Jan S. Maizler
It was good to get back to my “second home” in Florida, Sanibel Island. I had timed this particular trip with Captain Mark Westra to coincide with the fall baitfish migration. Therefore, a hopefully calm Gulf would offer up mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore in addition to the cooler season-invigorated snook and redfish in the inside waters of San Carlos and Estero bays.
The drive from Miami was short and sweet since the trip began on a fair weather late Sunday. Check-in at Island Inn Sanibel was always a joy and my wife and I unpacked in a lovely Beachview Cottage.
Since the sun was sinking, I quickly got out to the beach to capture a sea and skyscape of the dusk highlighted by a cold front to the north. We had a fine seafood dinner at the Inn’s Traditions Restaurant and turned in.
I met Captain Mark at the Punta Rassa boat ramp next morning at 7:30 a.m. His vessel was an impressive 22-foot Shearwater powered by a 225 H.P. Yamaha ready for battle loaded with two livewells full of whitebait. In a half-day spanning San Carlos to Matlacha, we released about 15 snook to 12 pounds, 2 redfish, 1 big bluefish and loads of big jacks.
Our second day of angling featured some line storms preceding a cold front and we spent the next 6 hours fishing and dodging showers. Our first stop was in the open Gulf amidst a huge school of migratory predators consisting of mackerel, bluefish, and big ladyfish. We took countless gamesters casting topwater plugs and D.O.A. Baitbusters. The rest of the trip was spent back on inside waters where we took another 6 snook . Captain Mark lost a huge snook that blew up on a large whitebait and once hooked made a sizzling run along a mangrove wall and then a quick turn into the depths of the roots.
It was a wonderful trip !
Captain Mark Westra
Flat Top Charters
Island Inn Sanibel
3111 West Gulf Drive
A Morning in Flamingo, Florida with Captain Benny Blanco
This last Friday I fished with J.P. Broche on a writers outing under the guidance of Captain Benny Blanco on his Hells Bay Professional. Though there were tons of floating grass, we released four tarpon, two tripletail, two snook and two redfish. We lost count of the tarpon we jumped. Benny really put us on the fish ! Here’s a quick photo recap.
Captain Benny Blanco
Flats Retro in Black and White
Here’s some images of shallow water marine fishing in the “simplicity” of black and white. The anglers, captains, lodges, and destinations are diverse: Captains Ricky Sawyer (Abaco, Bahamas), Jason Sullivan (Flamingo, Florida), Benny Blanco (Flamingo), Ralph Allen (Punta Gorda, Florida), Bob Branham (Biscayne Bay, Florida), Carl Ball (Biscayne Bay), Kyle Messier(Crystal River, Florida), Greg Dini (Hopedale, La.), Emir Marin (Ambergris Caye, Belize), Matt Hoover (Goodland, Florida), and Rob Munoz (Biscayne Bay). My friend Alan Williams is in the shot with Jason and the snook. The lodges and outfitters involved in some of these images are Cajun Fishing Adventures (Buras, La.), El Pescador Lodge (Ambergris Caye, Belize) and KingFisher Fleet (Punta Gorda).
November 2nd 2014
I’m back from my 12 day trip with the Wingmaster Sandpiper 120 road trip. The trip was from Tampa to Houma, Louisiana , then Venice, then Galveston Texas then Corpus Cristi Texas.
Driving there wasn’t too bad as it took 11 hours to get to Louisiana and I got to fish for a couple days. The hour drive to Galveston TX was fine as I got to stop and fish for a couple days. I then headed to Corpus another 4 hours and again I got to fish.
The drive back however was tiresome, besides bathroom breaks and gas stops there were not much resting. I finally had to get some sleep after about 10 hours of driving at a rest stop.
Overall it was a successful trip and look forward to doing it again in December.
Here is a couple of video clips I put together from all the media I collected that week. These clips are solo fishing from the Sandpiper with a Gopro mounted on the poling platform using the RailBlaza mounts.
I would cruise using the remote trolling motor and made short casts. The water was murky so seeing then from afar was not in the cards. As you can see I had some awesome eats on fly. These are just a couple.
This guy was feeding next to the bank. I power pole down and made two cast to get the eat.
Some one made a comment about hull slap on this video. As far as I know there has not been a skiff made that goes backward in 10-15mph winds and makes zero noise.
Cane Poling redfish on fly
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.