December 24, 2012

Christmas Redfish in Key West

Had a good day fishing for redfish with Andy and Charlie from Delaware. The guys caught four real nice redfish and we saw a couple of others. We had a few shots at barracudas and few follows while blind casting catching one small one. The barracuda fishing wasn't nearly as good as I thought it would be. Water is still very cold and it will take another couple days to get the water temperatures up to where they need to be. 

Merry Christmas

December 21, 2012

Giant Mutton Snappers Fishing Offshore Key West

Captain Peter Heydon, Captain Rob Kramarz, Captain Tony Skinner and I spent a couple days offshore fishing out of Key West last week on the Aeon 23 DLX.  With a well full of pilchards we were armed and ready for some serious tuna fishing offshore Key West.  We tried an area up to the east that Captain Paul D'Antoni told us about.  We spent some time and threw out some baits when we were marking fish but never had a tuna or bonita come up.  Later we moved down west to the sub and it was pretty much the same scenario.  Later in the afternoon though we did have some fish come to the surface, but we couldn't get them close enough to eat our baits.  On one of the drifts over the sub Capt. Pete and Capt. Tony had a double hook up.  We were all very excited at was finally supposed to happen.  Well it turned out that neither fish was a blackfin tuna but rather a nearly 20 pound mutton snapper pictured below and a bonita.  Not a bad consolation prize.

The next day Capt. Pete, Capt Rob and I went out again.  We got just enough pilchards to use for bottom baits.  We tried a rubble pile for tunas, but again nothing came up.  We did a few drifts fishing the bottom and Capt Pete and Capt Rob caught vermillion snappers and one keeper mutton snapper.

We moved into the reef for some yellowtailing, which turned out to be really slow, but again we got an awesome consolation prize of a few real nice mutton snappers that Pete and Rob caught.  

Penguins in Key West?

Not sure what type of bird this is, but it really looks like a small penguin. He was swimming right up to the boats cast netting pilchards.  Pretty cool.

Okay, I just read about this mystery bird on the MyFWC Facebook page after posting the photos above.  The bird is not a penguin, but rather a razorbill which has been moving into the Southeast US.  According to the MyFWC facebook post razorbills spend their entire lives in the cold waters of New England and Canadian Atlantic Provinces.  You can read the entire article on the MyFWC Facebook page.

December 15, 2012

Aeon 23 Offshore Key West

Took the Aeon 23 DLX offshore Key West for some yellowtailing with Captain Peter Heydon and Captain Rob Kramarz last Wednesday.  We anchored on the outside of the bar in about 90'.  Winds were from the south little over 10 mph, so a little lumpy, 2-4 ft seas but not too bad.  Forecast was for the winds to lay down to under 10 mph, but that never happened.  Wind instead increase and was closer to 20 mph than 10 mph.  The seas churned up to 3-5 foot with the occasional 6 footer passing through.  I was amazed that as sloppy as the ocean was we never took a wave over the bow at anchor or while running back in.  What an incredible vessel.  The video below shows somewhat of what it was like but really doesn't do it justice.  I was sitting on the cooler in front of the console watching every wave come at the boat freaking out that the next set of steep waves was the set coming over, swamping the boat and sweeping us away.  Fortunately that never occurred and we lived to tell the tale.

Captain Mike Bartlett

December 07, 2012

November 21, 2012

Jacksonville Redfish on Fly

Hooked up with my good buddy Captain Warren Hinnrichs out of Jacksonville, Fl this morning for some low  water redfish on fly.  I froze my ass off running to the first area, but once the boat came to a stop, it wasn't too bad.  Did a little blind casting as the tide was still running out and quickly landed two small trout and three really cool looking redfish.

During the cooler months of the year and lack of rain these normally dirty waters are now clear, making sight fishing actually possible.  Once the tide started to push in and the sun was high enough to see through the water we were finding one redfish after another in the small openings in the spartina grass off the main flows.  The redfish today were especially aggressive, turning around and eating flies that landed on their tails and Warren caught one, no more than five feet off the side of the boat.  He basically dropped is fly in the water raised it up a little and the fish inhaled it as if he hadn't eaten in a week.

We landed about twelve redfish between the two of us, hooked and lost several others, had lots of other shots and just saw lots of redfish all day.  It was a little chilly for a guy from Key West, but a great day of fishing nonetheless. 

November 18, 2012

Meet Stu Apte and the New Beavertail Strike Skiff

Aeon Marine and Beavertail Skiffs with Stu Apte will be in Key West Saturday November 24th debuting the new 17' Beavertail Strike skiff.  We will be at Hurricane Hole Marina in the morning from 9am - 1:30pm then again at the Salt Water Angler from 3:00pm - onwards.  Come by and meet legendary angler and IGFA Hall of Famer Stu Apte.

Check out Stu Apte's Signature Series Beavertail, the new Beavertail Strike Skiff, Beavertail BT3 and the Aeon 23 bay boat.  Boats will be available onshore and in the water for sea trials.  Stu Apte, Aeon Marine owners Will and Liz, Captain Gregg McKee and Captain Mike Bartlett will be on hand to answer your questions and take you out for ride.

Then Sunday November 25th the team will be in Islamorada at the Lorelei from 12 noon - onwards.

 Special thanks to Captain Marlin Scott of FishMonster Magazine, Captain Tony Murphy of Salt Water Angler, Mike Bender of Hurricane Hole Marina and of course Stu Apte for their contributions to this event.

Captain Mike Bartlett

November 08, 2012

Aeon Marine & Beavertail Skiffs at the Fort Myers Boat Show. Boats include the Aeon 20, Beavertail Vengeance & Aeon 23 DLX. 

October 18, 2012

Key West Redfish

Red October is here in Key West!!  I am totally stealing this line from my buddy Capt Gregg McKee's blog post from last week on The Pine Island Angler.  Gregg wrote about how good fishing for redfish has been this month in Matlacha, FL.  Well today, after we sat out a nasty thunderstorm at the Geiger Key Marina, I took my clients to a flat that I have seen redfish on last winter.  Tide was right and there was plenty of bait and sure enough there were plenty of good size redfish, including a few above slot size fish.  

My clients, Keith and Steve from PA caught four nice redfish pictured below and a bonefish.  This is a first on my boat catching a redfish and a bonefish in the same day.  Not something one would normally here about in Key West.  This set up for a really cool opportunity at a true Grand Slam, but we only saw one permit that spooked and no tarpon at all. 

October 16, 2012

Permit Fishing Key West

Three permit today with Keith and Steve from PA. Also, Steve jumped a tarpon this morning and Keith caught a jack and snapper.  Guys had shots at a school of bonefish and several big barracudas.  It was good to see clean water and lots of fish after the big blow we had last week. 

October 05, 2012

Key West Tarpon

This morning I fished with Jason, owner of The Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island, Florida.  The flats in the backcountry were a little slow, but fortunately this 50 pound tarpon was eager to eat Jason's offering at our first stop this morning.  

September 16, 2012

Key West Fishing Report

I had a few trips this past week and some really good fishing on flats around Key West.  A couple of cloudy, windy days and a few strong showers earlier in the week have contributed to a significant drop in water temperatures.  It seems our fish, permit especially, have taken a liking to the cooler water temps on the flats providing lots of action for my anglers.

I've been finding plenty of permit and bonefish and few tarpon on the flats and the channels and basin have been loaded with jacks and ladyfish.  My anglers caught a few sea trout and decent mangrove snappers as well.  We used a couple of the ladyfish Friday afternoon for shark bait, hooking 10 lemon sharks all over 5 foot in length.

September 06, 2012

Key West Lobster and Grouper

Went diving with Captain Michelle Sampson of My Spearit Charters in Key West and couple of her friends. We all got some lobsters and Michelle shot a nice grouper, mangrove snapper and a couple of hogfish.  I sucked and missed out on a big red grouper and missed three nice hogfish.  They were just a hair quicker than I was with the trigger.  Loads of fun and tired as hell.  Can't wait for the feast.  Thanks again Michelle, can't wait to get out again.