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Sea Trout on the Matlacha Flats

By David Graham 12-10-22

This morning I finally got the chance to scope out a really cool area here in Southwest Florida... something i've been wanting to try for quite a while now. I loaded up the Sportspal and headed up towards Matlacha Island to trek through narrow mangrove creeks into some of the best wade fishing waters in Southwest Florida.

sportspal canoe fishing
Moving the Sportspal through a mangrove tunnel

matlacha flats fishing
The trail out to the flats

The only access to these grassy flats is by foot... along a narrow little path through mangroves. A really cool experience in itself. I toated the sportspal with me more as a means to lug more gear than something to fish out of. The recent destruction from Hurricane Ian in September had left a few obstacles in the way, but the area was still in surprisingly good condition.

In retrospect, a different means of hauling gear would've probably suited me better. I used the sportspal to move from one sandbar to another a little quicker... hopping in and trolling over the deeper water, but wind chop was making the aluminum hull bump hard, making a lot of noise and potentially scaring off the fish.

I targeted the deeper pools on the down current side of sandbars where the trout seemed to be set up to ambush whatever prey species got pushed over the shallows by the current. I managed to catch a few decent trout - mostly on a small finger mullet pattern mirrolure. A few fish came on the classic DOA shrimp as well. It's an area i'd really like to hit on a different tide, and maybe poke around more for redfish.

Burnt store flats trout fishing
a nice trout caught on a DOA shrimp

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