Friday, July 27, 2012

Florida Backcountry Trip

          Florida Backcountry Trip 2012

A great time was had in Florida despite some crappy weather and poor water conditions! Bottom line....3 out of 4 clients caught their 1st Tarpon and several other species of fish were caught including redfish and snook!

I hadn't done this trip since 2009 for a variety of reasons but started getting the "Florida Itch" round about February of this year. I called my buddy and guide Mark Giacobba and he had some dates I booked it!

I was joined by Hal Goodrich from Springfield, Ohio, Larry Longerbeam from Tennesee, Howie Tracy from Texas and our old buddy Steve Ford who recently moved from Columbus to Cleveland. I can't say enough about this group of guys and they really made the trip special. Hal and Steve I have known and traveled with for years but Howie and Larry were newbies and I'm sure glad that I got to know them. Howie signed up for the Andros Bonefish trip this Fall and Larry will surely be back as well.

 The 2012 Florida Backcountry Group

This trip was 1st put together by Flip Pallot and I back in 2007. We originally booked it as a Florida Sampler trip and wandered around a bit.....but this year I took a new approach....and I like how it worked!

The Original Florida Sampler Trip- 2007

I began fishing in the Everglades in the early eighties. Long story but my Uncle Bill moved from St. Louis to Miami to attend the U of M in the Jazz Program. I started spending time there in the Summers and we fished the Glades and surrounding waters. His friend and saltwater legend Vince Maggio became like family to me also and between the two....I had flats boats and room and board almost any time I wanted. I feel like I grew up saltwater fly fishing in Flamingo! It was only natural that I included this magical place as part of Mad River Outfitters trip offerings.

I have now streamlined the trip and we fish 4 days out of the Flamingo boat launch in the Everglades National Park. We can head right and go out to Florida Bay and chase reds, snook and migrating tarpon and/or we can head left and go into the backcountry for the multitude of species found there including the resident tarpon that are always around. Each day I drive the group back to the launch to meet the guides and  then drive back to the hotel after the day of fishing. We stay at a really nice hotel in Homestead and all get together to go out to some great restaurants for dinner. Usually a couple of evenings we hang out and tie up a few leaders and talk about the day of fishing. Pretty laid back...and tons of fun!

  The boat launch at Flamingo

  One of my favorite views.....the Florida Backcountry

   This year we found some really great local restaurants that will be on the bill for 2013

I picked the group up at the Miami airport on Monday, April 30th this year and the prognosis was not good. It had been raining for days and the wind was blowing. I had talked to Mark and he wasn't optimistic. We went out for dinner and discussed our options.

1st day was a bust.....saltwater wise. The weather and water just wouldn't allow us to fish the salt.....but the day wasn't ruined! I trucked the guys up to Ft. Lauderdale and Mark and Dave Hunt took the guys to Sawgrass and they did some largemouth bass fishing. Turns out that the fishing was great and several of the guys caught the biggest largemouth bass that they ever had! Tons of bass and bluegill were caught and everybody had a great time. This is always a cool any saltwater angler knows....the weather doesn't always cooperate!

Larry Longerbeam and a nice Largemouth on the 1st day      

Over the next three days, the weather and water did improve and fish were caught. As stated, three out of 4 clients landed tarpon....a few snook, a redfish or two and a variety of other species like ladyfish, blue runners and more.

Hal Goodrich and his 1st Tarpon

Yours truly and a decent redfish

I have been running trips like this since 1989 and something happened on this trip that had never happened before.....I will share it here.

The 4th day was definitely shaping up to be "the day". The weather was looking good and the wind had laid down. Driving out, we were all excited and could feel that this was our big tarpon day. Howie Tracy nor Steve Ford had caught a tarpon yet and I had high hopes.

One of our guides, Dave Hunt had a conflict and we had to bring in another guide for the day......I won't mention his name.

Long story short but this "other guide" had what seemed to be a battery problem at the dock. He brought his truck down and tried to jump the battery to get the boat started. That didn't work. He then banged around on the motor for a bit and then decided that his starter was bad. He informed us that he had been having problems with it for a while.....and that he wouldn't be able to fish. He packed up his stuff and headed home.

I was stunned! Never in my nearly 24 years of conducting trips have I been in this situation.

Standing at the dock in the middle of the Everglades with two clients and nowhere to go. Man I felt bad for my guys and knew I had to do SOMETHING.....but what?

Long story short, Hal and Howie and I walked over to the marina and wound up renting a small boat for the day. They took it into the backcountry and wound up having a decent day.....and Howie got a tarpon! Albeit as tiny a tarpon I have ever seen...but it was a tarpon.

I tell this story not to rip on the guide.....although I didn't like the way he handled the situation I did find out that he felt really bad (as he should have). I tell this story because Hal and Howie helped to make a REALLY BAD situation for me into something that worked out ok. They were very gracious and understanding and didn't totally bust my balls. They knew it was not my fault and appreciated my efforts to make the most of the day. I can't say enough about these two guys and how they handled the situation. As Howie said: "We made lemonade from lemons".

Thanks Howie and Hal!

Needless to say I quickly re-imbursed them for the full day of guided fishing and the boat rental was on Mad River Outfitters.

I also want to thank Mark Giacobba and Dave Hunt...our guides. They are both really great guides and do a great job with our clients. I have worked with Mark before on the Flip trips and have sent him quite a bit of business over the years. Dave Hunt was new to me but got rave reviews from the clients and my dealings with him were excellent. They are both secured as guides for the 2013 trip!!!

Captain Mark Giacobba of Glades Outfitters

Captain Dave Hunt and Larry Longerbeam's safe to say that the new and improved "Florida Backcountry" Trip is back in the rotation!!

A good time was had by all, some good food was eaten and a few fish were caught. I really enjoyed the trip and I know that all of the guys did as well.....they told me so!

2013 dates and info posted here! Thanks for reading and if you might be interested in joining me in South Florida....give me a call or shoot an e-mail to the shop. If you can't wait until then for a dose of salt....I'll also be hosting the Andros Island Bonefish Trip in November. to visit Kelly Galloup in Montana for some of that easy fishing with a group of 10 anglers. Pics and story upon my return.

Brian Flechsig
July 2012

Click Here for details on this trip

Click Here for photos of Florida Trips

Click Here for details on our Andros Island Bonefish Trips

Click Here for photos from previous Bonefish Trips

Mad River Outfitters
813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214