Cult of Personality: Capt. Mike Bartlett
He’s just simply always been there for as long as I can remember. I interviewed him on our local radio program every week for years and was always able to reach him even during his busiest time, he made sure of it. The subject of the interviews was Key West backcountry fishing, but the reality was I really liked him and wanted to hear about his days. He has written for FishMonster Magazine since the very first issue without a single missed article. There’s a certain class and goodness about him that is enhanced by his quiet leadership. From time to time he has made adjustments in his life and charter business. Then you would see his changes evolve and grow around him as other people would follow. His name is Captain Mike Bartlett and he is a member of the Cult of Personality.
To be inside the “Cult of Personality” you must possess certain characteristics that set you apart from others. Something extraordinary that comes through year after year.
One of the strongest characteristics in a Key West charter fishing captain is consistency. Day after day of high season, early mornings and late evenings, can turn even a young captain’s body into a battered heap causing his enthusiasm to disintegrate.
To shrug off the pain and continue on is a tough gig. Then there are the days when the weather doesn’t cooperate, or the fish don’t cooperate, or the boat refuses to run adding more pressure to an already difficult career choice. Leaving your clients feeling satisfied at the end of the day is the goal no matter what stands in the way. Fishing the Key West backcountry with Captain Mike Bartlett has been satisfying to many, he has mastered the skills of being a charter captain. Now to teach.....
They say the only way to be recognized as a master of a trade is to teach the trade to another person successfully. Enter my son Captain Seth Hopp. We work together daily between our offshore vessel “Premium Time” at A&B Marina in Key West and also here at FishMonster Magazine. Mike and Seth have developed a friendship over the years that helped to foster Seth’s excitement for backcountry fishing, especially fly fishing. Between the two, it became apparent that my friend and my son were playing the roles of master and student. Trips were scheduled together and played out with both looking forward to the next trip. This only added to Seth’s interest in the skinny water. The pattern emerged, they were working towards enhancing Captain Seth’s already extraordinary career as a Key West offshore charter captain into an even more extraordinary dual role career. The next step was to outfit the young dual career captain with his own boat.
Captain Mike Bartlett was the first captain I knew in Key West that bought a Beavertail Skiff. It was time for a new boat and the Beavertail was exactly what he needed. The small boat builder was hoping Captain Mike could help raise awareness for the technical poling skiff and it’s perfectly matched capabilities to the Key West backcountry terrain. For two years he faithfully tested and tweaked the skiff along with promoting the Beavertail brand. After ordering another new Beavertail, he offered his used skiff at a low price to Seth. These days you’ll see a Beavertail on every key in the Florida Keys including a dealership that now stocks them locally. Needless to say the crowd followed his lead and so did my son. Quietly leading is his signature move.
To reach Captain Mike Bartlett you can log onto KeyWestFlats.Net or call 305-797-2452.
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