Flats Fishing Charter Frequently Asked Questions

New or potential clients often ask many of the same questions when quiring about their fishing charter. I have attempted to list many of them below. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

What type of fish can I catch?
All year long, you can catch redfish (red drum), spotted seatrout (speckled trout), and Black drum. In summer and fall, you may encounter tarpon, snook, ladyfish, and jack crevalle.

How many fish will I catch?
Many things influence fishing from day to day including the weather. It is impossible to predict how many fish will bite. It is rare that anglers are not given many chances to catch the fish throughout the day. If you are choosing a sight fishing charter, the simple rule of thumb is the better you cast the more you will catch. It is more common than not to see schools of hundreds of fish on the shallow grass flats during your trip.

Do you guarantee fish?
Unless I have previously seen someone fish, I have no way of knowing their casting and fishing skills and it would not be reasonable to guarantee they would catch a fish. Some fishing guides do offer no fish/no pay policies or even guaranteed redfish. This usually involves the guide doing the casting and hook-setting and then handing you the rod. Other practices included counting any fish, even a 10 inch trout, as a guaranteed fish. Since I do not fish form my clients unless asked to do so, I cannot guarantee they will catch fish. I do guarantee you will step onto a clean boat with top of the line equipment along with a guide who will put forth 100% effort to put you in a position to catch fish.

Can I keep my fish to eat?
I practice all catch, photo, and release charters, no exceptions. Every fish removed from the water is one less to catch another day and will not be there to breed and sustain the population. Over the years, the amount of fishing pressure has increased dramatically. I will not catch every fish I release again but one taken home will never be caught again. I offer sport fishing charters where you can stalk trophy sized fish on shallow grass flats. If you are looking to fill up a cooler full of fillets, I am not the guide for you.

Do you use live bait?
The majority of the time, I fish with soft plastic artificial lures. For most sight fishing applications, bait is not necessary. If you are sight fishing, which is my primary style, bait is not a magic elixir that puts the fish on the hook. A live bait cast behind or on top of our fish will go ignored just like an artificial. In general, my method of fishing does not involve anchoring or drifting and deploying live or natural baits. I prefer to use a push pole to move the boat across the flats constantly searching for fish we can see. Under certain circumstances, I will use bait. Some of the giant bull redfish have been caught so many times it is difficult to catch them on anything else but bait. High winds my making poling and casting unfeasible. Anglers with no or very little fishing experience may be unable to cast to our fish and require bait fishing to get them hooked up. Unless there are special circumstances or requests, you can plan on all 1 and 2 person trips being a sight fishing trip with artificial lures or flies with bait as a backup option if needed. For kids or less experienced anlgers, I offer bait fishing trips in the northern Mosquitpo Lagoon. These trips require no skills and often result in the most fish with the largest variety.

Do I need to buy a fishing license?
No. I provide a license for all my clients

How many people will fit on your boat?
My 16ft Hewes flats boat has room for 2 anglers to sight fish at the same time using spinning tackle. For fly fishing trips, if there is a second angler, the will not be able to stand on the front deck at the same time and will be using spinning tackle. On rare occasions, I will take three passengers. The only way three people can fish at the same time is to anchor and fish with natural baits with no casting. more people in the boat means a deeper draft and we may not be able to access the same areas we can get into with 2 anglers. For three person trips, two can sight fish on the front while the third rotates through. There is an additional $100 charge for a third angler.

Are we going to catch the famous Mosquito Lagoon & Indian River Bull Redfish?
The Indian River Lagoon system is the only place where redfish live their entire lives inshore. That means that every day fishing you may encounter huge reds. The largest fish commonly congregate in schools and are heavily pressured. Some anglers surround these fish all day long and have consistently decreased their numbers. If catching a redfish over 20 pounds is your only goal, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I do not engage in the surround and pound tactics that others may condone. Of course I want all my clients to catch the biggest and most fish they ever have but I will not join groups of other boats and combat fish for bulls. I make every attempt to put my clients on the largest fish I believe we have a reasonable chance of catching without fighting with other anglers. I strive to provide my clients with a fun and exciting fishing experience not one that involves screaming matches with other boats.

Does your boat have a shade top or seats?
My boat does not have any shade top. Anglers need to be able to cast unobstructed at any angle. The front deck does not have any seats. While riding or bait fishing, anglers sit on the cooler which has a cushion and doubles as the center seat, or on the front or rear deck.

Can we bring alcohol?
Small amounts of alcohol are allowed. No drug use will be tolerated. Drinking until intoxicated and standing on the deck of the boat is dangerous and will cause the charter to be terminated immediately. Fortunately, clients are usually to busy looking for and casting at fish to drink to excess. A cold beer or three is a welcome treat, however, after landing a big fish.

Do you take kids fishing?
I have had the pleasure of watching many kids catch their first or biggest saltwater fish. Before booking the trip, one must consider several factors. For sight fishing trips, the angler must have the ability to stand quietly on the front deck and make quick accurate casts to fish. Many kids under 12 years of age do not have the casting skills necessary. Fishing with live baits is an option for kids. Kids under 8 commonly do not have the patience to sit quietly on the boat waiting for a fish to bite and may become discouraged with fishing in general. When we are on the shallow flats where the redfish feed, they are easily scared off by noises on the deck of the boat. Fell free to call me and discuss your goals when fishing with kids.

What do I need to bring?
You will need to bring your choice of food and drink. I will provide a cooler for storage. Rain gear is good for sudden showers as well as keeping dry if riding in high winds or chop. Florida does get cold in the winter. It is always better to bring too many clothes than not enough. Sunscreen is highly recommended. I put mine on every day before I leave the house. This way it is not on my hands when I am handling the baits or equipment. polarized sunglasses are also needed for seeing the fish in the water. A hat will keep the sun from getting behind your glasses and improve your ability for spotting fish.

Do I get to do all the fishing myself?
I do not fish for my clients unless they specifically request it. I will gladly help children and less experienced anglers make the cast and get hooked up. I will be poling the boat and you will be on the front casting and hooking your own fish. I do not make a habit of fish with my clients unless asked to do so. I may, however, carry a rod on the poling platform to assist clients who may be struggling with their casting skills.

What is the best time of year to come?
There is really no "best time" for fishing here. We can fish the saltwater flats all year long. Summer brings generally calm winds every morning but can get hot. During the winter, cold fronts will make their way through every 7-10 days bringing with them rain and wind. If you are coming from the great white north, our winter is paradise. The best time to fish for redfish, trout, and drum is whenever you can get here.

Do you fish in the rain?I will fish in the rain under certain circumstances. If a brief summer shower is passing through, we can put on the rain suits and wait it out. If there is lightning, we will head to the ramp immediately. If rain is expected prior to the charter, I will call the client and come to a decision together. If there is a high likelihood of rain and bad weather, I do not have a problem canceling the charter and returning the deposit.