by Florida Sportsman Newswire•
May 27, 2016
Not to be outdone, West Coast anglers fired back catching a 2016 STAR Tagged Redfish of their own! See it can happen to you!
Captain Damian Picciano of Siesta Key Sportfishing Charters guided an angler on vacation from Missouri to this prized catch while fishing in Sarasota Bay. Captain Damian was familiar with STAR so he took the information from the tag and released the fish.
Had the tournament already started and both Captain and client were both CCA members and registered for STAR they both would have brought down some insane prizes. The client would be driving home a brand new GMC truck and the Captain would be the proud new owner of a 150 HP Yamaha Outboard!
We bet that Capt. Picciano will be registered before Saturday and that every one of his clients will be too! www.ccaflstar.com
Show your colors this weekend while on the water. But let’s take a moment from our day of celebration and fishing to reflect on the brave sacrifices of those who have given their lives for this great nation.
The large forward casting deck has an anchor locker, two dry storage compartments and a round live baitwell. The flat area to port accepts a trolling motor and it’s pre-wired. The forward mounted fuel tank helps to offset the weight of the outboard motor and gives the hull a shallower draft. Wide gunnels aid in walking aft without having to step down into the cockpit and each side has a long flip-up hatch so you can store rods in the horizontal rod holders without having to get on your knees to do it. The stern casting deck has a removable backrest and flip-down cushion, along with two large wells for live bait or to transport your tournament winning catch to weigh-in. The hull design tracks straight as an arrow, has chines to knock down the spray and draws very little water.
by Florida Sportsman Newswire•
May 27, 2016
A burning marlin at a past Bonfire Tournament series event. This upcoming will be a Blazing Mako in Islamorada, the weekend of June 17-19 to help NSU’s marine sciences.
“It will be a spectacular sight,” said renowned Keys marine artist Roberto “Pasta” Pantaleo of the massive metal shark sculpture he’s creating to be torched in a beachfront bonfire celebration during the Blazing Mako Tournament and Festival over Father’s Day weekend at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost in the heart of Islamorada, Florida.
The “trash to treasure” mako shark creation is the largest metal sculpture of Pantaleo’s career, its length continues to grow as he welds pieces of pig iron, reclaimed steel plates and an assorted mixture of cast-off alloys. Its hollow inside will be stuffed with flammables and set ablaze Saturday evening, June 18th at the Islander beach for the signature event, expected to be seen for miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Art enthusiasts and the curious are invited to watch the mako’s metamorphosis at Pantaleo’s gallery at mile marker 81.5, U.S. 1 Oceanside.
Billed as offering “art, music and more,” other festival weekend events include a 100 tent Artist and “Conch-servation” Village, kid’s pier fishing tournament, rum and beer tastings, fishing seminars, offshore and inshore fishing tournaments, a paddleboard poker run, silent auction and live music performances, including Saturday night headliner, The Shane Duncan Band. Other musicians on the NSU Mako Stage include Jess Atkin, Steve Webb, Nick Kimball, Michael Trixx, Rob Smith, Billy Davidson and at poolside Lung.
This year’s Bonfire Festival and Tournament comes ashore from the Bahamas where the event has been held for the past three years. The goal is to raise $100,000 for marine science scholarships at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The Blazing Mako theme for the Islamorada festival celebrates the NSU’s mascot — the mako shark – and the cutting edge shark research underway at the Guy Harvey Research Institute. Visit nova.edu and cnso.nova.edu/ghri for more info.
The crew at MCU works to make the dreams of 32 Seacraft owner Tyler Gorman, become reality, with a perfect paint job in their sights; FS Boating Editor Dave East heads out with Brian O’Donnell, owner of MCU, to discuss one of his most custom builds, a completely transformed classic Bertram; and…Brian is called to make an emergency fix on a custom sportfish.
A classic Bertram completely transformed – with a three foot hull extension, outboard power, and much more than meets the eye.
Mike, Master Painter at MCU, puts in overtime sanding and fairing the 32 Seacraft project, prepping it for a custom paint job.
A custom paint job is only as good as the paint that is mixed, watch as the experts at Fiberglass Florida mix Tyler Gorman his color of choice, Blue Tone White.
The weather looms over MCU, just before the 32 Seacraft is scheduled to be sprayed.
Before a custom paint job, the bodywork that goes into the hull is crucial.
Tyler Gorman’s 32 Seacraft finally gets a splash of color, custom painted by the specialists MCU.
Products used in this episode of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat:
The crew at MCU used paint products from Fiberglass Florida on the 32 Seacraft, to obtain a truly custom paint scheme on the inside and outside of the hull. www.fiberglassflorida.com.
Brian O’Donnell, owner of MCU, opted to use Yamaha outboard power for his restoration of this classic Bertram, due to their ease of maitenence, versatility, and great fuel economy when making trips to the Bahamas. www.yahamaoutboards.com.
Capt. George Gozdz covers the ins and outs of bass fishing in central Florida. Monte Goodman shows Capt. Gozdz the ropes on the St. Johns River, from throwing topwaters in the morning, pulling through the thickest grass, and tossing shiners for the biggest bass.
Elevated casting platform with bucket to organize fly line.
Sight fishing is one of the most exciting ways to fish inshore, whether it is a school of redfish feeding on a grassflat, a snook roaming a shoreline, or a laid up tarpon in the back-country. To be successful at sight fishing, you must see the fish. Obvious, right? But to the untrained eye, this can be difficult and very frustrating.
I once took a buddy of mine fishing who was relatively new to the sport. He had heard about how great sight fishing a redfish was, and that’s what he wanted to do. I must have poled miles that day, with not one fish caught. Albeit we didn’t see huge numbers, but I would get responses such as, “I don’t see it,” or, “Where?” when I would point out a fish from the poling platform. It was a humbling and learning experience for both of us.
Here are six things you can do to help see the fish better, when the opportunity arises.
Regina Gallant releases a fine permit caught in the clear waters of Biscayne Bay.
When you are trying to see fish, a good pair of sunglasses is essential. Polarized lenses minimize glare reflecting off the surface of the water, allowing you to see deeper into the water. Dozens of manufacturers offer good polarized lenses in a wide range of frame styles. I prefer wide frames which block peripheral light coming in through the sides. This light can be distracting, almost blinding at times. The Smith Frontman, Costa Blackfin and Maui Jim Canoe are some examples of frames that block light coming in through the side of the glasses. Note: Pair up your glasses with a hat that has a dark under brim. The dark under brim further reduces glare off the water, helping you see deeper and distinguish fish better.
Height is huge when it comes to sight fishing. Not only does it help you see farther out, but it enables you to see deeper into the water column. This can help tremendously in situations such as scanning potholes for big seatrout.
There are a few different ways to elevate yourself on the water. Casting platforms are one of them. Nowadays it’s somewhat rare to see a technical poling skiff without a casting platform mounted on the bow. These platforms typically range from 14 to 24 inches in height. Today’s new super coolers are another viable option. These rigid, roto-molded coolers can easily support the weight of a person and can double-task as a cooler or dry storage. Often times these are used for a seat in front of the console, then moved to the bow or stern when at the fishing spot.
Captain Ed Zyak, of Jensen Beach, has his own way of getting the upper hand on the fish. He has a collapsible grab bar on top of his center console, on his 24-foot bay boat. With his electronics flush mounted into the dash of the console, he has a stable platform on top of his console and is able to hold on to the grab bar when necessary. He then controls his Minn Kota i-Pilot trolling motor from its remote, while being able to scan for fish.
CAST FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER
If you see something and can’t decipher what it is, there is at least one way to find out: Cast! I was recently poling my buddy down a shoreline. For 300 yards or so all we saw were large mul-let milling around. I spotted a school of fish 20 yards in front of the boat, brushing them off as just more mullet. Come to find out, we rolled right up on 15 redfish, only to have them blow out and disappear. If we would have just cast at these fish, the outcome may have been different.
The majority of sight fishing on coastal waters involves the assessment of shadows, small wakes or glimpses of color. Opportunities of seeing a whole fish and making the “perfect” cast don’t happen all the time. You have to play the cards you’re dealt. For example: Broken branch-es in the water often look like big snook sunning. It can be hard to tell what is a fish and what is not. Snook are notorious for sitting still, waiting to ambush prey. If you’re in doubt, try looking at your subject from a different angle, by crouching down or moving the boat quietly. Make out which way it seems to be facing and make the cast.
I caught my biggest snook on fly this way. Poling down a bank, I noticed a dark spot amongst grass patches that just looked out of place. I staked the boat and then noticed what appeared to be yellow tips of a fish’s tail. I cast four feet in front of it, slowly stripped, and a big snook charged and inhaled the fly.
TIMING WITH THE SUN
During the summer thunderstorm season, many flats anglers make morning starts and midday finishes.
There’s no rush getting on the water before daybreak when wanting to sight fish. You need at least a little bit of sunlight to see into the water. Most days when I am strictly sight fishing, I won’t get on the water till 8 a.m. or so. I will plan on where I am fishing, according to where the sun is in the sky. If it is on the rise, I will fish an area that allows the sun to be to my back. This eliminates the bad glare that you get when facing into the sun. (This applies to when the sun is dropping as well.) Usually, between 10:30 and 11 a.m. the sun is high enough that I won’t have to worry about the glare. Optimal time for best light to see fish is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. More afternoons than not during the summer time, Florida is met with clouds and thunderstorms. This can obviously put a damper on sight fishing, so try taking advan-tage of the late morning sun for best success.
READ THE FLAT
So you have just poled up onto a flat you have never fished be-fore. It looks good, but you don’t know where to start. Don’t jump the gun and push across it as if you’re trying to win a race. Take your time. Most of the time, when I get up onto a flat, I will stake out the boat and scan the area. I will look for depressions, potholes, channels or cuts in the flat and any signs of life. It’s the same process of evaluation, whether I’ve fished the spot hundreds of times or not at all. Many times I have done this, and was able to point out a fish, that I would’ve blown out if I didn’t scan the area. Not only will you see fish when doing this, you will often notice things such as the tide flowing over a bar on the flat. This is a good spot to look for fish that are staging into the current. Remember that fish will be in different spots on the flat at different stages of the tide. A good way to get a general gist of an area you would like to fish beforehand is Google Maps.
FIND CLEAR WATER
Spotted seatrout favor clean water and seagrass meadows, where they can find these conditions.
Clear water is a very important component when trying to see fish. Tide and wind are the major factors when finding the clear water. If you have a week of sustained winds out of one direction, chances are the leeward side of the area you are fishing will have cleaner water than the windward side. The more fetch the wind has (bigger waters such as Tampa Bay, especially) the bigger the chop will be, causing the water to be more turbid. Also, the leeward bank usually protects the first 20 or so yards off the bank, keeping it glass calm. Glassy conditions are much easier to see fish in than in a wind chop.
Tide is also major when finding clear water. The majority of the time, I find an incoming will be cleaner than an outgoing tide. I often refer to the Florida Sportsman Fishing Planner for tide predictions in my area. I will know the moon phase and range of the tide that given day. If I notice a correlation in tide and water clarity in an area, I will make a mental note of it for future fishing trips.
During the summer, Florida tends to get a lot of rain. This is great for our lawns and gardens, but not good for coastal water clarity. Storm runoff from surrounding areas into an estuary can be detrimental to water clarity. Ecological problems such as the persistent algae bloom in the Mosquito Lagoon, in east central Florida, also play a huge role in water quality. You may be rewarded by spending the time looking for clean water. But if that’s not an option, you’ll have to re-ally be on your game. When I am faced with tough conditions due to runoff or algae, I will fish shallower than usual. I will also be on the lookout for signs of fish in the form of water texture—such as waking or tailing fish. FS
First Published Florida Sportsman Inshore Special May 2016
Recent offshore fishing reports from the Northeast region of Florida.
Northeast Bottom Bite
Florida Sportsman member: LouD
Our first stop was at 40 miles at 120 feet and later stops were at 140 and 150 feet (50 miles). Continuous action all day. Captain Roger put us on fish at every stop with emphasis on targeting grouper and Mangos using live bait and 8 to 10 foot leaders.
At the Ledge in 180 feet the starboard flatline gets hit but comes off followed by a hit on the port flatline which pulled drag but came off too. Looking back you could see the head of the dolphin trying to inhale the lure. Casey drops the lure back and we watched him eat it. Once the line came tight it was some very cool jumps by a very large dolphin!
Loaded the well with some stud pogies, milled around on the beach for a little bit to see nothing worth staying so we moved off shore. Hit it hard but never did find a brown fish. Luckily we found seven grouper, but only two were legals. And more snapper than any one person really wants to catch when you can’t keep em’.
We started with just a four line spread but quickly dropped to three, at one point we had a triple hookup. Got them all on board but it was chaotic. The kid with me at one point said “This is a story I’ll be telling my grand kids!”
I had a great time wahoo fishing with Capt. Jerry Moulton aboard his boat Another Tangle last weekend. We had four nice wahoo at 60, 50,50 and 40 pounds. We also caught a bunch of triggers, pinky, AJ and a limit of bees to go with it!
This spot looked better so we dropped the hook to focus on cobia for a bit. We sent down live mullet and starting catching fish! Several big snappers came up on the first drop. We decided to use some chicken rigs to get fish moving up and down in the column. Before long, the big bait on the back got slammed and up comes a cobia with a golden ticket for the fish box.
Within the first 20 minutes that ever so energizing sound of reel screaming was heard. The original plan was to troll out to the break, but we never traveled more than three miles from the spot we caught the first of what would turn out to be six wahoo.
Broke the jetty’s to light NE winds and pretty seas. Plan for the day was to load up on white baits and fish deep. Found all the bait we wanted at the barge and pointed her east. Arrived in 160 feet and didn’t see much on bottom. We dropped lines anyways and found bite to be sluggish at first. Finally found the fish and managed to get on an incredible drift.
Well we started out pretty good on the Mangos and had 8 big ones before dark. They lit up the screen pretty good as the sun went down and then the sharks found our chum line and we had to make a run to another spot.
After that we decided to stop and drop the sabikis down for some live bait and filled the livewell with some nice cigar minnows then started trolling again. Not 5 minutes in we get a double with two nice kings that my brother in law and dad both caught.
I went out to the nearshore wrecks and found that that thermocline out there has the cobes stacked up. We fished a few different spots and crushed the cobia on all of them, going 11 for 13 before getting chased in early by a storm. Almost all of our fish came off alien jigs.
Right before I climb off the tower I decide to pitch one more in and let her sink and bam another hook up. This time I set the hook I don’t know how many times and muscle the fish in. Finally I get one on the gaff and it went 39 pounds.
As we were talking about the conditions being too perfect for a billfish, the left flat gets hammered. As it’s dumping a 50 wide, we see a bill thrashing up top. At that point we knew we found him. Cleared the lines and 15 minutes later released a beautiful blue marlin in the 150 pound class.
Picked a couple numbers off the temp charts and plugged them into the machine and off we went, we stayed mainly in 130 feet water 15 to 23 line. We got bit within 30 minutes of trolling and pulled the hook , for a bit I thought, bad sign then Michael got on his first northeast florida hoo, it got interesting because we missed 3 bites in a row. We just couldn’t figure out how they don’t get hooked at 15 knots with 2 mustad 10/0 hooks, then luck changed and we got the next 3 fish and headed for home.
Arriving at the spot, my eyes bulged as the new Lowrance marked the bottom, there was no doubt in my mind what I was looking at. I deployed the Ipilot, and within only a couple minutes, I was bent over the gunnel with a good fish! The next hour and a half of fishing was absolute mayhem! In less than two hours, I boated 10 cobia!
As it approached the boat it looked like a huge blackfin 30 feet back, that’s when we saw the stripes! Wahoo! Chris put a nice gaff job on the fish and we had our first hoo of 2015 in the boat! Time for a beer!
Our first stop was in 62 feet of water, about 6 miles from the jetties, and we found a ton of snapper from little chickens up to 22 to 23 inch fish, a few decent bass but mostly just legals and shorts. Fortunately we found 2 keeper grouper with one being 24 1/8 inches and the other around 27-29 inches.
We next moved and found a goldmine of fish. Catch included many black seabass, numerous ringtail porgy, a big bull red, and a nice red snapper. I was really glad to see the boys get on some fish. Bait was squid, sardines, grunt and boston mackerel.
We caught a few more just short grouper on that spot along with 12 to 15 snapper and a few bass before we decided it was time to move. Bait of choice all day was boston mackerel, the small livies were being inhaled by sea bass and snapper immediately upon hitting the bottom.
We fished only big hooks and tried to avoid them. No luck, caught them on everything we put down and released them all. Luke caught his personal best trigger, he was very happy young man. We also caught scamp, gags, and lots of red snappers.
We drifted the spot and put about 2 dozen baits in the live well anyway. My buddy decided he didn’t want to run another 15 miles in the slop so we just hung around 9 mile and drifted baits. We caught mostly sharks and red snapper which were released to swim free.
I gave the fish another 30 yards or so then threw it into strike and held on. Then the shotgun rod goes off and my buddy Austin grabs it. We had a double hookup for about a minute until mine came off again. We fought his fish to the boat and after only a few minutes of fighting it I sunk the gaff into it.
The small cobia raced to the jig and grunts before I could get a bait in front of the big one. I caught and released 3 more cobia on the jig and pitch rod before I was able to get a bait in front of the big one. I had used all the grunts in the livewell and the only thing remaining was a half dozen small spanish sardines.
We fished sardines, squid, cut-bait and live pinfish on the bottom in 100″-110″ of water. We boxed our limit of red grouper, mixed in with big mangroves, some flag yellowtail, a few scamp, porgies, and lane snapper.
When we arrived we were the first boat on the scene and there were fish busting everywhere! We started casting poppers and it was game on immediately. For the next two and half hours it was wide open. We boated 10 fish on poppers and 6 on live bait.
We then headed off 35 miles to our first stop, the bites started off a little slow but it picked up and we caught our limit of snapper. 3 of them measuring out to 30 inches plus, we threw back quite a few 18 inch ones also.
We finally changed to some chicken rigs and smaller hooks and the triggers, beeliners and porgies started coming over the gunnel. A bait would not last on the bottom for even 5 seconds before a fish would be biting.
After the long run out we dropped the first bait to the bottom and had a 25 pound snapper in the boat within the first 5 minutes. After that it was non stop action for the next 2 hours. Had to pull up and leave early due to a storm moving in.
Baited up at a wreck then went out to 21 fathoms in somewhat snotty 2 to 3 foot seas with a little rain mixed in to boot. The vermillion bite was easy, the ARS’s were reasonably plentiful along with the lesser AJs, but the sharks were thick on the ledges and live bottom.
“We could have stayed north and killed them but we just wanted to see what’s happening south. We released some small ones and kept 12 big mahi with the biggest around 40 pounds. Then we bottom fished for a very little time and caught…”
We had fish on within a couple minutes. The fish were chewing and we put 23 mahi in the box with including a few studs. Had one small sailfish and saw a big blue marlin go through a school of peanut dolphin and come out of the water with one in his mouth about 20 yards from the side of the boat.
220 feet seemed to be the trick and we boated seven or eight Mahi, mostly from 15 to 20 pounds, but one at 36 pounds. We knocked more than one off boat side in the rough water and teetering gaff. One Wahoo hit on the plainer coming in at 26 pounds. We had a Sailfish in the spread as well but he picked on one of the only two rigs without a Ballyhoo and didn’t hook up.
Hit the ledge to find a slow but steady bite on the troll, with 15 fish in the box we rode in to dive some numbers and see what we could do. Slippers were all over the place, and got a personal best 13 pound spiny. Also shot a 14 pound hog and a 25 pound gag, and had an overall good day.
Next trip, Luis headed south with me again, and this time Jason the duck slayer got invited. Fresh off of grounding restrictions from telling a fish “secret” lol, he was eager to redeem himself to the rest of the crew, which he did get to do that day!
Time goes on and we spot a huge rip with weeds all over it in 800 feet. We go down one side (inside) and it is not producing. Cut across the weed/rip line and the water jumps 3 degrees. In come some of the marlin lures and out goes the meat. Within 5 minutes we get hit!
“When we have a wahoo strike, its like a car accident. We are traveling at 13 to 20 knots, the fish is a torpedo, traveling at 30 to 40. Its a very violent collision.” Englert continued “We don’t throttle down, though. When we get a fish to the boat, I want you to grab the shock leader and secure the trolling weight. Walk everything to the front of the bow. That’s your job, understand?”
We had a couple cool surprises also. My dad reeled up a grunt on a chicken rig and decided to just open the bail and send it right back down the way it was. Within 30 seconds his rod doubles over and the line starts screaming off the penn battle 6000. I decided clear a line we had on the bottom with another live grunt on it and when it came tight, my rod also doubled over. The penn senator 4/0 cranked in the fish in no time and to my surprise was my first bull red!
Bite wasn’t on fire but we managed a good meat trip. Passed a nice rip around 130 feet that made us wish we were trolling. Caught our limit of beeliners to 4 pounds and some nice triggers, one almost hitting 8 pounds!
Bite has been frequent and consistent. Went out last few days with some friends in the Coastal Bay and found them in 80-110 feet. Got into a mix of nice BSB, triggers, B-liners, ARS, and a nice 15 pound gag! Couldn’t find the cobia everyone’s been posting on the forum about.
In between dives we fished and loaded up with some nice fish, threw back a few red snapper, and got a scamp at the end of the day. 4 lobster made the trip back to the dock as well. Found some new bottom numbers to boot.
I took my 5-year-old Cohen out Saturday before the weather front to snag some fish. In the morning it was gamey with some big rollers and side chop, but little man was game and put his fishing face on. It took me 30 years to get my first red snapper on a spinner and found a school of fish 16 miles out to put him on his first at age of 5. We caught over 70 red snapper, 14 vermillion snapper, 10 triggerfish, 6 small sharks, 1 sheepshead (Brother snagged him sniffing the bait), and 1 sea bass [...]
The fish headed due east but we caught up pretty quickly and stayed on top of her as there were a lot of other boats in that area. I have not caught a lot of big kings so, when I first saw it down in the clear water, I was more than a little excited at it’s size. Plus, I’m a fisherman and you all know that adds at least 25-50% to the size of any good fish! One good circle or three and Bob put the gaff in her and we had our first beach king. Awesome. I know a lot of you have been catching 30 pounders this summer and I really had no doubt that we had one but those must be some huge fish because I thought this was a whopper and it only weighed…25 pounds.
Cleared the inlet around 6:25 Saturday with a crew of 4 plus my recon man (diver) Pat. Hunted pogies with little to show from one throw, they were just scattered everywhere but never balled up anywhere, so we pointed her east for the 50mi ride to Elton. Stopped short at TW to look around and then kept heading east. Pulled up on the first spot and on the first drift starting pulling up monsterous seabass. Most were easy 16 inches and fat if not more. We also got a couple fat beeliners off this spot and released some pig red snapper. We moved a little and then a little more and found some more nice bottom and dropped on it, pulling up an african pompano, two red porgies, a very nice mango, and then the cobia showed up under the boat along with some amberjack.
Went to the rip and it was rough, turned south and pounded our way to the southeast hole to get a few kings for the smoker. Put the baits out in around 55-60 feet of water. Not ten minutes went buy we had our first hit. It took off like a smoker king would then it jumped. Dad called a cuda but I saw a sail and bill. Fought the fish for good while got him in the boat for a picture and then back in the water. He revived quickly and swam off. Looked back
towards land and saw nothing but dark skies the wind pick up but we stuck it out. After the storm skirted us we continued fishing with nothing but sharks, with our baits dying and looking pathetic we put out our final spread and were calling it quits at 1:30. Around 1:15 we saw a sail free jumping south east off the bow we turned towards him and did not see him, 5 minutes later we have another sail on the same rod, reel, and rig we caught the first sail on, after another good fight the fish was quickly revived and swam off.
Arrived at spot and seas built a little but not too bad. SW wind mixed with the SE swell to create a confused layout, but it was definitely fishable! We decided to drift fish with live bait and found action right away.
First fish up to bat was an assortment of seabass and beeliners. After that 2 of us stuck into a doubleheader of decent fish. First fish at the boat was a big Red snapper…and back he goes. Next fish was a nice Cobia! After a gaff malfunction we finally got him in and cracked open a few beers. Only 30 minutes in and the day started off right!
We drifted passed the spot and reset. This time we threw two flat lines out with big live pogies and started to bottom bump again. The drift produced again only this time Big amberjacks and red snappers showed themselves. As were drifting, both flat lines go off[...]
Headed out of Mayport around 6:30 and stopped at 30 miles due to a lack of time today. Fishing in 100 feet of water, we got on a few cudas right away. After about a hour, we landed a 20 pound king with a curious cobia following that we couldn’t get to eat the bait. He finally swam off and got the lines back out. Within 10 minutes had a hit and pulled in a 10 pound dolphin. At 10am we had a hit on the ballyhoo and by the time the rod was off the outrigger, the reel was smoking and came close to being spooled on a freight train of a run. Got the lines up and had a 15 minute fight without even seeing the fish. The fish decided to take off again and then snap…my rod broke in two below the third eyelet. Great. We carefully kept fighting and 5 minutes later my buddy yells, “Thats a big wahoo!” Got him next to the boat, gaffed, and in the boat he came!
That was my second offshore trip and I felt like I was in a dream. That water was cobalt blue!! I would never forget this trip in my life. The mahi mahi jumping and tail walking in the air was a beautiful sight to see. We also saw a 15 foot hammerhead shark cruise by us that scared the living daylights out of me. Boy, pulling those groupers up is like pulling a baby elephant from 120 foot water. These offshore monsters definitely whooped me! Thanks very much to Jimmy, Jerry and his crew for having me aboard the “Another Tangle”. It was a dream come true!
Me and Steve AKA Pilingjunkie, hit the water around 8:00am for a day in the Inlet. Got out there and there was nothing happening. Got a pile of Whiting but the desirable species were just not there. First time in a while that the Inlet was a wash. Around 1ish i get a call from Tony(Boattronics). Turns out he had some luck finding the Triple Tails. He gave us a few pointers on how to catch them and donated a dozen or so live Shrimp. Hadn’t really intended on making the trip up the coast but we really needed to reclaim our dignity after the butt kicking we took in the Inlet. We took off toward Nassau following the coast at around 40-50 feet. We found some decent fish free swimming. Managed to get Steve his first TT and man, what a killer experience!! those things go all over the place! They jump and pull like crazy. Now of course im all kinds of pumped and want me one of these bad boys!
Hit the water with another of our fellow forum members, Trevor, AKA, Shadowcast777. Stevo(Pilingjunky) hooked me up with around 2.5 dozen live Blue Crabs 2 days ago and decided to put them bad boys to use. We originally were planning on doing something different but nobody had live Shrimp. Once we got out to the Inlet, we set up shop on the South rocks. Set up a good spread of rods and kicked back. Wasn’t but maybe ten minutes before the first rod goes stripping. Had Trevor take care of it. 15 minutes pass and hes got a stud Bull Red in the boat. We set back up and it isn’t long before we have another Bull in the boat. Both fish were right at 40″. The bite died down so we dragged up and hit another area[...]
After looking high and low for some Blue Crabs, we headed out… The weather man’s report last night said 10-12 NW winds and sunny. Nice by the standards that Steve and I encountered over the last couple of days! Well, the weather man got the sunny part right but it was frigid this morning and the wind was a good 18-20 steady out of the north until about noon. Water was choppy as could be but we crept out to a spot that looked doable and anchored up.
Lines go out and not ten minutes later Sing is doing the tango in the back of the boat as he wrestles his PB Drum up to the surface.. A guess would be around 35 pounds… What a nice way to start the day! We send that big fish back down and lines go back out… A half hour goes by and one of his rigs starts doubling over again!
Me and my buddy Tim went out today for a few hours of sheepshead fishing. Got to our target area at the Little Jetty rocks. Didn’t want to rough the Inlet due to the weatherman’s prediction of high winds and 3-5 foot seas. We wasted an hour or so at the Little Jetties and managed nothing other than a keeper Sea Bass. Seemed pretty calm out so i decided to check the Inlet just in case the weather prediction was off. Glad i checked. Dead calm, no wind and less than 1 foot seas. What a joke. Anyways, the sheepshead bite was very slow in the inlet today. Didn’t see anyone catching. decided to use up the dozen Large Blue Crabs i brought as a back up. Got a few bull reds and lost something very large.[...]
I really enjoyed fishing for Sheepshead using a jighead. Took a second to get used to it but was a lot of fun. The Bite at our first spot turned off so we headed over to the Southern rocks. Once we got situated it wasn’t long before we get a few Decent Sheep in the boat. A short while later Leon brings up this giant Ring Tail! Neither of us have ever seen one this large. Next thing i know we are catching them left and right! Long story short, we end up boating about 40 of these things. Wasn’t long before the water clarity went to crap and we called it a day. An absolute blast![...]
Made the run out in great conditions Sunday morning. The bottom bite was good with all the endangered species making a great showing!!
We kept some nice triggers and a nosy cobia. Strangely enough, we didn’t get a grouper bite. We did see some blackfins feeding around 27 miles out. They were traveling at warp speed, so we didn’t even try to put out a spread. it got pretty snotty later in the morning, laid down mid-day for a decent ride back in until the 15 mile mark. At that point the following East wind turned into some kind of Northwest / South combination wind that slowed us down a bit on the end of the ride[...]
We headed out to about 110′ before dropping. Action was very good, flat seas and minimal wind and current certainly helped. Good clean water too. We started filling the box with the tastiest demersals the bottom can offer, and as we worked deeper, the action continued to get better as we power drifted drops out to 145′[...]
We caught huge triggers, gorgeous mutton snapper, grouper and cobia for the box. A couple sharks, some amberjack, etc. And as always, we sifted through endless red snappers, huge vermillions and seabass that were unfortunately released.
We went 3/3 on swords with 1 being released and two being taken. We high speed trolled in the evening with only a barracuda to show for it. We threw out ballyhoo in 400 feet in the morning and pulled the hooks on a nice wahoo and released another barracuda. We had a great trip with a awesome crew despite being surrounded by storms more than half of the trip. Thanks to Adrian, Casey, and Ryan for being an awesome crew in less than ideal conditions.
Left the dock with crew of Chris, Troutdiggler and his dad Mark, Mularkey, and myself just before sunlight for the last day and the only day this crew was able to get in for this “mini snapper season”, puleeeezze! Baited up at BB, fished 110 feet water and caught fish most of the day. Had to move around a bit to get our limit, and along with some B’s, trigs, one gag, and plenty of throw back keeper seabass. Anyhow, hope a lot of folks were able to get out and enjoy the bite when you could find them.
First of all…let me thank everyone on the forum for ALL of their awesome advice. About a month ago I posted on here questioning about St. Auggie fishing – AND the dreaded inlet. Growing up in South Florida the inlets are INSANE – narrow, and zig-zaggy (Boynton Beach Inlet to be specific). I hadn’t taken our new boat offshore since getting it about 4 months ago [...]
Had a great time Saturday night/Sunday morning on the “Guana Bite”. Thanks to Captain Kevin and first mate Darryl for having me and Brian along to try our luck at the swordfish grounds. We dropped baits in the water way south and setup drift for a long, long, sleepless night. Around midnight we had a good bite on the short/deep rod but couldn’t manage to hook that fish up. We dozed and listened to satellite radio until sunrise when the short/deep drag sounds again [...]
Started the day at 20 miles catching bait. No white bait whatsoever, just grunts. We loaded up with 20 or so grunts and caught 3 barracudas and a bonito at the bait spot. We headed east and put out a bonito lure since we could only make 13 knots do to the swells being close together. We caught one nice bonito on the way to our first spot [...]
The first cobia hit a flat line on the Baitrunner, he put up a nice fight but pulled the hook ten feet from the boat. The next one hit a pogie on the bottom, he came to the surface and made a spectacular jump right before he ran circles around the anchor rope [...]
We had planned on fishing the Northeast Florida Marlin Association’s Dolphin Tourney but they cancelled it on Thursday due to a 3-5 forecast. We decided to make the run still and were pleasantly surprised. We started on a weedline in 120 and picked up a dolphin and a wahoo quickly. Fished it for a while but only had a few small bites so we headed east. We picked up a blackfin on the way east in about 150 feet. Had a nice fish light up the planer rod and pulled the hooks after about 3 minutes on the rod [...]
So I had been thinking for a while now of ways to give back to my church and have fun at the same time. I am blessed to know a lot of great guys in this fishing community we have here and came up with the idea to try and hold a church fishing tournament. My thought was to try and get three captains to take four anglers a piece fishing for the day and with this also raise money for various charities the church participates in [...]
It was one thing after another that has kept the CEE-STUD off the water for this dolphin season. Finally we had a weather window and nothing was stopping us this past Thursday. Sticking to our normal schedule, we were crossing the ledge at around 7 a.m. The water was green inshore at this time. We continued east until we found cobalt blue water in 1100 feet. There we picked up of a bunch of large patches of weed and scattered weed. We decided to start here [...]
Got talked into another last minute trip with noaa forecast at 3 to 5 feet Friday. Took Chuck and Officer Rob from AZ off to find the mahi bite. Really need to get back to work and see if we are still in business. Fish have been chewing with the barometer bouncing up and down. Had 10 fish in the first 1 hour of fishing and ended up with 25 for the day. Released numerous schoolies to grow bigger.
Dad had a buddy from work come into town this weekend and wanted to get on the cobia. Went out Saturday (5/5) to some pretty calm seas and high hopes. Worked it all day to only find 2 fish with lockjaw. Quite discouraging. Got up today (5/6) and figured we would head to Nassau Sound to see if we could get anything going…NADA. Went back to our original strategy and we found em’ [...]
It’s been awhile since a grind had to sharpen some senses. Left Mayport around 5 a.m. Saturday to nice flat seas and picked up bait. Headed offshore for some Moppin N’ Boxin. Our target species was the “mysterious” mutton. LOL! Fished the 30 30 – 30 05 We picked at them slowly the whole trip had 20 i believe. Seemed to be biting better in the day in 140ft. They are slowing down if you like them better get em’, had two nice mangos and a yellowtail, triggers we scattered along the break and plenty of pinkies to raid you bait! Jacks are biting extremely well! [...]
Lately there have been quite a few inquiries about the cobia bite, so here ya go! Last year I met a customer that was obviously into cobia fishing. Every conversation we had, instantly gravitated towards that specail fish that we both love so much. A friendship was forged and we went cobia fishing, and had a great time. He called me again a couple weeks ago to do some more work, and once again we were talking about cobia [...]
Left the inlet early wednesday morning to a black rough sea. took our time getting out, so we didnt beat the boat or ourselves to death. made it to 150′ @ 67 deg, put in the high speed lures and continued east. made it to 250′, saw a nice rip, cross it to find 70 deg water temp and turn south to troll down the rip. within 5 minutes we had a small dolphin on, put him in the cooler. reset the high speed and another dolphin is [...]
Jonathan took the crew thru not so calm ocean yesterday to hunt for wahoo. Not that bad on 45 ft boat.We high speed trolled, than switched to ballyhoo, fishing was slow. First bite around noon, got couple mahis, than later on wahoo on planer /lost by boat/. Switched back to high speed and got double hook up. The bigger fish took around 300 yards of line. Great day and fun with friends on the ocean. Sorry Jonathan for not using that overused EPIC word [...]
Quick report from the phone left St. Aug LATE around 9 picked up some live bait and headed east started on the break trolled to the 29 58 with nothing headed deeper picked up one in 350 with nothing else to show for out there. So we came back to the break and trolled to the 30 08. Picked up lines as it was dark lol! Switched gears headed north for the mutton bite so as we got there it was on but I had to rig all the rods as I was the only dude there! [...]
Fished Friday on the ledge east of St Aug. Had two strikes all day fast trolling, one at 10am and one at 2pm. Both at the south end 29-54 on the shallow side. First was in the mid 30′s and the second 20′s [...]
Includes Daytona Beach, Titusville, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa and Melbourne
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND WILL BE A BUSY ONE…PLEASE BOAT SAFELY!
Gag grouper action is still strong on the offshore reefs and wrecks in the 150 to 250-foot depths. Large live baitfish like bluefish or blue runners are good choices if you can find them. Live pinfish, croakers, and pogies are also great baits but you will have to weed through 20 or 30 red snapper to get to a grouper. Dolphin, blackfin tuna, and wahoo are scattered this week. Look for any type of floating debris or temperature break to hold fish. Rips and slicks are also good places to drag ballyhoo near for these fish. Closer to shore the king mackerel bite is decent but anglers are finding them biting best early in the morning or later in the afternoon with this past weeks full moon. Slow trolling with live baitfish or a planer/lure combination is working best on the kings in the 12 to 20 pound class.
Redfish and snook are hitting live pinfish, croakers, and mullet at the inlet jetties this week. Put these baitfish on a knocker or sliding sinker rig. Flounder are also possible in the inlet on the bottom of the tide for anglers using mud minnows on a standard sliding sinker rig or jig head. Snook are hitting live shrimp near oyster bars in the backwaters during morning periods, or near lighted docks that extend into the I.C.W. channel at night. A mixed bag of flounder, redfish, and speckled trout are possible in the creeks and backwaters from Browns Bay to Gaines Slough. Live fingerling mullet and shrimp are the best live baits right now. Saltwater Assassin sea shad tails in bone diamond and white are working best on a 1/16th to 1/8th ounce jig head.
It’s been a few days since the king mackerel bite was really good on the reefs offshore. We should see these fish start to head toward the near-shore waters in the upcoming days to feed on the ample supply of baitfish that have moved into the 20 to 45-foot depths. Slow troll with pogies-(menhaden), sardines, greenies-(threadfin herring), or pilchards on a wire stinger rig and you should get a few of these fish to strike. Gag grouper are possible on the reefs in the 180 to 250-foot depths. Try to use the baitfish listed in the Ponce inlet Offshore report.
Shark, tarpon, and snook are feeding in the surf areas between Melbourne Beach and the tip of Cape Canaveral. Live croakers, or cut baits will usually get the job done. The best bite for these fish has been during the afternoon and evening periods. A few small trout or an occasional redfish maybe possible in the Banana or Indian River lagoons, but these waters are still in extremely fragile condition after last months fish kill. look for areas where mullet are concentrated and fish near these schools of baitfish with Rapala Skitterwalk or Shadow Rap lures.
Mangrove snapper are the hot bite out of the inlet this week. Look for the snapper on your depths sounder or chum them up on the 70 to 90-foot ledges. Use live pilchards or fingerling mullet for the bigger fish. Closer to shore, fish near bait pods in the 15 to 40-foot depths for crevalle jack that are running in the 20 to 30-pound class. Shark, tarpon, and king mackerel may be following these bait pods as well.
With the huge influx of fresh water running into this area the water is turning brown in many areas along the western shoreline. This fresh water is pushing many of the trout, redfish, snook, and jack into the middle and eastern section of the Indian River from Melbourne to Vero. Look for the best topwater action to be near baitfish schools near spoil islands and on flats with good supplies of mullet or glass minnows.
Perdido Key to Cape San Blas Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe
The inshore bite continues to get better with lots of smaller slot sized speckled trout showing up on the flats and redfish around the docks. On the piers and beaches there is plenty of spanish mackerel and whiting, with a few pompano mixed in. The bonus is the non-stop action from the by-catch like ladyfish, bluefish, and hard tails. There have been a few reports of pelagics around the piers with Pensacola reporting a sailfish. If the weather is calm look for king mackerel around the buoys and just off the beaches. Live bait is best, but dead cigar minnows behind dusters will work too.
We should have an ideal weekend weather wise making for a perfect full day of fishing, well maybe a stop off for lunch at your favorite spot. Look for the majority of trout action to come before noon on the flats in water between 4 to 10 feet. Live shrimp works great and is hard to beat, especially for youngsters. My personal choice would be top-waters through mid morning then switching to suspending jerk baits and gulp baits on a jighead under a popping cork. The shallower spots during a high tide and the deeper spots during a low tide are often hot spots. Taking time to work these areas often pays off.
The redfish action has been consistent and with the recent change to the daily catch limits the numbers should rebound pretty quickly. Look for the most action to come from around the bridges, docks, and jetties. A jighead tipped with live shrimp is hard to beat in these scenarios and allow anglers to make accurate cast tight to the structure. Work the bottom slow and don’t be afraid to make a few cast on the outside edges. With the water as clear as it is its a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for muddy spots or areas where the bottom is being stirred up while fishing the flats. Small schools of reds will cruise the bottoms looking for shrimp and other tasty morsels. The muddy disturbance is a good give away, well either that or a stingray, haha.
The beaches often offer nonstop action and can be a blast on light tackle or even a fly rod. Its the prefect place to enjoy family time, bend a rod, and maybe even hook a new family member. Look for the majority of action to come from around the outer sandbar. Soft plastic reflective lures are ideal and usually work for most of the species out there. The piers have been seeing lots of mackerel and even a few pelagics. If the weather and water keeps moving in this trend it could be an epic year.
The offshore bite has been good and for the most part people are making one of three choices. First staying in state waters and fishing for red snapper, triggerfish, and king mackerel. Second would be to head out in federal waters and fish for amberjack, scamp grouper, triggerfish, and vermillion snapper. Third and probably my favorite would be head offshore to either the Spur or SW to the rigs and chase pelagics. Some nice billfish were caught this past weekend in a Tournament and the water looks pretty good. Its time to get out and bend a rod.
State water anglers will want to have a variety of dead bait and a variety of sizes of live bait. The bite has been good, but with a few weeks of snapper season over a lot of the public spots have had pressure and changing things up could be the ticket to a successful day. Look for the larger snapper to hold up higher in the water column and key in on dead menhaden and live cigar minnows. The larger triggerfish will eat live baits, but for the most part the best choice will be small cut pieces of squid and northern mackerel.
Federal water anglers will want to take extra time to make sure they have the smaller palm sized baits for scamp and larger baits for amberjack. Look for the majority of action to come from the larger man made wrecks and natural reefs in water between 125 to 250 feet. Its a good idea to keep a flat line out, mahi-mahi have been caught and you never know when a wahoo may show up. For scamps keep your baits on the bottom, for amberjack look mid water or 30 to 40 feet off the bottom.
The blue water action has been good and for most boats heading out the longer runs are worth it. Be sure to have chunking baits, live baits, and rigged baits. Never know what opportunity will pop up and its better to be over prepared then to miss out. Tight lines!