In Episode 4 of our Stomping Grounds video series, the Boat Trader crew heads to Islamorada, Florida, the “Sport Fishing Capital Of The World”, where host Ryan McVinney takes viewers on an in-depth exploration of flats fishing deep in the backcountry of Florida Bay on two different types of boats.
Flats Boats And Backcountry Fishing
Featuring Captain Eric Lund, a Wall Street Broker turned backcountry fishing guide, this episode reveals the key design features of the world’s best flats skiffs and how they are built for targeting some of the most exciting sport fish species on the planet. Maverick Boats is highlighted as a builder of top flats boats including Captain Lund’s Maverick HPX-V, a 17-foot technical poling skiff ideal for these waters.
Bonefish, Permit And Tarpon
Onboard for the day is experienced angler and Florida Keys Initiative Manager for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), Dr. Ross Boucek, who points out key species in the area and explains how his organization works to manage the fishery and help protect and restore habitats for bonefish, tarpon, permit and other associated species. The BTT mission is to conserve bonefish, tarpon and permit – the species, their habitats and the larger fisheries they comprise. The gang targets these species for the day, out on the seagrass flats, before heading up deep into the backcountry, where they encounter dolphins making mud rings, and catch a few keeper sized trout.
Bay Boats Versus Flats Boats
Also covered in the episode are bay boats and their versatility for families exploring Florida’s coastal waterways, with Pathfinder Boats highlighted as a great example of Bay Boat builders. A Pathfinder 2200 Bay Boat is profiled as the chase boat and viewers hear from Captain Matt Bellinger who explains why he runs bay boats for his charter customers, and how it allows for a better group family experience for many anglers. We explore the key difference between flats boats and bay boats, and when one is more appropriate than the other.
Fish Species And Wildlife
A detailed explanation of the fish species and plentiful wildlife in the Florida Bay region is also provided allowing viewers to see some of the area’s most beautiful and secret locales, illustrating why Islamorada is such a popular destination for anglers around the world.
0:31 Islamorada Sportfishing Capital Of The World
0:44 Florida Reef Everglades And Backcountry Habitats
1:14 Angler House Marina Boat Launch
1:33 Maverick HPX 17 Flats Skiff
1:43 Pathfinder 2200 Bay Boat
2:00 Dr Ross Boucek Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
2:35 Captain Eric Lund Backcountry Fishing Charters
2:47 Local Fish Species
3:20 Captain Matt Bellinger
3:52 Alligator Lighthouse
4:37 Flats Skiffs Overview
5:25 Captain Nick Castillo Local Knowledge
7:15 Bonefish Tarpon And Big Permit Sport Fishing
9:17 Maverick HPX 17 ft. Flats Skiff
10:40 Eagle Rays And Lemon Sharks Sea Grass Meadows
10:55 Everglades National Park
11:54 Dolphins Hunting Mud Rings
12:16 Fishing For Snook And Sea Trout
15:07 Stock Broker Turned Backcountry Fishing Guide
16:08 Fisherman And The Banker Parable
17:40 Technical Poling Skiff
18:22 Bay Boats Versus Flats Skiffs
19:52 Pathfinder 2200 Bay Boat