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Florida Light Tackle Backcountry

& Flats Fishing Info/Guides

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Boca Grande Flats Fishing Charters                                                    ◦ Destin Flats Fishing Charters

Tampa Bay Area Flats Fishing Charters                                              ◦ Jacksonville Flats Fishing Charters

Port Charlotte Flats Fishing Charters                                                 ◦ Miami Flats Fishing Charters

Sarasota Area Flats Fishing Charters                                                 Everglades Flats Fishing Charters

Punta Gorda Flats Fishing Charters                                                     ◦ Flamingo Flats Fishing Charters

Naples Area Flats Fishing Charters                                                     ◦ Islamorada Flats Fishing Charters

Sanibel Flats Fishing Charters                                                             ◦ Fla. Keys Flats Fishing Charters

Fort Myers Flats Fishing Charters                                                      ◦ Orlando Flats Fishing Charters

Cape Canaveral Flats Fishing Charters                                                ◦ 10,000 Islands Flats Fishing Charters

 

Please click on images to enlarge

 

View our Florida Tarpon, Flats & Backcountry Guides

Florida Flats & Backcountry Fishing: is undoubtedly the most popular venue to the resident & visiting angler.  Fishing the Flats & Backcountry takes place in the thick of Florida's Estuary Systems.   This is strictly light tackle & fly country.  Put away the offshore rods, and grab the 6lb, 8lb and 10lb tackle.  You will be fishing in calm protected water, usually 2 feet or less in depth.  The scenery is breathtaking and the wildlife like that of a National Geographic show, especially in the Everglades & SW Florida Region.  Rough water as a result of high winds associated with mild storms and cold fronts usually do not affect the comfort level of anglers as well as the productivity of the day.  A 6" chop on the water in the backcountry is a rough day!  With that said, when you book a backcountry & flats fishing charter, feel comfortable that you and your guest will fish unless a major storm or front rolls in.   

This is just like fresh water fishing back home, with the exception that you will most often catch more, larger and harder fighting fish.  A 5lb Jack Crevalle will outfight a 12lb Largemouth Bass any day of the week.  Imagine hooking into a 40lb Redfish or 150lb Tarpon.  

Throughout the day, you will be fishing within casting distance of a shoreline; next to structure, such as trees, docks, jetties and oyster bars; or in water shallow enough to run in.  Depending on where you fish, you may even have opportunities to see your target game fish (Sight fishing).  

Fishing with live bait and/or artificial lures on light tackle (6 – 10lb test) in knee deep water is what makes backcountry & flats fishing most exciting.  Tarpon, Redfish, Snook, Trout, Mackerel, Snapper, Pompano & Shark are common targets, yet only a few of the species you may encounter.  Bonefish, Permit and Barracuda are  common targets in our South Florida & Keys waters.  Because of the variety of species, the non-existence of rough water and the use of light tackle, this is a type of fishing charter anybody can partake in.  Children, seniors, novices, as well as the most avid anglers seeking I.G.F.A. records are all welcome.  This is not the type of charter where you drop a line down to the bottom and wait for a bite, which can get boring very quickly.  This requires a great deal of activity.  Accurate casting and presentation for certain types of backcountry & flats species will dictate success.  For kids and novices; free lining or drifting with live bait is a simple method to catching most of our backcountry & flats game fish.

Florida Light Tackle Backcountry Fishing 

Imagine casting a live Sardine to the base of a tree.  You begin a slow retrieve.  Suddenly your Sardine becomes active.  You feel your bait's attempt to get away from what lurks near the tree.  Twitch, twitch, twitch, “Oh is he nervous”.   Then suddenly you feel a solid thump, you reel down on your slack and rear back.  Your rod doubles over from the pressure and then an enormous Snook shakes his head out of the water violently in an attempt to rid himself of the pressure in his mouth.  In a froth of white water, the  40++” Snook lands back in the water and then rips 50 yards of line against a tight drag.  She runs adjacent to the shoreline looking for the nearest root or oyster clump to wrap your line around.  You apply maximum pressure and are able to turn the trophy.  Several head thrashing jumps later, your guide lips the Monster Snook for a few pictures and releases her to fight another day.  Your guide says, “That’s what backcountry fishing is all about….let’s get another one”

 

Jim Currie came to Florida in search of; "A Total Fishing Adventure"!  He wanted to catch a "Huge Snook" among a few other species.  I said, look no further, you have found the right place, let's go get your Big Snook!  We started the day off catching some beautiful Redfish and a several Jack Crevalle, and when the tide got right I told him; "It's time to hook that Snook but it's up to you to land it", and without a doubt after a long nervous fight he landed his trophy 18 pounder, & the smile on his face says it all!

  with Capt. Derrick Jacobsen

Just like fresh water fishing, you’ll be casting lures, live bait and or flies to shorelines.   The base & roots of trees, submerged logs, rocks, overhanging branches, points, current rips, eddies, oyster bars, shell mounds, troughs, boat docks, boat houses, sea walls, jetties and weed lines are all forms of structure that act as protection for bait fish and/or ambush points for game fish.   This is Everglades style fishing at it’s very best.  You never know what will strike your lure or bait.  Snook, Redfish, Jack Crevalle and Tarpon are the most common backcountry targets.  This is non-stop action fishing for the most seasoned angler as well as the first time fisherman/woman.

  • Florida Light Tackle Flats Fishing

Your guide is poling you across 8” of water.  In your view you see the tips of grass barely breaking surface, an occasional mullet flipping and “Shaky” water hear and there.   “This water is alive this morning” your guide says.  Seconds later you notice the tip of a fishes tail barely breaking water 100 feet off the bow.  Simultaneously, your guide softly speaks, “O.K., we have a tip of a tail at 12 O’clock 100 feet.  Strip out 50’ of line on the deck and hold your fly in your hand.  Be very quiet, don’t move and I’ll get you within 30’ for a cast.”   Although it seems like hours, a minute later you’re within casting range.  Your guide then whispers, “O.k., he’s moved to the left a few feet.  He’s stopped.  O.K. he’s got his head in the mud, there’s his tail.  Go ahead and shoot your fly five feet behind him and inches in front of him.  Don’t slap the water with your fly”  You make perfect cast.  Your fly sinks to the bottom.  You make 3” strips until you see your bright colored fly inches from the Redfish’s nose.  You allow your fly to hit bottom.  You begin another short strip and suddenly the Red “Feels” the presence of your shrimp fly and in a mass of white water, explodes on your offering.  You strip set and suddenly you have 15lbs of muscle clearing your fly line within seconds.  In excitement, your Guide shouts, “Now that’s was picture perfect…that’s what flats fishing is all about”

 Florida Flats Fishing: is one of the most challenging and exciting forms of fishing.  Here is where you are on a level playing field with your quarry.   This is sight fishing to the extreme.  The ability to read the water and identify targets as fast as your guide is of the utmost importance.  One you’ve identified a target and determined direction & rate of movement, you’ll in many cases have to react lightning quick with a precise cast followed with a perfect presentation.   If everything falls in the place, you’ll be rewarded with a strike.  That’s the thrill behind flats fishing, landing your fish is just a bonus.  You’ll be casting small jigs, weed less spoons, soft plastic jerk baits, flies and jumbo shrimp on ultra light tackle. 

On the Flats, expect to see Redfish, Bonefish, Permit, Snook, Trout, Cobia, Sharks, Jack Crevalle and even Giant Tarpon.

Maximum Number of Anglers:

If you are looking to share the experience with the entire family and are looking for a “Fun” day with a second emphasis on catching fish, then let’s load up the boat.  If you are serious about maximizing your day and catching fish, then do so with a limited number of anglers.  The suggested number of anglers per trip type is noted as follows:

Backcountry: Up to four or six depending on boat  (Prefer up to three) 

Flats: Up to three or four depending on boat (Prefer one or two)

Backcountry & Flats Combination:  Up to three or four depending on boat (Prefer one or two)

Fly-fishing:  Any kind of fly-fishing will be limited to one angler fishing at a time (Unless wading)

Often we receive requests for four or five anglers wishing to fish the flats and/or backcountry.  We will always conform to our client’s requests and put as many or as few anglers on our boats, provided the total number of anglers fall within U.S. Coast Guard & state licensing and safety guidelines.  We do however, want you to be aware of some very important facts:

 #1..  Florida Flats fishing: More lines in the water almost always means the less fish you will catch.  Sight fishing the flats with spinning or fly tackle is always best with one angler or two anglers alternating casts.  A third angler will get in the way, weigh the boat down restricting access to certain shallow water flats and will provide for less actual fishing time for all parties involved.  Boats best equipped to access shallow fish holding flats are small, lightweight and quiet.  These boats only weigh a few hundred pounds.  The more weight you place in the boat will also result in a less comfortable ride for all anglers on the boat.  Parties wishing to fish four anglers are encouraged to book two boats so all anglers can experience the true definition of flats fishing.

 #2.  Florida Backcountry Fishing:  Backcountry fishing does not involve as much sight casting to single fish as it does casting to structure likely to hold fish or groups of fish staging, swimming or feeding in open water or adjacent to structure.  While it is still shallow water, many of the areas fished are surrounded by water from 1 – 3 feet.  This enables us to use our larger flats boats or bay boats, enabling us to fish from one to four anglers.   Fishing the backcountry can involve anchoring & casting to structure, sight casting and/or slowly working shorelines with a trolling motor while anglers make casts.   Often we can fish three or even four anglers.  The more anglers however, will always result in fewer options for the group.  One or two anglers is always best and will open the day for an unlimited number of options.  Three to four anglers usually limits the trip to anchoring on structure likely to hold fish.

 #3 Florida Backcountry & Flats Combo:   A total of two anglers can decide to fish either the flats or backcountry or both.  Three to four plus anglers will almost always be limited to fishing the backcountry. 

 #4. Don’t be misled:  Contrary to what you may have heard, please don’t  

  be misled.  You cannot proficiently fish the backcountry and certainly

  not the flats with three or more anglers, for all of the reasons noted in

  the paragraphs above.

 

View our Florida Tarpon Flats & Backcountry Guides

 

Charter of the Month        Customer Testimonials   

 

 

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This Month's Featured Fishing Guides:

 

Light Tackle Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande & Charlotte Harbor with

Capt.  Derrick Jacobsen

 

Light Tackle fishing in Islamorada & The Florida Keys with

Capt. Eric Herstedt

 

Deep Sea Fishing with Capt. Ray McCauley in  Jacksonville &

St. Augustinne

 

"Light Tackle" fishing for Tarpon, Snook & Redfish around the Tampa Bay/Tarpon Springs area with

Capt. Mike Witfoth

 

Sight Cast to schools of Giant Redfish in Mosquito Lagoon with

Capt. Jim Ross

 

Deep Sea & Tarpon Fishing Key West with

Capt. Mike Weinhofer

 

Fly-fishing in Chokoloskee & 10,000 Islands with

Capt. Ray Culver

 

Nightime Trophy Snook Fishing with

Capt. Dave Pomerleau

 

Light Tackle fishing from Jacksonville to St. Augustine with

Capt. Ron Schurr

 

We are booking up fast for the 2017 Tarpon Season.  Book Now to reserve the last few available Hill Tide Dates..

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Toll Free:  (866) 4-TARPON (482-7766) • Local:  (941) 628-1355

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