When water temperatures reach hot summer levels, South Florida’s Butterfly peacocks flood the shallows in order to spawn. These brightly-colored Cichlids are easy to locate. They are vulnerable to shorebound anglers which makes for several months of exciting fly fishing. “Spawner fishing” may seem disruptive but on the contrary, Butterfly peacocks are hardy and if handled carefully, will return immediately to the task at hand. According to non-native fisheries biologist Paul Shaffland, future populations don’t suffer in the process.

Since this is sight fishing, anglers have a chance to pursue larger-than-average fish. Axiomatically, the first rule of the game is to find a waiting prize. You can locate trophy fish by simply walking the canal banks and scanning the near-shore shallows. While searching, pay close attention to flat, gravelly bottom in two to three feet of water. Once you find stationary fish, you can begin the aggravation process. Butterfly peacocks of both sexes guard the spawning area. Consequently, either large females or smaller males may attempt to remove an offending fly from the bed. Pick the individual fish you want and stick with it. In the world of spawner fishing, persistence pays off.

Incidentally, this is the time for angler restraint. Simply allowing a weighted, diaphanous fly to drop is all it takes in order to create interest. At first, most peacocks will merely attempt to “blow” the fly from the bed but if the angler repeatedly lifts his offering and allows it to sink, the fish’s annoyance will soon escalate to downright aggression.

Anglers who intend to fish for spawning peacocks should use heavy tippets from twelve and twenty-pound test and carry a wet net and camera with them to the water. Once you hook-up, work quickly and don’t exhaust the fish. After all, a few photos and the memory of releasing one of the world’s great freshwater gamefish are worth its weight in South Florida Gold.

Plenty of baby tarpon in a few select locations in the southern Everglades; snook fishing however, remains marginal due to extremely low water conditions.

Further north along Alligator Alley, the largemouth bass fishing is spectacular if you know where to go. The fish average slightly over a pound but are numerous. Still, an occasional four-pounder livens things up and yes, it’s all topwater bug fishing.

In town, the grass carp are still at it while peacock fishing continues to heat-up. A few large tarpon are also showing-up in the suburbs. Flyfishing for mullet in the South Fork of the Middle River is improving. Dozen-fish evenings should soon become commonplace.

Fred Mussler of Pompano Beach landed four nice peacocks during an afternoon trip in mid-May. Glenda Kelley from the IGFA and husband, Pat decked eleven on May fourteenth. Later that same week, “Cigar Fred” enjoyed his first experience with an Everglades tarpon. George and K. C. Smith had a half-dozen peacocks on a half-day trip on May 21st. Dave and Susan Sylstra of Fair Oaks, CA released ten peacocks and two grass carp to fifteen pounds on May 22nd. Texan Kelly Watson caught a half-dozen peacocks and sixty largemouths on the 23rd.


This is flyfishing from a totally different perspective… Unlike skiff guides, the LAND CAPTAIN uses his car and canoe to access miles of otherwise unreachable canals and creeks. The concept’s novel but the fishing’s GREAT!! In addition, anglers are surrounded by wilderness scenery that outsiders seldom see.

Ready for something new? An adventurous alternative to the usual day on the water?

Fly Fishing

The LAND CAPTAIN targets everything from Snook and Tarpon to Giant Grass Carp and many species in-between. His knowledge of the local environment, along with over thirty years of flyfishing experience make Steve the ideal guide for expert and beginning angler alike.

Guided trips depart Ft. Lauderdale according to anticipated periods of gamefish activity. Sometimes this means early, but most trips begin shortly after eight a.m. Since locating good fishing sometimes requires highway travel, you’ll have a chance to see South Florida’s wilderness. Anglers agree that the interesting scenery makes time spent in the car worthwhile and since ecosystems change between locations, getting there can be half the fun. A trip across the Florida Everglades is a LAND CAPTAIN classic.
Once anglers climb “on board,” they can sit back and relax. In a few minutes they’ll be passing miles of sawgrass on a four – laned bridge across of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas’s “River of Grass.” Largemouth Bass are abundant near the road and during high season , surface baits produce explosive strikes. Springtime catches often number in the dozens but the relaxed rhythm of casting and retrieving seldom varies.

After you cross the Glades, the tempo quickens. You’ll be headed for the salt marshes where feeding Snook and Tarpon are often visible from the car. The fishing can be fast and it’s not unusual to beach several small tarpon or a dozen snook during a tide. Anglers also encounter Jacks, Ladyfish, and occasional Redfish in the salt creeks while brackish Largemouths and Cichlids reside further inland.

Gulf coastal waters offer the best mangrove action but you don’t have to cross the state to fish for Florida’s notorious Peacock Bass. Hard-hitting Peacocks are great fly rod fish and since good populations reside in Broward County, it’s possible for parties targeting Peacocks and hefty Chinese Grass Carp to remain in the LAND CAPTAIN’S backyard. This is warm weather fishing so dress accordingly. Half-day trips are available at this time, but check for availability.

Florida’s St. John’s River near Titusville hosts a winter run of American Shad. The LANDCAPTAIN considers February and March to be peak months, but the run fluctuates according to water levels. If the river’s out due to excessive rain or drought, sightfishing in the Indian River Lagoon offers an angling alternative. Either way, be sure to reserve this one well in advance.

When winter arrives, the LAND CAPTAIN heads north to flyfish the surf or Intracoastal Waterway near Jupiter, Florida. Large Ladyfish are prime waterway targets, with a smattering of Seatrout, Reds and small snook mixed in. Periiodic influxes of Bluefish and Pompano provide anglers with additional excitement.

Wilderness Adventures


Anglers and non-fishermen alike enjoy the wilderness setting of LAND CAPTAIN trips. Birding and wildlife viewing are popular activities in Southwest Florida and salt marshes offer an ideal vantage point for both. Alligators, Deer, Bear, and an occasional Panther cross the LAND CAPTAIN’S bow regularly while incredible numbers of Spoonbills, and other wading birds delight serious birders standing on the bank.
The Landcaptain welcomes nature photographers. Canoes are outrigger – equipped to provide extra stability and protection for valuable camera equipment.

In addition to providing a view of the wilderness, LAND CAPTAIN excursions visit other points of sightseeing interest. Locations near Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands are steeped in history. You’ll find rustic stone crab houses within a short distance of Indian shell mounds and ancient structures. Pirates and Conquistadors arrived here centuries ago; today, tourists continue to visit the area.

When he’s not guiding fishing parties, Steve writes extensively for the angling press. To date, his articles have appeared in such magazines as:

Fly Rod and Reel
Fly Fishing in Salt Waters
Salt Water Sportsman

In addition to writing, Steve has appeared in several television productions highlighting his unique approach to Florida fishing. Steve is a casting instructor who has hosted several instructional seminars. He is available for speaking engagements and individual fly fishing instruction by appointment.


Contact Steve:  954 761 3570