July 15, 2013

Bonnethead Sharks

One of the silly things to do on a slow day of fishing is to tease bonnethead sharks that come up to the boat following the scent of crabs and shrimp dangling in the water.  It's good for a laugh if anything.

June 24, 2013

Key West Shark Fishing

I had the pleasure this morning to fish with Cole and his younger sister Katelyn - fighting a 5 foot lemon shark  pictured above - from Delray Beach, FL.  Cole and Katelyn do quite a bit fishing are in Key West with their parents and other siblings for a few weeks of fun in the sun on the family boat.  I met their father Martin the other day on the dock at Garrison Bight Marina and asked if I would take them out for some fishing.  I was more than happy to oblige and we decided on some shark fishing.  

Shark fishing on the flats of Key West can be very exciting and sometimes downright simple.  It's a great way to spend a day on the water with younger anglers, sharks are just awesome.  Once we get them chummed up and a bit excited we can keep them next to the boat for hours.  At one point we had 15 lemon sharks all 4-7 foot long next to the skiff trying to get to my chum bag full of stinky, bloody goodness.  

Katelyn and Cole each hooked and landed a couple of sharks before one them finally got his teeth on the chum bag.  We had time to hook one more as all the bait floated away down the flat which fortunately was near the end of our trip.

June 18, 2013

Marquesas Bonefish on Fly

Got to fish with my buddy Capt Ward Kowalyk from Fort Myers - www.captainward.com - a few days ago. We traveled west to the Maequesas and we were greeted immediately by a school of bonefish, in which Ward landed his first one of the day. Capt Ward ended up with 4 bonefish on fly and three permit followed his fly to the boat but we were not able to entice a bite. We got clouded out half way down the flat otherwise I think many more bonefish would have been caught and there would have been more chances at permit.

Ward is a great guy and if you ever get to the Fort Myers areas and have an opportunity to fish, definitely look him up.

Here is a short video we shot with the iphone of Ward's bonefish.  He may have hammed it up a little!!

June 01, 2013

Key West Fishing Video


Short video from Hal and Morgan who fished with me a couple of weeks ago. Couple nice barracudas and a tarpon.
Thanks again guys

May 09, 2013

Key West Permit on Fly

Paul from England with his first permit on fly.

April 18, 2013

Awesome Week of Tarpon Fishing off Key West

Tarpon fishing has been incredibly good this past week.  It started last weekend with a couple of flat calm mornings and continued through this morning.  I've been getting my clients out early and they have been jumping tarpon within minutes of turning off the motor.  Some of the highlights this past week include a few tarpon on fly, a morning my client jumped a dozen tarpon and giant tarpon that dragged a couple miles from where it was hooked.  This morning was the first morning we didn't land a tarpon but my client did manage to jump on and have another one briefly hooked up.

Captain Mike Bartlett

April 05, 2013

Marquesas Fishing Report

It was a long time coming but we finally got a great stretch of weather that lasted about 5 days. We experienced light winds, clams seas and sunny skies, something I haven't seen in quite a while down here. It was so enjoyable and fishing was awesome.

I fished a couple of days at the Marquesas, where I had the place to myself. I saw one other boat out there both days. I took my clients to a couple of channels that just get chock full of fish. We caught dozens of fish including jacks, pompano, ladyfish, snappers, bluefish and lookdowns. And when all this life is congregated in an area, there are plenty of sharks around. We saw a lot of blacktip sharks, occasionally up close chasing and sometimes catching a hooked up fish.  But we got our revenge hooking several of those blacktips. They are so cool to watch when they are fired up.

I finished up the days at the Marquesas poling the flats in search of permit, barracudas and sharks. We never saw a permit, but the barracudas didn't disappoint. The flats were loaded with barracudas of all sizes and since we weren't seeing any permit my clients were just casting around and getting chased about every cast.

These same flats held a lot of lemon sharks as well. As I poled down the flat dragging a couple of cut up ladyfish, we got the shark train going. Once we had several sharks following us, I would stop and toss out a hunk of meat. When my anglers had their fill of sharks, I pulled in the chum and we continued on our way.

At the end of the first day at the Marquesas as we're idling out we encountered very large nurse sharks just off the flats. As were checking them out a very large, 12-14 foot hammerhead appeared next to the boat. I wish I had my camera out to get some photos of that beast.

Captain Mike Bartlett


March 26, 2013

Key West Tarpon Video

Short video of the tarpon my wife caught a couple days ago.  Thing went crazy thrashing and jumping all around the boat.  Never went more than 50 feet from us.  Perfect fish to get a ton of photos.

Captain Mike Bartlett

Cold Key West Weather

It's a cold and windy next few days in the Keys. Goodbye tarpon, it was fun while you were here. See you next week.

Captain Mike Bartlett
Key West Flats & Backcountry

March 25, 2013

Tarpon Fishing Key West

This March has to be one the worst ever for weather.  The first couple weeks of this month was riddled with strong cold fronts, wind, cold air and water.  It really felt like a normal January, which this year was beautiful compared to March.

Fortunately, this last week the weather was back to normal and the water temperatures warmed quickly, bringing a huge push of tarpon near Key West.  It was a much welcomed sight to see schools of tarpon rolling and everyone who was out jumping the Silver King.  Not only did we have tarpon in the harbor, we were finding lots of tarpon on the flats that were very eager to eat a well presented fly.

Mother nature is hitting us again with another strong cold front passing over Key West this morning.  Near forecast is calling for cool temps during the day, cold nights and windy this week.  Not good for anyone this time of year.  When the weather turns back to normal, tarpon will move right back in with it.

Captain Mike Bartlett

March 09, 2013

Key West Manatee

This is the first manatee I've seen this year at Garrison Bight Marina located in the middle of Key West. It was very interested in the props of my Lenco trim tab trolling motors and the back of the Yamaha. Maybe just looking for something to scratch its face on as it had a little green mustache growing. 

Manatees are always looking for a free drink and many times people at the marinas will give them the end of the hose which a manatee will suck on for several minutes. I've also seen folks scratch a manatees back and belly with a deck brush. That must feel so good for them with all the funk growing on them. 

March 07, 2013

Bonnethead Sharks on Fly

It's been a cold, windy, rainy and all around crappy week with three cold fronts in the last seven days.  The nights have been very chilly but somehow the water has been relatively warm.  After another chilly night last night and a high of 68 degrees forecasted today I was happy to get out and actually catch a few fish on fly.  Water temps on the oceanside are still in the upper sixties and though permit, tarpon and bonefish are nowhere to be found, sharks and barracudas haven't seemed to mind as much.

I fished with Patrick from Pittsburgh, PA today.  I was freezing all day and he was in a longsleeve T and shorts and comfortable.  It was Patrick's first day fly fishing in the salt and after a couple of tweeks he was casting tight sexy loops and bonking bonnethead sharks on the head.  Patrick caught four bonnetheads and a big lemon shark on fly.  He also had some bad luck with barracudas with three straight bite offs and a few others not getting hooked.  Regardless of what Mother Nature gave us this week, it was a fun, but chilly day on the water.  Thanks Patrick.

February 27, 2013

Permit on Fly

Fished with Captain Rob Kramarz of Chaos Theory Charters and his buddy Landon of Coastal Angler Magazine for some permit fishing on the flats of Key West last Saturday on the new Beavertail Strike.  The weather for once changed for the better in the afternoon going flat calm and sunny into the night.  At the tide switch Saturday evening we had permit tailing all around us.  I had the honor to guide Landon got his first on a crab in the afternoon and Capt Rob caught about a 25 pound permit on fly right at sunset.

Captain Mike Bartlett

February 10, 2013

Key West Fishing Report

It's been a good winter so far for fishing on the Key West flats and backcountry waters.  Most days the flats have been loaded with big barracudas and Crevalle jacks.  During the warm spells as we are in now permit fishing has been awesome and even some tarpon have moved into the area.  Bonefishing has been okay, but with all the opportunity available close to home I haven't been venturing to the winter bonefish areas that much.

We are coming into season now, so if you haven't made arrangements to fish with your guide, now is the time to do so.  The open spots in our calendars will fill quick in upcoming weeks, so don't miss out.

January 03, 2013

Colton Fly Rod and Reel Holiday Sale

The Colton Holiday Sale is going on now through January 15th.  If you are looking for a new fly rod and reel combination for yourself or for the fly angling enthusiast on your Christmas list, Colton has you covered.  Rods and reels for both freshwater and saltwater fly fishing and ranging from 2 weight up to 17 weight.  Colton has a fly rod and reel for any fishing situation.

Click on the image below to go directly to the Colton website and check out the full line of fly rods and reels available.  Please tell Bob Captain Mike sent you.

Captain Mike Bartlett