photo by: www.sternphotos.com

South Florida Reigns Supreme

Snook Picture
St. Lucie River Snook on Fly

The popularity of inshore saltwater fishing is on the rise among anglers who don't care to deal with pounding seas, spend the half a morning catching bait before wetting a line, or troll for hours. If you enjoy the idea of hands-on fishing with light tackle, then for you, inshore fishing is where it's at. And no facet of saltwater inshore fishing has experienced the explosive growth of saltwater sight fishing with fly and light tackle. Florida has no equal when it comes to this exacting style of fishing. You can't raise the bar any higher.

South Florida has long been considered the cradle of saltwater light-tackle and fly fishing, pioneered by legendary, world-class anglers who paved the way for all of us on this region's renowned shallow grassflats.

Sight fishing is primarily hunting where you stalk a variety of wary gamefish via pushpole on shallow saltwater tidal flats. On the shallow mud flats of Everglades National Park at Flamingo, depending on the time of year, you can expect to cast to redfish, snook, tarpon, seatrout, bonefish, black drum, and jack crevalle. I consider this fishery to be ideal for the beginner or intermediate sight fisherman. I have shared in the satisfaction of many a first-timer's first catch on the flats here. It's the ideal place to hone your skills.

Pompano Picture
A Solid Indian River Pompano

On Miami's doorstep, Biscayne Bay's grassflats are home to a foursome of terrific gamefish: bonefish, tarpon, permit and barracuda. These flashy, wary gamesters will put your skills to the test whether you choose to fish bait, artificial lures or flies. I started flats fishing here in 1969 and my first big Biscayne bone made me a sight fisherman for life.

Sight fishing is also popular along the Florida Atlantic beaches from roughly Jupiter north to Vero Beach, where snook patrol the trough right at your feet, and tarpon, jack crevalle, permit and cobia routinely migrate within yards of the sand.

Beyond the flats, South Florida's rivers, creeks, bays and Intracoastal Waterway are home for a long list of gamefish and popular table fish that readily strike a fly or lure. And when the sun goes down, the action doesn't stop. Snook, tarpon and seatrout take the spotlight under lighted docks and bridges from the Florida Keys to the Indian River Lagoon.

Florida offers a far more diverse roster of fish than any other coastal state in the U.S. It's not even close! There's much to choose from, in every month of the year. I do it all, and I invite you to let me put together a trip tailored to your preferences and skill level.


Boat and Fishing Tackle

We'll fish from my fully rigged, 17-foot Action Craft Flyfisher. This skiff is suited for shallow poling, and takes a chop better than many smaller and lighter technical poling skiffs. It features plenty of dry storage for your gear, and rod racks to handle up to ten rods. Powered by a Yamaha 115-horsepower 4-stroke outboard and a MinnKota Riptide electric on the bow when not fishing via pushpole.

I am U.S. Coast Guard licenced, fully insured, and CPR and first aid certified. I provide your license, all tackle, lures, flies and baits, an iced cooler for your lunch and catch, water and soft drinks. You are welcome to bring your own tackle, but I only ask that we discuss its suitability for the planned fishing ahead of time. You should also bring along polarized glasses, hat, sunscreen and sun-protective clothing, particularly during the late-spring through fall months. Florida winters call for appropriate warm weather clothing. And please wear shoes with non-marking soles.

All provided tackle is top-rate. Fly rods by G.Loomis, Orvis, Temple Fork Outfitters and fly reels by Ross Reels, Tibor Reels, Nautilus, Orvis. Fly lines by Scientific Angler, Cortland, Rio and more. Light-tackle (spin and casting) by G.Loomis, Lamiglas, Crowder, Biscayne Rod, St. Croix, Shimano, Abu Garcia, Quantam and more.

I tie all fly leaders and saltwater flies for your trip, and carry an extensive selection of artificial lures ideal for the day's fishing.

In short, rest assured that the gear is ready and it is right!


Fishing Destinations and Rates


Indian River Lagoon/St. Lucie River/Treasure Coast Beaches

Snook Picture
Capt. Scott Sommerlatte's Fly Caught Snook

My home waters around Stuart, Florida teem with a long list of exciting gamefish and table fish. This is a year-round fishery and each season has its headliners. Stuart may be the acclaimed "Sailfish Capital of the World," but for inshore anglers, it is Florida's Snook Central. Snook are caught day and night, with April through November the peak season. Snook fishing takes place from the beaches to the inlets to the upper estuary, depending on time of year. Spotted seatrout, redfish, small to large tarpon, pompano, tripletail, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, flounder, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, permit, cobia, black drum and other species round out the roster in both Indian River and St. Lucie River, and along local beaches, depending on time of year. Most can be caught on artificial lures, many on flies, and others are best fished with natural baits. I can tailor your fishing day(s) to target one or multiple species with light tackle and/or fly tackle.

Snook Picture
Typical Bridge Snook on Fly

RATES

  • Half Day for up to 2 Anglers - $375
  • Full Day for up to 2 Anglers - $475
Night Snook Trips for up to 2 anglers:
  • 4 hours - $375
  • 6 to 8 hours - $475


Biscayne Bay

Bonefish Picture
Capt. Mike Conner with a 10-Pound Biscayne Bone

Biscayne Bay's Biscayne National Park and Florida's Upper and Middle Keys have produced more trophy bonefish than any other bonefish destination on Earth. Lush grassflats bathed in clear water abutting turquoise channels will put you in mind of the tropics, because you are in the tropics! Yet this world-class flats fishery is only a one-hour drive from downtown Miami. I fish the bayside and oceanside flats of South Biscayne Bay south to Upper Key Largo. Depending on the season, you can expect to sight cast to bonefish, tarpon, permit and barracuda.

Bonefish are a year-round possibility, and only the coldest winter periods put them off the shallow flats. This terrific fly fish will take crab and shrimp patterns, and on light spin tackle, shrimp, small crabs and jigs. Biscayne Bay bones average 6 to 8 pounds, the highest size average in the world. And expect to spot fish in the double digits, especially in the spring and fall. Fish in the 11- to 14-pound class are taken each year, mainly in March, April and again in October and November.

Permit are the milestone for fly casters, but when these powerful gamefish are in the feeding mood, catches are possible if you are committed and put in your time. Otherwise, permit take live crabs and shrimp, and skimmer and round-head jigs. Fish in the 10- to 25-pound class are typical here, with shots at bigger specimens.

Tarpon migrate along the Biscayne Bay oceanside flats from late spring through mid-summer, and are most commonly taken with well-presented streamers, soft-plastic baitfish imitations and swimming plugs. The fish run from 60 to 130 pounds, and smaller resident fish in the 5- to 40-pound class are present year-round inside Biscayne Bay.

Bonefish Picture
Reviving a Bonefish for Release

Finally, the underrated barracuda strikes flies, plugs, soft plastics and tube lures aggressively. The bigger fish are a challenge and have great eyesight. To fool a big one in shallow water is an achievement. The biggest cudas of all show up during the winter. Spotting and catching the heralded Flats Slam: bonefish, tarpon and permit, is most common during the months of April through July.

Fishing hours are dependant on the season. To be sure, summer fishing means a daybreak start to take advantage of the coolest water temps. Plus, gazing at a flat full of tailing bones, or a school of rolling tarpon at first light will make you glad you lost some sleep. Fall through early spring may call for later starts to catch the best tides, or warmer afternoons. Rest assured, I'll make the call to give you the best shot at hooking up.

BISCAYNE BAY RATES

  • Half day (5 hours) for up to 2 anglers (July, August only) - $450
  • Full day (8 hours) for up to 2 anglers (September- June) - $550

Flamingo on Florida Bay, in Everglades National Park

Everglades Cypress Picture
Everglades Bald Cypress

Experience what many inshore anglers consider the most diverse and productive flats fishery in all of Florida. Florida Bay is world's away from many other Florida bay systems in that there is no development. Just the unspoiled Everglades ecosystem and a world-class flats fishery.

I fish these shallows "bonefish style," via pushpole exclusively, to put you in position to make the ideal cast to tailing redfish, rolling tarpon, and snook in ambush mode in water less than 3 feet deep. Seatrout are at their most challenging when they slip up into skinny water, and complete the "Flamingo Foursome," which many call the Backcountry Super Slam. From late spring through late summer, this is easiest to accomplish, on either light tackle or fly.

Everglades Mangrove Picture
Everglades Snook Country

But it's not all about sight fishing out of Flamingo. Maybe you're more interested in something less demanding? Then choose between casting or fishing bait along the beautiful Cape Florida beaches, or drift-fishing for seatrout, anchoring and chumming up a hot school of Spanish mackerel, or just jigging up a mixed bag in the channels for a fresh fish dinner. It's all within a half-hour boat ride of the Flamingo boatramp. Twelve months a year there is a best bet or multiple options. Pick a time of year, and I'll suggest an ideal game plan.

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK RATES

  • Full day trips for up to 2 anglers, year-round - $600
  • Half-day (5 hours) available from July 1 through September 1 only - $500

Surf Fishing

> > See my surf fishing page.


CHARTER PAYMENT POLICY

All fishing days booked require a 50 percent deposit, unless reservation is made with 72 hours of fishing date. For your deposit I accept personal check, money order, or payment through Pay Pal. The balance of the charter trip must be paid in cash.

Deposits are non-refundable if cancellation is not made within 14 days of the booked date or dates. I will gladly hold your deposit for a re-booking in the event that you must cancel due to illness, flight cancellation or have an emergency. I will also apply your deposit to a later date should weather conditions make fishing impossible.

Contact Capt. Mike Conner at (772) 521-1882, or email: mikeflyguy@comcast.net

mikeflyguy@comcast.net twitter button facebook button Phone:772 521-1882 Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict