For over 11 years, Flatscaptain Charters has been helping anglers experience some of the finest fly and light tackle angling southwest Florida has to offer. Based in Punta Gorda, Capt. Michael Manis has direct access to the unspoiled waters of Boca Grande, Pine Island, and Charlotte Harbor. This entire area is part of the Charlotte Harbor aquatic preserve estuary system of Southwest Florida. It is the second largest estuary in the state and includes vast tidal flats, sea grass beds, and backcountry mangrove islands full of pristine shorelines and winding tidal creeks. From the white sandy beaches of Cayo Costa and Boca Grande to the blue green water just inside the Gulf passes at Pine Island or Gasparilla Sound and all the way up to the more tannic water deep within the back country of Matlacha or Bull and Turtle bay, this huge estuary system includes some of the most extremely clear and shallow water you will ever have the chance to fish. For fly and light tackle anglers, this provides some exceptional sight fishing opportunities for some of our most popular game fish such as redfish, snook, and tarpon. It’s not unusual to see red fish tailing, snook pushing water while busting bait, or tarpon daisy chaining or just laid up in a sand hole on a grass flat.
Backcountry Boat & Fishing Gear
In order to get close to the fish, we’ll fish out of either a 17’ Maverick Mirage HPX Tunnel skiff or a Maverick 18’5” Master Angler flats boat. Both boats are light and create very little hull slap.This will allow us to pole up and stalk these game fish on some of the best flats. In this very shallow and visual environment, light tackle, long casts, and a stealthy presentation make all the difference. For fly, we’ll throw a seven or eight weight Ross Worldwide Essence FW fly rod matched with a quality Ross reel and rigged with a Rio products full floating or intermediate sink tip fly line.For conventional tackle, we’ll rig a medium action fast tip Shimano Calcutta or Teramar inshore seven-foot spinning rod matched with a Shimano Symetre or Spheros reel and Power Pro braided line. On both rigs, we’ll tie on a good piece of Berkley Vanish or Stren tinted fluorocarbon leader.
Fishing Techniques & Strategies
Depending on season and conditions, we might work a fly, soft plastic jerkbait or a top water plug along mangrove shorelines in Bull Bay for snook, or catch a low incoming tide in the thick turtle grass in the back country of Pine Island Sound for some tailing redfish. And in spring, when the tarpon start working their way up the Gulf Coast, we’ll see them migrating up the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Islands all the way into both Boca Grande and Little Gasparilla Passes and then spreading out all through the back country of Matlacha, and Gasparilla and Pine Island Sound. Later towards summer, they will move into the deeper holes of Charlotte Harbor and up towards the mouths of both the Peace and Myakka Rivers. For these guys, we’ll throw big Puglisi Peanut Butter patterns with a ten or twelve weight and an intermediate sink tip, or some stouter spinning gear with a top water or suspending plug.
My goal is to provide a quality and personable experience that emphasizes keeping the fun in fishing. I enjoy teaching as much as I can about our fishery, inshore techniques, and strategies so that my clients take home some additional knowledge and skills as well as memories.