January 28, 2012

Key West Flats Fishing

We had a great week of weather this past week.  I fished a couple days with Mark Fisher of Beavertail Skiffs and his buddy Joe from CT.  We had a couple days of good permit fishing landing one on a crab on day one a big barracuda and jacks that followed every nurse shark we saw.

Day two Mark stuck with fly rod for permit.  We had about fifteen shots and the permit were very aggressive in chasing the fly.  Mark came tight on one permit but the fly pulled as he struck the fish.  The barracudas were a bit scarce.  We found some laid up tarpon in the afternoon but the wind and clouds made them tough to see and they wouldn't eat for us.

Friday I fished with client Gary from PA.  We had a calm warm and cloudy morning.  There has been some tarpon around so we started our day in Key West Harbor drifting some pinfish.  With lots of fish rolling and several drifts we finally got a small tarpon to eat and to the boat.  Gary also hooked a big barracuda and caught several groupers and a big jack.

Captain Mike Bartlett

January 25, 2012

The ultimate flats fisherman

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January 22, 2012

Key West Redfish

I took my wife fishing for a few hours this morning.  It is a gorgeous day with light wind and a sunny sky.  I stopped at the redfish flat to see if they moved back in after the cold blast we had a few weeks ago.  Lots of bait present and sure enough so were the redfish.  We saw seven in total hooking two and landing the big one pictured below on a gulp shrimp.

Captain Mike Bartlett

January 20, 2012

Key West Backcountry Fishing

Big Crevalle Jacks off the back of stingrays on the Gulfside flats of Key West.  These guys are dependable all winter and into spring when we switch gears and focus on tarpon.  Jacks on rays are easy targets for fly rodders and spin anglers alike.

January 13, 2012

51 Pound Kingfish off Key West

My buddies Capt Peter Heydon, Capt Tony Skinner his lady Ally and Matt went fishing offshore Thursday with Capt Jake of Mean Green Fishing Charters. They reported calm seas and good fishing. Lot of bonitas and good yellowtailing. The 51 pound kingfish pictured was caught on a live bluerunner.

Captain Mike Bartlett
Key West Flats & Backcountry

January 12, 2012

Colton Fly Rod Holiday Sale

The Colton Fly Company fly rod and reel sale has only a few days left. The sale ends this Sunday, January 15th. Save 50% off Colton's normally low prices on their complete line of fly rods and 35% off reels from 2wt to 20wt.  Because you purchase directly from the rod builder, Colton fly rods and reels are about half the cost of other high end fly fishing outfits, with the same high quality of craftsmanship and materials. If you have been in the market for a new fly rod and reel now is the time to buy. You won't find high quality fly rods and reels at these prices anywhere else.

Click on the image below to see the full line of Colton fly rods and reels.


Captain Mike Bartlett http://www.keywestflats.net/

January 04, 2012

Minnkota Trim & Troll Install

Tim Donald of Donald Marine installed a new set of Minnkota Trim & Troll, trim tab mounted trolling motors today on my Beavertail BT3 skiff.  The actuators are quiet and the system has some really cool features like the auto up and down and the ability to raise and lower the motors from the remote among a few others.  Tim uses the odyssey batteries for their compact size and ability to be mounted anywhere.  This is very important on a skiff with limited space.  Thursday or Friday I will put the boat in the water to get used to the new system.

I gave my buddies a lot of crap for having trolling motors so now I am hearing it back.  Trolling motors, like a good gps is a great tool to have on a skiff.  Whether aiding in poling, quietly approaching or leaving a fishing area instead of using the big motor or more importantly hunting for fish when I am fishing by myself.

The benefit of having the trim tab mounted trolling motors is they keep the casting deck clear for anglers and fly line.  Everything is controlled either by the console mounted switch or by the remote, no deploying a 5 foot long shaft with a motor attached to the end.  They should be quieter as well since they are on the back of the boat. The only negatives I can think of right now is having two motors adds a bit of weight and maneuverability isn't as good as with a bow mounted trolling motor.  I will report back with a performance review next week.

Captain Mike Bartlett

January 03, 2012

"It's cold out there...

...What is this Miami Beach." That is a line from the movie Groundhog Day and for the third year a row at about this same week the temperatures in the Keys are forecast to drop into the 40's tonight with colder windchill. I never thought I would be seeing the words windchill and Keys on the same page, but here we go again. Thankfully it is only one night and I will be surprised if we get that cold in Key West tonight. Maybe 50. When you get used to 80 degrees, 50's are downright cold.

Below is the forecast from Weather Underground website.

Regional Forecast for Monroe Lower Keys

Mostly clear...windy and cold. Lows 45 to 50. North winds near 20 mph and gusty. Lowest wind chill readings 37 to 42.

Thursday and Thursday Night
Mostly clear. Highs in the upper 60s. Lows near 60. North to northeast winds near 10 mph.

Friday and Friday Night
Partly cloudy. Highs near 70. Lows near 60.

Saturday through Tuesday
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s. Lows in the mid 60s.
Source: NWS at 5:59 PM EST on January 3, 2012

Captain Mike Bartlett