Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hang In There, I'll Be Back

There have been a lot of questions from my charter customers. Where are you? Where are your fishing reports and photos? I wanted to get to a point where the diagnosis’ have been made and progress is being seen before dumping this on FB, and now is the time.

I’m going to start where it all started a little over 2 months ago. On February 25th I ran a fishing trip and after returning to the dock, discovered I  couldn’t get out of the boat on my own power. I knew something was wrong but associated it with a bad case of the flu. You know, the kind that makes every muscle and bone in your body hurt. I flagged down “Marina Steve” Popovich and asked him for help to my truck. While walking to the truck it was realized by both of us that I wasn’t going to be driving anywhere. Once in the truck we both made the decision that a trip to the hospital emergency room was in order.

Long story short, February 25th was when a terrible monster called cancer grabbed me and shook me. I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. It’s a blood / bone cancer that can be held in remission but cannot be “cured.” At least not at this point. But a lot of work is being done in that direction and I’m very hopeful and willing to do what it takes to reach that point in my life. There are many sufferers of multiple myeloma that are leading normal lives for many, many years.

I’m now working on weekly chemo at Florida Cancer Specialist and my numbers are getting better and better. I have an early May appointment with the Moffitt Cancer Center up in Tampa to talk about stem cell treatment. I’m working hard to get my life back in order and to continue doing what I love more than anything else; being on the water and running charters. However, I’m a realist and I know this is going to take a lot of work and time on my part. I’m determined to get back to running my company, SoulMate Charters as well as doing other things associated with working on the water. I have plans.

So please hang in there with me. I’m going to make this work and I’m a very determined hard working person. In the meantime I’m more than happy to find you a quality charter trip based on your needs and the number of anglers that want to fish. Feel free to continue to email me if you are looking for a summer charter. I’m happy to help.
There are a number of ways that you can follow me through my “adventure.” I’ve set up a private page on FaceBook and can add you if requested. Just send me a message note via FB notes or an email to I have a weekly radio show that airs each Saturday on the local ESPN network. Tune in! Locally it’s on ESPN 99.3 FM from 7- 10 am. If you are out of the local listening area, download the ESPN Radio App on your smart phone. I’ll also be posting on my Captain’s Blog via my website. Look for the icon on my website home page and click on it. I have a newsletter that I send out every month via Constant Contact and I’ll be updating that this week. If you’d like to receive the monthly newsletter just send me an email address. You may select to drop off the newsletter at any time. Lastly, I have a GoFundMe page. Yep, no income coming in right now and every little bit helps. Go to

Thank you to all my previous customers. Hang in there. I’ll be back.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mako 21LTS, one year later

It’s been a little over a year since I received the 2014 Mako 21LTS from Tracker Marine and Bass Pro Shops.  There’s been a lot of water “under the hull”, so to speak, and I’m happy to report that she’s served me well.

I’m a busy fishing guide and even when I’m not scheduled for a charter I still like to hit the water on my own with friends and family.  I’m guessing that I spent about 250 days out there looking for and catching fish.

The Mako, christened “Soulstice”, preformed well.  There were quiet days and then there were the not so quiet days.  Together we outran a few storms and navigated over some rough seas.  It wasn’t intentional, mind you, but it really showed me what the boat is made of.  She got us home, even in the worst weather. 

After a solid year of use she’s just as fit as when she was delivered.  I’ve had only a few issues here and there, but all easily repaired without a call to the service department.  On that note... I’d like to point out that my year on a boat is equal to about 5 years for the normal user and that number is based on you fishing for at least one day every single weekend.  This boat is solid!

The new version of the 21LTS will be in showrooms shortly.  I’m looking forward to seeing it and wondering how Mako can improve on something that works so well to begin with.  It should be a great addition to the lineup!

Note:  Mako has restarted the Mako Funaments.  These family fishing events were very popular over the years and unfortunately were shelved.  Not anymore!  Last year, two were successfully held and another two events were added this year.  The next one in the series will be held September 18-21 in Islamorada, FL and following that, another will be held in Fort Myers, FL October 16-19.  The Funaments are open to all types of boats and are a great way to take a look at the Mako boats under working conditions.  There are also rides available and you might even get the opportunity to fish on one during the event!  For more information go to

Want to see my Mako 21LTS in action?  Click here!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This past July I was honored to join the Mako Boat Team as a representative in the southwest Florida region.  It’s a dream that every professional angler hopes for and it requires dedication and hard work to get to this career point.  Thanks goes out to the folks at Bass Pro Shops, Mako Boats and Tracker Marine for making this happen.

That being said, I was still quite nervous about taking delivery of the 2014 Mako 21LTS powered with a Mercury 150 four stroke engine.  I was pretty happy with my good ol’ Skeeter bay boat I’d been driving since 2006, and deep down inside I was wondering... what if the Mako isn’t as nice a ride?  Then again, it’s a sponsored boat and motor.  In other words, it’s free.  My fears and trepidations were soon a thing of the past.  The Mako 21LTS is one hell of a boat.

This first thing I noticed on delivery was the fit and finish.  A great deal of care has been taken with the small stuff like latches, retractable cleats and the quality of the brightwork and aluminum rails.  The storage doors are nicely aligned and piston lifts have been added so that if you drop a lid, it won’t slam shut.  That’s a real plus when sneaking up on spooky redfish.  The decks are non skid and there’s plenty of room on both the forward and aft deck for fishing.  As a matter of fact, two anglers can easily share the space on the bow.  There’s plenty of storage, including a large lockable rod locker.

Then there’s the ride.  The first word that popped into my mind on the first run was “smooth”.  The Mako is all that and then some.  A newly designed "Rapid Planing System" transom helps the boat get on plane with very little bow rise and that’s handy when you are trying to get the boat powered up in very shallow water.  It also helps the hull ride level, no matter where people are sitting.  As a matter of fact, there are no trim tabs on my boat and quite frankly, none are needed.  The new hull design is also a plus for gas mileage.  The boat runs flat and has very little resistance as it moves across the water.

Fishing the Mako is great.  It runs very shallow under power and I use a jack plate to decrease draft even more.  With the motor up and the trolling motor down, I can easily move across a grass flat that an 18 foot skiff travels over.  Pretty impressive for a 21 foot bay boat.  The hull is very quiet with minimal water slap and tracks easily while using a trolling motor.  There’s almost no sideways movement, even in a breeze. There’s also plenty of what I call “runaround space” in the center of the boat.  Big fish have a bad habit of moving around you with burst of speed.  That means you have to move quickly around the deck of the boat to keep up.  The Mako 21LTS has an eight foot four inch beam and a small console.  That gives you plenty of room to move without having to twist and turn to get around the console area.

All in all I’m very happy with the Mako and I’d stack it up against the other bay boats in its class.  If you are shopping for a new boat, take the time to visit Tracker Marine at Bass Pro Shops.  They can go over the details and let you have a test drive.  If you happen to be on Fort Myers Beach, stop by Fish-Tale Marina.  I’d be happy to show you my Mako.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Fisherman cover photo and article from March 2013

Article originally published in The Fisherman magazine, March 14, 2013
by Tom Schlichter 

Captain Rob Modys flashed a wide smile as Felicia Scocozza stuck the point to a solid redfish and struggled to keep it clear of the mangrove forest that reached out menacingly from the hidden shoreline. “Nice job!” he called out as Felicia first out-muscled the fish, then guided it away from an oyster encrusted stickup. Following a pair of solid runs, the six-pound copper delight eventually relented, posed cooperatively for a quick round of photos, and was gently released.

 “That’s exactly the kind of fish you can expect with the back country action here on Estero Bay,” said Modys, who runs SoulMate Charters ( out of Fort Myers Beach, FL. “We’ve got plenty of these fish around and they give a great account of themselves, but there’s more to tangle with in this part of Florida than most visitors realize. You’ll find sea trout, snook, sheepshead, pompano, jacks, ladyfish, grouper and even tarpon within a short ride at some point in the season. All this variety is one of the reasons I love being out here day after day.”

Modys may have been enjoying both the fishing variety and warm breeze as he slid the lively red back into the green-hued waters, but I assure you no one was happier to be casting along Florida’s west coast than Felicia and I. Our plane had been scheduled to depart from New York’s LaGuardia Airport the morning following Nemo’s battering, and we had to shovel through two feet of snow, chain saw some trees, push a plow and negotiate a single open lane on the Long Island Expressway for over 30 miles to reach our south-bound flight. That we made it at all to the idyllic ‘Tween Waters Inn, on lovely Captiva Island, was no small miracle. Finding our hosts so welcoming and the local waters abundant with fishing opportunity simply sweetened the pot.

“Lee County – the Fort Myers area and Sanibel and Captiva islands – really has a lot to offer,” explained Lee Rose of the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau over dinner at ‘Tween’s elegant Old Captiva House after we had settled into our accommodations. “It’s a family oriented area with miles of white sand beaches and plenty of outdoors fun to sample. You can try shelling,  kayaking, biking, swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, take a dolphin cruise, explore the remarkable J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, shop, dine, practice photography and even enjoy
hermit crab races. All this, and our fishing is first rate, too.”

Indeed, it’s all there, easily accessible, generally affordable and just waiting for you to make the first move. There’s no doubting that Sanibel and Captiva, especially, sport tourist-based economies, but they’ve managed to do so in a friendly, ecologically smart way that draws both snowbirds and other Floridians for vacation – true testimony this area is worth a look.

“One good thing about fishing these back waters should you come for a visit,” explained Modys, “is that you don’t have to go overboard with tackle. Live shrimp, new-penny colored Berkley Gulp! shrimp or pumpkinseed pattern Gulp! mullets impaled on a 1/8- to 1/2- ounce jighead will get the job done at the terminal end while a seven-foot spinning rod matches most back country fishing possibilities.”

Generally speaking, rods for this fishing should have fast-action tips for sure hooksets. Choose a medium heavy version so as to not be out-gunned if a big snook or 20-pound redfish grabs your offering. Local anglers favor 20-pound braided line with a three-foot length of 30-pound-test mono leader. If using a popper cork ahead of a live shrimp or jighead and soft plastic combo, keep the leader length below the cork short – 14 to 18 inches - when working tight to the mangroves for redfish. If working in channels or flats further off the shore, as is common when hunting sea trout, a three-foot leader beneath the cork works best.

I’ve got to say that I doubt we could have picked a better home base for our trip than ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island ( To be sure, the service was great, the pool had a Tiki bar, there were two terrific restaurants on the premises – Old Captiva House for fine dining and the more casual Crow’s Nest - plus a tackle shop, marina, gift shop, bike/kayak/paddle board rentals and clean, comfortable efficiency rooms or small cottages from which to choose. Still, the closer proved  to be the location. Nestled ‘tween Pine Island Sound on the east side and the Gulf of Mexico on the west, the fishing possibilities within walking distance alone came close to making my head explode.

With limited time, I tried to stay focused on the back country possibilities, tempting snook and saltwater catfish from the marina dock with soft plastics whenever I had some down time, then taking a kayak fishing trip with Captain John Houston of Adventure Sea Kayak Wildlife Tours ( “If you really want to have fun here,” advised Houston, “just paddle straight out and start casting a three to five inch brown curly-tailed grub on a 1/8-ounce jighead. You’ll catch plenty of sea trout out on the flats, especially in the channels. Work your lure with a sharp jigging motion and
you can’t help but connect.” Once you’ve had your fill of trout – if that’s possible – continue paddling across to Buck Key and work the mangrove edges, creek mouths and notches for redfish. For this, go with a live shrimp and popper set-up, or use a weedless spoon, curly tailed grub or live pinfish. Retrieve slowly using a soft lift-and-drop approach, and hesitate slightly on the strike to make sure you’ve felt a bite rather than a snag before sinking the barb. “If you just want action, the trout fishing and smaller reds can be amazingly cooperative once you get a feel for things,” noted Houston. “To cut the learning curve or target bigger fish, hire a guide for a day or two before trying it on your own.”

Both Houston and Modys noted that the best fishing in the area actually takes place in April, May and October, when catches of six to ten redfish per half-day trip are common and sea trout are both abundant and large. That April slot should be especially attractive as accommodations are readily available, it’s still pretty chilly here at home, and our local saltwater fishing isn’t quite up and running.

In any case, after a week spent in Lee County, I felt like I’d barely scratched the surface when it came to uncovering both the fishing and family fun possibilities. I would love to have spent additional time investigating the bridges of Sanibel and Captiva, where snook and sheepshead abound, poking in and out of the fishy creeks at the Ding Darling refuge by kayak, and exploring the surf options for jacks, pompano and more. The more I think about it, the more I realize additional research is in order. With the temperature outside still slipping into the 40s, sooner rather than later would certainly be my choice.

For more info on Lee County, Fort Myers or Sanibel and Captiva islands, contact the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau at 800-237-6444, or visit:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Brutal March turns into beautiful April

It seems that most southwest Florida anglers are very happy that the month of March is in the rear-view mirror! Cold, blustery weather has given way to beautiful sunny days in April and the fish are feeding well in both the backwaters and Gulf of Mexico. It's time to get out there and wet a line!

The vastly improving weather over the past week has really made a big difference in the bite and the quality of the fish. Sea trout are on the flats and most are over 15 inches in length. Live shrimp under a popping cork works best and you'll also get a nice mix of pompano, ladyfish, jacks and small sharks.

The redfish are starting to feed again near the mangrove islands and shorelines. Shrimp on a jig tossed close to the mangrove overhangs is the ticket. On the highest part of the tide, give cut ladyfish a try. The smell will bring them out of the bushes and makes them easier to find and hook up with.

The nearshore reefs are loaded with spanish mackerel. Any shiny artificial will work, along with live shrimp on brightly colored jigs. Move your offering quickly for a strike. There are also grouper, snapper, flounder, trout and a mix of other fish on the bottom.

Note... The water is warming up fast and this is when I like to get out the topwater lures and go after sea trout, redfish and snook. Both the Heddon Zara Spook and the Rapala Skitterwalk are favorites of mine. I look for natural colors and stick to the old rule, light colors on sunny days and dark colors on overcast days. There's nothing like a topwater strike to get your blood going!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fishing Report

Warm weather with the occasional cold front has been the rule this winter and it looks to continue.  The fish seem to like it and the bite has been good.  Remember, all grouper closes for season on February 1st.  That includes red, black and gag as well as the already protected goliath.  You can hook them, you just can’t keep them.  Snook season opens February 1st on the east coast in the Atlantic waters but remains closed on the Gulf coast until September.

The redfish bite moved up a notch over the past week.  They are gathering up around the mangrove islands on the higher tides and are feeding on live shrimp, either free lined or on a jig.  It may take several stops to find them, but once found there should be quite a few in the same area.

The sheepshead are getting bigger and bigger.  Most of the ones landed over the past week were in the 2 to 3 pound range with a few over 5.  Even the big ones are great bait stealers so if you start getting lots of hits with nothing to show for it, downsize your hooks and shrimp offerings and try again.   

Sea trout are back on the flats.  The rising water has been the best time to go after them using shrimp under a popping cork.  Set up a drift to find them and then anchor up when they start hitting.  They’ve been pocketed up so do your best to stay on them once found.  You’ll also find pompano along with quite a few ladyfish and jacks in the same area.

The nearshore reefs, rock piles and edges are giving up some good size sheepshead, sea trout and a few flounder on the bottom with a mix of spanish mackerel, bluefish and bonita on top.  Keep your eye out for cruising cobia and have a rod ready with a live shrimp or crab.  We are starting to see quite a few of them near the crab pot buoys.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fishing Report

Tides will start to improve this coming week as we move toward the full moon.  That will put the fish on the feed and make for very productive fishing trips on Estero Bay and in the Gulf.  Mix in some sunshine and warmer temperatures and you have the makings for a great day on the water.

The overall bite was good this past week despite tides that were a bit slow.  If you could find the moving water, the fish would be close by.  The creeks and squeezes between mangrove islands were a good place to start and produced some good size sheepshead, mangrove snapper and black drum.  Live shrimp on jigs moved slowly across the bottom worked well.  The sheepshead are finally moving to their spawning locations and there are quite a few large ones in the mix.

Sea trout were on the flats but spread out over a wide area.  Drifting using popping cork rigs was the best way to find them.  Live shrimp was the bait of choice but they’d also go after artificials like Berkley Gulp Shrimp and soft plastics.  There were quite a few ladyfish and jacks in the same area, so action wasn’t a problem. 

The rock ledges and near shore reef bite is improving.  A mix of sheepshead, mangrove snapper, spanish mackerel and sea trout are all biting on live shrimp and cut bait.  The middle of the inbound or outbound tide worked best and don’t stay if you don’t get a bite.

Redfish are still biting well around oyster bars and mangrove islands.  Fish the top of the tide right through the change for the most action.  Live shrimp on jig heads got the most strikes and it wasn’t unusual to pick up a stray flounder.