In this Florida Sportsman seminar, Reel Time Host Capt. George Gozdz demonstrates a common freshwater technique of flipping in heavy structure.
To be successful while fishing around heavy structure, it requires tackle that can withstand the extra stress and weight put on by the weeds and grasses of a freshwater ecosystem. Rigging the bait weedless is also another technique that needs to be utilized in order to make cleaner casts and retrieves without pulling up the surrounding vegetation.
While fishing for largemouth bass, Gozdz briefly talks about tackle and techniques used when fishing in the sweet water.
For (mostly?) better or for worse, touchscreen switching has arrived.
Touchscreen display integrates vessel systems.
Manufacturers of marine electronics were quick to embrace glass touchscreen technology, giving anglers touch-reactive control over sonar, chartplotters and radar. Now, segments of the boating industry are poised to bring the same kind of control to nearly every aspect of the ship’s systems, from battery switches, to nav lights, to bilge pumps.
Traditional electrical systems have long been designed around a series of analog switches connected to a power source. That’s what Florida anglers are accustomed to. When activated, an individual switch sends the power to a particular item to control its function, like a pump or light. The new trend is to integrate switching into a touchscreen multifunction display (MFD), in some cases doing away entirely with push-button or rocker switches.
With a digital switching system, to activate an accessory, the control starts at an interface device. This is generally the same MFD used for your GPS, bottom machine or radar. By way of a NEMA 2000 cable, a signal is sent from the MFD to a switch control module that acts as a relay. The power source coming into the switch control module is then sent to the accessory to be turned on.
What are the benefits of a digital switching system?
From a manufacturer’s standpoint, flexibility in rigging is a big plus. At the helm there is no need to allocate room for a switch panel. The switch control module can be mounted out of the way in the console or under the dash, well out of the harsh effects of a saltwater environment. A NEMA cable carries the signal, and watertight connections on either end will likely reduce warranty claims and speed production. For added safety, several layers of redundancy can be designed into the system including a manual jumper on the control module to power any item. Some manufacturers still include a few traditional
switches to activate things like bilge pumps.
Bringing up menu pages lets you control the vessel systems.
Weight savings is another advantage, by reducing the amount of primary tinned wire needed. The item only has to be wired to the switch control module and not all the way to the helm.
“For now the cost of installation of a digital switching system is twice as much as traditional switches, but we feel over time it will save on warranty claims,” says James Pate of Scout Boats. Scout debuted its 350 LXF at the Miami International Boat Show with a Garmin GPSMAP 8000 Helm Series MFD, sonar and radar. It was equipped with the new CZone switching system from Mastervolt.
The collaboration between Garmin, Scout and Mastervolt was the first of its kind for the boat industry. “The future for Scout Boats is that all of the models will someday have digital switching.” Stands to reason that as more boat companies add digital switching to their models, the cost of components will come down. Programmable control over systems allows a boat builder to consolidate several items that an owner may wish to activate simultaneously. These “modes,” as they are called, may include choices like night fishing and entertainment, to name a few. Touch the screen for “night mode,” for example, and you could illuminate nav and courtesy lights while simultaneously dimming the MFD screens. In fishing mode, the MFD might bring up the GPS, fishfinder and radar while turning on the baitwell and raw water washdown. At the sandbar, entertainment mode could power up the stereo to a preset channel. The possibilities for customization are wide.
As with any emerging technology, there are some hurdles, especially for a first-time user. Any system that you wish to activate, that’s not part of one of the pre-defined mode functions, will take several touches of the MFD screen to access. Let’s assume you have the GPS up on the display screen and you want to turn on a single pump. Closing that screen brings you to the main menu page. Here, you have to choose the switching system, and then scroll down the menu of switch functions. Pick the pump you wish to turn on, select it, then touch the ON function. If you return to the GPS and later want to turn off the pump, you must repeat the whole process.
The next challenge comes with running in bad weather. Using any touchscreen in rough conditions may have you turning on and off several functions before you get the right one.
The final issue is expandability. If a consumer wants to add an aftermarket accessory that requires power from the switch control module, no provisions exist for the owner to integrate that accessory or program
the software to control it. You can, however, return to the dealership and have them add the new item into the programming— provided the switch control module has an unused power port. FS
It pays to become a proficient caster with either hand, but until then, here’s a shortcut.
The redfish materialize at 2 o’clock. I told my fisherman where they were and started turning the boat. He couldn’t wait. His back cast hit me in the side of the head, burying the hook in my hat and breaking the lead eyes off the fly.
The three finest fly casters it’s been my pleasure to fish with—Warren Hinrichs, Dan Lagace, and Lefty Kreh—can all cast equally well with either hand. All three of them effortlessly toss an entire fly line with either hand. Think of how useful that would be. Regardless of wind direction or boat orientation, there’s never a cast you can’t make.
Lefty has long been a fixture at fly fishing shows all over the country, giving
casting demonstrations and instruction.
After some demonstration, he always gets a victim from the audience to try a cast. He watches them briefly, then always tells them, “You didn’t listen to one damn thing I said. You look like a monkey hoeing cabbage.”
I have been trying to learn to cast with my left hand, forced into it by developing tendonitis in my right elbow. It ain’t easy. I do look like that monkey.
Casting ability does not automatically transfer from dominant to off hand. Think of how you throw a baseball with your off hand. No, it takes some time, practice and considerable frustration tolerance.
In his excellent video, “The Art of Fly Casting,” Chico Fernandez says it takes four hours of instruction and 20 hours of practice to become a competent fly caster. Clearly in my case, much more practice will be required with the off hand before competence sets in.
Considerable muscle memory is involved in fly casting. Until that muscle memory develops, casting with the off hand will continue to feel somewhat awkward and not be very effective. There are no shortcuts. It takes time and effort, even for someone who casts well with their dominant hand.
In the meantime, how do you make that cast to two o’clock without hooking the guide?
Learning to cast on your back stroke is the easiest way. Not nearly enough fly casters can do this. It’s simple to learn. It will make you a much better fly caster.
Most fly casters face their target when they make a cast. They pay little or no attention to their back cast. It usually suffers horribly from such negligence. No matter how perfect your forward stroke is, the forward cast cannot reach full potential when the back cast is bad.
There’s a simple solution to this problem.
Instead of facing the target, try facing your cast. For right handers this means that instead of your arm travelling in a path along your right side, it travels in the same path across the front of your body. In order to watch your back cast all you need do is turn your head to the 45 degrees to the right.
Spend some time paying attention to your back stroke. Tighten and improve the loop. Remember that the rod tip must move in a straight line, accelerating smoothly to a sharp stop. A tight loop on the back stroke will lead to a tighter loop on the forward stroke. Your casting automatically improves.
Of course you can make “the cast” on either stroke. A few hours spent practicing casting on the back stroke will pay huge dividends down the line, especially if you fish from a boat. You will be able to make an accurate cast to two o’clock on your back stroke while keeping the line out of the boat and your fishing partners out of harm’s way.
You should also be able to reel with either hand. While reeling with your dominant hand is always preferred, you ought to be able to competently use anyone’s tackle should you need to.
Nothing can substitute for being able to cast well with either hand. Regardless of wind direction or boat orientation, every cast becomes makeable. Learning to become ambidextrous should be a goal of every serious fly caster. FS
Recent offshore fishing reports from the Southeast region.
Florida Sportsman member: RockNReeler
Becky wanted to catch some tuna, so we headed northeast of the inlet and started trolling tuna lures and a cedar plug. I had been successful here about two weeks ago, and wasn’t disappointed today. 10 minutes into the troll in 250 feet of water one, then two, rods start screaming, fish on!
As I was setting up my next bait the customer asked me to stop and video him proposing. Caught me off guard at first but it turned out pretty cool. They were really excited. We packed up and reset off the condos and got hit by a nice wahoo in 120 feet.
The first pass 1 minute after lines were in we had a nice little gaffer and a schoolie. We reset and bam 15 to 20 pound gaffer and another schoolie. 15 minutes in we were 5 for 7 . We left em biting to hunt for wahoo.
About two minutes after I was just joking and saying to Rob “I promise we’re doing everything right”, I see a sailfish out of the corner of my eye pop up on the outrigger ballyhoo. He was on it like stink on a monkey, and after a quick drop-back it was GAME ON!
Didn’t get the third line out in 225 feet when the sail took off with the deep line. After a spirited fight, sail came up tail wrapped, quick pic with Trevor’s first billfish then some resuscitation, colors came back quickly and away he went.
Forum member Jupiter Double D’s put together an awesome video of some memorable moments from this summer. With big fish caught and some great spearfishing, it was definitely a summer to remember. Nice work!
Been quite busy with work and tournaments this season so I haven’t had much time, but I was finally able to put together a few videos of what we were up to this summer. Big tuna, sails, mahi, kingfish, big wahoo, the whole summer shindig wrapped up into 2 videos.
Went back on the troll and all of a sudden, it went off! Singles, doubles, triples, it was a crime scene and the Mahi were on the “hit list”. We couldn’t go 10 minutes without fish pounding the spread.
No wahoo in the AM so we live baited and caught a bunch of different fish till about 10:30 then the bite shut off. We had some cool sailfish action and it was the customers first! We also had some kingfish around early. Took one to the scale and it stood in 2nd place.
We started the troll at 200 feet and kept the heading until we hit 300 feet, we saw 2 huge hammerheads cruising right past the boat and then 2 minutes later we see the left long line bounce once, twice and then bam fish on. A sail hit the black and purple bubbler and gives us a few jumps and then comes boat side.
I put out a tuna spread in 150 feet or so and headed deeper, just wanting to nail a decent blackfin. Trolled some known spots for tuna but we did not get any hits, saw a nice jumping sail fish which was very cool but no takers on our rigs.
In 150 feet of water off Jupiter the 80 wide starts screaming. A LONG RUN, which was good because it gave us time to clear the other 2 lines. Had to switch to low gear to get her in. After what seemed like eternity and my worry of the sharks biting her in half on the way in, I grab the leader and Derek sinks the gaff!
As soon as we saw it jump we couldn’t believe what was happening, we were hooked up on a Pacific Blue Marlin! and it was awesome! I fought him for an hour and a half and over two miles, all stand up, except for a few times I leaned up against the chair, my back was killing me. We leadered him 4 times before we got him close enough to take a few pictures.
Been on other side for past few weekends. Tuna and mahi fishing is still pretty good over there in the channel. Weather has been great along with the fishing. Fished over there last weekend had some nice yellowfins, big blackfins, and some pretty good deep dropping on the way home.
The fish tail walked from about 100 feet behind the boat and ended up way out in front when she finally settled back into the water. My girlfriend had no idea what she was in for, she fought it for about an hour like a pro and finally got it boat side.
One day bottom fishing, one of the boys left a rod leaning against the gunnel with a bait in the water, all of a sudden Christi shouts the rod just went over! I look over the side and it is sinking out of sight, I jumped in and swam down about 10 feet and grabbed it. Despite a good rinse, it wouldn’t work the rest of the trip.
Clayton says it feels like a big fish and as soon as we see the mouth we knew we had good one. Clayton brings the fish close, Dale maneuvers the boat and I sink the gaff into this huge wahoo. I finally get this wahoo over the gunnel and we all could not believe the size of the fish.
After a few drops and one AJ we decided to continue to trolling. Nephew reeled in his first Cuda so he was very excited. Caught and released the Cuda and continued trolling. Get a big knock down and we see a nice sail on, pops sets the hook and puts Isaac on the rod. He does a great job on the sail and we get him in the boat for a smooth catch and release.
After scooping up about three or four balloons, we finally found what we were hoping for, a wooden pallet loaded with nice sized dolphin and triple tail. We were convinced that the reason we had such luck was because of our good deed of scooping up the balloons from the ocean.
After breaking our back with more reef donkeys go inside to about 70 feet. I watch my light tackle cobia rod’s bait getting slashed by a sail on top. I had no clue what I was in for the next hour and half. Released my personal best sail and on light tackle.
I asked John what he wanted to catch and the word “sailfish” was belted out immediately as he had never caught a sail before. Hmmm, summer time… two straight days of west winds… always love a challenge. Well alright, let’s go try and find a sailfish then!
Bait of choice has been a live cigar minnow or sardine. Earlier trips were a slow north current but the last two have been a steady south current, last night the ribbonfish ate us up but still managed a dozen and a half fat boys.
Broke the inlet and set up for our Wahoo target, about 45 minutes in to it we get the bite, short battle and number 1 in the boat. We make a circle and come back across the mark from the first and number 2 starts singing, Short while later number 2 is on the deck.
The east wind pushed us inshore, so at 95 feet we decided to slow troll back out deeper keeping the kite up, at about 100 feet the long kite bait gets hit. We didn’t see the fish hit but could tell it was a solid fish. Took Scott around the boat a few laps, finally as it got closer we saw a flash of gold, sushi!
In around 100 feet of Jupiter a Canyon Gear skirt bally gets nailed and goes on a pretty good run. Ends up being a nice smoker king just under 30 pounds. Ok, the skunk is off. Continued trolling deep with no luck. Scattered weeds were a pain to deal with and really didn’t produce any strikes for us. So back in to the ledge when we get another hit on a swimming mullet in 150 feet off Juno.
We were immediately in 4 to 7 foot seas and stayed in shallow and it was still solid 7 to 9 with 10 to 12 footers mixed in. We kept the engines moving to keep the bow into it for a power drift with 4 live baits off the stern. 30 seconds into it in 70 feet we get the first strike.
Current ripping in 115 feet off lost tree, 24 pound cow eats left short and smacks the gog off hook. Wow she must be hungry because now the deep bait Is screaming! Did not know it was same fish for sure till I found 2 goggle eye in her belly at table. After a 20 minute battle and expert cooperation I Gaff her in the dome. We reset back to 200 feet and promptly jump off a 30 plus pound bull. Hold on a sec! He ate, jumped off and came back for left short! 30 minute battle and 59 inch 36.1 pound bull in the box!
The weather was less than favorable for radar so we fast trolled the area and picked off a 40 pound yellowfin. Found some nice weed and nabbed a 19 pound dolphin. Having caught 2 of the 3 targets, we decided to take advantage of the outgoing tide to try and pick off a wahoo. Same lure from last year came through again.
A big ray, with an 8 foot wing span at least swam up next to the boat to investigate. Then I hear “are those sharks with it?” No! There was a bunch of Cobia with him. I grab the closest bait and toss it over. A small one investigates first and I pull the bait away. Then one of the big ones inhales it. It was a rigged ballyhoo that he ate. After a good battle around the boat a nice Cobe joins the ice in the cooler.
Gary grabs the rod and gets tight! We need to chase this king down, so anchor ball goes overboard as me, Justin, and Kirsten bring in kites, clear flat lines, Dalton is on the wheel and backing down. Well next thing you know we got 12 inches of water in the boat and sinking, as this whole boat is a live well. King gets close and we see a shark on it, makes a run under the boat and is wrapped up in the motors now.
Around 10:45 the down rigger bait popped the clip and started a short run, at first we thought it was going to be a 20 pound class fish, that of course was before the fish realized it was hooked! After multiple runs and dumping hundreds of yards of 20 pound test off the Avet reel, we managed to get a glimpse of our fish, long silver and resembled that wahoo we wanted so badly. After 2 hours of an epic battle, we finally had the fish coming up, we finally had color and stripes! We sank the gaff first shot and had to use a second to hoist the wahoo over the side! What a monster!
Nice Mix of muttons, porgies, yellowtail, margate and other various undesirables on small vertical and Inchiku jigs. I love the challenge of artificial bait fishing and I spend a lot of time offshore trying to bag some of our areas live bottom species. Todays catch included several muttons, 6 but only two keepers, with one weighing in at 7.5 pounds.
As we work our way into spring, so far it looks pretty promising. Our past few sessions have been loaded with big resident sailfish, nice to finally slow down a bit and fight a fish rather than working for double digits, nice Mahis, kingfish, and some blackfins in the mix too.
In about 110 feet we deploy the lines and began our trolling to the east the the further the east we go, the bigger the waves, in about 180 feet I start a short video and we are interrupted by a fish on. At first he is a real screamer peeling off perhaps 150 yards of line. He gives up quickly and is boat side the gaff is and and he’s in the box.
We ran up that way and ran out of baits both times, Had dual Boston Big game kites, each with 3 live baits and 4 flat lines. NON STOP king fish action. Kept one for the smoker and tossed the rest back, sky rocketing fish made everyone happy, we did find a few dolphin also that visited the kite baits too. Then on the way in we saw spinner sharks and hooked up the guys on 20 pound spinning tackle and had a blast with jumping sharks.
I scanned to the south I saw a tern circling, so I headed over there. Once there as soon as I shut down we see a gaffer cow swim behind the boat which promptly inhaled the greenie we pitched out. Decided to just drift some livies and over the course of 35 minutes we pick up 2 more gaffers. Another 30 minutes goes by without a bite and the wind dwindled allowing seas to flatten out, feeling better about the conditions we headed back out deeper. In 150 feet we spot big mats formed up and saw a fin free jump near one, so we pitched out the baits and hook up with another gaffer and she had about a dozen (slingers) with her.
There was a nice edge with weeds in 200 feet but weeds made it tough working the inside. So about 9am we troll offshore. In about 800 feet the planer pops and drag starts screaming. A nice cow goes airborne 3 or 4 times. Wish the camera was rolling for that! Anyways got her to the boat and a perfect gaff shot by Chris, dolphin in the box.
I see something of color on top of the water of some pretty decent size maybe a ray, but not sure. So I stop quickly and begin the solo Chinese fire drill and deploy 2 runners and 1 dead sardine. I wanted Mr. sardine but I couldn’t catch him quick enough. Almost immediately the Penn SpinFisher V 5500 gets nailed on a blue runner and not even that small of a runner!
Proceed to open the bail to let him feed as it looked like he may have dropped it from his mouth, close bail and the line gets tight. I then fight the fish for several minutes trying not to horse him to the boat too quickly. He did a couple of decent runs where we saw he was a good size cobia but finally he ended up off the stern quarter and then off starboard side where Zach did a great gaff shot just as the fish began to swim away!
About 30 seconds later we hear the crack of the outrigger followed by that screaming drag that sends our adrenaline rushing. I look over and the rod is horizontal and dumping line fast! Grab it an give it one good hook set and the water explodes about 200 yards back. Knew it was a big dolphin but our guess was around 30 pounds. After about 25 minutes, multiple runs and aerials the fish was brought boat side. I back up to the opposite gunnel, Chris leaders the fish and hits him 1st shot right in the head. The fish that came over the rail was a lot bigger than the one in the water.
one of the kite baits gets nailed, sailfish! Our friend takes the rod for that one. thing is tail walking like crazy, then another kite bait gets slammed, another sail! two tail walkers. Then the ballon gog gets nailed, dolphin, triple header!
Reset the drift in about 140 feet this time. Had something peel line off like crazy and break through the mono. Guessing king, but maybe a hoo seeing how fast he took the bait. Then had a dolphin double header. The cow spit the hook but we stuck this decent bull.
The day started off slow but mid morning we found a sailfish sun bathing in 220 feet and managed to get hooked up. Worked hard all day in the sloppy conditions in my 19 key west and finally found some Kings willing to bite. First fish was a rat king caught on the downrigger and the next four were all 25 to 30 pound smokers caught on goggs. Total for the day 5 Kings and 1 Sail.
Picked away at small snapper, seabass, and some other trash fish. Around 11 or so the flatline gets a little knock and then a nice run, captain sets the hook and its game on. Work this fish to the boat and ends his day in the kill box! First cobia of the season.
Down goes a bait. It gets slammed and starts taking some good drag, I know what this is! Mr. Amberjack, I’m not complaining though. Right as the next bait his the bottom I’m on, Not pulling like an AJ either. Get him away from the rocks and up comes another gag! Bigger than the first! My biggest gag to date. Unhooked him, wiped away my tears, and let him go.
I grabbed the big spinner and a naked ballyhoo and gave the prospecting a shot. About 10 to 15 minutes into it, the ballyhoo gets slammed. I didn’t see what hit it so I left it alone. Then the beak came back up and swatted the hoo a couple times. So I flipped the bail and let some line out. By that time he moved on to the rigger ballyhoo and popped it out of the release clip. My fiancé clicks it in free spool for a few seconds and GAME ON!
Drifting north in about 140 feet, I see a sail streaking across the surface, quickly to realize he has one of our flatlines! I grab that one and fight him from a dead boat on the spinner, a few circles around the boat and some good work by Scott raising the kite bait out of the water to let the fish swim under, get a quick pic and set him free.
Ocean was 2-3 feet with some 4′s in there but all in all nice. We got gogs and saw 2 sails on the kite before 9AM in 90 feet and had a mess of fun fish south of the inlet from 80 to 110 feet on cut gogs and bonito. Not much pelagic action with the west wind, but the bottom bite is very good. limited out on yellowtails and had 6 mice muttons, kings, and a ton more!
Headed out this AM excited about the 5-10 knots of wind NOAA predicted. Well they were right for about 30 minutes. Made our way out quickly a little south of east and put in a spread of ballyhoo in 100 feet of water. Within minutes the wind picked up to a steady 15knots out of the Northwest. Made it a bit sloppy for the rest of the day.
Once I hit 105 feet, the bottom came alive. Remoras, the largest queen trigger I have ever seen, 5 muttons, all around 15 inches, porgies, mangroves, squirrelfish, and yellowtails. Safely returned all the undersized fish except 4 yellowtails and 1 mangrove snapper.
We scaled down, and quickly were in a “Bonita Fest” with football BFT’s mixed in. We hooked a nice gaffer, but he spit hook. Great people, and made the best of cards dealt. Some of the boneheads were 15 plus pounds and saved for a date with Broadbills.
We searched around for a while more and then started getting into a groove in the right area, a bit shallower to the north of there in 95 feet. Luck kept coming our way and we continued boating multiple dolphin on each shot of fish that came into our spread. Triple headers are always fun when there’s just two of us on the boat! We fished a mix of naked ballyhoo and lures and the fish ate everything we put back there.
There were birds working heavy, also saw some skippies and small boneheads tearing up bait. Picked up a phin early after working the rip. Continuing north, the wire line starts to sing. While cranking it in I can feel that he had decent size too him, Chris puts the gloves on and once we got to the shock line he starts hand jacking it in. Finally we see a beak coming up to the boat and confirm our catch, I sink the gaff and we have a hoo in the box!
We got our first hit right out side the inlet in 120 feet, boated a nice 10 pound skipjack. We continued south of the inlet, one out rigger pops and a decent dolphin is on, Kevin brings him to the boat as I throw out a gog in hopes of a follower, within a few seconds I am hooked up. We ended up catching three more phins and a few bonita before 11am.
Around 9:30 in 140 feet we get our lone hit on the pink chug that takes a ton of line on first run so the hoping game was on. After the first run it turned to almost dead weight. Put doc on the rod and he is reeling and reeling and gets the fish 20 feet from boat still not knowing what’s on the other end. It takes 3 hard runs chaffing the leader on the boat on the last run. Get him boat side and the water lights up with stripes. I knew I only had one chance, I put the hook in his gut and and into the kill box he went!
About an hour into fishing, the short bait gets batted by a sail, but I missed it as the bait was batted off. Very quickly, a second sail is on the long bait. This one gets the hooks and takes to the air. I could see more fish around but with one angler, focused on the hooked fish while it danced around the boat. The fish was brought to the boat and released in healthy condition.
So I look at this wahoo and now I know I’m dreaming. Friend calls me and makes me take his boat out without him. 5 minutes in I hook a wahoo on a snook plug, on a Penn 750, on 20lb braid with no leader. Then he almost spools me. Then my super novice gaff man makes a great first shot to seal the deal. Weighed out at 39 pounds.
then it hit and it hit like a bullet on the shotgun rigged swimming mullet. Probably the sickest run I have ever seen a fish take, it had the Trinidad 50 singing like a bird! Not to mention at the same time the wahoo hit we had a small sail hit the short rod.
“I am scrambling to get the lines cleared as Derek and Kyle fight their fish. All good so far, so we gaff Kyle’s bull and chase down the big cow. Teamwork at its best as Derek hands the rod to Kyle while I am driving and trying to GoPro at the same time! Derek sinks the gaff in her after a few sketchy runs when she was right near the boat. HIGH FIVES! Derek’s personal best on dolphin at almost 30 pounds!”
Palm Beach Inlet Producing
Florida Sportsman member: Salty_Cracker
Found a few scattered weeds but they weren’t holding fish so we headed back shallower. Were getting tired of not catching so we put the tuna chain out down the middle. Picked up some black fins quickly and kept 3 for dinner.
Didn’t keep all we caught but end of day we caught over 14 mahi, keeping only five and two blackfin which went for sushi at the dock. We picked up a sail but it didn’t take hold long enough for the hook set but did see it jump. Saw plenty of huge triple tail on debris, logs, doors, and buckets but hard to stop a eight wide spread.
After breezing thru customs, we started our wahoo troll out in front of Old Bahama Bay. Within 10 minutes we boated our first hoo. Next pass we got hooked up again. They both hit the shotgun mackerel lure. Trolled another hour without any more bites. We made the decision to deep drop and caught our limit of queen snapper and yelloweyes within an hour.
I had heard the dolphin were in shallow so straight out Jupiter Inlet I deploy the spread in 75 feet of water heading east. I only get to 80 feet and my long line gets nailed. Nice phin, he is doing the dance. I have 3 other lines out but have the fish off the side so I leave them in while maintaining a slow troll. Sure enough, double header, I get another phin on.
Within 15 minutes one of my TLD25′s started screaming and didn’t stop until it was almost down to the knot. Quickly pulled all lines out of the water and turned the boat to chase and gain some line back. After a few leaps he sounded to around 500 feet right under the boat, Fight ensued for about 45 minutes and we brought him to the boat side.
About an hour after that in 185 feet we hooked up to a sail off the port outrigger and Kim was back at it on the rod yet again. It put on a spectacular show with plenty of jumps and some good runs. We got him to boat where I unhooked it and swam it to revive it for a couple minutes. It didn’t need much and his tail was kicking good so off he went to give another angler the same thrill in the future.
I let the fish take some line and set up on it and I knew I had a good fish on. Too good I thought at first because despite my heavy drag setting line was leaving the reel pretty fast on the initial run. Typically what we see from small sharks, but it was soon apparent it was fighting like the right species, after several tense minutes I was able to boat a nice 21” mutton snapper.
Headed out with a good friend Mike from work in hopes of catching a wahoo on his vessel, which hasn’t been done as of yet. Last month we missed a good wahoo that smoked my wire line with a 50W. Today we trolled the last little bit of out going tide. We trolled depths from 150 -400 feet. We found a good rip and weed line at 30 feet’ so we worked that for a bit with no action. Decided to head in a little and got this wahoo in 230 feet on the wire line again with a split tail mullet.
Got to boynton, put the spread out, but no bites for about an hour. The next thing I hear is a splash, two other guys on the boat, Nate and Jeff are doing back flips off my hard top. Its now almost 1:30, we are in 175feet of water almost straight off of boynton inlet, and they are just getting back in the boat from their swim. I hear Matt and Nick almost at the same time yell HOLY SHI** . I turn around and saw what was left of a huge explosion.
Hanks goal is to load up the freezer with fish and wanted to catch an AJ so our first stop this morning is the AJ spot and put two fish in the box first thing this morning.
We broke the SLI before 6:00am at high tide and headed to the red buoy out front in hopes of locating some Blue Runners. Nothing doing there so we hit the NE spot and caught a mix bag of Grunts, one large Goggle Eye and a Blue Runner. I even caught a small grouper and mutton (both tossed back)[...]
Head out early today in hopes of the elusive wahoo. We trolled through different depths in front of inlet from 100-350 feet. We got this wahoo on the wire line using a split tail mullet as bait. Weighed the fish on Miller Time’s digital scale and the fish weighed 32lbs. Enjoyed lunch at Two George’s then headed home to clean the boat.
I took my son out snapper fishing today. We found a good mangrove bite in 110 feet just north of the inlet. We moved to reset the drift and set out a flat line, within 5 minutes the flat line goes off. My dad hands the rod to my son and he goes to work.
He had the fish to the boat in about 10 minutes we sink the gaff and high fives all around. Not sure who was happier him catching the fish or me watching him catch it. This was his first wahoo. We ended the day with 5 mangroves a yellowtail and 1 wahoo.
Brett R, Jerry, and Mark were in town, and wanted to fish the Everglades. Asked if I was game and my reply was akin to “does a bear….” (last 2 trips we killed it on Wahoos, fins, sails) Grabbed a few sardines / cigars on way out and buzzed edge for an hour w no bites. Conditions looked so so w nice rips, but dirty green water, million jelly fish etc. Had reports today that Water was 2 degrees cooler than week-end, green water out to 240′+. Current was ripping at 3.6 to 4.0 to the N with a 8-10 knot E/SE breeze.
Headed out of Fort pierce really early to try and buy bait from Dave, but he wasn’t there.. I personally do not like going to the buoy at all, but I needed live bait, so we headed to 10 a.m. Crew was my wife and my buddy Jeremy. We loaded up the livewell in no time at all, but all the baits were VERY small…little sardines, little cigars, and little hornbellies.
I’ve been reading all the greats wahoo reports (congrats to all) so I decided last minute to go wet some lines. The wife and kids had been north for about 10 days visiting family and I stayed behind to complete some projects around the house (honey-do list). Got my high speed gear on the boat, 2 bags of ice and cleared the inlet solo at 9 a.m. Ran a 4-line spread. Bite came at 10:30 am between Ritz and pier on the 300 line in 220 feet. A few minutes later, gangsta hoo #1 in the box.
With all the wahoo reports and our run in with King Kong last weekend, the crew wanted to target wahoo this morning instead of swordfish. The lures were rigged, the rods were readied, and the plan was made. Hit the inlet at 6:00 a.m. and headed north. Ten minutes into the troll our long gets smoked. Three crew members cranked in the inside three rods as the angler started to winch in the fish. Ten minutes later the hoo pooped up on the surface dragging behind the boat.
I quickly packed up the boat and headed to the boat ramp. Dropped the boat in at 12:30, 10 minuets later lines in at 150ft and headed east. Scattered weeds at 250 and 480, kept going. At 890 I see a promising rip with weeds up ahead. About 150ft from making my turn to parallel the weed line the port rigger goes off. Line’s going off the TLD30 faster than I’ve ever seen before.
Cleared the inlet at 6am with Chris, Cayden, and Billy. Lines in at 6:15 work the inlet all morning. Cayeden gets a bonita. Then when pull by the skycliff, the braid starts screaming. 15 mins later we were shocked to see a amberjack come up. Reset the spread and in about an hour the braid goes off again. This time a 22lb. wahoo comes aboard. Then about 45 mins later the braid goes off and doesn’t stop. About 900 yards off braid gone the backing is starting show.
About 5 minutes passed while we continued bottom fishing with the light spinning tackle. I then noticed that the tip of the heavy rod was slightly “twitching”. I thought that it might be some smaller bait-stealers, but wasn’t sure. I picked the rod out of the rod holder and gave it a few slow cranks. The line came tight and I set the hook. The fish didn’t make much of a run, and for 5 seconds or so, I thought I might have snagged bottom. I then handed the rod to my brother-in-law and strapped on the fighting belt.
With the final leg of the Bluewater Tournaments on Saturday we needed to load the pen with bait. Headed out of Boynton early Friday and caught 8 dozen gogs in short order. I just happened to bring two rods so we could pre-fish a little before catching runners and speedos. Ran just south of the Martini in 260 feet where the water was nice and blue. I pitched out a goggle-eye on the TLD 15 with engine in gear and about 30 yards from the boat I get crushed. Fish is making a blistering run offshore and we chase it down.
We were launching off by 6:30AM. Catching bait was not an option today. We loaded up on goggle eyes from teh bait man and headed offshore. We setup at 380′ of water with one on the down rigger and two surface lines. Within 10 minutes, the surface line screamed and we found that the goggle eye was cut in half. We reset and 30 minutes later, as we were about to pick up and go, another surface line screamed again.
Taking my daughter Jamie out today. We arrive at the ramp a little after 5:30am to a small crowd at the ramp. We ran into the Undertaker (Chuck), my UPS man at the ramp this morning.We pick up 30 dollars worth of baits being that there is a outgoing tide this morning with Lake O water flooding all our favorite bait spots. We ran to the NE spot just to see if we can mark any baits. They were there but they were not chewing. We decided to point the bow Southeast into the rough seas and make our way as far south as we could to stay south of the inlet all day to make the ride in easier.
Windfinder was calling for 3.4 feet at 4sec on Saturday, so we decided not to go. Of course they were wrong, resulting in Paul and I missing out on a perfectly calm day offshore. We were not happy to get punk’D by Windfinder so between his daughters birthday and me having out of town visitors, we were briefly able to sneak out and fish from 11-1pm Sunday. Seas were sloppy 3-5 foot, and close together. Lots of mating turtles and flyers all over.
I started off by attending a fishing seminar at White’s Tackle in Stuart which was headed by the host of Reel Time Florida Sportsman George Gozdz. It got me pumped! It was a Cobia and Tarpon seminar.
So after we got our bait we hit the beach for Tarpon. We found nothing. Cobia never crossed my mind until the class but since I had a idea now how to catch them in this area we set out. That was one of the first times in my life that on the first trip of targeting a certain fish we nailed it. We went 5 for 7 on Cobia.
Ran all the way out to 1200 feet and there were no weedlines rips or anything to fish. This summer has proven to be TOUGH on catching bait and little to no sargassum. Started heading back to the ledge when we spotted a palm frond with 2 nice tripletail. Then we put out a trolling spread with E$ at helm and worked from 160 to 115 feet at the north end of Condos to Tiara. The current was smoking at 3.5 knots to the north and water was gin clear past 100 feet. First bite ripped some drag, pulled the hook??
We headed out with waves any where from 2-4 feet. The wind blowing pretty good, which meant we were getting soaked on the way out. We finally got to the dolphin grounds and started trolling in 200 feet of water. We trolled both ballyhoo and artificials but didn’t get anything. We continued to troll for a few hours and then decided to drift with live bait in hopes of sailfish or dolphin. We started drifting in 200 feet of water for about 30 minutes. We didn’t get any hits, so we decided to go a little shallower.
Got a super late start after having a few adult beverages at the lighthouse sand bar. While there I caught a few grunt on bits of squid and out the inlet to calm 2 foot seas by 2:15. B lined it for the edge. Got out off the pier and it was non stop. Current was strange! Felt like no current on the bottom but there were rips going all directions out there. Any squid or sardine whole or chunk got inhaled within 30 seconds. Caught some decent yellowtails, muttons, porgies and a king (on squid). Put in 2 solid hours and kept enough for dinner. The biggest mutton was caught by a first timer! Nice way to start out huh?
We left the inlet bout 6:30 after stoping to get bait from Dave. Headed northeast to bottom fish a ledge. I have several good bottom spots out of SLI but since I’ve moved north I’ve yet to find any good prouductive bottom numbers out if FPI. The seas were 3 ft but far enough apart to run the 16 miles fairly quickly. We anchor up in 80-90 feet just southeast of Bethel shoal. I was expecting a fast current but was surprised at the lack of it. We get our chum and lines set up and in no time the flat line gets hit.
Went out yesterday looking for that big dolphin…I have yet to get a big boy this year! Ran out and found absolutely nothing. Made the decision to come in and fish the tide change on the edge and look for wahoo and it was a good decision! Picked up this slob mid-afternoon on the tide in 130 feet just north of the inlet. She ate a horse bally…naked ! Also picked up a couple small dolphin. Really enjoying the new contender! Gonna take the weekend off from the tournaments and enjoy a little peanut island!
Bait was hard to catch this morning, so I was glad that I bought a few dozen pilchards and some crabs. After hitting bottom spot after spot with little to no luck, we had made our way up past the peanut. 175 line. I was headed to another spot when we past a huge black mat, and what at first I thought was a sail under it. I spun the boat around and quickly tied a new leader and hook onto our spinner. As we made our way back to the fish I knew it was to big to be a sail, but didn’t want to say marlin and be wrong.
Went out boozin on the Ocean yesterday with some lady friends and my buddies Cpt. Nick Morris and Cpt. Ryan Stang. We snagged a few baits from a friend out on the water just to have some lines out for the hell of it. Hooked up in 250 feet of water drifting a threadfin on a weight about 100 feet down. Low and behold it was a mutton. That son of b musta been hungry. Let the ladies take turns reeling it in. Summer time must be here…bikinis and snapper.
I decided to go out last minute, considering next week is mothers day and I usually give that weekend to the wife. I met up with my buddy Kevin and hit the inlet around 7 a.m. We picked up a half dozen live sardines from Gary Jr. just in case trolling didn’t pan out. We started trolling north all the way to the pier with only one bonita to show for it. We then went off shore to around 900 feet and not much going on out there. Heading back was a little snotty with the wind blowing out of the west.
I hear the swords have been chewing so I loaded up the boat and made the run down south. The ocean was nice and the storms were staying on shore! Got 2 nice size dolphin on the weigh out around 20-25 pounds. I Made 3 drops; the first drop had a couple weak hits pulled up half a bait; the 2nd drop got tight with a nice fish pulled half way up. The 3rd drop was down 10 minutes 2 hits later, the rod started to load out my hooker on full speed and got a good hook in set. The fish didn’t fight much on the way up until I got the weight off. The fish started to surface behind the boat slashing its bill. I backed up on him and he started to come right to the boat so I stuck him with the gaff! I was running low on gas so we headed in. My buddy got a 450 pounder when we went in!
Thought I would sneak offshore today before work. Me and a couple of friends left Sandsprit around 6:45 a.m. The sea was a little rough with a 3-5 foot swell and some chop, but not too bad. We started trolling in 80 feet and had a nice gaffer bull on within twenty minutes on a green stubby bubbler with a ballyhoo. We kept trolling and had 2 knock downs with nothing to show for it. Then around 9:30 we caught a gaffer cow in 140 feet on a blue and white skirted bait. The water was really warm today, about 78 degrees. Headed in around 10:30 and the inlet was definitely a little sketchy in my 18 foot pioneer.
Instead of leaving at 4 we pushed it to 6 to check the stream out and if it was a go we would continue. Shoved off at 6 and made or way out SLI. Once in the stream we were hitting 5-6 feet on the chin so made the call to do it another day. Pointed west and came back into 200 feet off the powerplant. From there it was a steady flurry of action. We picked away at schoolie dolphin, cudas, and Bonita’s. I believe we were working the 160 foot area as I don’t think I had a free minute from 8-11 to even look where we were depth wise.
We cleared the inlet to some absolutely beautiful conditions. Glassed over ocean, literally like a lake. Made for a beautiful ride out. We set up the spread in 100 and started to work our way out. I think the winds from the past week had pushed debris in, because there were all sorts of weedlines, buoys, buckets, and bamboo floating around. We pull up to a buoy with rope in 220. No dolphin on it, but LOADED with triple tail. We get our first ever triple tail in the boat! Had another one on but he got off the hook. At that point they all swam down so we moved on.
Headed out aboard The Jim n’ Tonic Monday about 6:45am. We set up to troll in 150 feet. About 20 minutes into it, a nice cow hits port inside rod. Into the box she went.About 730 feet we see a phin looking at the port rigger,he takes it, I grab the rod as he spits the hook. I throw it into free spool to see if he’ll hit again…he just doesn’t hit…he devours and bulldogs across top of water. From a distance we know its a big bull. Fighting him to the boat, 30 minutes later, he’s whipped as he’s gaffed and welcomed aboard the Jim n’ Tonic. High fives circulated the boat, coffee replaced by Miller Light.
Picked up some Goggs and broke the inlet (PBI) to a confused sea around 7:45am on Sunday. Wind was nearly non-existant, but it was snottier then expected and waves were fairly tight together. Decided to break out the artificials and trolled south between 100-300 feet with a purple/orange yo-zuri, two skirted lures, and a feather way back. Saw a lot of birds working what must have been small tuna/bonies crashing tiny flyers, but no strikes.
The wind dropped off to less than 20 so off we went. The morning started off a little rough with a bad throttle cable causing a 1 hour delay. We set our baits out at 8:30 in 130 feet of water on a color change with scattered grass and lots of flying fish being shoved around by dolphin ranging from 20 inches to 20 pounds.
Put two more people on their first sails yesterday! My buddy asked me at the dock if the sails where still biting and I said, think its just about over. First fish came at 8:20am in 85 feet of water off Lake Worth Pier. Second fish was in 160 feet off the Breakers. The conditions where less than comfortable (seas where not bad, wind was HOWLING). First time I used my high wind kite and it was struggling to stay in the air[...]
Only got around dozen mixed gogs and runnners. Decided to high speed down to Singer Island. No luck. Set up drift in around 125 feet and drifted in to 100 feet. No action. Next we set up in 150ft with live baits on the freeline and a few down as well. Now we are drifting out. At around 200 feet off Juno we get a real mild hit on the goggle eye on the flatline. Gets hit again but really didn’t eat it, or so I thought. Decide to check the bait only to realize we have a sail on the line! He goes bananas and puts on a good show.
Hit the inlet in the dark, bought bait and headed out. Five line spread in before sunrise in 120 feet of water due east of the inlet. Less the 15 minutes in the troll, we see something crash the short bait and miss. Two seconds later both long lines get hit. My buddy Dan on the starboard line fights the fish to the boat as I fight the port fish/ clear lines. He gets fish to boat and its wahoo. I gaff fish after my other buddy misses with gaff twice. My fish is now in rod holder for second time. Box his fish and mine before 8 am[...]
I fished a ¾ day, and because of the big swell and the turned up bottom, live bait was not to be had. I pretty much knew that would be the case, so I already had the dredge and trolling baits ready to go. We ran out to the NE and set out in 75 feet of water. I nice down sea tack while we set out brought us to an edge in 100 feet of water about 3 miles north of the inlet. We fished it for a bit with only bonita bites to show for it. I decide to push offshore to a couple hundred feet and check it out. There was another rip in 160 feet with some grass and bait in it.
Today was a great day of Stuart Fl charter fishing. We started our day trolling on the 110 line in 90ft on an edge and before I got the dredge in the water we had hooked 4 gaffer dolphin on the troll. We ended up catching 3 of them. We picked away at the Mahi’s all day and ended the day with over 30 bites and boxing 22 of them from 7-14lbs. We also managed to have 6 sail bites on the troll with our guys hooking and landing their own sails.
Left SLI at 6:30 Sunday to do some trolling with my soon to be father and brother in law. We headed south out the inlet, and caught a 15 pound wahoo on mono rigged ballyhoo at 7:30 in 90 feet. After that my father in law made me aware that he brought bananas with him, and laughing knowing how I feel about having them on my boat.We were headed for push button after that and found scattered weeds and birds in 170 feet doubled up with two schoolies at 10. Around 11:30 we saw a fish going after the short line, and we are sure its a sail behind the bait. We drop it back to him, and it ended up being a 20 pound bull.
We went offshore at 7:00 a.m. Caught a nice tuna at 200 feet, east of Jupiter around 8:30. Noticed a little slick and continued zig zagging north on it. At 9:15 planer pops in 240′ and 10 pound mahi is in the boat. 9:30 planer pops in 280 feet and line is screaming off and then spits the hook. Thinking maybe a wahoo. Get back to trolling my new spreader bars/daisy chains and at 10:00 4 miles south of Push Button Hill my buddy Matt sees a big fish free jumping with 2 birds circling above.
Wanted to get out on the water before the winds started howling again. After calling everyone on my phone, finally asked my 73 year-old neighbor if he wanted to go fishing. He said “Sure”, so we headed out this morning around 7:15AM. Trolled for about 1.5 hours, no luck. Winds started picking up from the North, so we headed in to the 70 feet reef off of Juno. Got a couple of small yellowtail, then some of nice size. So we move about 1/4 mile north and pull in a Rainbow Runner. Then Fuzzy’s rod bends over and he is tugging and pulling away. Low and behold a big Fat Porgy comes to the boat. Very nice size fish
Wanted to share/brag on my first triple tails. One was 18 pounds and the other was 12 pounds. The picture is of the 18 pounder. Got them pretty far offshore, and that’s about all I have to say about that.
Started our day on the 4th catching a well full of bait. After the previous days fishing we had big expectations for some dolphin and sail action. Conditions changed We started where we had good action the previous 3 days for sails and mahi’s. We caught a 12 pound king and had a few others cut us off. We pushed offshore and caught some boneheads. Back inshore and we jumped a sail off and had another scissor lip us. Decided to do a little meat fishing to break up the monotony. We caught 4 amberjacks to 25 pounds, and an 18 pound Gag Grouper.
Went out Saturday to try and bag a few phins for Superbowl Sunday! Started out north of SLI in 130/’ and worked our way out to 250 feet. Pretty blue water out in 250 feet with scattered weed and missed on a few phins. Then finally connected on a solid cow in 150 feet. Missed on double of sails. Naked ballyhoo and pink skirt/bally combo were the ticket. Sounds like we’re going out in the am so hoping for some more dinner.
We had a fun day and enjoyed great conditions. Plenty of bites from Kings and other critters. We caught 1 out of 2 sails today on the troll. We missed one in the dirty green water in 80 feet this morning straight out and caught 1 in the pretty blue water in 115 ft a little NE.
The highlight of the day was the dolphin action. We ended up having plenty of bites with a couple fish around 25 pounds and a bull that tipped the scales at 49 pounds. Took us for ever to catch that sucker (ironically the fight was exactly 49 minutes on the old GPS) The bull came with a 25 pound cow the second of those for the day. All fish ate trolled circle hook ballyhoo and the best mahi fishing was in the blended water between 80-120 feet. Lots of flyers and scattered grass.
Went out Friday morning with a bunch of runners and a few gogs but got beat up as seas built quickly so headed back in around 10am. Noticed the seas seems to be laying down yesterday while I was on a booze cruise up and down the ditch so decided to go out this am early. Inlet was smooth at 6 am and seas were manageable all day long, 2-3 feet. Today we cleaned up on goggle eyes at North rocks and actually had more goggles than runners! We thought we would slay it today.
Today I fished with Capt. Jimmy (Ace), Brad, Stan, and Scott for the third day in a row targeting sails. Yesterday was way slow and we only did a ¾ day with the last hour focusing on the bottom and reefs for Amber Jacks and Cobia. We caught a few AJs but no cobia that day. Today we had sails on the mind again, but after spending pretty much all day with the kites up and only jumping one sailfish off, catching a dolphin, losing a dolphin, and having a ton of kingfish and shark bites we went back to the bottom. Even though we didn’t catch the sail, we did get a few pictures of it.
We cleared the inlet to FLAT seas, picked up a handful of blue runners just outside the inlet and headed on our way. We had read the bite south was slow for the past few days, so NE we went. Attempted to bottom bounce the sandpile on the way out and sunk a few liveys to no avail. We pointed the bow NE to find some “fishy” conditions. I Decided to double back against the stream and came across about a 30 foot tree floating with its own ecosystem. Squirt some mild and drop out some runners and gaffer on! This was my friend son’s first phin!
Went out with some friends this morning to go catch wahoo, mahi, and tuna. With only a 2 hour trip off Jupiter inlet we landed a tuna and a wahoo, and lost a dolphin at the transom. Fishing was great. I caught the wahoo deep off a planer with a white over blue flasher series islander with a horse ballyhoo. The tuna was caught on a naked ballyhoo. All fish were caught between 120-280 feet. Good day with good friends.
Finally got a break in the weather and we jumped on the opportunity to dust off the old grady and fish. Cleared the inlet around 7 and the seas were absolutely beautiful. We started off the powerplant in 100 and worked our way out. There was a huge fleet of sportfish boats working this area, so we joined in the mix. We troll by a big matt of weeds and outrigger pops, dolphin on. While fighting him, i see another dolphin jumping and he had the shotgun bait in his mouth. My friend got tight on him. Dad gaffs number one, then gaffs number two, and we have dinner.
Once again it seems when least prepared, We get a nice one!! Left Boynton inlet 8 A.M. enroute to Ft. Lauderdale for a Garmin electronics seminar and training class. Before turning to the South, we do a high speed troll for a couple circles in front of Boynton inlet, Nice fish on for about 4 seconds in 180 then gone! After a couple more passes we turned South and didn’t get anything until Boca. A quick hit and gone! 280 feet just south of Hillsboro we have nice fish on and soon after it’s in the boat!
“Cleared the inlet the around 7am with Chris and Billy. Was greeted with 3-5 footer’s at the inlet and got though them with no problems. We set up the spread and head north. Get a bonita on a strip to start the morning off. Then the planer pops and nothing. Right after that the rigger gets hit and loose that one. Later on we get a double-header. Two phins in the box. Get up to the ritz and work that for a while and then head back south.
Mate Chris Watkins (left) and angler Paul Duwyne (right).
Kelly Johnson sent this recent fishing success in to share with the FS community. It’s a good sign of what’s to come this season as the temperatures continue to cool. Sailfish are here!
“On his personal bucket list, Paul Duwyne wanted to enjoy a day of offshore fishing in Florida and catch his very first sailfish. Well, the conditions were not ideal, but his wish became a reality aboard Reel Candy Sportfishing Charters, out of Jupiter, Florida this past weekend. In sloppy 4 to 6 foot seas, Captain Marvin Steining and mate Chris Watkins were able to grant Paul his wish by catching not only his first sailfish, but another as well! Both of the sailfish were caught and released off a kite, using goggle eyes for bait.”
Epic Bloody Sunday
Florida Sportsman member: e-money
Had a half-day lined up on my boat Sunday AM for trip with kids. Wind was HOWLING 20 plus at dawn and I did not feel comfortable so i called them to re-schedule. I heard MD20/20 was rolling out, and they were kind enough to pick me up for the day! Man I was stoked for “work” as the recent weather has put a hurting on guides, captains, dive boats. Total last minute, I literally RAN to the dock [...]
I’ve been crazy busy filming “Reel Time” and I’ve been slacking on my reports. The bite offshore has been great so no better time to report then now. After loading the wells full of mullet and pilchards we headed out. Set up both days in the same exact spot. 110′ was the magic number for me. Chummed while we fished 2 kite baits and 3 flatlines.[...]
Florida Sportsman member Stetson Law captured some fantastic images off Stuart this past weekend. Greyhounding sailfish and frisky dolphin made for the perfect subjects. “Started off sailfish season off Stuart this morning on the Three Buoys. Non-stop action all day long. Hooked 8 sailfish, 10 dolphin, 1 cobia, and 1 big mutton on live bait.”
Went out Saturday morning with Chris and Cayden. Plan was to fish ’till noon, then go anchor up at the island to let the kids play. Set up the spread around 6:40 a.m. and start working around the inlet from 140 to 380. Around 7 a.m. the down rod goes off and half way to the boat a ‘phin goes airborne. As Chris gets it closer to the boat, I was thinking maybe a gaffer, then the line in the rigger pops out and the rod doubles-over. Grab the rod and a few minutes later a nice blackfin comes up to the boat [...]
Was blessed to get the call from CNTDR about a Bahamas trip! We had an awesome crew with CNTDR (aka “Jiffy” Jeff), Clarke, Jim and E$. Cleared and put em’ in right away, 15 minutes in ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! STUD hoo’ pushing 50 pounds in the box. Set em’ back and it got quiet so we bottom fished, catching a variety of muttons, yellowtails, strawberries, porgies, and rocked up by at least 4 BIG groupers [...]
Well, the water went to total crap everywhere inside of 400 feet today. Brown and nasty. Tried the spots the tuna had been, but there was no love there. Plenty of small false albacore, but that was it. So, after the sun cleared out enough to have decent visibility, wandered out to about 800 feet and poked around some loosly formed mats of weeds. Was at it for a while without seeing anything remarkable when this thing swam up!
Got an early start with Zach (FLDXT) and was at Bull Shark at sunrise, not much happening in the way of bait. Managed a few small dines & gogs not worth hanging around for. Shot out to the Shrimper and that was an improvement, managed some decent dines and cigar minnows. While bringing in a stringer full, Zach has a cobe come up and commence to help himself to the struggling baits on the sabiki, turns out 3 more were with em’.
The coffee colored water got us pretty far offshore today. The water turned from green to blue in 370 feet. Tucker (from West Marine in Jupiter) and I were talking on the way out about blues, I have been wanting to finish the SLI Billfish Grand Slam (sword, sail, white and blue marlin) all I needed was to land a blue, long odds! [...]
Headed out this morning with Chris and Billy, cleared the inlet with seas about 2-to 4-feet. We headed north and put the spread out in 80 feet. Tons of turtle grass and weeds everywhere. Kept getting weeded up from 150-to 400-feet. After a couple hours of that and getting pushed way north of the Lake Worth peir, we head back south. We go into shallower water to get away from the weeds. Going straight south into the waves was a bumpy troll but worth it [...]
Spent the day fishing with our buddy Charlie Stuve out of Jupiter Inlet. Loaded the well with 200 sardines just outside the inlet and headed out in search of muttons. Charlie had a 12 pound and 17 pound mutton this week, so we had high expectations. Had my 14-year old son and his buddy on board for a trip before school begins on Monday [....]
Called my buddy Chris and Alan on Saturday and made plans to fish Sunday hoping we would not get rained out. We got to the ramp at 6:40 and went for bait in front of the inlet, it was loaded with sardines and gogs, picked up about a dozen and a half and started trolling. The idea was to troll for wahoo and possibly pick up a few kings in between. Headed north and right away planer pops in 125 feet in front of the inlet and first kingfish in the boat, he hit a strip with pink skirt [...]
My buddy has been trying for a few years to catch the elusive palm beach wahoo! He has been with me in the Bahamas and caught a few but they have eluded him on his boat. I went a couple of times and we scatched out one or two bites but never got one in the boat. Well this changed this weekend! We figured it would be crowded on the water so we had lines in at 530 a.m. and put out some mullets [...]
When I got a call on thursday that my friends gaterzone19 and flatsfisher were coming down from FSU, the first thing that came to my mind was swordfishing, and that is exactly what we did. I loaded our pen with runners the day before and we were ready to go. We decided to get out early and make a few daytime drops [...]
Had the pleasure of hosting Mark, Aiden and Brennan for a 1/2 day. It was a celebratory trip for Aiden, who just celebrated his 9th birthday! E$ hadn’t broke out the hoo gear in a minute, but felt confident [...]
Hot Tuna Bite off Stuart
Florida Sportsman member: Alwaysforward
We decided with the higher winds yesterday that we should buy some baits this morning just to be safe. Picked 20 baits up from (2) kids running Chips boat at the ramp around 5 a.m. or so then headed out insearch of some sardines. Arrived at Bullshark and loaded up on goggle eyes and sardines. When I tossed in a large blue runner into the livewell, Alie started talking fish talk [...]
Ken and I decide to return to bump trolling that same weed line as we followed it N/B. We get to the east side of the weed line and set out one line which gets hit immediately by a gaffer Phin. I still have bait on a down line and Ken throws out his bait which gets hit almost immediately. There were gaffer phins swimming all around the boat. Then the down line gets hit by another gaffer [...]
Made a run to the east in some pretty sporty weather to say the least. Came to a flock of birds just out of the gulf stream approx. 45 miles to the east and started our chunking. Unfortunately, we only had a couple dozen gogs with us and 3 flats of sardines, no live chumming on this venture. Went through the flock with a couple 30 tiagras to try and pick up some skippies and mark the yellowfins. Successfully we marked them and caught some extra chunking bait “skipjacks” before we made a drift [...]
Gary, Jim , John and myself were sponsored by the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Benevolent to fish in the Fourth Annual Team Sargent KDW out of the Rybovich Marina in West Palm Beach. Getting an early start from Boynton Beach we met up with Dynamite Live Bait picked up a dozen goggle eyes and two dozen pilchards then headed to the fishing grounds. Decided to troll first with wahoo on our minds. My usual spread consisted of Islanders ranging from white/pink(mylar), purple/black, red/black(mylar) and a split tail mullet on the wire line [...]
Within 15 minutes of setting up, we have a BOMB on long kite bait. Get him up, solid blackfin in the box. As this is going on the flatline gets SMOKED by a 30 pound class blackfin! He goes in the box as the other kite bait goes off! It was GREAT team was stoked. Head back out for a few hours Saturday [...]
Took a vacation day today to take 4 people out today for some offshore fun. Gary, his brother Dan and his son Derek along with Gary’s son AJ. Full boat today for sure. We picked up some bait from the bait guy at the ramp this morning just in case [...]
Had the pleasure of hosting a repeat trip for Kasper clan Sunday. Weather was nice, bait was tough but managed some runners and hand full of gogs pre-dawn. Water was still green inshore but instead of South current, it was ripping N at 3.5 knots (does anyone have a clue on how current can do a 180 like that)? In about 200 feet we spot some “floatsam”. Pulled some almaco jacks and SOLID triple tails! [...]
Captain David Knight of Lady Stuart Deep Sea Fishing party boat, docked at Hutchinson Island Marriott, reported a spectacular day of fishing on Wednesday. 23 anglers caught about 3 dozen sea bass, four huge triggerfish, 3 whitebone porgies, 4 banded rudderfish, 8 mahi, 6 mangrove snapper, and a 25lb amberjack. The catch of the day was a 29.4 lb mutton snapper, which was just 1 lb shy of the world record! This moster of a fish was reeled in by Tom Kulinski of Port St. Lucie, FL using 20lb test line on a light spinning rod. Tom Kulinski took the fish to the Snook Nook, where it was officially weighed in on a digital scale.
According to Captain David Knight, the mutton and mangrove snapper bite should continue strong through the summer. We also anticipate the bite to continue strong for mahi, as well as black sea bass, triggerfish, porgies, vermillion snapper, and lane snapper.
Port Saint Lucie Offshore Fishing Report
Florida Sportsman member: Alwaysforward
Headed out from 70ft in search of some weeds. Finally came across ouf first weeds in 700 ft north of the Hill. Put out the normal spread of livey’s, chunks and menhaden oil and one other special ingredient – Menhaden Milk. Read in Florida Sportsman about how the milk mixes better with the water than the oil does. I figured best of both worlds when using both. The oil makes the slick so you can see where to keep your bait in and the milk disperses in the water [...]
Headed out of Boynton Inlet around 6:30am with my buddy Chris, looked for some bait in front of the inlet and only managed about six sardines . Headed off shore to look for dolphin, came across a weed line around 450ft, quick troll, nothing. Decided to head way off shore , passed 750ft with some really nice weed patches, but already two many boats around, so continued out further to find our own, we saw a buoy of some sort floating in about 1,400 ft or so we thought it was a buoy [...]
With our success last tournament hopes were high to have a good showing for the first SKA Div. 8 battle. Team was the same except I had my cousin Dale down from Georgia for the weekend and he volunteered to be the picture and video guy. Weather was forcasted to be flat calm with the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon. We loaded the wells with bait just inside the inlet and waited patiently for the Bimini start at 7 a.m. [...]
On Saturday, Ria and I took her brother out fishing, along with three of her brother’s friends from Ohio, one of whom had never fished in his life, let alone caught anything before. We broke the inlet around 8:45 to flat calm seas and a beautiful day. Ran out to around 550′ where we found the second nice looking weedline. (Passed the first after not seeing much life and wanting to start the day deeper.) Once we got the lines in, a few flying fish made an appearance and had the newbies in absolute awe that fish could indeed actually fly [...]
Water was beautiful and flat, so we were able to get to 75ft pretty quickly before setting the spread. GPS was set for PBH, but before we could get there, we ran into the Holy Grail of weedlines (there was no current today).
The Cat Sass fishing team was all excited about fishing this tournament for a great cause. We decided to skip live bait due to the forecasted sea conditions and opted to pull rigged bally’s. All seemed calm heading out of the pocket to the inlet until we found that ripping outgoing tide stacking up against that 15 knot onshore wind. Needless to say, we were all covered with sea spray before we made it through the inlet [...]
With the weather forecast spot on, Derek and Carlos opted for a quick half day trip on the Reel Service. Loaded the wells up with some top secret baits and we were off to the spot, smack in the middle of all the chaos on the Juno ledge!! What a sight, boats stacked on top of each other and a tug and barge plowing thru the middle of it all…priceless!
Captain Bryan picked me up at 3:45 p.m. We got to the house, met-up with TrimTab and loaded-up. Hit the inlet at around 4:15 and went south-and-out to about 135 feet. Capt. Bryan got a fish on and lost it, (then so did Trim) so we headed out a lil’ further to about 340 feet (saw some birds and rips). We threw the chum bag over and put the baits out. I rigged an extra line and let it in the water (really close to the boat, about 6 foot and under), in case we got a dolphin on. Out of nowhere, my line goes off…but I realize its the one right next to the boat! My FIRST phin was TOO easy. I seriously didnt expect THAT line to go off. Pretty cool though!
Got the call from Bluewaterspearo yesterday morning for an afternoon spearfishing trip to target mahi. With reports of big Mahi being taken recently we were hoping to score. Loaded up the boat with Kris, Kyle and Jeff and we were off. Ran due east 14 miles out of the inlet looking for weed lines or debris and came up empty handed. On to plan B – targeting cobia off of the bull sharks. Got to our spot and jumped in with the flashers and within a minute the sharks showed up – but no cobia in tow [...]
Another day, another fishing adventure. Cleared the inlet shortly after 9 am and was greeted by super calm seas. There were already quite a few boats out there. Put out my spread and headed East. I had found some fins in 750’ the day before, so I figured I’d head back out there. There were scattered weeds, slicks and rips along the way.
Fished Saturday with Billy, had a couple bites early but didn’t get tight. Picked up and moved a bit. We downed a REEL ADRENALINE and 20 minutes later were tight. Fish is boat side within 20 minutes, Billy AKA Top Dawg hits her with a poon’ and we’ve got an estimated 250+ on the deck. Good thing the fish didn’t drink a Reel Adrenaline or we would have had a longer fight! [...]
Was blessed to get booked for an over-night trip to West End with Team Pairadox. We had Captain Mike, Kenny D, Gavin, and E$ “in the house”. We met up 2 days prior to departure to review gear & formulate a game plan. Mike has a gorgeous 31 Jupiter w 300 Suzuki’s. Rode like a champ! It was awesome to meet and fish with such a cool group of guys & we were AMPED to get them on some fish. Shoved off about 7:00 AM from SLI, got checked in and magic and comedy started happening [...]
Fished North of the inlet in 115 feet and caught 2 cobia. One was 22 pounds and then I caught this one and it went 58! Very sloppy on the ride home but worth it. Both fish were caught on dead sardines on the bottom.
We headed out a little late on Saturday. We had to finish installing the tackle station in the boat. I am glad we did it before this trip. I knew it would clean up the tackle bags on the deck but never thought it would be that good. So we stopped off and got some live bait and broke the inlet about 10am. Beautiful day! We took off south. Ran to about 185ft and set out a spread of gogs and pilchards. We didn’t bring the helium, so no kite [...]
Went out fishing this morning with my friend Art and his two sons Brian and Bill on Art’s 320 Sea Vee. We caught a Sailfish, 2 Mahi, and an AJ. Lost a third smaller Mahi at the boat. The big Mahi weighed 32lbs and the smaller one 13lbs. Another calmer than forecast day.
It looked like we had a window opportunity Saturday, talked to a buddy and he had his first fishing charter and needed some help! Me looking for any opportunity to go fish i was like you bet i got about a dozen gogs penned up i had left over from a day that was cut short. we left the dock at 6:30 made a short run picked up our live bait [...]
I’m sure everyone still remembers the very sad news of the passing of Capt. Dan (Reel C’s). I didn’t know what was going on except I noticed that the “crew” had not posted at all for a while. Upon digging around a bit, I found the news and spoke with Eric (Plan Fish N) and invited the crew for a fishing outing on the Checked~Out [...]
SLI Offshore Wahoo and Dolphin
Florida Sportsman member: Cat_Sass
We got a late start and cleared the inlet at 7:30 with overcast skies. Since it was just my wife and I, we decided to skip the livies and just troll some bally’s. We dropped the riggers at 80′ and started to set the spread. First out was a feather lure on the shotgun which was immediately hit by a small bonita. Then as soon as all the lines were set, the long goes off and my wife reels in a really small peanut [...]
Got an early start, met up with Gary Sr. with Dynamite Live Bait for some goggle eyes then headed for the inlet. Lines in by 7 a.m. we headed northward, not a half hour goes by we have two dolphin in the boat. Continuing northward in and out from 100′ – 300′ we continue to pick up more dolphin. Finally making it up towards the Sloans Curve area in the 200′ range the wire line begins clicking , could it be? Yes, hand jack the line to the boat and its a small wahoo.
Recent inshore fishing reports from the West Central region.
Catching on the Drift
Florida Sportsman member: Bassin Assassin
The water was very skinny and we kept targeting the 1 1/2 to 3 foot zone. We drifted north and Stormy caught a 20 inch snook on the Bait Buster just a few minutes later. We caught more snook on the flats than I can ever remember.
I handed my buddy a rod with a greenback on it and he made a perfect cast right up against a submerged log, BAM he was on. The fish took a good amount of line, we got it up to the boat and it was a 26 inch snook.
Large tarpon have been inside the bay for a few months now and are in post-spawn transition patterns. Early morning and sundown is the best time to get shots at these large fish. Swimbaits such as the D.O.A. baitbuster are the go to lures right now.
Got a chance to fish with Willie “Jack” Jackson in hopes of getting some sight fishing in on the +0.3 low tide late in the morning. The outgoing tide and the recent amount of rain left the water quite stained coming out of the Little Manatee River but we were able to work up a small slam including Jack’s first ever redfish.
Locating the fish was the hardest part, but once we did find them they were willing to put on a show. We even had a double header Saturday and landed them both. We were in by noon both days as it seemed the bite shut down early.
I can’t seem to catch the specks, but being tempted to take my ladyfish and chunk it up was too tempting. I aborted trout fishing by 8 and the change in tactics paid off! I caught two beauties and was off the water by 10 am.
Seeing some mullet getting spooked near a sand patch, I made a cast, twitched it twice and I was on, but it wasn’t a little trout. The drag starts singing and I’m thinking red, but then the fish breaks the surface with those big unmistakable headshakes I’m so accustomed to seeing over in my hometown of Stuart, huge snook!
Only got one bite but only fished for about 30 minutes. But, it was a nice 24 inch gag. Caught on a magnum bomber gold and black trolled on a number 3 planer at about 3.1 mph going against the incoming tide.
Tarpon fishing has been excellent in the bay. But, they are not showing themselves very well. On the 4th we went 3 for 4 before noon. The only fish we saw were the ones we jumped, not a single fish rolled.
Our first thought was that it was a shark but as the fight began we quickly realized that it was a rather large cobia. My dad quickly manned the trolling motor and the chase was on. My friend scrambled to get our gaff and readied himself incase we were able to get the fish close enough to the boat. We chased the fish for 15 minutes, and after a failed first attempt to gaff the fish, we managed to get it boat side, gaffed and in the boat.
Targeted linesiders around Three-Rooker and Anclote last Wednesday evening. Caught and released four snook to 35 inches, plus a bonus 23 inch trout. All fish were caught during the first part of the outgoing tide on palm sized pinfish and grunts.
I suddenly hooked up with a 25 and a 1/2 inch red. After we released it my fried hooks up with another monster snook we got it within 10 yards of the boat and it came off. Suddenly I hook up with a huge snook It jumped a few and was gone, finally I ended up getting a 39 inch snook.
First run was a 3 foot blacktip. 5 or 6 missed fish later , we had a big one, but turned out to be a 6 foot nurse. More missets and hook pulls, then boom the 12/0 gets nailed, hook set good! About a half hour into the hour long battle, we assume we have either a jewfish or small shark wrapped in a crab trap. Wrong , big bull, 105 inch fat boy.
We showed up at our spot, water was high and getting ready to drop. The wind and rain started to pick up but we decided to fish through the weather. First cast through out a live bait not 2 minutes later I got smashed and my Friend hooked up with a 30 inch redfish. After a photo release we kept fishing, we caught multiple large jacks and lady fish.
Reeling along slowly and as soon as the lure cleared the dock, it got blasted. Set the hook and my drag begins screaming. Rather than take me right back under the dock and break me off, the fish heads for deeper water at high speed. Rookie mistake by a big fish. The fish comes up tail-walking away from me. It is a beast!
Red fishing has been excellent over the past few weeks and should remain steady for the next few months. Most of the fish we have been catching have been top slot fish, with many fish over slot. Double and triple hook ups have been pretty common on most trips and we have been averaging 12 to 20 fish on a four hour trip with many in the 28-34 inch range.
This is just a quick synopsis with the highlights. We fished from around 1pm to dark. First we caught a couple of keeper trout. Around 1:30pm, my lure got crushed on a wind blown bank. Up comes a very nice snook. After a great fight with another jump or two, we got her in the boat. She measured 33 inches.
The redfish bite has been extremely good especially fishing the high water around the new and full moon. Look for the fish to be schooled up on the flats on the higher part of the tides. Live bait has been productive, but fresh dead bait never fails, cut ladyfish, pinfish, threadfin and just about any fresh dead bait will do the trick.
I saw something that looked like a massive sheepie sitting under a mangrove, so I landed my fly on its head and it ended up being about 5 medium to nice sized ones. They all swarmed my fly and I hooked up after one strip. We had to head out shortly after, but I am very curious if my method would have tricked one of those permit. I did see one school of three permit cruising along the mangroves averaging about 10 pounds, but I was being a fool and didn’t get a chance to throw to them.
As the day moves on, I receive another hard hit and suspect a good mid-size red fish. It pulls drag and avoids my yak like the plague. I finally wear her out and see another gator trout, this time I do not miss with the net and capture this happy moment on my GoPro.
We got into some ladyfish and jacks on the outer sandbar, then we made our way in and started getting trout on the flats. After putting a few nice trout in the box for dinner, we made our way back inside and managed one 25 inch redfish along the mangroves, he ate a penny gulp shrimp.
Bowfishing is not something you hear about often around here, but is a ton of fun. It’s like hunting, but you get a lot of shots. At the same time, it’s like spearfishing but you don’t have to get wet. I would like to get more people interested in it around these parts. Legally, anything you can spearfish you can bowfish.
sheepshead-docks, rock piles and bridges, also on the flats in deeper holes-use barnacles, shrimp, fiddlers or tube worms
black drum-same as above but add in cut blue crab to the bait list. the big ones are still a month or so away.
trout , reds, flounder- shrimp or cut baits will work but I prefer a super slow fished soft plastic jig or plug- Logic Lures are working well as are the Unfair Lures rip n slash. Hit the same areas for all three, deeper flats, potholes, channels, docks , and seawalls.
Fished a water depth under 30 inches all day. The majority of my fish were caught on a Sebile Innovative Fishing Stick Shad using FINS fishing Windtamer 10 pound braid, Seaguar Fluorocarbon 20 pound leader and a Shimano Stratic 3000FJ. Total fish count included Redfish up to 29 inches and Trout to 25 inches.
This fish was pretty strong and ran towards the mangroves first, but inexplicably back out into open water. She had me if she got in the roots. Came up thrashing and it was a pretty good red. Came back to and dove under the boat. Got momentarily wrapped around the motor, a couple of more runs and slipped her into the net at 3:50pm. She had absolutely choked the lure and I had to use pliers it was so deep in her mouth. She measured 25 and a half inches.
This fish was pretty strong and ran towards the mangroves first, but inexplicably back out into open water. She had me if she got in the roots. Came up thrashing and it was a pretty good red. Came back to and dove under the boat. Got momentarily wrapped around the motor, a couple of more runs and slipped her into the net at 3:50pm. She had absolutely choked the lure and I had to use pliers it was so deep in her mouth. She measured 25 and a half inches.
Then Ron hooked into something that pulled quite a bit of drag. We had seen a few rays swimming around the boat and I figured he had hooked into one of them. Turned out to be a permit! That was pretty cool to see, and I thought we were kind of lucky to land it with 10 pound mono & no leader. A couple minutes later his line goes off again, and it’s another permit! After that everyone started to copy what he was doing and we ended up catching a total of 5 permit over the span of 45 minutes.
I fished my usual spots and began catching a lot of small trout and jacks but no slot fish. I moved on and followed my usual recipe for success, hit the ladyfish waypoint for cut bait and yak on over to the redfish honey hole. Not long after tossing out the cut ladyfish I hookup with a nice red.
I fished my usual spots and began catching a lot of small trout and jacks but no slot fish. I moved on and followed my usual recipe for success, hit the ladyfish waypoint for cut bait and yak on over to the redfish honey hole. Not long after tossing out the cut ladyfish I hookup with a nice red.
Cast out into about a foot of water with the electric chicken. Reeling in pretty quickly and my lure got destroyed. Set the hook and the fish came up and tried to shake it. Thought for sure it was a trout, but then I felt the power. It was a nice red that put up a great fight. Finally got her in the boat and she measured 25 1/2 inches.
These fish were pretty fired up, but you had to be super stealthy in order to get close enough for a cast.
With any clink, clunk, step up or down on the boat and they would push away outside of casting range.
If you could get a cast far enough outside of them they would eat, but if you threw into the middle they were off to the races. Lots of patients was the key and we were rewarded with several fish.
We worked it a bit longer, but had no more luck there. We decided to run up to Miguel Bay. Lots of bird activity and baitfish near the mouth. Still working topwater and I hooked a 15 inch trout on the spook at 8:45am. We went inside, but tide was very low and had no luck. Back out to the mouth and we began to drift south along the shoreline. A small 12 1/2 inch trout for me at 9:45am. Pretty good sand and grass mix out there and the water was 2-3 feet deep. About this time Phi hooked into what appeared to be a good red on a topwater lure, but she got off. Another trout just over 15 inches for me at 9:53am. Five minutes later a trout just over 13 inch for me. Caught a trout just over 13 inch on the 3 inch shadflash at 10:25am
Launched out of CRB today at 7:45am. The wind was blowing at least 15mph out of the west. Plans were to go south towards Port Manatee and try my luck. Got down near Piney Point. The wind and floating grass were brutal. Went inside for a bit and picked up at snook just shy of 17 inches on the spook jr in bone at 8:37am. Came back out and went south.
Was struggling with the grass almost every cast. Was just about to go and managed to catch a 20 3/4-inch red on the 3-inch mullet in rootbeer at 9:34am. Worked south a bit longer, but no more strikes. It was so bad I contemplated going across the road and putting in the river to get a break from the wind and grass. Decided to keep trying. Went up in Big Pass. Water was really low now. Picked up a 14-inch trout on the spook at 11:49pm. Clouds rolled in and it began to rain. Picked up an 18-inch snook on the spook on a point inside Big Pass at 12:42pm.
Launched with Phil in UTB at 6:45am today. We headed over to a nearby oyster bar and Phil immediately hooked and landed an 18-inch red on the Spook Jr. in bone. No more strikes in this area so we went down to a nearby point. Phil’s spook got destroyed at 8am. After a tremendous fight I slipped an over slot red of 27 3/4 inches into the net.
We moved around the point into this shallow bay. It was alive with activity. Mullet were jumping everywhere and lots of bait fish were moving. Six minutes later Phil caught a small jack on the spook. I finally got on the board at 8:20am with a 20 1/2″ red on a skitterwalk that I sanded and re-painted gold. Phil got a 20 1/2-inch red on the spook just 3 minutes later. I picked up a 19-inch red at 9:05 am on the gold sw. At 9:26am I caught a 19 1/2-inch red on the sw.
Met up with a couple of buddies I hadn’t fished with in a while and decided to pick on some different fish. My buddy hooked a big trout on his first cast, went around 25 inches, then we worked our way around some flats. After getting some short trout and some 20-21 inch reds, we eased into an area I normally hit the big reds. They were home…but being picky! There was a decent size school, probably over 40-50 overslot or very upper slot, but just wouldn’t eat top water or jigs. I told my buddy if we switched it up to some bait we would get them.
Fished off the beach in my kayak today. The day started off pretty bad with really high seas, wind, and catfish on every drop with my sabiki. I managed to get a few greenbacks but I wasn’t getting anything on them and I went through like 4 sabikis because the catfish would get all tangled in them. Finally I got a good sized grunt and put it under a cork. A few minutes later, I see a tarpon airborne with my bait. Took me about 40 min to pull the fish in and it was a relatively small one – probably around 80 to 100 pounds? I’m not too sure about the weight but it was between 5 and 6 feet long. It went around my anchor line and my sabiki during the fight, I have no idea how I got untangled and landed it. Awesome fight and released safely.The best part was I got the whole thing on video…
We hit the south side of the 75 bridge first. I lost a small snook on 4 inch shadflash. There were tarpon rolling under the bridge, but couldn’t connect. Jeff hooked and landed a small snook. We went further up river and found a shade line in a little bay on the north side of the river. Jeff had a couple of good pops on the big spook in bone, but didn’t hook up. I lost a small snook on the spook jr.
We worked a long mangrove line near Redfish Point but had no luck
Went to my north side docks that have produced in the past. First cast under the last dock and I caught a small snook on the 4″ sf. We kept working docks and Jeff landed a small snook also on a paddle tail. Proceeded on down and we were probing under a dock thoroughly. Nothing. Made one more cast to the T of the dock and it got crushed. Set the hook on a good fish that went ballistic. She went out and then back for the dock. Kept her away and she made a great jump. Circled the boat and Jeff got her in the net. She measured 28.5 inches.
Pretty good day on the water fishing the hill tide at Anclote. We caught two redfish, 23.5 inches and 32 inches. My buddy Mike caught the bigger fish on cut ladyfish and I caught the slot fish on a live pilchard. FYI, the small black tips are thick, so you have to sift through them to get the reds and snook.
Launched out of Domino on the LMR today around 11:15am. Headed to the flat off LCRB. Still nothing happening there so I went back into LCRB. Fished back in there for the next 5+ hours. Worked mangrove islands, potholes and oyster bars. I did pretty well. All fish were caught on the 3 inch mullet in shadflash or the spook jr. in bone[...]
Finally got out of LCRB and went to the “guide” bank for some snook. Too windy and water was low. Went around the corner towards the back entrance to LCRB. Paralleling the mangroves with the spook in maybe 2-3′ of water. Getting near the entrance and my spook got crushed. The fish took off towards the mangroves and then came right back out. This fish had some power and was really putting me to the test. It was a good snook. She went under the boat and back out deep. After a great fight, I finally slipped her in the net at 6:50pm. She measured 30 1/4 inches and was extremely fat and healthy.
Yesterday, I went out to one of my trout/redfish spots and started throwing a spook jr since it was so cloudy. I caught several lower slot reds and some trout between 18 – 22 inches. It was low tide and when it started coming in, I was getting huge blow ups on topwater, seeing redfish starting to tail, and then some idiot in a inflatable boat ran his outboard right through the shallow flat I was fishing. I was pissed but I sucked it up and went to a steep drop off and started throwing 1/16th ounce jighead with a zman 5 inch shad tail. I twitched once and got slammed by something big. I was using a med/light rod and 3000 reel with 10 pound braid and 20 pound leader and almost went to the backing. After a nice fight, I pulled in this 36″ snook.
Todays charter landed two 39 inch snook and one 37 inch snook and lost another along the side of the boat. We have been catching them on the incoming tide along deep depressions and on points with rocks using white bait 4-6 inches in size. They have been feeding about an hour after the tide gets moving up to about 2 hours before high tide then they are cruising the mangroves and seem to settle in to looking at the baits. The trout have been around as well but they are in the lower limit of the slot with an occassional upper slot one thrown in. Get out and bend a rod as the cobia, mackerel are around to give you a great day on the water.
Planned on taking the kayaks out to a protected flat in St.Pete to hide from the wind. The overcast made it a perfect opportunity for a top-water day. RawDaws (Brian) and myself both started off with skitterwalks. We started out hitting some average/smaller trout and then I finally got a big blow up. After a nice fight landed my personal best top-water trout that measured right at 27″.
Went on to work around the mangroves – had a couple followers that pushed some very large wakes but all hit and misses…I believe they were reds but for some reason, they were having trouble connecting with the top-water…tried slowing it down, stopping , changing retrieve but no luck w red on top-water.
Got back to a nice cove and switched to a 1/16thoz jighead w/ a white zmann jerk shad. Second cast and I connected with a pretty overslot red. It put up a great fight with a couple impressive runs. Ended up right around 31″
Inspired by Cody’s recent beatdown that he put on the redfish over at Desoto, I decided to see if I could catch a few reds too. Fifty-three miles, $4.50 in tolls, $6 for ramp fee and an 1/8 of a tank of gas later, I made it to the launch. I put in at 12:30pm and headed over to Sawyer Key. I trolled over a pothole and at least 20 trout scattered. What I ended up doing during the day was circling Sawyer Key twice with a trek just north of there also. I mostly fished 1-5 feet in depth and focused on sandy areas with a decent grass mix whenever possible. I did work docks close by but had no luck on them. Water temp was 69-74 degrees. The weather was great and mullet were everywhere. This place was alive with activity[...]
Launched out of Wildcat Park today around 12:30pm. Water temp was 67-69 degrees and the wind was howling. Headed down to the big dock on the southside. Skipped under it with the 4 inch RT Mullet in smoke/gold halo. Got a strike on the first cast. It was a 14 1/4 inch rat red caught at 12:38pm. Went to the next dock but no strikes.
Down to the 75 bridge. Worked the pilings on the north side but no luck. Over to the south side. Worked one side and no strikes. Over to the other and threw out the same lure to parallel the pilings. Near the end of the cast and got a nice strike. Set the hook and a good snook broke the surface. Got her away from the pilings and she put up a great fight. Got her in the boat at 1:15pm. She measured 25 1/4 inches. Thought about taking a pic but too much of a hassle with the wind. It was brutal.
We drowned a handfull of already dead cut pins for about 10 minutess before the first rod went down. I was suprised to see 20 inch class Trout on the end instead of a Red. I’ve caught em on cut bait before I just wasn’t expecting it today. Suddenly it became a day of Trout fishing. Every few minutes a bait would get picked up and trout after trout came aboard. Decided it was time to get the girlfriend involved and had her grab the next rod to go down. It did and she did. A couple minutes later she had her first fish. It was a rather healthy 23″ Momma Gator; not a bad way to get into fishing I’d say[...]
Despite a little wind we had to get out and fish and break in the new boat. We loaded up on some shrimp and hit some spots for sheepshead. This time of year I love to target sheepshead and what a great battle they are on light tackle. Make sure you get plenty of shrimp, today two of us went through 15 dozen shrimp and ran out with fish eating. We started out on the incoming tide and work a line of docks. I like to get in the tower and just crews the docks spotting the fish and then just head back at the beging and target the docks with fish. We had pretty good luck and had a dozen nice fish in about a hour.
Jeremy came down for a day of fishing for some gators and maybe reds. After a very late start, we arrive to have the area all to ourselves- a rarity. I hook up with something that was fighting unlike anything I’ve ever hooked before. I then see why. It’s no fish but a little sea turtle. A few quick pics and a unhook and back he goes. We proceeded to tear into trout between 21-25 inches for about 2 hours. I lost a fish that might have been the biggest trout I’ve ever had. It was a monster.
With the warm weather we might have been able to get bait somewhere closer but I would rather head to the Skyway where I know I can get it 100%. After anchoring and getting set up just a couple tosses of the net and my 30 Gal well was full. We decided to hit Piney Point on the way back up to Cockroach. We fished there for about 30 minutes but there was no signs of bait, fish, mullet, or any life at all so we decided to head more North and hit the Cockroach flats. The tide was – 0.6 so there was hardly any water on the flats. Josh didn’t want to push his boat so he waded the outside bar while I pushed my boat through the real skinny parts and over the bar. I was looking for potholes and wakes. I saw some movement about 100 yards away and quietly headed that way. When I got within casting distance I anchored and threw out 2 bats of chummers. The were getting chased and I knew it was game on. I had a bait out for about 30 seconds and my drag starts to scream[...]”
First stop was a small cut near the mouth I did pretty well on last week and got set up. Cranked a couple baits of chummers and they were getting popped. First bait in the water gets hit within 15 seconds, a snook around the 18 inch range. As I release him Dave hooks up on an 18 inch red. Within 2 minutes of fishing we are 2/3 the way of a boat slam. All the fish caught today were in the 16-24 inch range. I think we need some cold weather to push more of the bigger ones back in the river. We caught 6 or so fish (reds and snook) at the first spot and decided to push up river. We anchored up on the second spot and started chumming. I get a snook on the first bait[...]”
“Got on the water around 7 launching out of Gandy with a buddy. Loaded up pretty good on bait- some fat snook size whitebait, tons of little threads, and a couple dozen pins. Made a stop just north of the Howard Frankland and got a 23″ snook, a couple keeper size trout, and a rat red.
Looking for some more consistent action we moved to UTB, weaved our way through a maze of boats fishing the same area as we scouted for fish. Throwing some chummers as we went, we pulled on to an area where I started to see some fish. Next 2 hours were pretty steady- with the first 30-45 mins being non stop. Between the two of us we got 4 snook 30″ or better, a bunch in the low 20′s, and 10 or so rat reds. [...]”
“Mike busted up like 4 fat fish all within 20 mins or so. I caught a few myself with one being a real stud that came home for some blackened redfish. All fish were beautiful slot fish 24-26 except Mike getting one at 27 1/2. With a few 24′s in the mix as well. Only caught 1 rat which was nice! Plus all fish are fighting at least twice as hard now that the water temp has dropped. I love cold weather redfish! [...]”
Took Mike out on the skiff today hoping to get on some afternoon reds during the low tide. Well the sun wasn’t cooperating so no sight fishing. We picked up a few reds right off the bat, then we made a big move. At the next spot it was kinda slow, spotted a huge black drum just roaming around the flats but he wasn’t eating. Caught a few trout and snook along with a little red and made another move across the bay [...]
Being that I am known as a gator trout specialist, I’d like to throw some reds up for your viewing pleasure. Two came on the spook Jr. Clown, pinfish color, and one on the DOA paddle tail, bream color. Leader was 20 pound flour with 10 pound braid main line. It was Capt. Chris Hanna, his girlfriend Christina, and myself [...]
The weather looked ok for Thursday so I planned on throwing some artificials under the John’s Pass bridge and then hit a near shore reef to look for some snaps. The water was really dirty so the bridge didnt look so promising but I tried anyhow.Second cast using a 5-inch swimbait a tarpon eats it and makes some decent runs then a couple jumps and then he throws the hook next to the boat [...]
From the end of July up until last week I had good action (didn’t get skunked) each time I waded out from the beach at Pass-A-Grille. Go early, first light til about 10:30 a.m., or in the evening 7:30 p.m through sunset. Netted some greenies then chummed the outer sandbar in about waist deep water and hold on tight; trout, reds, snook, mackerel, blacktips, and of course the ladyfish [...]
We left out of Simmons Park looking to fish some reefs for grouper and snapper. We loaded up on threadfins that we used for cut bait and found a few mangos and macks, and a LOT of sharks. The gags did not want to play. We tried moving to some nearby wrecks but there were already boats anchored on them [...]
Got a call from a friend that wanted to give inshore fishing a shot. I told him I had a full boat but if he wanted to bring his we could hit the flats together. We loaded up with shrimp at Southshore Bait and Tackle. The shrimp were pitifully small ( 2″ was a big one ). We launched at CRB at 5:15 A.M. [...]
Launched out of CRB at 6:15 a.m. yesterday with Dave (stormy). I had not done much fishing south of CRB so that was the plan. The noseeums are vicious at the ramp in the AM and then the mosquitos joined in at dark so have your repellent handy. We went out to the farthest mangrove point on the left and headed south along the shoreline. I started with the Spook Jr. in bone of course and Dave with the DOA chugger. It was overcast/cloudy and the sun only came out for a bit during the entire day. Conditions were ideal for a topwater bite [...]
Decided to head back down to the Peace River yesterday with Dave (stormy). Launched out of Harbour Heights ramp at 6:20 a.m. I started off with the Spook Jr. in bone and Dave was throwing a DOA with a chugger head attached. We proceed over to the grassy points near the ramp, but no luck. Down to the little mangrove island at the mouth of Whidden Bay. Gave Dave first shot at the point of this island and he put it right on the money [...]
The redfish action continues to be strong with slot to oversized fish being caught around the Tampa Bay area. They are being caught on everything from top water lures, jigs, spoons, live bait and cut bait. If you can get upwind from them and drift in and set up this will leave them comfortable and willing to feed. With the wind at your back you will be able to make longer casts so that you can stay further away from the fish and catch more of them [...]
Launched out of Bishop’s Harbor with Dave (stormy) at 6:45am on Saturday. I had been there before with Hondo and Secret Spot and thought I would give it a try with Dave. The water temp was right at 80 degrees. The tide was incoming for a few hours, then kind of flat with a strong outgoing later. We eased out towards the mouth and the mullet were everywhere. We came up on a point with mullet jumping all around it. On my second cast with the Spook Jr in bone, my lure got crushed [...]
My buddy josh and I launched at Cockroach Bay at 5:15 A.M. We didn’t want to mess around looking for bait and it was still dark so we decided to run to the Skyway. We loaded both wells with whitebait and took off. We eased off the throttle as we hit the no wake zone as the sun was coming up. We anchor up along the mangroves and sling out some chummers [...]
Launched at Harbour Heights boat ramp at 6:30am yesterday with Dave (stormy). We were going to target boat docks again to see if we could duplicate our efforts from our last trip there. The fog was as thick as pea soup on the river. We went over to work the grassy area and island adjacent to the ramp. The water temp was 80 degrees and the tide was outgoing.
Few pics from the other night. Basically how the last month has been. Snook bite has been solid day or night, and talk about quality fish this year. Bull reds hit or miss, tide and moon dependant. Few studs the other night but wasnt an all out blitz. As far as snook we still have a few good groups inside, but most have made their way out to the beaches and are chewing rather well on the right tides. Grunts, pins, cut lady, greenies and a few select other baits have been hard to beat. Should only get better over the next month.
Dave (Stormy) was going through snook withdrawal so I thought I might be able to put him on some snook if we took a bit of a drive. We headed down to the Peace River to work some docks. We launched at Harbour Heights boat ramp around 7am. The water temp was about 80 degrees with a high of 85 in areas. It was to be a slow incoming tide all day. We worked the mouth of Whidden Bay and the nearby island with no luck. We headed down river to a cut into the Shell Creek area [...]
Spent a week down near IRB for my daughters wedding and a little RR with some beach fishing to boot. Kinda’ slow on the beach, only saw a handful of snook and a little bait was cruising around. We ended up fishing some causeways, inlets and beaches. Caught sharks, ladyfish, trout, snook and jacks as well as the usual beach-time residents. Thanks to the guys at DogFish for telling me where the trout and snook were hiding.
After a long week of testing at school all I wanted to do was get outside and on the water. Came home around 2:30pm, called up a fishing buddy, and were off. It was the end of the outgoing tide and middle of the afternoon…. not too great for fishing but we have a spot for that type of situation. Nearly dry flat with a sandbar and drop-off near a main channel [...]
Yesterday me and my dad hit the bay early, and the wind was blowing hard out of the North. Water temp around Gandy was a little above 74, and we had the 2 tide day with a tide slowly coming in all day. I had 4 blue crabs so we hit the Gandy Bridge first thing. It was pretty dang rough under that bridge with the wind and the smoke coming from up North made it more of a crazy morning. My dad made the first cast and was hooked up within seconds and the fight was on. After a a nice fight the big Black Drum was in the boat [...]
Hit the kings about 5 to 7 miles off, early in the morning got hits on blue runners and greenies. A lot of Spanish Mackerel floated one out for bait on a balloon but no takers. Wind picked up and then headed in back to the flats to hook into some reds. Caught some great size reds. Overall great day.
Hit the bay early today around 6:30 a.m. and I was on my way to my first spot. Paddled out to a mudflat near some spoil islands and started throwing a topwater, first cast I get a huge blowup but whatever it was missed. After that all I was doing was atrracting a bunch of pesky ladyfish…those things seem to be everywhere. I moved out more to a grass bed in some deep water and started to drift, again the ladyfish are bashing my lure every cast but when it did make it to the bottom I hooked up with a nice trout, nothing big just 15-16 inch fish [...]
My buddy and I hit the skyway early to load up on bait this am. Bait was everywhere, and there were tarpon under just about every light lurking around. First we waded docks in the river and scored a few trout 18-24 and I got a flounder around 15 ish. We picked a few snooklets up then we relocated to Palma Sola where we each scored a decent redfish. I also picked up my personal best trout that went 29 inches [...]
Today was another amazing day on Tampa Bay. Bait is really thick now, just about all the flats I checked today are loaded. After loading up on White Bait my son and I hit a couple spots just south of Gandy and we had a awesome bite. The Trout bite was sick, all fish were were just fat pigs in the 18″ to a nice 23″ Gator that my son “HRM” caught. We both hit a couple nice reds and we just need a couple snook for the slam [...]
Got up early Friday morning to drive to the Peace River. Got to the Harbour Heights Boat Ramp around 7am, which was just over 90 miles from the house. This ramp was very easy to find and within a couple of miles of I-75. Great ramp for small to mid-size boats. Normally you pay per hour for parking there at $.75 per hour. The machine wasn’t working and had a plastic bag around it so didn’t have to pay. Sweet! [...]
Today we went out for a few hours. Bait is so thick and easy right now, I love White Bait! We nailed some nice over slot Reds pushing the 29″ mark, and a couple Snook ate. Not bad for a afternoon trip [...]
Now that bait is showing up we hit a couple spots for snook and nailed a couple nice fish on Tampa Bay. Thats my grandad , my dad, and my son. I nailed a nice fat pig and she put up a great fight. It was great having 4 generations on the boat. I love white bait!
I went out and found the oldest sailboat I could find this morning covered in barnacles, tossed some crabs at em and they were hungry. Didnt get weights on em but yeilded some nice fillets. Once again free lined oyster crabs did the trick.[...]
Somebody pinch me! My calendar says its mid winter but it feels more like spring! Temperatures in the low 80’s with barely any wind is making for true Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce weather. With afternoon water temperatures at 67 degrees on lower Tampa Bay the flats continue alive with action. My clients today Garry aka Larry and his wife Rosalyn from Alabama were treated to some amazing sights [...]
>Recent fishing reports from “No Motor Zone” anglers from all regions around the state.
Kayak Fishing Yankeetown
Florida Sportsman member: TideUp
I ended up finding a beautiful shell flat that produced big time. There were small schools of black drum and sheepshead everywhere just waving their tails at me asking for a precise cast! I ended up catching more black drum than I wanted but managed to dodge a few to find some nice sheepies.
Within 10 minutes one of Robs clients hooks up on a sail and it was off to the races. while they played with that I managed to lose 3 jigs to to cutoffs. I finally started jigging up some small blackfins.
Fished this am with Mapache Mike in Government Cut. No bait pods, luckily I brought some mullet for us. We landed a couple snook in quick order at the mouth of the inlet. He had to take off so I decided to escape the sharks and slow troll a hog leg mullet down the beach.
I was drifting 2 live goggle eyes near the skycliff when the rainbow runners hit both my baits simultaneously. I was lucky to land the smaller one, then grab the other rod out of the holder and land the bigger one that had hooked itself.
I love the small Ribbit frogs, black or green in color and using 6/0 Owner hooks for them. Small frog, big hook, this allows the Snakehead to take the whole frog and increases the chances of hooking them to about 75 percent.
After 30 minutes, right before slack tide was there my line went tight and I started fighting a big fish. My target was tarpon so I was thinking TARPON! But since it didn’t jump I knew it was a big snook.
We paddled out to our first spot around 9:30 to simply catch a couple rats and get equipment tuned in for later spots. My first cast with the spoon landed a little red so I knew it was going to be a productive day.
We took a break out near Pelican Island, when on the way back to our launch point, my live bait rod starts screaming. He immediately starts yelling shark, we were pleasantly surprised as this is my biggest snook yet from a kayak which measured 37 inches.
The weatherman was wrong. Wind was blowing and the waves were pounding. About to call it a day till rob says “I got a plan B”. So off to his spot and sure enough it paid off. I got a nice 40″ snook that was a fatty and rob hooked up but the hook pulled on what I think was a tarpon.
At deep color, I could see it was a long slender bluish silver fish, and since I was out beyond normal kingfish territory, anticipation of a wahoo was high. About 10 minutes later she was on the gaff, 53 inches and 32 pounds! It was a total rush!
Weeds were a huge issue today with live baiting so i decided to set up shop and spool the baits out so they wouldn’t get weeded as bad. I’ve found this tactic to be extremely effect in the morning hours when the fish are aggressively feeding.
I use the yak to get close, very quietly, then slip out and wade to the fish. Makes it a lot easier to make a good presentation to the fish with a fly, especially in this wind. The fish were hungry and aggressive. I only spooked 1 or 2 with the line.
I made a couple more passes through the area having many strikes, wakes, and blow ups but no connections. Finally connected with a solid fish around that pulled me around and gave my stradic 3000 and 10 pound braid a good workout.
We set out in a southeasterly direction at sunrise and stopped in 150 feet of water. As soon as we stopped my live bait rod gets slammed. It ends up being my biggest kingfish of the day. Within 5 minutes Suede lands a kingfish that could be the twin to mine.
Found no shortage of baby tarpon feeding up in the shadows of the mangrove overhangs and culvert outflows. I caught lots of these little guys on both spin and on the 8wt on these small minnow patterns I have been tying, and on my new favorite lure I decided to try randomly, the Vudu shrimp.
We made a trip to Matlacha with big hopes of tarpon. They laughed around all around us most of the day. We even got a close up look at one that was sniffing around shallow waters. He seemed so intensely focused on the grass bed he didn’t notice that he came within a few feet of our kayaks.
I was losing line fast, so I started pedaling to chase him down. The fish came to the surface and circled about 15 feet away. I saw the unmistakably tiger stripes and my adrenaline skyrocketed! The wahoo made a deep run and I slowly worked him up tail wrapped. After about 40 minutes, I gaffed him and brought him up.
So far I have got over 10 snook over the 38 inch mark. All fish were caught in Boynton Spillway after sun down. All this rain has got the water moving pretty fast through the flood gates and it really heats up the bite.
My yak buddy made his way over to a deeper spot and hooked into multiple redfish and gave me a call to move on in. After landing his 4th fish, I failed to get a single hit with any of my lures; he continued to catch and release over the next hour.
Early on we trolled to 180 feet and found some scattered weeds and stuff was going on here and there. After some drops we decided to move to 220 feet and Gio calls out fish on! Some time later Gio calls a king and we get together to gaff it and bring the catch in my bag.
My top water plug was getting crushed just about every throw. Best fish of the day was a 39 inch snook. Caught lots of snook and trout and one redfish to complete the inshore slam. The biggest trout was 25 inches. Released everything except the big trout.
So I send the bait out while thinking how pissed I’m going to be when I lose another fish, I was in that mood. Well before I know it, a sail is cat walking right at me and I see my line slack, Fish on!
Anyways, found a nice north stream between 250 to 300 feet, and began jigging between those depths only. I couldn’t capture on film the first couple minutes of the long run. I was busy just trying to keep my focus on having a good hookset. I thought I lost the fish, as he began to swim toward me. That’s where the short video clip begins
I decided to start taking length and girth measurements of my tarpon so I could better calibrate my eye when judging weights of fish. I haven’t measured a fish in so long, I wasn’t sure if I was accurately judging weights.
My lure gets inhaled, I set the hook, and a 50 pound tarpon erupts. It’s not even light out yet, welcome to Flamingo! After the initial jump it stays in the water and ends up just dragging me along the shoreline towing me like I’m not even there. After getting drug back a half mile the way I came I put too much pressure on my 20 pound braid and broke him off.
Next it was my turn. As I sat and watched I noticed a small pod of tarpon feeding on some bait up against the mangrove shoreline. I through my Riptide Flats Chub past the pod and started to quickly retrieve it. I was immediately rewarded with an aerial display of another juvenile tarpon.
I quickly threw the goggle eye back in the bucket and began fighting. After about 10 minutes with several gaff misses, I quickly realized that it’s time for a longer gaff. I finally got it which ended up being a nice 42 inch king, my personal best.
We head to deeper water and continue jigging and drifting. I hook up to something big until it breaks my 30 pound test line. Seconds later my gog gets smoked in 180 feet. Nice blackfin in the boat after a short fight.
I casted my line out and let it sit for a second while I took a sip of my beverage and BOOM not even 5 minutes I was hooked up to the biggest fish I’ve caught to date unknowingly. The drag was screaming like no other. I set it as tight and possible without there being too much tension for my line to break.
A large shark (likely) did wind up eating a ladyfish half Drew was drifting, he started getting towed but as he added some pressure it broke off. At around 10:30 we decided to head over to the bridge. I caught a nice 6 pound flounder (my biggest) right away but then besides ladyfish and jacks that was really it for a long while.
Finally got my new Predator wet off the beach for a little tarpon fishing. I’ve been watching guys get dragged around for years and finally got my chance. I had a bunch of shots throughout the morning and finally got one to eat a whitebait around 9:30. It was quite a ride.
then got into a few schools that were interested, caught 6 reds up to 32 inches on Gulp!, jerk baits, and live mullet. Also saw several tarpon and hooked up to at least 8 or 9 times with no success but then i finally landed one! Also caught a few trout to complete a not so common slam for me.
We head out straight east and deploy our gogs at 80 feet. We make it to 250-ish and I hear my drag pull a little. I look at it again and it pulls a little more. Just as I’m about to pick it up I see a monster sailfish leap 30 yards away and my drag goes off. 30 to40 minutes later I have a huge sail in my lap.
Had a great time with a getaway to the Emerald Coast for opening of Snapper Season. First day went 4 for 4 on snapper (kept 2) and 1 for 1 on kings. Really surprised we didn’t get into more kings that day. Second day caught a short gag, 2 short red snapper, 1 vermilion snapper, and a king.
I spent the night at my buddy Stan’s place Sunday night. Woke up early to fish the Indian River at Hutchinson Island with Stan and his girlfriend Tammy. Conditions were good with winds out of the East from 5 to 15 knots and a wind ripple in the water. Caught my biggest trout to date-27 3/4 inches long and a fat 6 pounds.
I pull up my park n pole and prepare for the sleigh ride! 5 minutes go by with this fish tearing off 20 pound braid and dragging my loaded down pro angler no problem, I gain a little bit of line and finally get a glimpse of the fish as it breaks the surface in the distance. Those red scales shimmering in the sun gave it away and I immediately knew this was a solid bull red! Needless to say at this point I am grinning ear to ear as this is why we came here.
Managed to land a small snook and a 24 inch keeper red before having to take cover from the lightning for a couple of hours. After the storms faded, high tide approached and I began working the mangroves with the live target scaled sardine.
Trolled for a little over an hour and had the pleasant surprise of having a 10 foot hammerhead circle my kayak a couple times before he decided to destroy my flat line and take me for a sleigh ride for a few minutes. Thankfully the line snapped before he spooled me. Peddled out to 150 feet where I saw some weeds, was there no longer than 2 minutes and my last blue runner gets inhaled by a big dolly.
Forum member and contributing writer palmbeachpete shared his recent trip to the Bahamas while fishing in the extreme kayak and paddle board tournament. A lot of nice fish caught and looked to be a great time had by all!
As soon as we reached our first spot, we both hooked up to bonitos right away. Not what we wanted, but still an ice breaker on the jigs. After getting in our workout on those bonitos, Jason landed a small AJ for the smoker and an African Pompano. No BFT’s in these shallower waters. We averaged 225 feet or less depth throughout the day.
Headed north for the first time ever in the yak. Did a Boynton to WPB drift with Eric and the bite was good all day. I got 3 dolphin, he got 2 and they were decent size! Eric also snagged an AJ and jumped a sail a few times. Awesome day on the water and glad to get back out on the yak and get some fish.
Got another runner, then a few drops later I felt something a little larger. Got it about 60 feet off the bottom and it suddenly realized it was hooked, and drag started peeling out straight down. Finally pulled up a 28 pound amberjack after about 15 minutes. I went back to the rest of the group and took them back to the Tenneco, and I got a 22 inch mutton and what looks like a charcoal variant of a blue runner.
While Rob spent most of the day trying to effectively deploy a fly for a Snakehead to eat, I had many opportunities to seal the deal and uncharacteristically missed more hook sets than I’m proud to admit, not sure what it was today. All in all, managed to land a solid 28 inch 5 to 6 pound Snake, another medium one around 2.5 pound and a baby which was released.
Assumed that this was my tournament hopes down the drain, and made my way back to the truck, but after a 17 mile round trip and 6 hours of fishing time, my little dink trout proved enough to secure the victory! Brought it home despite the stiff competition of 175 other competitors, with a good number of them in skiffs. Proof positive you can go out and be successful with just the bare minimum!
After getting beat up on the wreck I headed out to see if the tuna bite would be on as it got later in the day and as soon as I got to 240 feet they were jumping everywhere. landed 5 out of 6 in 20 minutes CASTING the same 60 glow jig and ripping it on the surface. The last tuna I jigged up in 300 feet. A fun and action filled afternoon!
High tide peaked at 6:00PM so I placed my yak into one of the passes and waited for the big drain to start. At 6:01PM one of my trolling rods with a clear gold speckled DOA shrimp gets hit hard and after a decent fight I pull in a 24 inch gator trout.
There were no tails to be seen anywhere but we pushed through and eventually found the Reds munching but fully submerged. I was able to hook up to this beautiful spotless Red that finally allowed me to try my Abu Garcia Revo Inshore bait caster. What a fight it gave me. We each hooked Sharks and lost them. Oh well.
As fortune would have it, there was a small school pushing right towards me that I would’ve never seen except that the sun was at just the right angle, and though they weren’t making a wake, there was just enough of a disturbance to “bend” the reflection on the water a slight bit. At first I thought it was a slight breeze kicking up, but it soon became apparent what it was.
Our plan was to go to Googe Island and work all the back mangrove Islands on the way. We watched bait being attacked by pelicans and a lot of mullet action in deeper holes. We set up on the outside of the holes and would cast in Jig heads with live shrimp and bump the bottom. It didn’t take long to hook up on the Reds. Great day out with the family.
Inshore the trout bite has been picking up along with a few decent snook recently, haven’t been able to get into any reds except for a couple rats though. Last offshore trip I hooked into my first sailfish, went for a sleigh ride for 5 minutes but unfortunately the Sail wore through my line after a couple water walking jumps.
We started our final run back to the creek mouth and continued to work the grass edges, sand holes and oyster bars which resulted in a lot of small reds and trout. As we made it back to the channel I cast into a deep cut and thought I had snagged a rock with my LT greenie. The rock started moving and I knew it would be the biggest fish of the day. After a nice fight, this beauty made my day at 26 inches and 7 pounds.
Total tally was 6 Largemouths, one was 19 inches, two others were 17 inches, I estimate the 19 incher to be around 4-5 pounds. All caught on 6/0 Gamakatsu worm hooks and a variation of Gambler Cane and Zoom toads. Nothing better than topwater action.
Another beautiful day on the water, lost my gaff in the morning to two big waves that hit me bad and after that it wasn’t there any more. Did end up catching a nice spanish mackerel and a nice dolphin though.
Was about to call it and then a big beast latched on to my lure in around 25 feet. This is one of the two biggest fish I have ever caught from my kayak. I tail grabbed it into the yak and then had to paddle (couldn’t peddle with the tail up around my neck and the head blocking the peddles) over to shore to measure and photograph. I measured as best I could with it in the Hobie and wound up with somewhere around 43 inches.
We went 2 for 7 on tarpon from 80 pounds to the one pictured. It ate a Hogy 10 inch Original Series fished on a 6/0 Soft Circle Hook. 50 pound Power Pro Slick, 80 pound Mono leader, Sustain FG 10,000 on a Sewell Custom 8 foot Tarpon Rod. The fight lasted about 35 minutes and spanned close to a mile from start to finish.
After not getting any more bites and the wind starting to pick up and make it hard to jig in place, I switched back to trolling a live gog. About 10 minutes into paddling the rip, way out I saw my first sail come leaping out the water. Rob made it there in time to snap a photo of the landing which went off pretty well for my first time.
About 6 minutes into the hunt I spot a big fish gingerly patrolling the outer edges of shallow mud bank and I fire off a cast about ten feet in front of her. She’s slowly moving right towards my DOA shrimp and I leave it lie motionless on the bottom until she’s about 2 feet away and then I just slowly raise the rod tip causing the shrimp to “pop” off the bottom and she bulldogs it, fish on!
Before the sun was up high enough to sight fish, I was firing topwater and had a fish clobber a skitterwalk up shallow. he choked it and pulled some drag for me, came out to 27 inches. Once the sun came up it was game on, ended up picking one fish off on fly that was laid up on a mangrove shoreline and one on spin off of a flat. both fish being sub slot but were fun watching the eat and the fight when they’re shallow.
First Dolphin of the day was around 8:15am on a live runner in 225 feet on a weed line using my Avet LX and 20 pound mono. Notice the scars all over its tail. The tax collector tried to swoop in and steal my catch, however it was not your usual man in the grey suit but a monster barracuda.
Needless to say their was a good bite out there today before the front moved in. Bait was thick in 190 to 220 feet. Weedline running NNE in the same depth. Salvaged the day with this king that skied on a dead tunny with the tail cut off on a stinger rig trolling it in, 39 inches to the fork.
The seas were building and I made the decision to set my lines in a trolling spread and set an east course to do a large loop back to shore under sail. After my course changed back to west, I got a knock down on my starboard plug. It made a few good runs on my Penn 5500 and then in the kayak came my first blackfin tuna ever!
Boom! Again, but this time it felt deferent, it felt like a big fish! There it goes! My first Wahoo. I was impressed how fast this fish runs! I’ve never seen my drag going so fast. Definitely a unforgettable adventure!
Between Dave and I we spotted over 15 Reds, some we casted with both soft baits and topwater plugs and had no luck, we were able to land 2 solid slot Reds, and a couple missed my topwater plug. We safely released all, I didn’t feel like cleaning fish today.
Fun time out with my girlfriend on a windy day. Caught a nice trout on my D.O.A. shrimp within 10 minutes of throwing the anchor, this guy made for some amazing trout tacos! Caught another 4 trout that day with 3 out of 5 being over 18 inches.
Began the day throwing DOA CALs in the copper crush color and ended up changing to the dark green Bream color after blowing out a few cruising fish and that did the trick! First fish of the day ended up being a bit over 27 inches.
Started the day poling and sight casting in the lee of spoil islands only finding 1 slot red, casting to him with the fly rod, and have him follow it right to the yak before deciding not to eat it! Moved on and threw DOA jigs around some culverts and pulled what I thought was a decent snook, ended up being a solid trout!
Hit up Dania a little late this morning, no bait and peddled out into some face slapping slop. After a few drops landed a decent sized almaco then the biggest blue runner I ever caught. Moved out a little deeper, dropped the jig and fish on! After my sleigh ride up comes some stripes, wahoo baby!
I haven’t posted on here in awhile so thought I’d contribute. The past 2 days, I’ve hit up barrier islands in the Intracoastal Water Way in my kayak looking for reds and gator trout. Didn’t catch any real gators but got lots and lots of redfish all on topwater, z man paddlerz, and manic shrimp.
Lost a couple big ones due to leader fray. 80 pound was always plenty on a rod and reel but for some reason it’s not enough with the hand line. Anyways, live mullet were the ticket, trolled and free lined pretty much anywhere near the beach.
Click link to watch the video of this mayhem unfold
Aside from getting out and surprisingly sinking into muck above my knees my morning was rather uneventful. As we finished our trek from the no motor zone to open water I casted my DOA CAL, red and gold jerk bait into a deep channel. After a few twitches I got trucked. it didn’t feel like any inshore species I’ve fought before. When it broke the surface I was surprised to see the crusty camo of my first inshore Goliath.
I was throwing a topwater and when it came up next to my Pro Angler a big trout came out of the water on it, but threw it. I dropped it right back and he nailed it again. I had him this time! After a nice little fight I brought it up and lipped him. It measured out at 25 inches which is definitely me biggest trout in Matlacha to date.
I was working a lure in about 4 feet of water when it gets crushed and line starts screaming toward the mangroves. Managed to keep her out of the roots and forced her back to deep water. Maybe it was karma for letting the other one go but this one was 34 inches and a fatty!
He heads away from the docks and is all tuckered out. I feel him give up and now it’s just a matter of hauling him in. As he nears the yak, he heads underneath it and somehow I managed to pull a ninja spin around the stern of the kayak and get him to the other side. That’s no tarpon, it’s a monster snook!
We ended up hitting the water at 6:45 and paddled out to 280 feet initially. My plan was to learn how to vertical jig since I never had tried it before but I also rigged up a goggle eye and threw it overboard. Started jigging in 280 feet and my buddy immediately hooks up with a decent Bonita. We decided to go into 260ft and I finally had my first hook up, after a couple minute fight on my 5000 series reel I’m surprised to see a nice 24 inch snapper.
Me and my friend Conrad Fiocca fished the IFA Kayak Tour event in Ruskin this past weekend. Prior to the captains meeting we had very poor prefishing results and on tournament day I decided to fish close to the hotel area. On tournament day we launched by the hotel and paddled out to immediately get into redfish and trout. We caught quite a few trout with the biggest being 18 inches. We paddled over to the redfish spot and we both caught a red within 10 minutes of getting there. We decided to continue to try and upgrade our reds. We both caught 4 or 5 more reds until we each had a 24-25 inch red. We looked around but then came back to our original spot, and Conrad decided to throw a rattle trap and ended up catching a 27-inch red!
Loaded the slayer up yesterday and took it on its first trip to the NMZ. Lunched at sunrise and the trout bite was good on top waters. Switched up to Z Mann swimmers and ended up landing two slot reds. Poled the while day standing on the seat in the high position with no problems. This yak in by far the best yak if been in for fishing the flats.
Fishing was good once again. Started the day with a nice trout. Later in the morning found some Reds in very shallow water and they were tailing. I managed to sneak up on a school and luckily the camera was on when one of them attacked. Had the wind pushing from behind with a small island of dead grass in front of me. One of the fish was facing the opposite way and allowed me to get real close without spooking him…. The other Redfish hit a Topwater lure. I ended the day with two Reds, a beefy Trout and a psycho Ladyfish
Port everglades wanted to show a little love to skunk and a boat almost ran his *** over . Bonita city out there, I managed a med almaco and a sail, I lost another sail about 30 min later hooked up on a jig that sail went crazy popped my leader then Threw the jig. Slow day but at least the bonita kept us busy.
Had a late start guys getting bait at 15th st. We didn’t make it offshore until about 8am, where I followed andy to about 250 feet. We scored a little pre-work out on some bonita and a small amberjack that Andy got. Being in the middle of the group, Andy wanted to go to 340 feet to look for any bit of current so I followed. We almost left but then I finally got a small football in. First Tuna Since November! Andy gets one a little bigger. A few minutes later I got slammed and went on a speedy sleigh ride. After a couple minutes, I’m thrilled to see black and gold rising from the deep and it wasn’t small either.
I have a nemesis living in bear cut that has made a fool of me quite a few times now. It’s a giant barracuda whose size I didn’t fully know until today. Over the past 7 months he has cut me off and wrapped me on pilings about 6 times. It’s always in the EXACT SAME spot, making me think it’s the same fish. Last time by the bridge I put 18″ of #5 wire on to avoid getting cut off. That wasn’t enough and he PWND me again!!! Today I was using a float with a good 3′ of wire and a live 12″ blue runner. I put the bait in the water momentarily to spin the yak around (25′ up current of his home) and immediately the beast swirled at the bait, missing on the first pass but bit my line above the cork and wire. He spun around, grabbed the bait and took off.
Being over in Europe, cruising the Med and crossing the Atlantic was cool and all but the whole time my mind was on the Indian River! Loaded the Slayer and hit the river to check continue where i left off before my departure. Hit up my Vero Beach backcountry spot twice last week with nuthing to show but a few small snook and one baby tarpon…
Decided to hit Round Island this afternoon and see if she would produce for me. Couldn’t find a trout anywhere, first fish was a mangrove on a topwater. Checked some spots in the mangroves for some baby tarpon and snook, but there were none to be found. Ended up getting on a good lane snapper bite out off some of the spoil islands by the ICW. Not the bite I was hoping for, but when everything else is slow you just roll with it.
Yesterday Marty Mood ( PA hillbilly) and I decided to get a quick last minute trip in. We ran into some big bulls in the shallows and they were hungry for some top waters! There is nothing like catching big reds in 2 feet of water. When they exploded on the topwaters it sounded like a whale breaching. The biggest red was my 41 incher that ate a one knocker spook.
Been trying to get an upgrade on my weehoo from early this summer and finally did. Had to weed though the sailfish and kings to get one. I lost a few fish over the last few weeks and went through changing different bait presentations and hook set-ups. The fish weighed 25 pounds, caught in 200 feet on a live gog off Boynton Beach.
We paddled towards the area where we saw the tarpon roll and my depth sounder screen lit up with large objects. A look over the side of the kayak revealed a couple dozen tarpon in the 70 pound to120 pound class lazily swimming 15 feet directly below me. I opted to bait my light 20 pound class kingfish rod knowing full well I would never land a fish; I just wanted to fight one on the light rod for a while. Suede was using an 8000 Battle spooled with 80 pound Power-Pro and an 80 pound fluorocarbon leader, fully intent on landing a tarpon.
I took my croaker out of the live-well and dropped it straight down over the pod of tarpon. The croaker made a futile attempt to swim away from the pod but a large tarpon rose from the school and inhaled the bite size fish. I set the hook and line started coming off of my reel. The fish didn’t make the usual instant jump; it just took off straight east. Within a few seconds I hear Suede’s drag screaming and one of the giants energetically leaped from the water just feet from my kayak. We had just doubled up on tarpon and complete chaos was enveloping the scene.
We made our way to one of drichards secret grouper spots(which I of course marked on my FF) and started dropping the jigs. after a couple drops I pull up an decent 10-pound gag. Shortly after, drichard hooks a small almaco that gets engulfed and then let go by a large grouper that rips all the scales off the little almaco. Later the same thing happens to me but this time the larger fish was hooked good. I tried my hardest to stop this thing from running down into the rocks but it was impossible, I almost got pulled over board. Doug was screaming that I had a monster grouper on and I was praying that my line didn’t snap.
Launched at 7am off of Ft. Lauderdale beach. The ocean looked like a sheet of ice. I tried multiple depths not getting anything on my go-to jigs. I also tried multiple depths trolling a few different lures. Turned out to be productive. Got a bonito, trigger, squirrel fish, remora… All trash. Decided to call it a day. Trolled an x-rap on the way in when I hooked up on this king around 130 feet.
Keeping an eye peeled out for storms, Damon, John, Sebastian, and I headed out of Delray to calm seas and clear skies. The current was low, somewhere between 1.5-2 knots so we started jigging on 180 feet. Everyone was getting on fish today and the AJ bite was intense. Later we hit 300 feet and then we got into the Tunas across from the Martini glass. We approached Boynton inlet as soon as a small twister touched down.
I Hit up Dania Beach and it was beautiful out. Flat sea’s, light wind & current, and tons of people going on the hunt for bugs. It was pretty fishy out, so I tossed the cast net from the Pa and loaded up on chum(small pilchards). On the way out I got slammed by a nice king, once we made our way to the desired depth I tossed out my gog and it got slammed, so of course I thought it was another king just bigger. Nope once I saw stripes I knew it was Mr hoo and he was coming to dinner.
Blazing Reels and I hit the sands of Delray Beach this morning before the crack of dawn. We were welcomed with the sight of calm winds and sea. We rush to get out on the water to enjoy the morning bite, so we headed south towards Boca to provide us a little drifting distance. We heard reports of the current picking up strong, but we found out there was none at all. We picked up some good sized Bonitas on the way out which helped us with a good warm up. Our first stop was in about 200 feet of water, we both dropped our jigs a few times and kept an eye on which way the current was flowing. I guess the fish were pretty hungry this morning because on one of my drops I got a double header. I first felt one big slam on my jig and then a few seconds later another big slam, but it was weird because it was going the opposite way.
I decided to try my luck on the grass flats just south of 195 this morning. Got on the water just as the sun was coming up with 3 dozen shrimp. I tried some topwater baits to start things off but only one small trout wanted to play. After 15 minutes, I switched to the go-to popping cork and it was non stop action from then on. I literally blew through all 3 dozen shrimp in about an hour. The majority of the trout were 16-18 inches, only had two little runt trout all day. Didn’t get any needlefish or cuda’s all day, and I was really surprised by that! The grovers were in full force too, caught 8 or 9 in the 6-10″ range. After I used all the shrimp and only got 2 that were just about 20″, I sabiki’d up some pinfish.
What a beautiful morning…. With a picture perfect sunrise, went out and found that I was the only kayak out there all morning. I just can’t get over how perfect the conditions were and yet there was nobody around. Fish were very active and the opportunities were numerous. Was somewhat disappointed that I ended up losing what would have been the biggest fish of the day. A beefy Red comes to the surface and aggressively snags the lure. Had the fish on for a good run and yet a minute later I am standing there wondering in complete disbelieve.
This past Wednesday, July 10th six of us chartered the “Fish Taxi” captained by Ryan Wagner out of the Salt Rock Grill for some off shore action. The targets would be grouper, AJ’s, snapper or just whatever was biting. Joining me would be my good friend Mark Watanabe, Rusty Driver, Rob Devore, Edward Ratanun and Tyler Peterson. Arriving before our schedule launch time of 7am, we quickly loaded the 32 foot Sabalos and made a short trip down the ICW, stopping just short of Johns Pass for fuel. Once done with that we headed out the pass for our 20 mile trip out into the Gulf.
So once in position we dropped our baits, which consisted of either cut or whole sardines and live pinfish and the fight, was on. One Red Grouper after another. You had to go through 20 or 30 short ones to get one that was legal to keep, that being larger than 20 inches.
We headed to A1A and began checking beach launches for acceptable surf, bait, and fish activity. We only had to hit a couple of cross-overs before we found an acceptable launch area. We launched to find widely scattered pogies and a few rolling tarpon ranging from just outside the surf to a quarter mile from shore. The water close to the surf was really muddy so we paddled until we found some clearer water and began drifting our baits. Almost immediately we began hooking up. I jumped a couple tarpon and caught some sharks on pigfish and mullet. Suede put out a jumbo mullet and had a tarpon chase it to the surface and leap completely out of the water trying to eat it, all this just feet from his kayak. Neither of us landed a tarpon first thing in the morning, but we had fun trying. Once the morning bite slowed we tried trolling some stingers and diving plugs out farther offshore. The only fish yielded was a huge bonito and a tiny barracuda.
Over the 4th of July holiday 3 friends got together to enjoy a day of fishing. Almost everyday has been a down pour but the early part of thursday was blue skies.
We headed out from one of our favorite spots. The over abundance of rain run off has turned much of our saltwater spot into fresh water so we needed to head further out to find fish. All 3 of us found snook as well as double digits of trout (not pictured). The snook were hungry all day feasting on DOA Shrimp, zara spook jrs, and skitter walk’s. The rain was held back for most of the day but we did finally get hammered by multiple storms. Though the storms did not break our spirit to continue to fish. We found a few snook on our way back. It was an amazing day in our back country
First time getting out since the big wahoo and fishing has slowed way down in the last few weeks. Went out after work Friday for an hour or so and managed a nice king and lost a big mutton right under the yak Saturday did a drift from port Everglades inlet to Pompano with a couple other guys Doug P, Rob and Andy. First time out of the inlet and it was fun to say the least. With the outgoing tide there was 4-6 foot rollers all the way out to 100 feet of water. Awesome scenery to start the morning though. Fishing was slow with a bunch of huge bonita caught as well as a handful of football bfts. I managed to pull up a small snowy grouper deep droppin in the 300 foot range which was a first for me. Also hooked up to a nice mahi maybe 15 pounds that shook the hook first jump. Also had a fun visit and a couple circles from mr hammerhead. Slow day but nice to get out on the water again
After monitoring extraordinary fluctuations in the evening’s weather forecast for St. Augustine, myself and Josh/WDE414 decided to load the Hobie’s and just go. We arrived at the Vilano ramp at around 17:30 and the conditions were excellent. Winds were light from the west and the current was slow and steady outgoing. The plan was to fish the Usina until at least nightfall and mainly drop Got-Cha’s and other heavier lead-heads around the deep spots. When we got to the bridge we quickly racked up multiple trashcan slams but both of us still had high hopes. When the tide was just about bottoming out I hooked-up and boated a 31.5 inch redfish. Shortly after that I was hooked up again to another redfish right around 31 inches. Josh caught some bluefish at around that time and kept one for the grill. I managed a keeper trout somewhere in there too that I threw on the ice. Right after dark fell and the tide switched, I managed a perfect 27 inch redfish that joined the trout on the menu tonight.
Joe Hector landed this fish, off Pompano on June 27. This bull dolphin was caught on a dead sardine, in 180 feet. Having no gaff did not cause to much of a problem until the fish got wrapped around the mirage drive. The angler Joe was with, Fred York, had to jump in and untangle the line. Joe then reached down, grabbed the fish and bear hugged it into the kayak. The fish weighed an estimated 30 plus pounds
Florida Sportsman member:Chuck D
Fished the Indian River today, and the water is DARK. Super brown, but the fish are there, and they still have to eat. Launched the kayaks at 5:30 to an overcast sunrise. Decided to give my ultralight a workout today, 4 to 10 pound Seagis with a 1000 Saros, 8 pound braid. We started throwing topwater plugs, and they started getting hit. Caught a lot of trout early, and hooked up with a nice red that came unglued on the zara spook jr. Looked for tails, saw none. Kept plugging away with topwater until it stopped working around 10 or 11 am. Started throwing a DOA CAL shad tail and caught a few more nice trout, and hooked up with the first red of the day trolling it behind me (and working it a little) while moving across the flat.The artificial bite slowed a bit after that, so we decided to deploy a few fresh mullet chunks out. Was throwing two lines out on the deeper section of the flat and the action started to heat up. First I nailed a 30 incher as a storm was passing and then we had a double hook up of slightly over 30 inch reds. I had to play these fish and chase them down to not get spooled on the light tackle, they all seemed to hit the bait on the light rod. Maybe because of the lighter leader I was using on it (20 pound floro). I finally get a screaming hit quickly after re-deploying baits, and the line is dumping off the little Saros 1000. In about 4 seconds I was starting to see the spool through the braid, as I was unhooking from my makeshift anchor (my paddle). I got free just in time and started to chase down this fish. I was trying to play it as best I could, and it was dragging me all over the place. My rod was doubled over, my drag was locked but still screaming, and I was very afraid something in the setup would break, possibly the rod. I see the huge tail, and know I’m in for a long fight.Finally the beast rolls over, and gives up. I applied boga grips and it was a caught fish.Revived very quickly, and off to spawn or whatever those big fish do.Thanks to user EasternGlow for help taking the pics! I’d post yours but I know some people may be wary of posting their photos online for the masses…
The Boynton Boys are definitely feeling the summer time, its when you have to catch 20 bonita’s before you catch anything worth wild. We had more pics for you all but one of are camera’s fell of the kayak while in transit probably due to us rushing to get into the cold a/c of vehicle and not checking the traps on the gear. Last Saturday Oarknot and I launched out of Delray Beach and drifted to Boynton and ended catching this little guy in about 300 feet deep with a Tormenter Jig. We have also been having some success with mutton snapper and some nice size reef donkeys. Since they dredged Delray Beach we haven’t seen any nice grouper…
Finally got a chance to head offshore again. The surf was a little sporty in the morning. A newbie in the parking lot asked if it was a good day to try his new kayak off the beach. It didn’t sound like he had much experience and just a 12 foot kayak, but I figured with an experienced hand like myself I could get him past the waves. I was wrong, he flipped twice in little waves that weren’t even breaking, so I advised him to practice in Whiskey Creek and launched myself out. Once the clouds moved on the seas died down to summer normal. Got a small bonito trolling around 110 feet, lost something on the jig at 120 and got a 2nd bigger bonito jigging. I then foul-hooked a juvenile african pompano and a tiny blowfish. Met forum member jcan and family on the paddle back, they at least got a couple of black-fin tunas for dinner. It’s still nice to get a bend in the rod, especially when you set the drag light so they pull some line.
Ft. Lauderdale Blackfin Tuna
Florida Sportsman Member: Captain Yak
Peddled out with no live bait. Just trolled a plug out to the deep waters and almost snagged a huge sea turtle. Was able to luckily get my line off the turtle without hooking him or putting him under any pressure. Got out to 140 feet and hooked up on a decent bonnie. Threw him back and went to 160 feet.
Immediately hooked up and this fish was a monster. Checking the time on my video, it took my drag for over a minute straight. As it got closer, I realized that I had a monster bonnie. Got him in, but he was so worn he didn’t make it back in the drink.
Switched up Jigs to get away from the bonito. On my second drop and I feel a light hit. I Set the hook and the fish is not really fighting. I get him to the surface and realize I have a jumbo blackfin tuna. I worked him real slow just before bringing him on the yak. He saved his fight for when I had him on board.
Launched at sunrise and headed out solo with some gogs swimmin happy in the livewell. Got out to 185 feet, not much current. I caught a few almacos on the jig and then my gog gets whacked. A few good runs and i land a nice 25 pound smoker king. Went out deeper in search of some dolphin and tuna where i found some nice weeds in 380 feet or so. Pulling up to the weeds a school of small dolphin start going crazy and at the same time my gog goes off. At first I though i had a schoolie but after it ran 400 yds off my reel i knew it was something serious! About an hour battle of tug-a-war I get a glimpse of the stripes! A few minutes later I sink the gaff in its head and struggle to pull her in the yak! weighed in at a little over 61 pounds
Loaded the Slayer 14.5 up around 11:30 and decided the day wasnt over just yet and that I would go check out a new backcountry spot up in north Ft Pierce. Got some lunch and killed some time while the hottest part of the day passed. Got to the launch spot and set off towards the spot. Got there and started exploring every inch of it with the super spook jr. Landed a baracuda and then my lure gets hit by something that instantly breaks the line, bummer my favorate lure is gone only 5 min in! I tie on a mirroLure topwater prop bait and continue on. I hook into what I thought was a snook, but turned out to be a nice Redfish! Gave a hell of a fight in a foot of water, trying to catch me in the mangroves the entire time.
Throw off a mangrove point and something big hits the lure but dosnt stick which sends the lure flying back at me and tangling my line on itself forcing me to retie. Retie the lure with 25 pound florocarbon this time instead of 20 and cast back to the same spot and it gets inhaled! I set the hook good, anticipating a big jump, but it doesnt jump. It heads straight for the Mangroves so i pull harder and then it jumps… a giant snook again!
Went out Saturday with friends Austin (fish4reds) and Tammy for a little recon during this “Brown Tide” craze everyone is talking about. Indeed, the water clarity is poor, and the water quality is suffering as well. But Mother Nature will always find a way to adapt.
The wind kept switching directions: South to South East to South West. Then all of a sudden, the wind stopped. Tons of mullet appeared, and more tails started popping up. Then I noticed these tails had spots all over them. These aren’t Reds, they are giant Trout! With slick glass calm conditions and within 40 feet from these tails, I grabbed my Slayer Lure SSB with a little Pro Cure Ladyfish Scent and pitched it past a few tails. Of course, the minute I stop paying attention I get thumped. Set the hook into what felt like a solid brick wall.
Switched it up a little bit today and launched further north than usual. Making our way out to blackfin country, I picked up a small one on my deep plug. Put him on ice and continued out. Two minutes later my shallow plug gets hit, I look back and see a cow in the air. My first thought is “cool, but she’s gonna pop off the trebles.” To my surprise she held on and I got her into the Hobie. I ended up with 5 blacks, mahi and few bonita.
I rolled out this morning to get a little time on the water, since I have to work an evening shift today. I had visions of landing another Cobia after seeing my boy’s slob from yesterday. Well, it didn’t take long. I had a 25 pound Cobia decide to hit my Yozuri deep diver after I got out past the second bar. Fought a short fight and had him yak side. Hit him with the gaff and he flips out doing the gator roll. In the process he slips off the gaff and bent out the treble on the lure and off he swam. I was livid. Cussing at no one for hours. Pulled up one trophy snapper on a spot, then moved to another pulling the only live bait I had, a big hardtail. Well somehow he wiggles off, so now I am stuck pulling nasty cigsicles I had. On the way to our famed Trigger hole I see some birds working the water pretty hard. I start heading that way when I notice an odd thump on the King rig
Met up today with Nick (ShallowWaterAssassin on the FS forum), launched and headed towards one of my favorite flats that has been producing lately. Found the mullet and we began working the schools with topwaters. No more than five minutes in, Nick gets a huge explosion on his topwater but it didn’t stick unfortunately. I finally get a nice hit but it didn’t stick, so I slowed the bait down and sure enough here comes a huge wake behind the bait. The bait gets nailed, fish on! The fish takes me on a nice little ride before I landed a slob redfish, measuring right at 29 inches. It probably would have measured at 30 inches if its tail wasn’t so chewed up.
I came up empty for the day but the wife got a few nice sized trout. Probably because I was paddling while she fished and napped. My buddy had no problem killing it with a few large reds(26″,28″), one 21 inch snook and a hand full of trout. Most of the fish were picked up along a newly explored path. Can’t wait to get out and explore more spots.
I located and purchased a Slayer 14.5. Picked the boat up yesterday and took it out this morning to hit up some of my favorite flats in Fort Fierce. Got on the water around 6:30 and paddled out to some mullet schools that were getting busted on by snook. Hooked and lost a fish on a super spook jr. but then I got one to stick. Landed the barely slot snook got some quick picture with it and the new yak. I was super pumped. Good way to break the Slayer in!
Another great morning. Sunny, wind was down, no Surf…Perfect! As soon as I got to 150 feet my gog gets slammed! I knew it was a “smoker” by the run it took. 20 minutes later when I got him to the yak I was in 300 feet! Heck of a fight. Decided to release him (hopefully someone catches him this weekend!) I estimated him to be about 30 to 35 pounds. Around 10:30 decided to call it a day ( never caught anything after 10:30 anyways ) When I got to 85 feet and my rod goes off again. This time I hear a big splash, so I’m thinking Sail…but knew quickly it was another “Smoker” when it ripped off 200 yards in a matter of a few seconds.
Hit up Pompano scouting for the tourney, meet up with Bobby and his old man and decided to head out together, it was a nice launch but I knew it was gonna get ugly fast. Meet up with Larrythelobsterman ( I think JetskiLarry is a better name) out in deeper water. As we made our way to my fav wreck, I noted a nice little rock pile and marked it. We made it to the wreck and first drop fish on Bobby hooks up as well. It was good fight and then my leader popped right at the knot . I switched rods and by the second drop I had fish on, tearing line off my reel had to palm it a few times[...]
Took the yak off Pompano since I’ve had good luck up there. Seas were less than 2 feet with a north breeze. Just past the third reef there was nice rip and I put a gog out. Saw a couple kings launch out of the water probably 5-10 feet in the air. Pretty awesome to see. I paddled that way and got bit. There was a sharp tug and then nothing… I opened the bail thinking it was a short strike and the fish would come back for the rest. After 10-15 seconds of nothing I reeled up the slack to find dead weight on the other end. There was no tug, no run, just dead weight. I didn’t even think it was a fish until I dragged it in 50 yards to the yak. Then the king took off and decided to fight.
Launched out of Pineland marina this morning and was in the rain right away. We started to get into trout just out of the marina using topwaters. The fish were nailing the unfair lures dawgwalker 110 in the pearl olive w/red head. Those bites were some of the most violent trout bites I have ever seen. I caught quite a few trout, and I even caught a 20 inch and a 22 inch trout right after each other. We moved towards the trees and started getting hits right away. We had a few nice reds explode on topwaters but couldn’t connect with any. Finally I had one boil on it right in front of my kayak and then it boiled again and inhaled the bait three feet in front of my kayak.
Launched in Boynton this morning anticipating to dodge storms throughout the day. To my surprise, I didn’t get a rain drop on me. I Worked a jig from 200-240 feet targeting areas that hold tuna this time of year. By the time I hit skycliff, I had 4 blackfins on ice and lost one sail to a break off. Soon after, forum member Blazing Reels comes out of the blue and decides to tag along for the rest of the day. We continued to work our jigs with good success. Blazing got on some mahi and lost a sail that hit his jig . By the end of the day I ended up with 14 blackfins…one at 18 pounds.
The plan was to head out to the 2nd color change and look for ling as we headed east. We dragged cigs hoping to pick up a smoker but no dice.
I decided to head out a little deeper and see if we could find any bottom to drop on. I drifted over some hard bottom and flipped my flounder jig and immidiately slammed. I was worried I had a jack cause it was kicking my tail. After about 7-8 minutes, I pulled a nice red up. I looked beneath him and there was the first ling of the day mixed in with this massive school of reds. I moved on trying to get back with the school when my other rod with the cig on started screaming. I first thought king but then realized it was probably another red. But with no head shakes my hopes were high it was a ling. After about 30 minutes I gaffed this guy. He weighed 27 pounds.
There was an all day feeding frenzy over the third reef stretching as far as the eye could see. Mostly bonito or little tunnys with some blue runners and mackerel mixed in. I had a goggle eye down deep that got crushed and cut off after a screaming run. The fish were keyed in on these little 1 inch baits (not sure what kind exactly) and paid no attention to my pilchards. Tried a couple top water baits with no bites til I tied on a Shimano Waxwing. I was hooking up every other cast with the waxwing. I kept looking for a blackfin tuna mixed in there somewhere but no takers. Still, it was fun to keep a tight line. Ended up with a small spanish mackerel and around a dozen of these guys.
I decided to try my luck on the grass flats just south of 195 this morning. Got on the water just as the sun was coming up with 3 dozen shrimp. Tried some topwater baits to start things off but only one small trout wanted to play. After 15 minutes I switched to the go-to popping cork and it was non stop action from then on. I literally blew through all 3 dozen shrimp in about an hour. The majority of the trout were 16-18 inches, only had two little runt trout all day. Didn’t get any needlefish or cuda’s all day, and I was really surprised by that! The grovers were in full force too, caught 8 or 9 in the 6-10 inch range. After I used all the shrimp and only got 2 that were just about 20 inches, I sabiki’d up some pinfish. Even caught a couple trout on the sabiki too. Using the palm size pinfish I caught with the sabiki I managed to get 3 trout over 20 inches, and lost one that was over 25 inches.
We met up when I got off work Sunday morning at a launch in the Placida/Gasparilla sound area. I had success here early in the week so we figured it would be worth a shot. I tried to offer as much input and knowledge as possible… stuff like “I’ve caught a redfish on this dock using this bait…” “Snook like to hang out there…” “a faster retrieve here gets more trout but if you slow it down…” It wound up paying off because within about an hour he had a decent slam including his biggest trout ever at 18 inches. My luck was almost non existent for most of the morning, as I caught a handful of trout with only one even being slot sized.
[...] I knew it was a snook right off the bat. It gave a nice headshake above the water and I realized it was a bit bigger fish. It was a perfect scenario, the fight started about 50 yards from the closest dock and about 25 yards from the closest submerged mangrove roots, so there wasn’t much chance of the fish getting in to anything and breaking me off. After a lot of drag screaming I got the fish to the side of the boat and asked my brother to come over and get a picture as I knew it would at least be competing for my biggest snook ever.
The meet-up turned out well, a lot of kayakers showed up. The weather was nasty! Wind was non-stop blowing from the SSE, and every bit of 3 to 5 feet. Hats off to everyone that stuck it out and continued to fish throughout the day. Those conditions do not make it easy to fish but some fish were caught. Congrats to kayakangler AKA Joe Kraatz with the biggest combo of the day (nice king and 31 pound AJ). We started fishing in 250 feet where the AJ was landed [...]
Got to the beach at sunrise and saw Rob there so we headed out together. He had his sail on the ocean kayak and damn does that thing haul. I dropped a gog out at 100 feet on the way out and 2 minutes later the drag starts to scream… After a 20 minute fight of drag screaming, I pull up a fat king. Rob headed out deep and landed a few small dolphin and a king. I stayed in, bouncing on the shallow wrecks in search of a cobia but just got a few almacos. Overall it was a slow day but it was nice to get out.
Beautiful flat goodness greeted me at the launch. Trolled a cig duster and a deep diver. No taps. Moved on to another spot and decided to drop down the tried and true flounder setup. Thumped the bottom once, and bam! It was on like donkey kong. Fish was running hard, so I cupped the spool to try and slow him down. I Couldn’t put too much pressure on him cause I was rocking my Stradic 5k with 30lb braid. My initial thought was shark, and as I got him within sight, it was none other than the brown bomber.
Winds and outgoing tide made it look “sporty” like my buddy and mentor Android likes To say. Close to limit of macs using all artificials.They hit everything! Biggest fish trolling 1 1/4 oz spoon. Jack hit ballyhoo on kingfish rig with sinker removed trolling east from towers. The kids said mac bite was over till I used a different jig and got four more in the boat. Did not head out as big waves came in. Knew we were done when surfers showed up.
The fishing was a bit slow this morning. We saw few reds really pushing any wakes. After about 20 minutes or so we managed to pick up a red around 17 inches. A few trout here and there climbed on in the kayak. It was around 7:45 and I hung into a 30 inch monster red. He slammed the top water and took off the opposite direction I was facing. He snapped the kayak around the started stripping drag. This fish meant business. After he pulled me at least 50 yards down the creek I was able to get him at least turned around. After getting pulled like a dog sled down the creek I managed to land this monster.
We’ve really been catching the reds up here well. They’ve been hanging out in around 3 feet of water early in the morning and later afternoon. I caught a monster 27 inch red and another 29 inch red on top water earlier in the week. I’m heading out to a new spot in the trusty yak to catch some more monsters tomorrow.
Weather was calling for 14 foot seas so me and flats broke decided what the hell lets give it a shot lol. Got a late start but weather started beautiful, 2-3 foot seas with weedlines and blue water. Flats hooked a mahi right away on jig but shook the hook. Few minutes later my live bait gets hit n I land a decent phin… Few more drifts with no luck and the wind kept increasing with seas 4-6 feet we decide to call it a day[...]
Started out on a solo Dolphin trip today, but met Paul in the surf and he asked to tag along. Being the nice guy I am, I said sure. I Hope my kind deed pays off later because Paul hooked this stud not 15 feet from me. First ever in the yak! Congrats!
Headed down to Everglades City today with the one and only Bonitabob himself. We met up with Woody Callaway of Native Watercraft and Rich Jones (RJVermont) and hit the water a little later than usual. I did a little bit of fishing but was more interested in playing with my new camera than anything else.
Drove down to Collier County today to do a little bass fishing. Day started off with a ton of small ones and then just as I was starting to discount this lakes productivity the big girls started to show up.
We left Kars park headed almost straight out for deeper water. We fished for a while, after only two 10-inch-plus trout, the frustrating puffer fish destroying my gulp, and the wind picking up, we decided to head for cover. My friend said that 1,000 Island Park in Cocoa Beach has miles of mangrove canals to fish. It was a great place. Lots of canals that protected us from the wind. We saw a few small schools of reds that had lock jaw and tons of finger mullet [...]
Headed out today despite the forecast calling for wind and rain. Hit up Pine Island with redfish on the mind. Very quickly that was satisfied and we continued to explore some back creeks out in Pine Island. We all managed quite a few fish, reds, trout, and snook. The best part of my day however was getting good fishing buddy Ken hooked up and watching him land his first ever tarpon.
Paddled out from Pompano beach on Sunday at sunrise. Beach was flat. Offshore was nasty. The wind was relentless. First 2 fish that were caught were Black fin tuna by Drichard1986 & Jvanpelt. Both fish were caught on live flat lined Pilchards. I stayed in a little shallower and was able to land a nice size King on a flat lined Goggle Eye in 135 feet. Soon after that I peddled over to KayakAngler to see he landed his first ever grouper and a nice one at that! The grouper was caught on a vertical jig in 250 feet.
So we made it to the Kismet launch (north cape coral) yesterday. It was an awesome trip. I had heard some great stories about the area and the real thing didn’t disappoint. We saw so many fish, some monster reds and snook out there. We made it all the way out to Charlotte Harbor but the wind kept us off the grass flats so we headed back into the mangrove lakes. I was able to pick up one snook and my friend caught one red and one snook. Also there was so much drift wood..I need a bigger yard for all that. I can’t wait to get back out there.
Next I decided to do some Fly Fishing in the Everglades Backcountry by myself.Total count for the day. 11 Snook and 6 Tarpon all on flies. Saw some huge Black Drums tailing but they refused my fly.
So after I told my buddy how I did he decided to come along. So we went in my yak towards the backcountry and I showed him what the Everglades backcountry was all about. Of course the backcountry delivered. As we were almost leaving I tossed my paddle tail to some bait jumping in 8 inches of water and my biggest Snook to date was hooked to the end of my line.
Launched off morningside after waiting for the gurds to open the gate 30 minutes late. When I finally get on the water, I see pods of mullet getting hammered by something big. I cast a sub-surface lure to see if I get hit but nothing, so after the third cast I switch to a zara spook. By this time whatever was chasing the bait splits into 3-4 groups and hit the bait hard, by this time I worry these may be dolphins. Next thing I know a wake comes towards me so I cast and walk my dog in front of it and bam! I get hit hard.
It’s that time of the year. Our “annual” weekend trip to Chokoloskee. We rented a lodge at the Chokoloskee Island Park Marina and fished all day Saturday and Sunday morning. The weather was a bit spotty with storms pushing through the area. We had our moments of flat calm throughout the day though. The local residents had a fish fry when we got back from the first day and invited us to some free chow. Can’t find a nicer bunch of folks.
Went out today with bonitabob and his brother in law for the first time in a long time and slaughtered the fish. Here’s a few pics and I’m sure he’ll be adding his as well. Another great Southwest Florida winter day.
Well it was a slow weekend for me as I only managed to land one alamaco and a couple Bonita but Mr Joe Hector, tournament director for Extreme had a great weekend and day today. He landed one nice Black fin tuna on 1/5/13, Joe Kraatz (Kayakangler) landed a small mahi (no pic) and this stud of a wahoo the morning of 1/8/13. Both fish were caught on live Pilchards in 180-200 feet of water.
Got out deep n got 4 or 5 almacos and lost a sail. Then I found a pod of toothy critters that cut off 4 of my jigs back to back. My luck they were all wahoo. Went in to a shallow wreck in 115′ n as soon as I got there my goggle eye gets eaten. It screams out 300 yards of line on first run. After about 15 minutes, I get him in. It’s a jumbo king. I Decide to call it a day and head in.
Clear water, light current, and low winds, beautiful two days on the water. Dolphin “flipper” all over the place, two big turtles, a huge manta ray, and a hammerhead all came by to say “hi.”
Florida Sportsman member: Art Vandelay
I was able to get out and do a little kayak fishing yesterday. It was pretty chilly in the morning but it was forecasted to be the calm and warm up in the afternoon. We launched into some super clear shallow water and almost immediately started spotting some slot sized reds. They were really spooky with the clear water and it made it hard to get within casting distance. The water warmed up during the day and we ended up catching most of our fish [...]
It has been quite a while since I’ve posted here, I know this report ins’t strictly kayak fishing but most of the fishing was done on the kayak. I figured I post up some of the trips of this Fall. I have been going out on the kayak, Gheenoe, and a friends boat. It has been tough some days to fish with this winter pattern as we are getting days where the wind is blowing all day but if you get those two or three days of nice weather, make them count. Some of my friends are recently getting into the fly fishing scene and I have been taking them on the Gheenoe to catch their first reds, snook, and tarpon on fly [...]
Woke up and made the long drive down to the Everglades this morning, still a little buzzed from last nights festivities. The wind forecast was calling for 2 to 3 mph winds all morning, and the tide seemed just right-making my two hours of sleep easily forgotten.
The drive down was foggy, and by the time I made it to the ramp the sun had just risen, revealing a beautiful skyline. After having my only two one knockers cracked by redfish on Tuesday, the Skitterwalk was tied on by default. Threw the pink skitter into the mangroves and picked up a nice snook to start the morning. He hit it four times before the rusty trebles stuck [...]
Headed out of Dania on the 8th. The conditions weren’t the best, with a straight east wind that made paddling out take forever. Decided I was only going to jig that day I didn’t bring any live bait. Fishing was real slow for me. Ended up catching a perfect size blue runner for live bait in 180 feet of water, tied up a stinger rig real quick and tossed him out. Not even 10 minutes later I get a hit and see it jump.
Headed out today with my Ryan Warden. Bite was a little slower than I expected it to be today but there were a few nice fish caught, we managed a few decent reds, and some trout including the smallest trout I’ve ever seen that popped a trout pattern topwater bigger than him, and I managed to find a nice hole loaded with keeper mangrove snapper [...]
Been doing quite a bit of exploring fishing with some of my good fishing buddies deep in the Everglades in no man’s land. The paddles are long full of creatures that would not mind having you for dinner or biting you to fill there stomachs but the fishing has been outstanding. Fly-fishing exclusively for these fish has been a challenge but the rewards have been much sweeter! [...]
Had a chance to get my wife Stephanie out on the water this morning in “Her Native Mariner”. So after a quick stop at BCFC for some of their ninja mudminnows we were on the water about 8:15 am. We come up on Dreads, spoke with him a minute then we set up to locate the trout. Stef does not get out to fish much so I wanted her to catch plenty of fish. Which she did, we must of caught 40 plus trout in the range of 13 inches to 17 inches. Did not get on any big fish but did manage a few rat reds mixed in. She had a great time and that’s all I was after [...]
Hit North Biscayne Bay about 0800 looking for whatever. Tried the trout flats for an hour and a half with nothing to show for it but some pinfish-chewed up soft baits. Since bluefish and mackerel had been showing up lately, I headed to the deep channel and tossed on a refurbished crystal minnow. Quickly hook up with a nice Spanish mack, followed a few minutes later by a nice bluefish. The bite died again, so I paddled south of the causeway and got a just keeper size trout and another bluefish [...]
Decided to do a little fishing this afternoon with the flood tide. I have not tried flood tide fishing in the middle of the day yet and figured I would give it a try. Was joined by a buddy of mine and we were off by about 1. Pulled up to my first flood flat and saw 1 tail. He then disappeared so we moved to the next flat. Pulled up to the second flat and saw nothing, looked a little more before we decided to just start working the creeks and islands. Then it was on. My buddy was throwing a rootbeer DOA shrimp and flipped up along the grass and I heard his drag start screaming and the yak took off.
After a good little fight we had our first red of the day.[...]
Launched at Pine Island this morning with a very strong breeze and some dark clouds. As we launched the kayaks I was wondering if it was going to be worth it, and it was! One my first cast i Had a nice red blow up on the topwater, which was right at the launch! Of course he missed it and we pressed on. We came out on the flats and I hook a really nice fish on the topwater, and pull in a 25-inch trout! That was definitely my personal best in Pine Island [...]
Dad and I dropped the kayaks in this evening just before 8:00pm. We Paddled over to our first dock light and before I could even get my rod out, dad was already hooked up on a small fat snook! So I skip in and get another fat snook to start things off. Next light there are some larger fish popping in and a few casts later, I’m locked into a better fish. Turns out to be my personal best fat snook. Dad then gets another fat snook that was only slightly smaller than the one I had just got! That’s four fat snook in a row. Then dad breaks the streak with a small common. We Head around to one of our last lights and we quickly pick off two nice snook. Both about 25 inches [...]
OK folks, here is a compilation of trips in the recent mouth. I will start with the best. As all epic trips start off, I get a phone call from Chris “Tex” Lewis telling me about an idea of a trip from Flamingo to Islamorada on kayaks as I was driving to work one afternoon. With out hesitation, I say I am in. Minutes later, I get a call from Dj DanDecibel all pumped up about the trip. So for the next 6 days we planned everything out and got all the gear ready. After days of gearing up tying flies and looking at the weather the day of reckoning [...]
My buddy Justin and I had the day off of work so we decided to head out on the Yaks. After finding some bait we had the yaks in the water around 10:30. Lines in the water about 105 feet and within seconds my buddy Justin spots a 6 foot Hammerhead on one of his baits…
…Total for the day One Hammerhead, 2 Big Dolphin, and Our First Yak Sailfish! Awesome day and so worth the crazy paddle back. Got an awesome gopro video that I edited and put up[...]
After talking with Alan Ryland about the day he and Steve Brand spent on the “NMZ”; the location of our next Boondoggle, I knew I needed to get out there and put hooks in fishes faces! So I met up with Alan around 7:15 a.m. or so, got all unloaded and off we went in search of reds and trout. The wind was light out of the west and the water was very cool already so we knew it would be a bit of a waiting game until the flat warmed up a bit [...]
After a little while my friend hooks up into a 25 inch snook that gets off next to the yak, so I start to work an area near him and I hook into something big! It starts screaming out drag and honestly I thought it was a big jack crevalle at first. But once it started going into the trees and thrashing on the surface I knew it had to be better. I finally get it up next to the kayak and it is a nice snook!
Had plans to head into Snake Bight this morning, but never made it that far. The bite was on at the ranger dock during a strong sweeping tide letting out of the flats into the little channel there. I anchored up in a sweet spot and started off with a decent shallow water jack on a top water, but a DOA Shrimp was the champion of the day. A slow retrieve with a light lift/drop of the rod tip landed everything for the remainder of the day.
Last weekend, I had the chance to try my hand at something I’ve always wanted to do: hit the beach out of my kayak. My good buds Nick and Jon helped show me the ropes, since they had already fished the beaches before. We launched around 7 a.m., heading straight offshore and growing hairs on our chest as we pummeled through 2 foot swells. They had been telling me all week “Dude, we will just sabiki up a ton of croakers when we get out there to use for bait.” I’m thinking “Hey, croakers are awesome bait; until I see that what they thought were “croakers” were actually horn-bellies, which I thought was trash, but hey, we made lemonade [...]
Myself and AJ a.k.a EastCoastAngler decided to save a little gas money and take out the yaks. We headed out of Stuart and started catching some jacks that were feeding on the big schools of glass minnows. We moved on to some submerged trees and caught a snook that was about 20-inches. We got to our mangrove destination were we had some good bites on topwater, so we decided to net some fingers. Tried for a while before I finally hooked a 35-inch snook that nearly got me into the mangroves [...]
It looks like my love for kayak fishing has finally become an addiction. After becoming the proud new owner of a Wilderness Systems 14 Commander a few weeks back, I have been trying and trying to get on the water. Busy schedule it seems. Finally, about a week ago, I was able to put her on top of the Jeep and head out in search of some reds that had been (and still are) my mind for quite some time [...]
Went out today with my buddy Josh Harvel (YakNitUp Charters) to Matlacha around 9:30 to catch the 11 a.m. low tide. We immediately were concerned with the wind and with the approaching storm clouds, BUT, we launched anyways. We headed out and were immediately greeted with a very welcome site, TARPON, and man they were everywhere!!! We played around in the canal systems for a little while having a blast watching the tarpon bust our topwaters [...]
Kellan and I got a late start yesterday, we launched off pompano around 9:30 a.m. The waves were crashing pretty hard on the beach but we managed to get out after a good soaking. We headed out to the first wreck and on my first drop with a jig, my line started screaming. I get the fish up to the yak and realize it is a very nice mutton. This is my first mutton on a jig. I must say this was a very nice start to the day [...]
Some of the folks from the SWFKAA got together for a little fishing in Estero Bay. We arrived at 6:30am and spent the next 30 minutes waiting for the rain that would evenyually cancel the trip. At around 7am, we ran out of excuses and decided to launch. We had Troy (Yaknew), Esteban (CaptBlackbeard), Joe (jcorrigan), Josh (Jfish), Eric (my boy) and me. We launched into surprisingly calm conditions and were instantly on the fish. First up was the trout and they did not disappoint on topwater.
Finally had a day to fish inshore with no clients or tournaments to worry about. Launch with a 5 to 10 knot wind from the south which became 15 mph by 10 a.m. The south wind and a strong current incoming tide from the north made it difficult to fish. Jacks, blues and a few small trout was about it until 11 a.m. First fish was FAT! 26 inches. Someone has been enjoying all the mullet! Probably one of the largest girths I have seen on a trout that size.
With my available fishing weekends quickly narrowing down, decided to head out to Bayport today to see if we could improve upon last weeks trip. Put in around 7:30 to a low tide and steady breeze. Tide wasn’t supposed to be in until 2 p.m. so we had a few hours to kill until the water started moving again [...]
After reading the article on seawall snook, saltwater assasin and I decided to try our luck and work some seawalls in Stuart. We started the day with the last drizzle of the outgoing tide. This morning I decided that I would throw a black and gold Top Dog. While still trying to perfect my walk the dog I was able to hook up with one snook before the tide went slack. As the article stated when the water isn’t moving the fish are not biting. The big gal inhaled my lure about 10 feet in front of my kayak and then lazily let herself get dragged to the yak [...]
After years of talking about going “lobstering” by kayak, weeks of practicing and the 3rd day trying to catch one. I finally caught my first lobster.
Kellan, Chris and I went to Dania Beach today with our Hookah setups to go lobstering. The storm must have pushed them shallow since we were getting them in ~15 feet. The visibility was pretty poor and I had to surface several times when I lost the reef [...]
We fished the IFA kayak tour regional event which was held in Titusville on August 26. We arrived Friday afternoon and fished on the south end of the Banana River with some great results. It was our first time fishing anywhere in this area and I caught my first red there within 20 minutes of hitting the water, I was able to easily see him along the mangroves when I was standing on my Hobie pro angler 12 [...]
With the last few months of summer looming upon us, Mother Nature has not given up her relentless grasp just yet. With mornings feeling more like an ascent at the summit of Mt. Everest leaving one gasping for air, mid day has brought punishing temperatures that could only be compared to the most hostile places in our solar system. Combined the weather with grueling paddles, endless miles of poling and lighting storms that could only be compared to science fiction movie “War of the worlds” and you begin to wonder what draws fisherman to this inhospitable world [...]
Hit the water with my good friend Chris in search of some ML Redfish. At the launch I noticed the water looked alot like coffee with a lot of creamer, well it is that time of the year so off we go. Once we got to the flat we saw pushes near the bank and tails in the thick grass, so we fan out to cover more water.
Met up with Andriod this morning for first trip off Dania Pier. He was kind enough to lend me a jigging rod, jig and point me in the right direction. After sunrise broke the ice with small bonito. Followed his lead and kept drifting and jigging. Lost a trigger fish but was good sign. Lost a jig to a mystery break off [..]
I recently purchased a new Hobie AI. Wow, what a blast. I’ve been fishing offshore three times now and I guess the third times a charm. A little background, I grew up fishing in the Keys and other South Florida spots and have come to love offshore fishing. I recently came across the sport of kayak fishing and dove in head first. What a difference [...]
I ate a banana today which everyone was saying was bad luck for fishing. Even though my luck was doomed, I still decided to go out this morning out of Dania with Redneck Rocket and NewYorker. A couple of new guys also tagged along for their first offshore trip. Grabbed some bait from the beach and headed out [...]
THE WEATHER HAS BEEN HOT WITH COUPLE OF STORMS AROUND BUT DEFINITELY WORTH IT SOMETIMES GOING WITH THE BAD WEATHER I HAVENT BEEN TAKING MANY PICTURES BUT I HAVE BEEN DOING TONS OF RECORDING. I WILL PUT THE LINK WHERE YOU CAN WATCH A VIDEO I PUT TOGETHER OF SOME OF THE FLY FISHING IVE BEEN DOING. ENJOY THE REPORT!
Let’s start with the fact that the water temperature was spring cold, 72 degrees at 11am. Caught lots of big Bluefish and plenty of Trout as well. While paddling around I passed over some deep water and a freaking Sailfish (approx. 4ft?) passed under my kayak!!! I just started laughing, that’s a new one for me! Then I caught these two Grouper on the same DOA Shrimp. What a day!
Got out early and started catching slot reds and small snook and then in caught 2 big snook and 2 bull reds in the afternoon. Caught bulls on cut bait under a cork and big snook on 1/8 oz jighead with z man scented paddlerz. The biggest of the snook is the biggest fish I’ve ever caught on artificials. Caught flounder, snook, redfish, blk drum, and trout. One of the best days I’ve ever had fishing!
Summertime fishing can be the most rewarding and most frustrating time to fish south Florida waters. With temperatures soaring well over the hundreds and afternoon thunderstorms just about every day it has been a challenge. Being able to predict the weather and fighting the heat has paid off in my quest for the next thrill seeking adventure [...]
Just got in from a great day on the lake and figured I would give a report. Got on the water at 6 a.m. and first cast, boom, 2 pound bass on a Big Easy topwater. Got a few more on topwater then swiched to fliping docks with a trick worm as I was zoned out with that my Buddy Ryan gets a 6 pounder on a KVD frog 15 feet away from me.
Went out this morning with livingthedream and Larry the lobsterman. Hit some nice weeds, couldn’t tell you how deep (no fishfinder) and no lives today so everything was caught on jigs and plugs. Picked up 3 blackfin tuna, caught 3 throw back mahi-mahi, 4 almaco’s, and a bunch of BIG bonito, and called it after landing a 5 foot wahoo [...]
Went out of pompano today with a floatilla of other yakers. From what I’ve heard so far it was pretty much a bonita bonanza for most of the people that went. Flats Broke got a blackfin tuna, I ended up dropping a chicken rig down on one of the deep wrecks and hit the vermillion snappers pretty good. Past them around to a few yaks so nobody was over the limit [...]
I got in between my friend Dale’s little kayak and big tarpon with my video camera yesterday just off the Port Charlotte Beach Complex. We were fishing for snook with 12 pound test and a chrome spook jr. I posted a short under 5 minute video on youtube of some of the highlights called “Dale’s Big Tarpon, Little Kayak”. Dale guessed 80 pounds.
The one day I forget my Gopro Camera pole I catch this sail that had to jump 20 times with her whole body coming out of the water each time. Thanks to the Spanish speaking Americans for the pic that thought I wanted thier gaff when I was asking for a picture. After 10 minutes revival she swam off strong.
Started the morning early and launched with Chris (frankthetank) around 6 a.m. from Pompano Beach. We were greeted by decent size waves breaking right on the beach. So we timed our launch and got a little wet as we passed through them, luckily without rolling.
We got in last Saturday to breezy, rainy conditions that didn’t seem to let up the whole week. Crazy things happened on Saturday and Sunday, so let’s fast-forward to Monday, and our first fishing day. I guess you could say that it was a learning day, as all I could find was mud bottom and no current…sweet . I did end up accidentally catching a short sheepshead in the cast net, so I won’t count it as a skunk. Anyway, on to Tuesday, and where the fun begins. My uncle Roger and his family were in town, so I was determined to put him on some nice fish, so after an hour or so we moved in search of oysters, current, clean water, and grass…we found it! [...]
Well the beach fishing is phenomenal right now. Decided not to take the kayaks out because of the strong NE wind and current. Tarpon and snook are everywhere on the beaches right now. No matter where you go. We jumped off several tarpon before we landed this nice snook. Using live pilchard with a 3oz pyramid weight to hold the bait in place. After a few pics the snook was released unharmed.
Has been a fun spring. My clients have been doing great getting back to the fish and able to close the deal on some really nice redfish, flounder and trout. Even some dirty ginclear water days for some close up sight fishing. The weather has been awesome for kayaking with the exception of the occasional south 20 mph afternoon winds [...]
Paddled out with Capt.Yak. Headed straight to the wrecks in 250 feet to try and jig up an AJ but not much action going on. Reeled the jigs up and tossed out some live bait on the down rigger set at 60 feet. As I start to head shallow in about 215 feet I get my first hit, 41 inch King. Skinny guy but had the length. As I get into 115 feet my down rigger pops and my reel starts screaming, up comes the sail. 5 minutes later I land this beautiful sailfish.
After work yesterday fellow forum member Nolez12 and I headed out to get some fishing time in. Both of us were forum members before all the changes and recently decided to get back on the forum. Anyways, we launched around 6 p.m with a nice incoming tide. I had a nice snook that didnt completely commit along the first wall we fished.
Fishing has been pretty good. I have broken a couple of my personal records. Recently I caught my biggest snook at 35 inches, my biggest redfish on fly, and also caught a big black drum. I never got to measure the black drum because he did not fit inside my kayak [...]
It’s been a while since I have been able to spend some time on the water, but this past weekend I took advantage of the good weather and set out on a solo trip looking for Redfish and Trout. I hit the launch at day break and worked my way south along the west side of the river [...]
Me and my bro headed to Biscayne to meet Dave, who was kind enough to show us a hot trout spot. As we paddled out through snapper creek, I trolled a soft plastic and got slammed by a monster snook, which broke off immediately. We kept going and as we rounded the corner Dave spots tailing bones. My bro makes a cast and hooks up [...]
I asked noted Photographer Doug Stamm to join me on a day trip over to Miami for some Peacock Bass fishing. We left the West coast at 0600 and began the drive. It was tempting to stop at all the canals along the way, but we were on a mission. We arrived after a few short stops at around 0830 and met up with Mike Teixidor. Mike is a good friend and fellow Blue Line Fishing Team member, and he knows Miami Peacock bass.
Woke up early to haul but to Lake Worth. We launched at the snook Island Kayak launch me and my older brother and began our journey. We fished in an out of every nook and cranny of the snook island area nothing but a stingray and bait everywhere. Paddled north seen some sheepies but no connections, we found this nice little sandbar exposed with rock piles next to it so we worked the only lure I ever caught snook on, a Bass Assassin silver chartreuse, hooked up [...]
Better weather is finally approaching, and the fishing is hot hot hot offshore. Saturday winds and surf were a little choppier than predicted but we got into some nice fish. Winds were great for the kayak and currents did not start ripping until after 1pm. On saturday, hooked, oarknot, and myself ventured out. caught alot of bonita, nice kings, runners, jacks of all sorts and sizes and one tuna. Water was murkier than normal which is not a bad thing, plankton and silt brings bait and bait brings predators. I will also make note that, absolutely zero bait, live or dead, are used on any of our trips, so whatever we catch is on artificials.
Everyone I spoke to slayed fished yesterday. Here are a couple of the bigs boys Joe & I brought in. I was happy about my 35″ BFT until I spoke to Rob(PottyMouth) and he told me he landed a 40″! What a beast!
We decided to hit some bottom spots off destin on this super full moon. well we didnt launch till about 3 a.m. or so and it was calm and the sky was lit up! got to the first spot and josh pulls up this beast red snapper. not much going on after that till’ the sun started to rise. We heard a loud splash and everyone looked over there then we saw a sailfish jump and we all freak out and started going over towards it [...]
I was free lining a whole squid on the Penn Torque and had not checked the bait in quite a bit. I had let out quite a bit of line and was trying to speed reel the line in. As the line got close I slowed down to a stop to see if anything might of been following it. Sure enough I see a rather large shadow behind the squid. I let it sit but the lack of action made him lose interest. I pulled it in a threw it out in front of my yak, sure enough I saw him dart right for it.
Took the wife down to Conch Key Cottages, MM 61, for a few days of paddling and exploring. She let me fish a little. The hotel is right on the water adjacent to what should have been good bonefish flats, but I did not see one the whole trip. There were some respectable barracudas to be had. It’s nice to be able to roll out of bed and be fishing within 5 minutes.
Planned on a Delray to Boynton inlet drift, even staged a car at Boynton inlet. We put in at the beach in Delray water was perfect, flat and a light wind. We never got that far off only about 80ft we let the wind take us. It ended up taking us south east not the way we planned on going. The ocean had a good April fools joke by taking us the wrong way. But it ended up working out. Birds were diving all around us and bait was getting slammed on the top of the water. My bro-in law ended up with 2 AJ’s and I was skunked. Still a great day on the water.
I haven’t posted anything in about two months or so, I just got back from Djing out of the country in late February. I’ve been doing some fishing here and there but this month has been really windy and it seems like the only time to have some fishing opportunity has been in the mornings when the winds are kind of calm. Even though the high winds we have, I have had some luck here and there [...]
Well the plan was to get on the Cobia bite today as I have been hearing scattered reports. We hit the beach at Phipps Park in Lake Worth and are greated by 2-4′ seas and a erroded beach. We disscussed for awhile and decided to charge the surf at 7am. We hit 100′ and throw out flat lines and start jigging with DOA swimming mullets. Hour into the trip..nada..so we decide to paddle back out and north as the east wind has blown us in. My buddy Hoke trolls a DOA Terror Eyz in golden bream and is slammed by this gal in 65′ [...]
The plan was to launch from the North end of Lover’s Key and visit the islands in the middle of the bay and look for reds and snook. When I arrived at the launch, I found my plans thwarted as one million mph winds were coming across the bay. Not to be outdone by weather, I opted to launch at Hickory Pass and maybe find some shelter from the wind. I met up with my buddy Mike, and we took off at sunrise [...]
Decided to try somewhere brackish I haven’t spent much time, just to try something new this afternoon. Fished a few hours of daylight plus about 30min after dark with the moon so bright.
Was push-poling around in a foot of water when I came across a big, dark, gnarly tail sticking out of the water. Thought it was a big black drum and threw on him. After a 20minute sleigh ride I found out I was mistaken [...]
I wanted to get over my dismal 12th place finish in the IFA tournament so I called Allen Reddick for some Estero Bay fishing. We launched at Week’s into a little wind, but not as bad as it was yesterday. Week’s is such a great place to lauch as it’s never too busy! We started fishing the flats right outside of the channel on the falling tide. I was using my usual, Gulp shrimp on a DOA cal jighead and it didn’t take long to snatch up a slot redfish [...]
Downrigger Plus Gog Equals Smoker Kayak King
Florida Sportsman member: FLATS BROKE
Went out yesterday with a half dozen gogs paddled out to 90ft and put my baits out, 1 flat line 1 on the downrigger. Slow troll out to 165ft and drop my jig and pull up a small king 28 inch. Headed in to 140ft where there was a nice color change and my rigger goes off zzzz’. 15 mins later I land this nice king. The downrigger was set at 50 feet.
Fishing was slow for us this weekend, Current was ripping North 3+mph. Managed to catch this kingfish (70ft) on the way out on a deep diving Yozuri plug. We did a lot more kayaking than fishing. I sold the fish on the beach for a whopping $13.00 to a Canadian couple that really wanted it. They offerd to buy it so I said “$20 its great deal”, Then he said he had no cash .I loaded up my kayak and was ready to leave when I noticed the guy running down the street towards me with cash in his hand. He told me he managed to borrow $13 and thats all he had. So I gave in and took the $13.00 and used it for bait the next day [...]
Want to win great prizes and show off your catch at the same time? Participate in My Catch Monday (MCM)! MCM is a Facebook contest designed to encourage fans (like you!) to share photos and descriptions of their catches from the weekend on Monday morning. MCM encourages and rewards anglers, hunters, and all outdoors fans for doing something they’re already doing, sharing and liking on Facebook!
My Catch Monday will be promoted with a post each Monday morning on Facebook encouraging fans to post pictures from their weekend fishing trips and to vote for their favorites by liking them, with a prize going to the person who gets the most likes for the photo they posted.
This week, the grand prize is provided by Bomber Saltwater Grade Lures. “Bomber Lures, makers of the Fat Free Shad, Model A, Long A and other fish-catching baits, began with an idea – a lure that dives deep, fishes quickly and comes through the thick wood cover of emerging Texas reservoirs. Today Bomber Lures produces tournament-winning crankbaits and other lures that lead the industry. Bass, walleyes, stripers, northern pike and other gamefish all know the power of the Bomber!”
• Monday 9 a.m. MCM graphic with that week’s prize will be posted on FB.
• Only one photo is to be submitted, if additional photos are submitted, they will be deleted.
• Photos containing nudity, profanity, rude gestures, etc. will be eliminated.
• Tuesday 10 a.m MCM contest concludes. A screen shot of all posts and likes will be taken at 10am.
• Tuesday Noon, Winner is announced, we send a FB message to the winner getting contact information to send to the weekly sponsor so they can drop ship the prize within 7-14 days.
• In the case of a tie, the winner will be determined by who posted the photo first.
• Fish that are caught and are in possession illegally are not eligible to win.
• Game such as deer, alligator or other game are also eligible to win.
• You are only eligible to win one MCM contest per month.
• In the case of a Monday Holiday MCM will be held on the following day, Tuesday.
by Florida Sportsman Staff•
October 17, 2014
A bit of advice on buying a wetsuit in Florida.
Photo credit: www.omer.com
As we get in to our colder seasons here in Florida, wearing a wetsuit while diving is necessary as water temperatures drop about 10 to 15 degrees. There are many different factors that go into buying a wetsuit including the style of suit, the thickness, and color.
A long sleeve full suit is the most common and highly recommended style of wetsuit because it covers the entire body from neck (or head if it is hooded) to ankle. The long sleeve full will keep you much warmer than a short sleeve full or spring suit that does not cover the entire body. Although the long sleeve full suit is highly recommended, some people do not get cold as easily and may go with a short sleeve full, spring suit, or even just a topper and boardshorts. Two-piece are also popular among divers because it allows you to take off the top, while still keeping the bottoms on.
Once you figure out the style of suit you want, thickness is another factor that comes into play. Thickness of your suit is really dependent on which region you live in and what kind of diving you will be doing, as well as how easily you get cold in the water. For most of Florida, a 3mm wetsuit will be a good choice all season long. For the northern region where water and air temperatures get much colder, a 5mm or possibly even a 7mm would be an ideal wetsuit. Also, the deeper you go, the colder the water gets, so a thicker wetsuit would be recommended for the deep-water divers. Keep in mind that a thicker wetsuit will be much harder to maneuver in than a thinner wetsuit such as a 3mm, so you may want to try on a suit and move around before you purchase it.
While the common wetsuit is black, newer diving suits have many different colors, as well as camouflage prints. It’s your preference when choosing a color, but consider the functionality of the camo print when choosing your suit. Divers claim that fish, turtles, and other marine life sometimes come up close to the seaweed camo wetsuits, which could be useful for the spearfisherman or diver who doesn’t want to be seen. If you aren’t worried about the marine life taking notice of you underwater, then the standard black or colored wetsuit will work for you.
Get a few fly-caught redfish on your resume, then test your mettle against Mosquito Lagoon trout.
When the sun’s too low for sight casting, Joe Catigano blind casts flats strewn with potholes.
Fly fishermen possess a rare trait. A desire to experience hot fishing, in its purest form, boils through their veins. Never mind that spin fishing is easier. Tempting gamesters with your own hand-tied creations adds a personal touch. Ready for a topnotch challenge? Slip into the badlands, Mosquito Lagoon’s infamous shallows, to experience sport fit for kings and flyrod purists. Speckled trout pepper these flats. Camouflaged grass ghosts hold court along the edges of interspersed white holes, hidden to all except the most astute sight caster.
Finding them can be difficult; getting them to eat is even harder.
Counting the minutes until spring’s predawn light shone bright enough to navigate Mosquito Lagoon’s maze of sandbars, shoals and humps fed my excitement. Ahead lay a challenge I’d dreamed of for the past two seasons–pursuing Lagoon gator trout with fly tackle. Captain Joe Catigano patiently took the wait in stride. He carefully double-checked my fly leader, running his fingers over every inch, inspecting for telltale nicks. Satisfied it was up to snuff, Catigano announced it was time to go. Finally, gray skies soon gave way to daybreak’s pale pink glow as he fired up the outboard and headed south, toward obscure, not oft-seen Lagoon backwaters.
Let me tell you, traversing the Lagoon before the sun rises high enough to really see the bottom is downright tricky. Several times I glanced over the gunnel, mildly alarmed at the seemingly too-shallow bottom. An array of subsurface features whisked by, disappearing in our wake at a clip slightly less than the speed of light. Joe never pulled back on the throttle. Instead, he trimmed the motor higher, and turned the skiff toward a tiny hole between two islands. With expert precision we came to rest in a small, three-foot by six-foot depression, without chopping even one blade of seagrass.
Pinch me. In front of my eyes was a shallow flat, neatly tucked behind a trio of scrubby mangrove isles. A humped ridge ran like a spine off to our right. Dark, green grass opened into irregularly shaped, shelly white holes a mere ten yards from the ridge’s crest. I jumped onto the poling platform and silently glided the skiff deeper into trout wonderland.
From atop his bow perch, Catigano began fan casting to the first series of white holes in our path. He pushed the fly line long and low toward his target, using a minimum of false casts. Employing delicate finesse, he’d land the Muddler Minnow two feet beyond each light colored depression, softly dropping the fly onto the flat’s mirror surface, barely raising a ripple. It became a rhythm. He continued his calculated blind casting with flawless form, picking likely hotspots. Grass ghost haunts we call ‘em.
His short, two-inch retrieve imparted lifelike action to the light pink-and-brown Marabou Muddler. I couldn’t imagine any respectable trout ignoring the enticing, feather offering for long.
“Don’t move,” Joe whispered, barely pointing to a minuscule, lone depression some forty feet distant, cut by an old prop scar. “I noticed a silver flash, can you see anything?” he asked. Before I could reply, he pumped the line with one false cast and delicately laid the Marabou Muddler along the far edge of the hole.
The fly vanished into a hollow of another type; the kind made by a hungry trout that wants to eat. It was a strike best described to me by two Tennessee, smallmouth bass flyfishing addicts earlier this spring: a real commode flusher. Leave it to a pair of out-of-towners to coin an appropriate phrase to accurately illustrate a savage, flats-style surface slam.
Catigano set the hook hard, except this gator trout paid no heed. Joe never once turned the massive fish, now hitting warp speed. The trout blazed a trail toward a series of mangrove stumps. Then, it stopped scant yards short to initiate an unexpected, head-thrashing aerial assault. On the fish’s third leap–that’s right, it jumped–Joe’s line went limp. He collected the fly line while I descended from the poling platform. Time to regroup. That bad boy ate us alive.
How big was his fish? We could only guess. But, both of us agreed on 10 pounds minimum, possibly 12 or 13.
My turn. After trading places, we worked our way across the hidden flat and never saw another trout. Not one. Plenty of redfish, but no trout. Happy redfish pushed on our left, teasing us without mercy. Ever notice how hard it is to think trout when a school of redfish flashes tails nearby? Catigano read my mind. He quickly reminded me if I wanted a gator trout we needed to utilize the early morning’s low light to our advantage. “We’ll come back to the reds later,” he promised.
Our next destination bore little resemblance to the first stop. Flat number two’s rarely visited backwaters were also nestled neatly behind mangrove islands skirting Mosquito Lagoon’s eastern shore, almost due east of Haulover Canal. Yet, that’s where their similarities ended. This flat consisted mostly of mud, with grass splotches randomly dotting the bottom. Adjacent to each grass patch was a rim of hard bottom. The white holes in this stretch were not holes per se, but fine, shell skirts separating intermittent grass parcels from mud bottom. Sparse bottom terrain made sight casting to trout much easier. There simply were not many places for them to hide. Grass ghost gator silhouettes stood out against the mud. Yet, we experienced one drawback. The trout could see us, too. Most blew from cover before we could maneuver into casting range. Wisps of mud trails crisscrossed our path.
Frank Bolin admires a gator trout.
Seventy-five yards down the flat we saw two husky trout slowly meander across barren bottom and take up station alongside a lone grass patch. Joe gathered up the sixty feet of loose fly line below his feet, and delicately punched it beyond the grass with one false cast. Again, his pink-and-brown Marabou Muddler whisper-landed on the surface. No strip this time. Both trout charged the fly. Show me a fly fisherman who doesn’t relish competitive feeding. The Muddler disappeared in a gulp. Several minutes later, Joe worked a 3-pounder to the boat for release. It wasn’t the double-digit mammoth that said adios earlier, yet it was a fine trout all the same. We were on a roll.
For the next two hours, we spotted trout, missed trout and enjoyed many ballistic crunches. Several times, unseen redfish beat target trout to the fly, erupting on the surface into a layer of foam. However, we solidly hooked only one of the wild-eyed redfish. Their bow wake, a.k.a. nose wake, worked against us, often pushing the ultralight surface fly out of the strike zone. On strikes where we did not see the fish clearly, we could still guess the species by the take. Trout and reds hit that Muddler much differently. The sneaky, grass ghost gators would slip under the fly, usually unseen, and slurp it quietly before charging away. Redfish were not so subtle. Every time an errant red spotted one of Catigano’s custom-tied, Ken Bay Muddlers, it humped the water and attacked the fly with abandon. Teasing the blitzing reds with quick, short strips drove ‘em crazy.
This day culminated many exploratory trips. Catigano stays on top of the trout and invites me along every so often. I’ve released many using my light spinning tackle and topwater lures. Yet, every time I cast a fly their way, I usually experienced that uppity, grass ghost sneer. I swear I could see these trout break a grin when I worked my favorite, Matanzas Inlet variety, Sea-Ducer through the feeding zone. I tried shrimp patterns and Deceivers, but never had a strike. Clouser Minnows kept snagging on the grass. During our search for a workable, productive fly, Catigano brought Ormond Beach flytyer Ken Bay into the picture. He showed Bay the terrain and gave him a firsthand look at these oversize, close-mouthed trout. Bay later contacted Joe for his color preference. Joe called me. My answer? “Chartreuse. I don’t care what color they are as long as they’re chartreuse. And maybe one or two pinks,” I recall.
Let me clarify my color preference. I’m not an exacting disciple of fly fishing, still I really enjoy tinkering with the art. Truth is, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool topwater enthusiast. Chartreuse and pink are the colors I use to catch gator trout in my home waters. My records prove trout love these two colors. That’s all. Catigano relayed my sentiments to Ken Bay. One week later, we hit the Lagoon to launch the Muddler probe. Seeking Bay’s advice made the difference. There’s no doubt that Marabou Muddlers entice Mosquito Lagoon’s gator trout.
Of course, successful shallow-water gator trouting requires more than a well-stocked arsenal of Muddlers. Knowledge of trout habits is essential.
Gator trout often display characteristics that can help an angler guess their whereabouts. Veteran trout anglers pay keen attention to minute details such as water temperature and clarity, the available forage, bottom contour and structure, and light conditions. These factors all weigh heavily into the equation.
Mosquito Lagoon trout are mobile fish. They move often, continually combing new territory, and never hang around on any particular flat for long. Here today, gone tomorrow sums ‘em up. The largest trout, gators of five pounds and better, are loners. These fish don’t depend on the rest of the school. They graduated class with belly-whompin’ honors. Although bigger trout roam in singles and pairs, sometimes certain flats will attract a loose-knit group of big fish. For this to occur, conditions have to be right. Water temperature is key when targeting the Lagoon’s big trout. During spring, the shallow waters heat up quickly. Surface water temps may vary considerably on windless, sunny days. In March, we visited a klinker’s flat and found a sunrise water temperature of 58. By 1:00 p.m., the temperature gauge indicated a major warmup to 71. Not surprisingly, the fish proved sluggish during morning but fired up in the afternoon, aggressively slamming baits across the flat.
“I believe spring and early summer offer the Lagoon’s premier gator trout opportunities,” Catigano explains. “From March through early June, the water temperature averages in the mid 60s to low 70s, the optimum range. I like early morning low-light conditions best. But, don’t rule out a midday, summer shot. Trout make a habit of surprising you. I’ve pulled 10-pounders off flats with 90-degree water temps.”
Catigano’s fussy about water clarity. As are gator trout, preferring crystal, gin-clear water. Trout are sight feeders and rarely take up station in muddy territory. At least, not in Mosquito Lagoon’s pristine flats. The most productive flats provide trout good ambush zones–points and white holes, and bottom structure such as logs, shell beds and other debris that represent optimum feeding spots and a good place for trout to hide.
“And don’t forget bait,” Catigano adds. “Easily accessible meals are a requirement. Always look for baitfish, anything from mullet to glass minnows. That’s where you’ll find trout.”
On our trout forays, we used two distinctly different rigs. Catigano prefers to cover the upper and lower reaches of the water column. His “deep” rig, designed for 9-weight rods, is an interesting culmination of many hours spent plying the Lagoon’s back stretches. He starts by looping 18 1/2 feet of leadcore line to a 100-foot shooting line. Next, he nail-knots a 12-foot tapered fluorocarbon leader to the leadcore line. He finishes the rig with 12 inches of 8- to 12-pound fluorocarbon shock tippet. Catigano developed this combination to entice trout that hug the bottom of potholes. Granted, this line is not easy for novices to cast, yet it is effective once you practice a bit. According to Catigano, with the leadcore-shooting line combo, a good fly caster can load the line with one false cast. This is especially important on days when the trout are spookier than normal. Then, success relies on fast, 60- to 70-foot casts. The leadcore line really punches it out there. He uses this line to cast the biggest flies like the Woolhead Mullet, a gator trout favorite.
Catigano’s other line choice, suited for a 7-weight outfit, is fairly straight-forward–a bass bug taper floating line with a 12-foot, knotless, tapered fluorocarbon leader with a short trace of fluorocarbon shock tippet. He uses a non-slip loop knot to tie on his flies. Fluorocarbon offers two real pluses. First, it sinks faster than ordinary monofilament. Fluorocarbon leaders get the fly down into the strike zone. And it’s reportedly less visible.
Stealth is a must for all flats fishing, even more so when pursuing gator trout. Keep boat noise, movement and shadows to a minimum. Even the overhead shadow from more than one or two false casts blow wary trout out of there. And trout spooked off a flat rarely return to hammer your fly.
A typical day on the Lagoon calls for two distinct flyfishing techniques. You’ll be blind casting during early morning before the sun lights up the bottom enough to sight fish. And don’t just hit those white holes that look good to you. Gator trout often hide out in the less visible holes, those invisible even to the most trained eye. Sight fishing is best during late morning until midday. A trout’s camouflage makes them hard to see even on bright, windless days, and feeding trout don’t usually sit motionless in the middle of a white hole so you’ll need to spot them along the dark, grassy edges. I’ve found that concentrating on the edges of the holes for movement works best for me.
Presenting a fly to a Mosquito Lagoon grass ghost gator is not an easy gig. If you prefer easy fishing, stick to reds. And the sight of a double-digit gator boiling on a fly may over-stimulate some. And bore others. Me? I like it. And I’ve got a certain trout in my sights. One that rattled my nerves one early morning on the Lagoon. Come on back, Mr. Gator. I just want to play with ya. I promise to let you go. FS
by Florida Sportsman Staff•
October 17, 2014
Steady design and ride set apart the Renegade Nomad 20.
Offshore in the morning, inshore in the afternoon—both trips are feasible on the 20 Nomad from Renegade Marine. This 20-foot, 3-inch center console was designed to be superior. Topside features include one 35-gallon livewell and a single 15-gallon baitwell for live-baiting, plus an oversize casting deck for anglers to pitch baits. Standard fishing comforts include 12-inch walkaround gunnels, recessed hydraulic trim tabs and a bench seat at the console.
For dependability, the Nomad 20 hull is built with a full stringer system from composite materials. A 6-foot running pad and lightweight hull allow this boat to run in surprisingly shallow water. Expect to draft about 8 to 10 inches of water with a full boat.