told Will if he was intending to get us stoked, he was succeeding ! Will’s vessel was a gleaming spacious 25-foot Privateer Renegade center console model. It was seaworthy-looking, crisp, and best-yet, outfitted with lots of light tackle rods.
On our way towards the pass, Will told us that we’d have to wait about an hour before the tide really would start out and the action would take off. That being the case, I asked Will to take Ken and I sightseeing around Naples Bay to see all the beautiful homes and vessels. Will complied and Ken and I were treated to some fine sights of excellent waterfront living neither of us would forget.
When the tide started out we began our fishing at the pass and slowly worked our way into the bay and fished both the dock pilings and mangrove edges. The method of fishing was chumming with the whitebait and casting to explosions and/or to likely-looking spots. Our spinning tackle was spooled with braided line that was so necessary fighting fish so close to line-cutting obstructions. When the “smoke cleared”, we released over twenty snook, countless big jacks, and a nice redfish. As with all wonderful times, it passed too quickly and it was time to say goodbye.
Like I’ve said before, it’s a very good sign when you’re planning a return trip before it’s even over !
Captain Will Geraghty
Grand Slam Sport Fishing
Web Site: www.naplessportfishing.com
Naples, Marco Island, Paradise Coast
Web Site: www.paradisecoast.com
SaltyShores Close-Up: Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia
Tybee Island has an inshore fishery like a paradise. Loads of gamesters swim in the complex of marshes, creeks, and open ocean. And the Southern, Low Country food to be enjoyed there is diverse, plentiful, and superb. My guide was Captain Brian Woelber of One More Cast Charters.
Here are some images of the wonderful experience.
BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.