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Flats Fishing . Bay Trips . Inshore Gulf of Mexico . Tarpon Fishing
Fishing the flats...
This trip is what it's all about when it comes to shallow water fishing. Whether casting flies or light spinning gear, I'll pole you over the skinniest flats in search of redfish and snook. They'll cruise over the different grasses, lay in potholes, hang around sand and oyster bars or tuck up under overhanging mangrove branches.
When conditions are right, they can be sight fished. You can actually see the fish before casting to them. In the cooler months, the tides are lower than normal and the water is crystal clear. This is also the best time of the year to find tailing redfish. For more detailed info about redfish, click here.
Snook will just plain bust baits in the warmer months. Being cold-natured, they'll come out in the cooler months just to soak up the sun-warmed water over the shallow grasses. This is when some of the biggest snook of the year will hit top water baits and flies. In spring and fall, some large trout are also taken in the skinny water.
This can be an intense trip, probably not for all anglers. Sometimes it seems more like hunting than fishing, but for those chasing the experience, it's worth every cast. You don't have to be an experienced angler to fish the flats. Casting up to the mangroves requires some degree of skill, but casting on the open flats is always an option, and you can catch fish.
Bay trips are usually spent on the deeper edges of grass flats, tossing various artificial baits or flies for speckled trout, pompano, cobia, Spanish mackerel, jack cravalle, bluefish, flounder, ladyfish and several other species, depending on the season. Deeper holes and channel edges in the passes, and throughout the bays will attract them, too.
This is a low pressure trip, usually with plenty of action. We'll set up a drift and cast to patches of grass and potholes or other structure. Most of the fish we'll find will be in schools and the action can be fast. It's all about enjoying a day on the water and having fun.
Inshore Gulf of Mexico...
In the inshore Gulf of Mexico, spring and fall are the most active. Tripletail and cobia will hang around just off the beaches. They're attracted to crab trap lines and can be sight-fished. Tripletail will lay right on the lines where various plastic jigs or streamers and shrimp imitating flies can be effective. They're good fighters. They'll average 4 or 5 pounds and can reach up to 12 or 15. Cobia will roam the same areas and will take the same baits. The only difference, they can get huge. Most catches in the inshore Gulf run from around 4 or 5 pounds, up to 40 or 50, and they are bulldogs.
Spanish mackerel and bonito are another option. They'll bust on big schools of bait, sometimes right off the beaches, too. Usually in big numbers, they'll take baits and flies that "match the hatch" when they're in a feeding frenzy. We've been seeing Spanish mackerel to 4 and 5 pounds, another good fighting fish. Bonito run to 10 or 12 pounds and are amazingly strong. They've been known to spool light spinning outfits and will put you well into the backing of an 8 or 9 weight fly outfit.
Tarpon are everything you've heard or seen. They average around 90 pounds, pull hard and will almost always put on a series of aerial displays when hooked. They can be stubborn one day, and eat baits like candy the next. Frustrating? Sometimes. But it never gets old.
They'll usually start to show here around the middle of May for their annual spawn. When the action is hot, they will be here in big numbers, right off our beaches. The action usually lasts into, or through July. For more detailed info about these bad boys, click here.
After the spawn and the larger fish have moved on, we have juvenile, or baby tarpon that hang around the bays and harbors. They run from 7 or 8 pounds, up to around 30 or 40 pounds, with some larger ones mixed in. They are fished exclusively with artificial baits and flies and will sometimes "hit the air" more than the larger tarpon. We fish them through September, sometimes into October.
It's all fun...
We'll be using mostly artificial baits or flies. The exception would be either for tarpon, when we'll use live bait along with flies and lures, or in winter, when the lower water temperatures can affect the fishing. In that case, live shrimp or jigs tipped with a piece of shrimp will help the bite.
Best tackle for flats, bay and inshore trips is light, 8 to 10 pound spinning or 7 to 9 weight fly gear, and will be on the boat and ready. For tarpon trips, 25 pound spinning gear and 12 weight fly gear is provided.
For fly anglers, I provide G. Loomis and Sage rods matched with Abel reels, loaded with either floating, intermediate or sink-tip lines. For spin casters, G. Loomis rods and Penn reels will be furnished. If you have a favorite rod and reel that you're comfortable with, bring it along. All lures, flies, leaders, etc. are also included. If you'd like to catch fish on flies that you've tied, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll point you in the right direction. If you have questions, see "Questions and Answers". If your question is not addressed there, just let me know and I'll get back to you.
No matter which trip you choose, they're all fun using light tackle equipment, matched to the fish we're after. Most importantly, there will never be any pressure from my end. I'll get you acclimated to the type of fishing we'll be doing and even provide instruction, if needed. But, you'll never be pressured and I'll work hard to put you on the fish you're after and to make it a pleasant experience for you.
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