Larger bay boats have become increasingly popular in recent years, mainly due to their versatility inshore and offshore. With a wider beam for more displacement and deck space, they’re very stable at rest in calm conditions, while the extra length and width of their hulls allows them to run in heavier water than smaller bay boats. With an additional casting deck at the bow, multiple anglers can fish at the bow and stern at the same time while the boat drifts or sits on anchor.
The lower freeboard of these boats allows for the mounting of a trolling motor on the bow, which brings multiple advantages offshore. It can be used as a virtual anchor to hold position over a wreck or reef, and it can also be employed in slow trolling. Anglers may want to slowly troll along a weedline while also casting to specific spots from the deck or bow. The trolling motor can also be used to slow-troll live baits along a weedline, or color change, in the way center console anglers employ a standard slow, bump-and-go action.
Powered by a single engine, these bigger bay boats can still cover distances fast, and they carry enough fuel capacity to make moderate-range trips possible in the right sea conditions. While single engines are economical to run, slowing your trolling speed will do more than anything else to increase your fuel economy. To get the best fishing at slower speeds, it’s crucial to experiment with the best placement for maximum visibility of your lures in your trolling spread, depending on your boat’s prop wash and its wake.
Recent offshore fishing reports from the Southwest region.
Trolling for Tuna and Bonita
Florida Sportsman member: BlueWater Gear
Tons of birds, fish clearing the water, a big piece of bamboo, and “yellow gold” in the form of a ginormous weed patch that I have only seen in the keys. We immediately put the spread out and first pass 3 rods go off. Two bonita and a nice blackfin.
While running we marked a ton of spots, the bottom out there is just stupid good. Each spot produced a few fish, however we hit the motherland after going over a spot we randomly found. First drift, my buddy on the bow throws a 20 pound scamp over, another guy in the back throws a 12 pound mutton in, and another guy in the middle throws a 33 inch red grouper on the deck.
We did a deep trip this past weekend, four of us for a long trip. Started out in 200′ catching red grouper up to 23lbs. Average size was 18 pounds overall. Picked up a few large porgies mixed in as well. Squid and bonita strips worked well on knocker rigs. Moved out into the deeper 450′ and started catching some blueline tiles, yellow eye snapper, and blackfin snapper.
We fished with a father and son that reside in Fort Myers. Fished in 160′ of water landed their limits of american reds, red grouper, gag grouper and a huge scamp (that they let me catch!). Knocker rigs on with 60 pound flouro produced with a whole squid.
Headed to a grouper spot we found last year and it was pretty steady. We drifted with two-speed conventionals with 60 pound braid to a 150 pound swivel to 80 pound flouro, 10 ounce weight and a 10/0 circle hook. The current and wind were great and made the drifts slow and easy. Caught four cookie cutter gags at 33 inches, as well as scamps 23 to 29 inches.
Snapper season extended two days meant we were itching to get back out. Friday had some decent rain storms and we were hoping for better weather on Saturday 6/11. After watching the radar we said go, go, go at 3 am, glad we didn’t call it.
Once on the hook, we cut chunks and set the chum block out while we ate some food before the mayhem began. Shortly after midnight we had two red snapper on board that were caught on the way down. I threw down a vertical jig and had a nice 12 pounder to the boat.
Captain Kyle put us on the fish, wind was brutal and cut our fishing time way down. Highlights were a 20 pound mahi that swam up to the boat all lit up, a fat double header of yellow edge, 25 pound black, and a pretty nice queen.
As we rolled out to our number we find two boats already anchored up. Moved a few miles to the north and began picking away at nice ARS and red grouper. Average grouper was 13 to 15 pounds. Also pulled up two gags with the larger one being 18 pounds, a decent scamp and couple porgies were also added to the box.
We setup immediately and began catching some quality mangrove snapper. 20 pound flouro on knocker rigs as well as chunking thread-fin and free lining squid worked well for us. The largest Mangrove I pulled up weighed 7 pounds on the scale with the majority in the 4 to 5 pound range with a few smaller.
It was a bit sporty in the morning and calmed down as the day went on. We had about 25 mangos, 3 sheepshead, 3 tripletail, and 3 nice hogfish. The fish all preferred shrimp presented on a jig head or fishfinder rig. The knocker rig did not fare as well.
I had a trip offshore this past Monday, with following seas we made it out to 115 feet. Five people aboard, we caught their limit of grouper up to 17 pounds. Made two stops for the grouper, did stop on a wreck to try and get the snapper biting but to no avail the tide switched and ran against the wind.
Around 75 feet was where we found nice blue water and headed out right to the edge of the 20 fathom mark. Current running against wind and the full moon we kept one decent AJ for the smoker. Made three stops for red grouper pulling in all 27″ plus fish, biggest one weighed in at 18 pounds
We have had a solid bite on amberjack in nearshore on the artificial public numbers, the largest we landed was right in the 40 pound range. Mangrove snapper have also been hot, we landed about a dozen up to 18 inches nearshore. The kings have been hit or miss throw a free line out there and you may get a straggler!
With a few tips from Larry, some cut threads, and live shrimp we were able to have an exciting day. We caught a variety of fish including keeper size red grouper, short red grouper, short gags, flounder, nice lane snappers, mangos, too many blue runners, and a cool looking fish that I have never seen before.
I took the wire off and the AJ’s began biting, the bigger ones have made a big push in closer and there is an abundance of them offshore. Some of the bigger ones may have been in the 80 to 90 pound range. Live chumming fired everything up out there, before we left the wreck about a 100 yards back there was a big school of 50 to 75 pound AJ’s cruising the waves which was pretty spectacular.
We ended up anchoring on a spot in about 30 feet of water and as soon as we got situated a big school of cobia cruised by the boat. My buddy threw a bucktail jig which was quickly eaten and it was game on. We ended the day with 12 cobia to the boat and kept a 4 person limit of 4.
Dropped a marker at the first number Med. spin rods 14 pound flouro leader, small no 2 circle hooks, squid for bait, grunt bite was instant. Most were small and sent back. After chum had been out for about 30 minutes or so I decide to drifted a shrimp back (keys style) just a small split shot , open bail just feeding the line out with the slick.
We used our structure scan to find some nice ledges and rocky areas. Our first spot we landed a few beautiful shallow water gags that were absolute monsters for being within sight of land. We then switched over to hoggin’ and had a banner day, getting 20 keepers to the boat.
Sunday morning we woke up and a strong breeze had kicked up from the south west, packed our things and went out to do some more high speed trolling on the outgoing tide. Worked our way north to Memory Rock to do a little deep dropping, found some nice bottom in 550′ and started catching yellow eyes!
Once we had our fill of that we headed back west and settle in 125 or so feet. We worked around but never really found anything much. After a few stops I did boat a nice 31 inch red grouper. We worked the area some more and picked up another red at 21 inches, a stout 28 inch red, and a few shorts.
I got up early today and decided to target some tripletail, I caught one last week so thought I might find one this week ,started off losing a bruiser and snapping a fishing rod in the process, but all in all the wife and I caught 4.
The winds laid down so a slow drift was in order. It was fish on, first three over the sides were all keepers. The bite was steady and in no time we had our limit of reds of two each up to 25 inches. in fact we had to release 2 more to 24 inches as we were pulling our lines in.
We left that spot and continued in, not more then two miles we found another spike. Very similar and could see the hard rocky bottom down 150 feet. Did a few more drifts and produced some more nice red grouper and massive scamps.
We moved and anchored on a different show and this spot was absolutely on fire with red grouper. We were trying to target mangos, but we could not get a bait past the red grouper. They were so aggressive that we had our limit in probably 30 minutes or less.
Lines were dropped to the bottom and there were instant hits but no fish ever made to the surface. You could get it four to ten feet off the bottom and then the rod was almost ripped from your hands till the line would break. We were using 60 pound main line and 80 to 100 pound leader.
The bite was relatively slow, we fished with 20lb fluorocarbon using a 1/2-1 oz knocker rig on a #2 mutu light hook. Live pilchards were the go to bait, we had bought a some shrimp to try for any hogfish as well. The bite picked up after we put in a chum block, with smaller fish around 13 to 14 inches. The larger ones starting biting as soon as we brought out the grill and cooked some hot dogs!
First spot was only 7 miles out where i have had a good lane snapper bite plus some nice flounder in the mix. We set up on the spot the bite was constant grunts, porgys, mangrove snapper, and the first black sea bass I have ever seen caught on this coast.
We used 5000 sized spinning gear with 15 feet of 20 pound flourocarbon leader. We used knocker rigs in the beginning and then switched over to 1/0 mutu light circle hooks free-lined with pilchards and squid. We had some quality yellowtails for only being in 55 feet.
We ended up working our way back south due west of Doctors and began drifting around 1:00 in 75 feet of water. The red grouper were active but a lot of shorts. We finally put a keeper in the boat. Slowly we started adding more keepers. At around 2:00 they turned on with us ending the day with 8 keepers and 40 to 50 shorts.
We managed a 79 pound black to take first place. Also weighed a 23 pound gag and a 17 pound red grouper. The gag fishing this summer has been a little slow in the deeper water. We only managed to catch 2 gags in some areas that generally hold some nice fish. Weighed one 12 pound mutton snapper, the winning fish was just under 18 pounds.
Found a nice little mango spot in 70 feet of water. The fish were pretty selective today. A few mangos were picked up on chicken rigs, but the majority of fish landed were caught on a 3/8 ounce jig head tipped with live shrimp. We also caught a handful of nice lanes, grunts, and porgies. The prize of the day was a fat hogfish.
Very fast drift, 8 ounces minimum to stay near bottom. First 6 fish were keepers, 21 to 24 inches so we worked the area till the tide stopped as did the bite. Found some good bottom set out the hook and broke out the chum. Took 10 to 15 minutes to turn the bite back on. Never did go deeper as planned. oh well always a next time. Final tally 12 in the box to 25 inches.
Made one night spot where we picked some nice yellowtails and a few muttons. The barracudas were ferocious and, as it’s been for the last few months, the amberjacks and almacos were a real pest. Caught a 60 pound jack in 900 feet of water deep dropping.
We got about 25 miles out and setup. It was non stop action all day! Between huge gags, that had to be thrown back and the red grouper. We managed 3 keepers grouper, a bunch of Grover’s, lanes and grunts.
He also brought some cat fish that he had for tarpon season on one rod for quite awhile no takers so he took it off threw it over board . Puts on a pin fish and it gets slammed! We get it on deck and what does it spit out? the cat fish we had thrown overboard. Go figure!
We recently did a long range trip from Venice, Fl to Orange Beach, Alabama to fish around the oil rigs and did fairly well. The fishing in Orange Beach was horrible as all of the run-off from the mid-West’s springtime heavy rains finally made their way down the Mississippi River and out into the Gulf. We fished the rigs 100-125 nm out and found the water to be a coffee color and very warm. While our target quarry was yellowfin tuna and marlin, it did not work out. The rigs however were very impressive to see.
We fished three rods at varying depths; all rigged with large squid baits from Baitmaster’s of Florida. At about 11:30 pm we got a bite on the far right rod and had a pretty decent fish on the line. After about a 45 minute fight, we had a nice swordfish on the leader. Turns out, the silly fish ate all three baits in the spread and certainly wasn’t going anywhere.
We headed out right before dawn, the thunderstorms surrounded us at Punta Rassa and made it out there regardless. Needless to say we did not get wet at all after breaking out the rain gear. We made a pitstop in 50 feet to load up on some pins and headed straight to the stoney. We immediately set up and got the chum working, in about 2-3 minutes, Joe Isley hooks up to a big fish. All of us are laughing right now as we think it is a big blue runner or a almaco jack. Fish comes into sight and it is a TRUE flag!! We land that sucker and it measured in at 28.5 inches the biggest one i’ve seen on our coast. My record tail was 27 inches so my record was beat.. We caught two more tails, regarding bait, they were all caught on live shrimp tipped on 1/2 oz jig heads with 30 pound yozuri flouro. We booked it to some red grouper grounds where we managed a couple red’s nothing too big, just barely keepers at 21-23 inches.
Fished somewhere around 60 miles out of New Pass today on a Gag specific trip. Plan was to fish a handful of ledges in the 26.** line. All bait caught the night before died, so we got out pretty late, after refilling the well with big baits. Caught a limit of Gags and even 2 Reds. All fish were in the 30 inch + range. Fishing was slow but consistent until the AJ’s showed up and seemed to follow us everywhere. Released a dozen or so AJ’s. Lost some monster gags to the ledges today. 65/60 was just a little too light.
Had the privilege of fishing with Brooke and her dad Keith, she just finished basic and is going to her first posting.We wanted to get an early start targeting grouper. We met at Tight Loops boat at 6am and began to prepare for the day. I put in the numbers on his GPS for our first stop. As we were still preparing his boat we could see and hear the thunder and lightning in the gulf towards the south west, the exact direction we were heading. My hopes were that it would be heading away from us WRONG!! As we were heading out the front was moving closer so I decided to detour the Edison drop a line and see what the weather was going to give us. Drift was really fast because of the wind requiring six to 8 ounce weights to even get close to the bottom.In no time Brooke was pulling fish over the gunnels, she even caught a stone crab.Wind, waves, and dark clouds Brooke never flinched. We could see a slight clearing in the clouds so we made the run for it. Arrived at the first number and dropped in our lines still 3 to 4 mile south drift porgys,grunts,lanes and red shorts were caught. seas were laying down a little I put in another line and made a move. Brooke got hammered on a white jig head Tight Loops put on for her. It was fun to watch.
The target was red grouper yesterday, and the day did not start out very promising. Rounding up live pinfish is usually pretty easy. Not this time. After chewing up quite a bit of time at three different spots, we only managed half a dozen live baits. I was starting to worry that the super full moon was going to somehow shut down the fishing. We ran out of New Pass to about 100 feet anyway and started our drifts using live bait on one rig, and a jig and squid combo on another.
Almost immediately, Peter had a fish on, and a minute later I was into a fish. We had a double red grouper hook up, except both fish were shorts. Again I started fussing that the full moon was going to screw up the fishing and that it’s not a lot of fun to run out to 100 feet for a bunch of shorts. Well the action was pretty steady over the next few hours. We ended up with 6 nice keepers ranging from 22 inches to 26 inches, with a bunch of shorts thrown into the mix. The type of bait used made no difference…
Headed 20 miles west of Boca Grande member Ptrshenry as a buddy boat. With another false forecast from NOAA it was a manageable but, not a very fun ride out in a 20 ft bay boat, thankfully the seas died down through the day and turned into a beautiful day for fishing.
We stoped and an artificial reef and after a couple drifts found where the fish were holding and dropped anchor. It was lane Snapper after lane, porgy after porgy. Then the red grouper woke up and it was non stop for about 2 hours. A lot of shorts I bet we threw back 20 that were 18 inches or smaller than that. We did end up with a keeper from the group…
It was a solid day on the water today and a great start to Red Snapper season. On the way out we did try trolling for an hour in 100 feet but without any action we continued out to our first spot in 158 feet. First two lines down brought up two keeper fish a Red Snapper and Scamp. The bite continued for about an hour but then slowed significantly. With keeper fish consisting of three Red Snapper, three Scamp and two Red Grouper we began to worry. We moved around and fished in 156 feet to 162 feet marking a mess but catching only a few. We fished the next two hours only putting two more fish on the box. Then like it often does all craziness broke loose and we achieved our goal for a Red Snapper limit. We caught 16 Grouper up to 30 inches, three Scamps, a nice Mango Snapper and a 24 inch gator porgy.
Headed out of Weeks around 7. Tried Big carlos for bait but there was no current, so we headed off to the tripod and loaded up with a few casts of the net. Cruised past the group of boats off Knapps point and headed out to some wrecks about 12 miles offshore. It was a nasty ride out on the pathfinder but worth it. Constant action all day with some big kings, released gags, bonita and amberjack. We probably lost 30-40 fish (probably kings) but some took us in the wreck so you never know. We used white bait all day and had times when we had three rods going off all at once! It was a great day.
Took my son and some of his high school buddies out Sunday. Started in 80 feet and picked up a few reds in the 22 to 24 range. Bite was not bad but still a lot of barely 20 or just under that went back. Was too busy venting to get many pictures and the ones I did get had my thumb in the middle lol. Decided to try a couple of ledges out in about 100. Dropped down a couple of good sized pins and rods bent. Couple of nice gags about 26 inches.They were vented and sent back down to hopefully be seen again in a couple of months. I put down a light rig with live shrimp and get slammed. After a few minutes of battling up comes the biggest porgy I have ever caught. One of the boys hooks up on a goliath. These guys play football and are always bragging about how much they can bench or squat. By the time he finally got him up-five good runs and about 30 minutes he had 2 of his buddies on the rod lifting to reel in. In the picture I’m not sure if he is smiling because of the fish or just that it was over with[...]
We hit our usual producing grouper grounds but didn’t get much. On Sunday we caught lots of bait, then we headed to our usual grounds again. We picked up a few small fish and then decided to head out a bit further to search for new grounds. In 70 feet of water we drifted over a magical spot, surrounded by mackerel and broom stick bending grouper. We continued to run the same drift with similar results. Heavy leadheaded jigs tipped with various types of fish did the trick. We also had a dolphin hanging around us for a few spots. Most of the undersized fish made it safely back down but one grouper hung around the surface too long and was captured.
After a rather late start due to the fog, managed to catch a few baits and then off to 140 feet. First fish in the boat was an African Pompano about 27 inches.The AJ fishing was good with lots of decent size fish, 45 – 70 pounds, for all on board. After boxing our limit of AJs, it was off to grouper fish.
The gag grouper were biting and of course returned to live until opening day. The juvenile red grouper were biting but could not find any decent fish. We went to some spots we fished last Friday where caught some really nice reds up to about 18 pounds.
Went offshore Superbowl Sunday with the intentions of catching a mako, but like always the weather man was wrong again, was suppose to be 10 to 15 knots with 2 to 3 foot seas but after hitting the 20 mile mark it was easy 4 to 5 feet with a few 6 footers mixed in. So changed plans on the way out and decided to opt out of targeting a 200-to 400-pound high jumping shark and go for some snapper and amberjack.
Ended up with a 20-pound cobia, some nice 4-to 5-pound mango snapper, some yellowtail snapper, beeliners, porgies, AJ’s in the 30-to 40-pound class, oh and an African pompano.
Mission accomplished for us yesterday. The plan was to limit out on Red Grouper before the season closes at the end of the month. We had an older boat wishing to follow us (some history of motor issues) so we wanted to stay as close as possible but still get into some keeper fish. We left the dock at 7:45, broke the pass by 8:30 and were fishing by 9:10 in 75 to 80 feet[...]
Headed out past the 240 ledge. Saw too many boat out there so went another 8 miles. Picked up a few grouper and snapper in the 70-75 foot range. Grouper are real spread out. Not one fish broke the surface all day. Caught this fat 27 inch grouper dropping a jig. Fattest grouper I have ever caught for this size. had to go close to 20 pounds [...]
Went out yesterday with my 15 year old. Fishing 65-70 feet of water. Bite was pretty decent and conditions were just about perfect. Kept 4 reds with the largest 27 inches, couple of nice mangroves around 17 inches. Sometimes when things are breaking down or a trip doesn’t go right, I start complaining to myself about the money it takes to keep a boat. Then you get a day like yesterday, beautiful water with just you and your son (and best friend) and it all makes sense why it’s worth it.[...]
Headed offshore Wednesday in search of a trolling bite, mainly looking for wahoo and tuna. Stopped in 140 feet and found plenty of bonito. Not quite what we were looking for so we headed out to 160 feet again, more bonito. But, we did find a decent dolphin. So we headed to our last spot in 180 feet that drops off to over 200 feet. As soon as we got in the area we spot a frigate bird. Ok, things are looking up. I steer the boat right under him and he leads me right to the ledge, as soon as my arrival alarm sounds BAM! Tripled header of blackfins! Alright things are looking much better. Anyway, we troll around for the next couple of hours or so and end up with at least 2 triple headers multiple doubles and singles. And plenty of lost fish too. Total for the day was 14 blackfins, 2 red grouper and a dolphin [...]
Headed out this morning with a good buddy of mine for tripletail. With the livewell full of shrimp, we headed out off the lighthouse offshore to find a nice string of crab pots. In about 25-30 feet of water we found a nice string and followed it all the way to redfish pass. During the run we wound up seeing a trip around every 5 to 6 pots down. Most of the ones we caught were small…around 10-12 inches, but managed 2 keepers, a 15 inch and a 23 inch. We wound up catching around 7 or 8 total. It was a great day, the seas were calm and the sun was out![...]
The tripletail fishing this past week has been phenomenal !! I have fished in SW Florida for a long time and this is the best season, by far. The trips have been holding on the deeper (30ft plus) trap balls. Today, we caught 18 and saw well over 30 fish, with some trap balls holding multiple fish. If they weren’t bigger ones, we did not even turn around on them. Some have been pushing the 10 lb mark over the past 7 days or so[...]
Went out for a few hours today with one of the mates that I work with to target some triple tail, since he told me he has never caught or eaten one. So we left the dock around 12:30pm with a few dozen hand pick shrimp in search of some triple tail. We started running the crab pots and with in minutes we had our first tail in the box, only about 16 inches but a good way to start the day. For the next half hour or so we probably caught 7-10 shorts between 12-15 inches and then I see the beast of triple tail hanging on a buoy. We throw the biggest shrimp we had on a circle hook, put it right in front of his nose and he sucked it down! Ended up fighting that fish for almost 15 min but we finally got him in the boat and we put him on the scale to see what he weighed 18 POUNDS![...]
We managed to make it to some red grouper grounds out 40 miles. The early morning was brutal with the thick fog close to shore. Thank god for radar, as one boat came within 70 feet of us buzzing by. Around 7am we were out looking for bait, the closer bait spots of mine had been wiped clean from this past red tide we had. We trekked out further to about 50′ and found a nice new spot. We Loaded the well with hardtails and made our way to 80′ of water. Headed to some ledges with 4-5′ of relief and bagged 4 red grouper. Marked some new bottom and then decided to head to our red grouper grounds 11 miles further out. [...]
Around the end of September I get a call from a buddy of mine that is a camera guy for a new fishing show that will be on NBC Sports in January 2013 called Gaff Life. He calls me and said they were going to shoot a show in North Carolina but there was some bad weather so it got canceled and would I be able to put a offshore trip together for the show? So of course I said hell yeah, called my boss who owns the Flying Fish Fleet and I tell him what we want to do and we quickly put a trip together [...]
We left New Pass at around 7 a.m. and headed out to about 160 feet. Spent a few hours trolling and picked up a few bonita for bait, but the pelagic bite was slow. Decided to switch gears and do some bottom fishing which was very productive. The seas were smooth and winds were calm, which provided perfect conditions for drifting [...]
A buddy and I reluctantly decided to give it a try on Saturday even though all the “regulars” were otherwise occupied and the surf was pretty loud from my place north of the Jetties (a good indication that the seas are to be reckoned with). I just had the engines serviced and wanted to give them some exercise prior to a deep run, so we decided to check out the conditions and stay inside 15 to 20 miles, depending. We picked up 6 dozen handpicks and a few chum blocks, then stopped outside the jetties for the obligatory sabiki dip [...]
Went out this past Saturday for the 4th weekend in a row with Dan (Dcheek2112) and our normal grouper diggin’ crew, along with 2 other guys which was there first trip on my boat. The plan was to do some diving/spearing and some hook and line in between dives. We had some new spots we found in around 120 feet of water a few weeks ago that we wanted to dive and see what was down there [...]
As the weekend approached we made plans to leave Friday after work. We knew that it would be a pitch black night with the moon setting at the same time as the sun, but hoped that the so-called minor/minor would produce a hot bite [...]
The past two days offshore have been fantastic. If you have the ability to run deep while the seasons are open, do it. As other reports have indicated, the Gulf has been extremely flat and waves nonexistent. That being said, it has also been very hot due to the lack of any wind. Drink plenty of water. We have been running just past the 160′ mark to our usual marks and found the bottom bite to be fantastic. Ars on the first 5 drops, then the RG’s and chunky gags chimed in. We found some large AJ’s down on the bottom as well [...]
Headed out looking for gags. Was thinking about the 240 ledge area, but saw way to many boats headed that way. Started trolling about 5 miles north of the ledge in 65 feet. trolled NW out to 80 feet. Did not mark any new spots, but did manage 4 keeper reds, biggest one around 26 inches caught in 75 feet. The woman out fished me again! Lost a big kingfish at the boat, and lost something big that pulled the hook on the troll. Next time I will go deeper [...]
I am a new offshore guy. Normally spend my time with a fly rod in the backcountry but I heard the near shore mangrove snapper bite was going off and wanted to try it. Hooked up with Larrywit and took off with the only “intel” we had which was 50 feet off of Sanibel. Hit a spot and chummed with some home-made nuclear chum but not much action [...]
Mission accomplished today, left the dock at 5:45AM (back by 6:00 PM), ran 54 miles out to 155 – 160 feet.. Got our limit today on American Red Snapper (12) to about 10 lbs, 8 Mahi Mahi, 7 Red Grouper to 18 lbs, 3 Scamp to 10 lbs and a variety of other good stuff. Just finished having some Mahi on the grill…excellent!!! Can’t wait to run off again.
Decided to not run way out to grouper spots. Stopped at 7 miles set the hook ,no chum slick set out not too active red shorts real short. Decided to run out to catch one of Marys favorite eating fish porgys and snapper 16 miles out, circled to find the right bottom, set the hook. Let out the chum, down sized the leader line to 20 lb floro. small 2or 3 size hook lite to med spin rods took about 30 min for the fish to show [...]
I was waiting for one of the guys who made it out with Joe Miller to post something, until then, I got this message from one of the guys: ” All in all it was good. Joe did his usual and put us on the fish. We limited out on the grouper and caught a bunch of nice mangrove’s and lane’s. I hooked and fought about a 5-6 foot spinner shark off the back on a free line that jumped twice completely out of the water before breaking me off about 3 minutes later [...]
Fished in the Venice Indians Grand Slam Fishing Tournament today and based on the weather and marine forecast decided to strictly target Kings. Other categories included inshore (redfish and trout), snapper and Wildcard, but decided our best bet would be kings. After spending the better part of 4 hours yesterday cast-netting mullet, we had a few decent baits in the baitwell for the ride out. My buddy Kirk did an outstanding job on the rod when the fish hit, landing this 37.2 lb King to secure our first place win in the kingfish division [...]
Well as you know it was not 2 footers, more like 2-4′s. Mary and I ran out to a spot we were last week, I had the guys catching porgy’s and grunts and nice lanes. It was kind of hard to anchor up just right, set the hook and this time I mixed some chum in an old salt container put it in a chum bag to it I attached a 5 pound weight so I could lower it to the bottom, I used some old red line I had laying around (mistake) it took about a half an hour for the bite to start [...]
Got this decent cobia today while snapper fishing on the county reefs just off Sarasota. 20 lb test fluorocarbon leader, 1/0 circle hook and a big fat shrimp right on the bottom. The fish fought for 45 minutes on light tackle. Managed about 15 or so really nice mangs (sorry no pics) and some porgy as well. Needed to chum really heavy to get the bite started, most likely because of the big moon. Even managed a decent tripletail yesterday on the ride along the beach [...]
Got a late start with a crew of two from Naples. Did not leave the dock till 10AM planned for a short run to catch some nice grunt for a fish fry. Stopped at about 7 miles out started catching grunts at first drop and grouper gags and reds..at around 12:30 it really laid down i suggested we run another 10 miles to where i have had a good bite lately [...]
The past week the wreck fishing has been amazing. The choice of bait is frozen shrimp on a 3/8 jighead. The sheepies have been in the 3 to 5 pound range. Off these wrecks my clients have been pulling in some nice snapper,flounder and grouper. Inshore fishing has been hit or miss. Back in the creeks has been good for reds and snook. Make sure you chum them up. The reds are around 15″to 25″ and the snook are on the small side [...]
by Florida Sportsman•
October 27, 2016
Recent inshore fishing reports from the West Central region.
Solo Trip for Snook
Florida Sportsman member: Southshore Slayer
Well I only got one red at 19″ but did well on Snook. Most in the mid 20′s but I did nail a thick 32″ that I have no clue how I got in when she ran me back in the groves two different times. I was using 10lb braid and 20lb fluro.
I only caught four fish, but they were ALL keepers, 25″, 26″, 26″ and 28″. Only trolled for three hours and I was culling after an hour and a half. All were caught in the same hundred yard stretch, no shorts. I didn’t see another boat there the entire time. Troll em up, they’re out there!
I have not yet seen the redfish mixed in with the mullet yet the fish I have found in schools have been over slot size fish. If you can manage to find these fish before the rest of the people do they will be schooled up and eating every bait you throw at them.
We started in the backwaters focusing around mangrove points and cuts between islands as well as schools of large black mullet. After a lot of short strikes on topwater plugs we did manage to hook up a couple of nice reds.
Tarpon are creatures of habit that move huge distances on a daily basis. They generally come back to the same haunts year after year, but it can at times be a bit of a struggle to find out where they are on a particular day, unless you get them “dialed in”. Getting them dialed takes a lot of time, a lot of dedication and a lot of failed attempts, but once you figure it out the feeling of accomplishment is something else.
Linda and I fished w Capt. Clark Wright 3 days last week and it was amazing. I’ve caught small tarpon before (maybe 30 pounds) but wanted to get us on some big ones. We went 4/10, 4/6 and 2/5 in the three days fishing the pass and the beach.
I wanted to take a little time to help people understand what good etiquette means, as well as show you some of the fish that we have caught so far this year. Etiquette goes a long way and helps everyone catch more fish.
Casting with the wind down the side of a mangrove bank and I got a strike/pull-down on my mullet. I casted past the same spot again, reeling it through and nothing. I let the lure fall to the bottom near the boat and it got blasted.
A few minutes later a pretty copper-colored rat red inhaled my bait. I needed to size up, so I kept paralleling the shoreline. Reeling in a few minutes later and my lure got blasted, I set the hook on something solid that had some weight.
Trout have really moved in good with the last few cold fronts, and there has been some nice sized fish being caught between 18 to 22 inches. Artificial jigs have been out producing everything else over the past week, live shrimp did produce a few fish as well as sardines, but 5 “soft plastic jerkbaits darker in color rigged with a light lead head did the best.
I have been finding that the reds want the shrimp and the snook want the white bait. The last few times I have been out I have launched out of gandy and fished Weedon Island or south. I find that a lot of the fish I have been catching come from under the mangroves or in deeper water banks.
We stopped at Gandy and got some shrimp in case I couldn’t find any greenies on the flat. Got to the flat about 8:30 and started off with topwaters. I was throwing a livetarget mullet and my dad was throwing a spook in mullet coloration. After about 20 minutes I hooked up with a nice redfish.
Snook fishing has started to get real good inside of Tampa bay. The fish are starting to get concentrated in the canals, rivers, and creeks making for some of phenomenal snook fishing trips. Live sardines will be the bait of choice until they are gone for winter. Free lined baits rigged with a 1/0 hook are the rig of choice.
We went where I was on a big school Friday but they never showed up. We moved and she got a 20 inch fish. We ran 15 miles north and I knew it was a bad call. We ran back to Fort Desoto and found them. We wrecked them with double hookups for 20 minutes then they shut back down.
Redfish have been everywhere this month, and the action should only get better. Most of the Redfish I have been catching have been coming from large schools of fish that are over-slot in size. I have also been catch a few more Redfish this week mixed with the Snook and these fish have been mid to upper slot size. Live sardines have been the bait of choice, and they can’t be too big for these big bruiser reds.
Juvenile Tarpon have really made a showing recently and have been a blast to catch on light tackle and fly rods. Look for the smaller tarpon to be in small creeks, canals, and river mouths throughout the bay area. Small poppers and weedless jerk baits have been working well during dawn and dusk hours.
In that short time we landed 10 small tarpon and six snook. We worked structure with whitebait. Our chummers were getting blown up in every direction. Before we were pushed away by the thunderstorms, we dropped a lady fish on the bottom and landed a nice 20 pound goliath grouper.
My rod doubles over and I’m set for an 8 minute battle with a 40 inch snook on 20 pound test. Every head shake my heart dropped. I thought for sure this fish was going to own me. I played the fish with a real light drag she made multiple big runs with a few violent head shakes.
Inshore snook, redfish, mackerel, and snapper have been keeping the lines tight for the anglers that haven’t wanted to tangle with the silver king. Red fishing has seemed to be improving in the areas of the bay that I have been fishing and most of the fish have been over slot, cut bait has been the most effective with the heat.
When the tide died we went Snapper fishing. The bite was on but the wind and tide were fighting each other and could not hold over the ledge. What I ended up doing was keeping the outboard in reverse to hold the anchor tight. It was difficult but we got it done with snapper to 19 inches.
after a few minutes of finesse battle with only 20 pound braid and 30 pound mono leader, the brown bomber shows himself. But he’s not ready to be landed, got him boat side about 8 times and each time he darted back down.
After locating some free jumping fish on Saturday with nothing but mackerel gear on board we decided to head back out Sunday and at least be semi-prepared. Spent two hours catching bait and headed out to get a bite within three minutes.
While I was taking pics of that, my rod bent over in the rod holder and I was hooked into a big snook! Unfortunately, she broke me off. Another one bit a little later, and I got her close to the boat, this one looked smaller, possibly a slot fish, but once again my 20 pound leader broke.
“Yesterday was a day that will go down in my record books and one I will never forget. On saturday night I had invited a close friend of mine to fish sunday morning with the intentions of throwing artificial and trying to hide from the wind…”
I loosen my drag cause I know she isn’t done. She gets to the boat and dives under it. I stick my rod in the water and she makes another long run for the mangroves, then a half-jump. Nice! I bring her around and baby her to the right and then left of the boat. She is on top now and I bring her right next to the boat and freaky expertly slips the net under her.
The day was cold but the bite was hot and by the time we brought up our last line we had 42 keeper sheepshead in the box, mixed in with a couple chunky key west grunts and black sea bass. Another 20 or more short sheeps were released.
Live shrimp fished under a cork has been been producing good results, but artificial’s have been working just as well. Soft plastic jerk baits in darker colors fished on the bottom have been top producers, but suspending twitch bait’s have produced some of the larger fish.
Moving out to the flats I was anxious to start seeing trails and single reds scattered. Soon we started spooking fish, we set our drifts up and started working a 1 1/2 foot depth with mixed grass and sand. It was on, we landed quality reds on the next few drifts.
Live shrimp has been producing good results either free-lined or fished under a cork. Soft plastic jigs have also been producing just as well as live bait. Darker colored soft plastic jerk baits fished on a lighter jig heads such as a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce.
The redfish bite has been pretty good with the exception of last weeks cold front I think they are finally starting to settle in to a winter pattern. The big trout bite has really fired up the last couple weeks with fish in the 25-30 inch range holding in deep pot holes on the flats and edges of channels. I have been using all artificials and they have been producing consistently.
Bait was a little tough for us but we got it and the bite in the morning was not very good since we had slower tides and cold water to deal with. After moving around we finally got into some fish. We ended up with some nice snook, a couple of nice reds and some trout.
After fishing that for two hours the tide was getting right for my spots up North of Cockroach. We made 8 different stops on various mangrove edges, live chummed, and pulled fish from every stop. Most were Snook but we also got 9 Redfish, 3 Trout, and I caught a Sheepshead in a whitebait which was a first for me.
Trout fishing has finally started to pick up in the last week with the slot fish starting to school up, and the larger breeder trout starting moving into the shallows. Look for slot size fish to be in the deeper channels and creeks throughout the bay area.
We had caught the last of the outgoing tide and the whole incoming tide. The fish were unbelievably hungry. I told Chad that we had to keep count of all the fish that we caught. I told him that I felt this could be a 100 plus fish day. Boy was I right! To be exact it was 112.
We probably ended up with between 60 to 70 fish maybe more since we were not really keeping tabs. We got snook, reds and trout with most of the fish being snook. I was the only one not to get a slam on the boat!
I kept working the shallower docks. Skipped under one at 10:50am and got crushed. This fish had some weight and gave me a great battle. I got it in the boat and it was a solid slot red of 25 1/2 inches.
We anchored up on the edge of a pot hole and put out pins and greenbacks under floats over the shallow flooding grass. I got a decent flounder on a pinfish and we got a few reds on greenbacks. My son got the nicest fish, a 23 inch redfish.
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 [...]
A circle hook avoids deep-hooking and fine mesh net makes easy handling.
Looking to catch delicious freshwater catfish—big ones—in broad daylight, one after the other?
In many Florida watersheds, the key is finding the right tree. Mature catfish hang around the submerged root systems of old, large trees. Seeking the shelter and security of these underwater labyrinths, the catfish feel safe enough to spawn.
Where I fish along the St. Johns River, we have “the catfish tree”—a lone cypress. Average depth around there is about 4 feet. Fishing with weights in this kind of snaggy terrain will cost you a lot of time in re-rigging. Using a simple bobber is the solution.
Missouri minnows can be as effective on catfish as they are on crappie.
My father and I fish this spot using rods of 6 or 7 feet spooled with 12-pound monofilament, with about three feet of 17- to 20-pound-test leader. We use a size 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook, in order to cut down on the number of swallowed hooks. As for the bobber, a traditional red-and-white model works fine. We set the bobber so that the bait is close to, but not touching, the bottom—say 3½ feet in 4 feet of water. There’s a timeless appeal to watching one of these round fishing relics disappear within seconds of splashdown.
We always bring a long-handled net to scoop up the fish (some of them are quite heavy). You may also want a rag…catfish are slimy. You know you’ve been successfully catfishing when your fishing line is slimed up and unrecognizable.
Find one of these honeyhole trees, and you can rely on it when nothing else is biting. Dad found our spot by accident, after the crappie would not cooperate. He was hoping to find some bass, using those Missouri minnows. But much to his surprise, he found the mother lode of catfish. At our catfish tree, the cats are always there, even when it’s not really spawning season. I’m sure nightcrawlers are fine to use, but the Missouri minnows have been the hot ticket. Over time we realized that just casting to the base of the tree is most productive.
Locate submerged timber or other structure and fish a minnow under a bobber.
In the same lake, I watched a friend have success using the cork method, drifting along the banks below a spillway. In that case, it appears the large cats were in dugout areas under the bank. We think they ambushed the drifting livie from these lairs. If you’ve watched any of those noodling shows on TV, it makes sense. My buddy simply made the 20-foot drift, and then repeated it. I watched him catch three within half an hour doing that, with a few missed strikes along the way.
When you go prospecting in the St. Johns river system and its lakes, or similar rivers in Florida, look for tall trees in the water. It doesn’t matter if it’s shallow—see if anyone’s home. Use your depth finder to determine how far up to put the bobber. Splitshots come in handy (6 inches above hook) depending on current or depth.
A last note about cleaning catfish: Skinning small catfish using pliers or a skinner tool before filleting is the traditional method. For larger specimens (over 5 pounds), you might fillet the fish and then lay each fillet skin side down and run the blade between the skin and meat, discarding the skin and outermost quarter-inch of fillet. What you are left with is prime meat without the gamey taste bigger cats can get. FS
First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine July 2016
I see Jay putting on a paddle tail and I STRONGLY suggest that he use live bait as we had a bait well full of shrimp, pinfish and mud minnows and I figured it would increase his chances. But no, he stubbornly insists on using it and then promptly pulls this 29-inch snook out from under the mangroves on his first cast.
We had a hard time catching a lot at first, being on the opposite side of the bar from the school, so we got snagged a lot. There was so many that we still managed catching several on top of the rocks though.
Today I went out early with Robbie, but we started at slack high tide and didn’t catch anything until the water was flowing out hard. Been catching smaller snook and this 35 inch snook is the first big one I’ve gotten in a month or so and a real treat.
It was a little slow at first but then as we warmed up so did the fish. I started off with three keeper reds and a trout before we decided to move. Duane, not to be out done, adds three more keeper reds in the boat.
So off we go to Billy’s Creek. It was full of reds with some with their backs out of the water. The problem was they wouldn’t bite anything we threw at them. After a frustrating period of time, and for once wishing (sort of), that we should have had bait Duane says let’s move.
Fished a bit for a few trout, caught maybe three or four, to wait for water. That didn’t last long, just needed one for the box anyway, and Duane says let’s go for the reds. They were around, even saw one with it’s fins out of the water, but they were reluctant to feed. We kept trying and eventually put eight keepers in the boat all around the 22 inch size.
It made a loooong run of probably 100 yards and we ran it down. When it came to the net, it was a “slob”, very similar to mine from the other day, in fact we measured it at 39″, same as mine, but a different place.
As I was re-rigging a spare rod, I put my rod in the holder and slam, Jack grabbed the rod was on with a 26 inch red. A couple minutes later we resume, I am just finishing my knot from earlier and slam, Jack takes my rod and lands another upper slot slob.
As the day progressed, the wind seemed to die down some, so we hunted some crab pot floats for tripletail on the way out but didn’t find anything legal. We tried working another bar along the spoils further out and picked up a couple more trout, some jacks, a redfish, and I finished my inshore slam with a decent snook.
We went out the next afternoon into the Gulf and fished on the grass banks north of Steinhatchee. Found spots where there was thin grass and adjacent oyster bars/rock piles. The first spot we could see reds and drum tailing all over the place, the reds were also rubbing in the grass.
Finally had a nice enough day to head out to long point. We got a later start than what we wanted too but were still at the ramp in time to get to the banks before the tide changed. I hooked up with the first trout then my girlfriend landed the next three back to back.
Short Trip, Hot Bite Florida Sportsman member: Jim311 The first stop was a creek that had produced well for me on Thursday, but it generally holds smaller fish. It was about two hours from the bottom of the low tide but we made the call to get skinny and risk getting stuck in the creek in hopes of finding a good bite and it paid off. Click here to read the full forum report
Fun on the Chaz Florida Sportsman member: Ruff One Duane uses that Chaz finesse and this snook is caught! But, he swallowed the lure completely and there was no way this one would go back. The damage was to great. At 28 1/2 inches he was legal and will give up some delicious fillets. Click here to read the full forum report
Fishing Both Sides Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown From Yankeetown to Cedar Key to Horseshoe and both Palm Coast and Matanzas on the east coast. The east coast has had vary clear water for sight fishing and we have been getting 10 or so a trip. The west side, well let’s just say it’s been catching, not fishing. Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Trout and Sheepshead Florida Sportsman member: anglerbros 7286 After reading Super D’s post about catching trout in the days inn canal figured we’d start there since we launch there on every trip and was surprised to catch a 17 inch trout on my first cast with a gold lil john. Caught a few more on every other cast then got one more in the mullet hole before heading to the creeks. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Trip Florida Sportsman member: Flat Nuts I made an excuse to come back up your way with my daughter. We were sneaking up to Ocala to pick up a new pup for my wife for Valentines day under the guise of a quick father daughter fishing trip. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching in the River Florida Sportsman member: 4WARD We stayed in the river on Sunday and jumped around here and there. Snapper were not very active but a couple reds decided to play. We ended up with two reds (23 and 26 3/4 inches), one drum and a couple snappers. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching on the New boat Florida Sportsman member: StandOutI2 I saw a fish tailing so I told mom where to look and she saw the fish and made the shot. Without me telling her where and boom, fish on! A solid fish at 27 inches and was her first real fish that she has sight fished. Click here to read the full forum report
Low Tide Action Florida Sportsman member: StandOutI2 The water came in a little bit so I started working a shoreline next to a creek mouth. This turned out to be the best decision. We saw several fish, and some absolute studs, on the outside along the shoreline. Ended up picking up a couple fish this way. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching on Topwater Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown I got blasted three more times by giants here but they were over hitting the plug, literally coming out of the water. My co-worker had enough and went to top water as well. Did not take long and he was crushed by a giant. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching in the Creeks Florida Sportsman member: kingkong954 On our way out of the creek I managed to get my lure stuck in some grass. After much yanking and pulling and cursing the lure pops out into the water and wraps around my rod tip. After some cursing and untangling I find out the action had somehow attracted a redfish, who had eaten the lure while I untangled the line! Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Variety Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Tripletail fishing has been great along the channel markers, crab trap buoys, and floating grass mats. Live shrimp under a float is a sure bet when targeting these fish. Look for them as you run from spot to spot. They hide just below the floating structure or nose up to channel markers. Click here to read the full forum report
December Big Bend Action Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown We had a negative low mid morning which I like to fish up there, well it did not disappoint. The trout and reds were laid up in the pot holes just like they should be in spring weather. Caught well over 40 nice trout up to 23 inches and 20 reds up to 30 inches. Click here to read the full forum report
Topwater Action Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed I hear a big snook hit Robbie’s lure with that telltale giant suction slurp they do and the battle was on. Fish was in good current and was a multiple jumper of five or six times. After a good battle the 31 inch fish came to the net. Click here to read the full forum report
Yankeetown Reds and Trout Florida Sportsman member:StandOutI2 We ran out to a pretty low tide, so we started trout fishing. Boy were they on fire, they were eating everything, topwater, flukes, jigs, whatever we threw. Most of them being 19 to 23 inches with a few smaller ones mixed in. After about two hours of that we went to go find some reds. Click here to read the full forum report
Patience pays Florida Sportsman member:shuterkng Not a great day as it was starting to get late and the tide was about full. Then surprise, monster red invasion. Almost everyone got a big red as we were fighting for position on the boat, girls won. We kept four that were just under 27 inches and released a bunch more. Click here to read the full forum report
No Water No Problem Florida Sportsman member:barhopperAD Catching mullet paid off, first cast was a 26 inch red. Little bro was catching rat reds left and right. The water got higher and action got slower. So we moved around explored a little to find a fishy looking cove with lots of activity and that REALLY paid off. Click here to read the full forum report
Cedar Key Action Florida Sportsman member:Big Bend Brian We were without a bottomfinder as I just sent my Furuno in for repair so our plan was to just troll a shallow broad area of intermittent hard bottom we used to stone crab on. Stopping in 19 feet we deployed some grouper plugs despite a fair amount of grass on the surface and within 10 minutes had our first fish. Click here to read the full forum report
First Trip Success Florida Sportsman member:Gman27 30 minutes later I found a nice creek and a few lagoons and began working the banks with a paddle tail. I could see reds pushing bait on to the banks and lots of activity. Couple casts in and landed my first cedar key redfish of 19 inches. After the activity slowed down, I moved to a new lagoon and found more activity, landed another redfish of 29 inches. Click here to read the full forum report
A Trip Down South Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown Friday, we decided to trailer up to Flamingo and sight fish way back up in the glades. Made about a 25 mile run north of Flamingo to some super skinny creeks. Ended up sight fishing around 10 nice reds up to 30 inches and 4 snook up to 28 inches. All fish being caught in less than 12 inches of water. Click here to read the full forum report
Fishing with the Girls Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz Being the two girls have never caught redfish I thought this would be a good chance to put them on some fish. Didn’t really matter most were under slot, just catching was a blast for them. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching in Cedar Key Florida Sportsman member: barhopperAD We started off two keeper reds back to back. My little brother then hooked into a “redfish” which was screaming drag, pulled up to boat and it was a giant trout probably 25-27 inches, but the hook pulled right there and watched him swim away. Click here to read the full forum report
Waccasassa Reds Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz Headed out early even though it was a pretty early low tide. Took out a buddy that has not caught a lot of reds and was hoping to get him into some quality fish. He was not disappointed as we got into them pretty good. Click here to read the full forum report
Slot Slam Florida Sportsman member: anglerbros 7286 Bob stuck to topwater like I’m sure Ted does because they want that one fish, which I understand but I wanted to catch my share of reds and wanted to see if it worked for him before doing so. All my redfish didn’t change his mind then he landed a top of the slot redfish that inhaled his plug! I stuck with the spoon then hooked the first snook! Click here to read the full forum report
From Tripletail to Tarpon Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown We head to where the third and final trap is, hopefully and sure enough it’s still there. We did not see any fish on it but made casts at it any way. My second cast and the cork goes under and drag starts screaming, another 10 pounder jumps. We get him netted and in the box. My kids both agreed that I needed to put my rod down. Click here to read the full forum report
Father and Son Fishing Florida Sportsman member: huntentails With the youngest son off of work and a favorable tide we settled on yesterday morning and it wasn’t a disappointment. We fished out of Crystal River and were on fish all morning with a strong outgoing tide. Robbie caught his best snook to date at 39 & 1/4 inches and I caught a 30 incher. Click here to read the full forum report
New Spot Producing Florida Sportsman member: Billy We went to an area that I’ve never been before, Duane hadn’t been in years, and we spent most of the trip fishing the same area. We put twelve keeper reds in the boat and Duane managed a snook after another one got off earlier. Click here to read the full forum report
Cedar Key Reds Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz Mid-morning the tide was moving pretty good so we hit up into some creeks and found what we were looking for. We got 14 reds on rattletraps, spoons and jerk baits. A couple of oversize, a few under, with the majority in the slot. Click here to read the full forum report
Muddy Water, Big Drum Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown I told myself that when I hit this one bar, if there is a drum on it, I was going to get him. It was protected from the wind and would allow me to make a perfect cast. Sure enough, I round the corner and the tail was a waving. Click here to read the full forum report
Backwater Snook and Reds Florida Sportsman member: Ruff One With the tide getting lower every second, Duane say “Lets hit some redfish spots closer to home base”. Off we go on another wild ride and before you know it we are sitting on some rocks with redfish swirls looking us in the face. Pitch a spoon and a nice redfish is going home for dinner. Click here to read the full forum report
Yankeetown Drummin’ Florida Sportsman member: anglerbros 7286 The fishing really picked up with the incoming tide, as we released a few slot reds and one over slot. We also caught three black drum, all were great fights in the kayak. All fish were caught less than a mile from the ramp and on live shrimp. Click here to read the full forum report
Grinding it Out Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed Robbie went out with me for some topwater casting practice. Low outgoing to start and the incoming the rest of the morning. Robbie must of practiced ahead, because he hit a nice 36 inch snook at the first stop. Click here to read the full forum report
Cedar Key Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown Well with in three casts with the skitter walk, I get smashed and a school stands the water up. Josh throws in and we are doubled up. Mine came in at 29 inches and his was 26 1/2, that set the tone for the day. We hit five or six spots and every spot had a school on it. Click here to read the full forum report
Snook and Scallops Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed We went to Sandy Hook yesterday so we decided to go Scalloping again on this beautiful day. After a late start, we motored out to the boat pack and found all the scallops I care to clean in a reasonable time. There are still plenty out there and they were big! Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Mixed Bag Florida Sportsman member: huntentails We started with an outgoing tide and a slight east wind. First cast was a great snook, but was lost before it was boated for a photo session. We had to make a move a few hundred yards to get away from the bluefish as they were just tearing up anything we threw. Click here to read the full forum report
Cedar Key Reds and Trout Florida Sportsman member: me3260 Live shrimp and cut ladyfish were the bait of the day. We caught a few on Gold Spoons, but the water is so dark, the only hits we got on spoons were throwing over a white sand bar, and reeling back across. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Snook Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed By now I am fishing spots where I’ve never fished before. Paid off with this massive 39 inch snook that was the toughest I’ve ever caught. 3 jumps and 3 long runs and somehow she didn’t wrap herself up in the sargasm. Missed another big one a few casts later and left early with the grandkids visiting at home. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Giant Florida Sportsman member: Biggary16 I called Pete (Snookspanker) to try for some snooks with the morning high tide. He liked the tide today too so we went out for a quick trip. He stuck a giant one within the 1st half hour. The shoulders and the girth of this 40 plus incher was unreal. Click here to read the full forum report
First Snook Florida Sportsman member: Lake13 We both were looking for our first snook and just pounded till we both got one. 14 hours of fishing for one fish apiece. Couldn’t be happier though. What a beautiful area and we will both be back. Click here to read the full forum report
Jumbo Drum Florida Sportsman member: Biggary16 We had some gulps so we messed around with some big drum pulling us around for a while. The last one that I caught was a behemoth and that was enough for me. We got out of there before the storm and made it home still dry. Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Reds and Scallops Florida Sportsman member: T-Bonefc After 15-20 minutes we shot further south and joined a small community between the C.R. crowd and Homosassa . The scallops were much better here in numbers. Still small for the most part but it is what it is in the beginning of the season. Click here to read the full forum report
Poling to the Reds Florida Sportsman member: Dveres95 We started the day out in Mason Creek and worked south toward Chassahowitzka, with a high morning tide we got deep into the back country to a flat that is very active and holds big redfish. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching in the Creeks Florida Sportsman member: Billy We managed a few reds and maybe a half dozen snook that actually made it to the boat. We kept hooking up the snook but a bunch simply either cut us off or came unbuttoned before we could get them to the boat. Click here to read the full forum report
Yankeetown Variety Florida Sportsman member: Biggary16 My brother was in town so we hit Yankeetown early. Got a nice snook on topwater that started the day out great. Had a couple other snook blow ups. Then went looking for reds. Click here to read the full forum report
Early Morning Snookin’ Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed Robbie had the big fish of the day on first and after a good battle, it gill plated the line, but we saw enough to know it was a big one. Then I got a fat 32 inch fish, which was a welcome relief. Click here to read the full forum report
Low Water, Big Snook Florida Sportsman member: StandOutI2 I heard drag screaming and saw a wake that looked like a torpedo going through the water. Had to pull the powerpole up and chase it for a little bit then finally it stopped making the long run and came close enough for me to realize it wasn’t the big red I thought it was. Click here to read the full forum report
On the Reds Florida Sportsman member: bigkahuna Forum member bigkahuna and wife got into the redfish in the big bend region, as well as a few bonus snook. Nice! Click here to read the full forum report
Yankeetown Redfish Bite Florida Sportsman member: StandOutI2 My step dad picked up a couple more shorts. Well, the school died down and we started working to another area. My mom was real quiet in the back of the boat and said she sees something. So she throws to it and sure enough, it’s a nice 27″ red! Her biggest to date. Click here to read the full forum report
Calling in “Sick” Florida Sportsman member: hausw Not more than 5 minutes later I hooked into a much larger one and battled him for almost an hour. Hoisted him in the boat for a few pics and released him. After that I was exhausted and called it a day. Click here to read the full forum report
Mason Creek Reds Florida Sportsman member: Dveres95 We caught all our Reds on gold spoons, the fish were concentrated in the deeper mud troughs between the islands, which still held 2 to 3 feet on the dead low. It has been a great past month in the creek and it’s only looking better. Click here to read the full forum report
Yankeetown Redfish Florida Sportsman member: StandOutI2 Well, got back to our normal spots on the incoming and noticed there wasn’t a whole lot of water moving. Turned around and went back out the way we came still on the incoming and boom, started seeing reds everywhere. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Inshore Bite Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Forum member and the Big Bend’s weekend 4caster ripnlips has been on the fish. Catching snook, trout, redfish and more. Click here to read the full forum report
Windy Day Success Florida Sportsman member: Billy It was windy. Even in the creeks it was a chore to have any kind of boat control but we stuck it out for a few hours. Tide was rushing in heavy and flooded a bunch of areas we usually fish. We had to change up a bit but it all worked out. Click here to read the full forum report
Working the Docks Florida Sportsman member: Bassin Assassin Switched to the smoke/gold halo color and was slowly swimming my lure near the bottom in the front of a dock, it got blasted. Set the hook on a solid fish. Got it away from the dock. After a nice aerial display and some good runs, Pat got her in the net. She measured 28 inches. Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Snook Bite Florida Sportsman member: Biggary16 Hammerhead Ted and I got out there early to catch the outgoing tide. Ted is the king of topwater snookin and he hooked a giant one on his 3rd or 4th cast. He fought it for a long time but it scraped his 40 pound leader up and broke off. Click here to read the full forum report
Fun with Friends Florida Sportsman member: Billy A great day on the water with a couple excellent fisherman and lots of laughs. Almost all fish came on top water and a Redfish Magic type lure. We’ll definitely do this again. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Mixed Bag Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Forum members ripnlips and Swampthing07 got into a nice mixed bag of fish from triple tail to black drum. Swampthing07 wife Kayla got in on the action too. Click here to read the full forum report
Successful Scouting Florida Sportsman member: CarneLoco We saw some big tails pop up in about 3 foot of water. Have heard of big black drum in these areas, but had no live crabs. Could have swore a few were reds mixed in. After many very good casts from both of us, Libby had a monster on. 15 minutes and a few laps around the bout she had her first black drum landed. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend, Big Reds Florida Sportsman member: Jim311 I pushed in further into the creek. I spooked one nice red which I didn’t even see until he’d spooked. Then I hooked up again, and again it was another super hard fight. This fish was bigger though, over 32 inches. It had a head on it the size of a football, a real stud fish. Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Snookin’ Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed We caught fish everywhere we went including some places that haven’t produced the last couple years. Robbie got 4 lower slot and under slot reds and several jacks. I missed a big snook early, but disappointment didn’t last too long when i got a 31 inch snook at the next place. Click here to read the full forum report
Sheepshead, Snook and Snapper Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Sheepshead Snapper and Snook have been the targeted species lately. Seems like the sheeps are finally spawning out on the rocks reefs and ledges just offshore. They are willing to bite if you get good enough weather to get out there. When the weather gets bad we have been getting snapper and snook in the river. Live shrimp has been the bait of choice. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Bruisers Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown We hit the first spot, the water was clear and they were schooled up. Watched a school of over slots swim down the bank. Then got to watch the whole school fight over my fluke, simply awesome to watch. Click here to read the full forum report
Homosassa Redfish Florida Sportsman member: floridafan Pulled in about 60 mostly undersized reds but managed 4 keepers between 20 to 24 inches. We each had a run 10 fish in 10 casts for me and 11 fish in 11 casts for my son, both at the same time! 21 fish in less than 10 minutes! Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Inshore Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Sheepshead are starting to show up in their normal wintertime spots. We’re still getting a by-catch of gag grouper too. All on 8 pound braid and live shrimp. Click here to read the full forum report
Afternoon Redfish Bite Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown Once the tide came in enough we headed out front to fish the outer bars. Was slow for an hour or so but the last hour and a half of daylight they turned on. Had a couple of doubles then switched out to topwater and got a few good ones on top. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching the Bulls Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown Well Jacobs first blind cast was inhaled by a 20 pound stud. I was thinking this is a good way to start. Jacob, my youngest son, and I were on one boat and moved out to another cut to the gulf. Took a while for another bite and I finally got on the board with another 25 pounder on topwater. Click here to read the full forum report
December Inshore Fishing Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips My son Jeremy came home for Christmas so we went out and fished for a few hours for trout around some creeks. Caught our limit of trout and released about 20 more by 11:30. Also caught these on jig and DOA Cals and some with live shrimp on a jig. Click here to read the full forum report
Nice Weather, Hungry Fish Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown As I get within casting distance I see a pack of about 5 reds milling around so I post up and tell the boys to throw up there. Jacobs cast was right in the middle of them and he hooks up instantly. Click here to read the full forum report
Hiding From the Wind, Catching the Fish Florida Sportsman member: Billy Moving to some areas that were sheltered from the wind we caught jacks, more ladyfish than we cared to, mangroves with some keepers in the bunch, a red, and lots of snook. We managed to put twelve snook in the boat losing more than that before touching the leader. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching with the Kids Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown We headed to the first spot and started throwing topwater over some oyster bars. Got one 25 inch red and a stud trout right off the bat. Pulled the hooks on two over slot reds and had several misses before making a move. I then jumped up on the platform and turned the front of the boat over to the boys. Click here to read the full forum report
Birthday Fun Florida Sportsman member: Bluewaterdrew We chased huge schools of mullet picking off reds here and there, Jen even hooked a nice flounder. After high tide we went to a bar to try our luck with black drum. Saw a few huge ones that didn’t seem to mind us being right on top of them, but the jacks were so thick it was hard to keep a lure in the water. Click here to read the full forum report
Catching in the Transition Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips For the past few weeks we have been seeing fish transition from Summer patterns to Fall patterns and this means that they are in the mood to eat. Now is the time to get out on the water and take advantage of it. Click here to read the full forum report
Seeing Red Florida Sportsman member: G8trbait Then the girls got a double hook up. It must have been a small school that swam by because they were hooked up back to back! April’s was a keeper, but Sophie’s had to grow up a little. It was legal, but we could afford to be picky and I don’t usually keep them unless they’re over 20 inches. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Redfish Action Florida Sportsman member: cthurow Drew’s first cast with his Zara Spook and boom, fish on! Nice drag screamer. I already had a piece of lady fish rig on a larger rod so I went ahead and threw it out while Drew played his fish. As soon as I netted Drew’s 26 inch red, he yells, Dad that rod is bowed to the water! Click here to read the full forum report
Suwannee River Tripletail and More Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown As we trolling motor up to the first pole, a 10 pounder sky rockets 6 feet in the air about 75 yards out in the open. First time I have seen one free jump. My brother makes a cast at the pole and hooks up instantly. The fish gave two amazing jumps and spits the hook. Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Fishing and Fun Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Forum member ripnlips and friends had a great weekend, catching a slew of fish. They also loaded on scallops, making for a nice meal! Click here to read the full forum report
Waccasassa Reds Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz About the time the tides were getting right the heat was kicking into gear. After a couple of decent Reds a storm started brewing up towards Cedar Key so it was time to cut it short. Click here to read the full forum report
Tearing Up the Tripletails Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown The chop made it a slow boat ride out but busted one on the very first pole. The fishing was hard due to waves coming over the bow and only being able to see down 3 to 4 inches but we made the most of it and put 5 in the box and called it after about 4 hours. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Slam Florida Sportsman member: Billy All the fish were caught on artificial and I believe we didn’t get any on topwater. The snook was about 31 inches, the red is dinner, and the trout is back in the water. I have a place that you can almost always catch a trout even in this heat so we went there so Duane could try to get his slam. Duane came through with a Mirrodine. Click here to read the full forum report
Horseshoe Beach Inshore Florida Sportsman member: florida_dorksman The thunder cloud may have saved the day, because the first creek we hit had more activity than I have seen out of there in almost a year. A steady stream of live shrimp kept the bite on fire, and within an hour and a half we had 4 redfish to 28 1/2 inches, an 18 inch sheepshead and a 24 inch black drum. Click here to read the full forum report
Waccasassa Reds Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz So after the skies cleared up we were able to get up to where we wanted to fish. Strong tide and the breeze made for some tough fishing at first but we stuck with it and hit some quality fish. Five reds from 16 to 34 inches with two right at 27 inches that went home for dinner. Click here to read the full forum report
Yankeetown Black Drum Florida Sportsman member: Biggary16 Forum member Biggary16 got into some nice black drum! Only fishing for a few hours he caught 6 “big uglies” and a nice flounder. Tight work! Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Snook Bite Florida Sportsman member: Snook Spanker These fish weren’t just slobs, they were smart slobs just like all the big snook I’ve encountered. In fact the first 6 or 7 I hooked were on topwater lures and either threw the hooks, ran me into and around rocks and snags or had me on so long they wore through the 50 pound leader! Click here to read the full forum report
Wrecking the Reds Florida Sportsman member: PONCE Brandon and I had the best day of our life inshore fishing for Reds. We caught Reds up to 32 inches and 13 Reds overall on the outgoing tide, all reds and trout were caught on soft plastic paddle tail on a jig. The big fish came first then as the tide was bottoming out came the four 26 and 27 slots for the cooler. Click here to read the full forum report
Tarpon and Scallops in the Big Bend Florida Sportsman member: Bluewaterdrew Started off the day at my honey hole. Caught several jacks and runners. Then Jen hooked a nice little Tarpon that burned off lots of line and gave us several great jumps for the camera. Later we headed out for scallops and quickly got out limit. Click here to read the full forum report
Yankeetown Slam Florida Sportsman member: StandOutI2 5 minutes after we came off plane I get a little 16 inch red on a topwater plug to start the day off. My step brother threw right behind me and picked up another one about the same size. It was starting out as a promising morning. Just around the corner I threw into a spot I knew I was gonna hook up with a fish. I didn’t expect a 27 inch red to go into the box. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Inshore Bite Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown My brother said he was tired of catching jack so he declined to throw into the madness. I got hit three times before getting buttoned up. This was a better class of fish. Thought it was one of the 12 to 15 pound jacks but after a good battle a 10 pound permit pops up next to the boat. Click here to read the full forum report
Crystal River Opening Day Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips If I was to guess how many boats we saw out of Crystal River I would say maybe 1000. Even with all of the crowds we still got a boat limit of scallops in a decent amount of time. We had time today to even get some fishing done. Click here to read the full forum report
Scouting the Crystal River Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips After seeing the scallops we decide to see if the fish were biting. Jeremy got a quick slam and I got a decent snook. Jacks seem to be everywhere as always. Everything was caught on the same bait, DOA Cal shad tail on a jig. Click here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Slammin’ Florida Sportsman member: Billy Initially we stopped for some fishing and I hook up a decent snook but lose it, I hook up a red, yep, and lose it. Duane hooks a red and he too loses it. We’re thinking maybe we are getting rusty. Click here to read the full forum report
Father’s Day Fun Florida Sportsman member: huntentails Its not always about the fish You catch, it’s about the memories made and the things passed on from one who loves to fish to another! All I can say is thanks son for a great day on the water! Click here to read the full forum report
Getting to the Point Florida Sportsman member: shuterkng Forum member shuterkng got out this weekend and got into the fish! Fishing Long Point with live shrimp produced some nice fish, including black drum and flounder. Click here to read the full forum report.
Cedar Key Catching Florida Sportsman member: Flash Picked one of the islands out and moved down the shoreline. Saw some reds but got no action. Finally I eased us up along a bar, gave it a cast and fish on! Took me under the boat a couple of times but managed to bring him to the net girl. Click here to read the full forum report.
Shired Island Monster and More Florida Sportsman member: jwroe I started throwing my top water at it, but no luck, and a few minutes later , the tail pops up again. My wife casts a shrimp to it, and off to the races. She nails a nice 35 inch plus drum. about 10 to 15 minutes of fighting and we had it boat side. I reached down to get the lippers on it and it turned and broke line right at the boat. Click here to read the full forum report.
Cedar Key Trout and Macks Florida Sportsman member: lboverhof After being done with catching mackerel and before the tide slowly started coming back in, we started drifting over some grass between 3 to 4 feet of water behind snake. We ended up with 5 keeper trout with the biggest being 19 inches. At first there was maybe one other boat out there, but around 3:00 I look around and it looks like a parking lot. There had to have been 15+ boats that were pretty close to each other on the flats! Click here to read the full forum report.
Reds, Over and Under Florida Sportsman member: Billy No fish dinner tonight. Two over slots that were fat and healthy, plus eight under slots. I did catch a trout but no snook. All fish came on spoons, redfish magic, and soft jerkbaits. Click here to read the full forum report.
Busting Reds on Both Coasts Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown I then jump up on the poling platform and start poling the boys around this big mud flat that has some scattered fish on it to see if we could sight fish some. We see a few and miss a few, then I see one headed down the bank and tell josh to cast a 11 o’clock and he nails the cast and the red jumps on the fluke. Another nice upper slot fish joins the party. Click here to read the full forum report.
Slammin’ the Big Bend Backcountry Florida Sportsman member: Billy Still looking for reds and trying to avoid the trout we pulled up on a point and a 33 inch snook hits my lure. After a long fight on trout and redfish gear I got it in the boat. The area we fish has some nice snook but they aren’t easy to catch until it warms up a bit. Click here to read the full forum report.
Light Tackle, Low Tides and Keeper Trout Florida Sportsman member: PONCE I finished today around noon and took off to Waccasassa. Short and Sweet, here it is guys I`m not going to hide where , what bait and everything. Got on the water at 2:30 this afternoon and headed in around 5:30. Fished the outgoing tide back in the creeks and caught Trout up to 18.5 inches and a small Red around 16 inches. Click here to read the full forum report.
Seein’ Red in Cedar Key Florida Sportsman member: GatoRella The contrast of a dark fish on a light colored bottom made them real easy targets for sight fishing. For the next hour or so we took turns netting and releasing big over slot reds, high-fiving, and generally having an awesome time. We ended up with 3 keeper reds including 2 bookend 27 inch tourney winners, a handful trout, and a bunch of 30 plus inch over slots. Click here to read the full forum report.
Rainy Day Trout Florida Sportsman member: huntentails Liking what I was seeing, but with little or no bait action we decided to fish a few of the points with deep water. It didn’t take long as the fish were there and hungry, we made short order of putting some in the box for a couple dinners until this weather cleans up. Click here to read the full forum report.
MidDay Trout Bite Florida Sportsman member: dakilmartin1 We worked the edges of deeper cuts during the outgoing tide and the shallow flats on the incoming. Every fish was taken on a MirroDine and several were sight fished. Long light leaders and longer casts were the trick today. Both Rob and I caught our personal best trout today on hard baits but I was more excited for rob as this was his first trip down the river! We easily put a limit of upper slot trout in the boat today but only kept a dozen. Click here to read the full forum report.
Steinhatchee Bulls Florida Sportsman member: JC_UF_ITK Outside of a handful of trout, 3 being keepers, we managed two monster redfish on a double hook up. The first fish ate a jerkbait and was followed by two others. A quick cast of a spinnerbait managed the second fish. One weighed 26 pounds and the other was 20 pounds. Click here to read the full forum report.
Catching A Little Bit of Everything Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 The first stop Jake says “Look at that gag”. I told him it looked like a trout to me and caught it to prove it. Seems like those trout just like me! It was so smooth I could read good structure from a half mile away by the surface boil from the tide moving over the rocks. Knocker rigs with 2/0 worm hooks 1/8 to 3/16 oz bullet weights tipped with shrimp did the job for us. Click here to read the full forum report.
Big Bend, Big Reds Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown Had a good bit of time of over the holidays. Unfortunately the weather was bad for a good part of it. Was able to fish in several locations including Wacasassa/Cedar Key, Suwannee, and Palm Coast on the east coast. We managed to get good numbers of trout on the lower tides, but once the tide came in it was all about reds! Caught reds from 8 inches to 34 inches. Click here to read the full forum report.
Winter Time Trout Florida Sportsman member: kingkong954 Then with about an hour left before we were due at the marina, headed off to the flats in search of the trout, which I thought were supposed to be tucked into their creeks. To our surprise, we found them! In about an hour of fishing we landed 4 keeper trout, Nia catching two 18 inch trout and I found a much smaller pair. Click here to read the full forum report.
Steinhatchee Reds Florida Sportsman member: JC_UF_ITK While we didn’t find fish at the same spot I’ve been seeing them, we did manage two nice reds while working our way to the spot. The largest was well over 36 inches (biggest ruler I have) and weighted 18.5 pounds on the boga grip. Click here to read the full forum report.
Homosassa Inshore Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 The larger trout were in the skinny stuff along with a few reds but not real thick or active. The shallow flat north of the channel up to Homosassa point had a decent number of big trout. Ladyfish were in front of the river along with some big mackerel. Another good day to be on the water with friends! Click here to read the full forum report.
Creeping The Creeks Florida Sportsman member: PONCE We fished some nice deep creeks right behind our Red spots. The big Trout were loaded up in the deep cuts. There was a double hook-up mixed in there that were keepers. We lost some nice ones but Brandon had a real nice couple hours with his limit and I had a big one in the boat. Click here to read the full forum report.
Homosassa Reds and Trout Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 The largest trout of the season so far made it into the boat. Along with the trout were a pair of upper slot redfish and a pile of rat reds. We worked the channel edges waiting for the tide and moved in close as soon as we could. Several of the trout were between 23 and 26 inches with most of the big girls released. The reds were in all the usual places and feisty. Click here to read the full forum report.
Crystal River Trout Bite Florida Sportsman member: OneMoreYear For 90 minutes the action was non-stop, with the majority of fish caught on Mirrolure Lil-Johns. The biggest trout was 20.5 inches. We had a good number of fish between 18 to 20 inches. We had our 3 person limit by noon. Ended up releasing about five 15 to 16 inch fish, and probably caught 5 to 7 shorts. The majority of fish were keeper trout, with only 2 ladyfish and a small redfish. Click here to read the full forum report.
Windy Weather, Nice Fish Florida Sportsman member: shuterkng She got a nice over slot red, I got a little sheepy. After that the waves were getting to all of us so I figured I could maybe find some action in the crystal river. We anchored up inside of shell island near some bars and the rat reds were eating! We all proceeded to catch and release numerous little reds. Click here to read the full forum report.
Shallow Creek Reds Florida Sportsman member: PONCE The water temperature was running about 59 degrees today and had a slight breeze to keep us comfortable. We got out to a dead low tide and as the tide turned there was even very little tide on the high. All the bars we fished were out of the water at High Tide. Click here to read the full forum report.
Homosassa Gator Trout Florida Sportsman member: Troutman57 Trout, ladyfish, and bluefish were all over our Mirrodines. For a couple hours we circled a small area and took a bunch of fat trout all pushing the top of the slot to over 23 inches. We did find a few smaller reds but stayed on the trout since they were pulling more drag. We kept a few for Mikes freezer and one for Bill and his better half’s dinner. Click Here to read the full forum report
Big Bend Snook Florida Sportsman member: Bluewaterdrew I saw huge swirl and quickly cast on it. Instantly the fight was on making plenty of exciting runs. After what seem like an eternity, this beautiful linesider broke the surface and was quickly scooped into the net. She measured in at 35 inches and I am happy to say swam off to fight another day. Click here to read the full forum report.
Great Homosassa Inshore Bite Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 We hit several islands and took a total of 8 reds with 3 being between 30 and 32 inches. As a bonus we caught fat 24 inch trout up with the reds on bait. Yes we fished bait as this was Eric’s first time targeting redfish and it was going to be an easy day Click here to read the full forum report.
Seeing Red Solo Florida Sportsman member: PONCE Immediately started throwing Mikes Aqua Dream Gold Spoons and landed a 20 inch Red within 30 minutes and got my 27 inch Red on a Zoom Super Fluke about a hour later on a weedy point to finish my limit. Click here to read the full forum report.
Kayaking Kings Bay Florida Sportsman member: NoQuarterNoMercy 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! Click here to read the full forum report.
Cedar Key Smorgasbord Florida Sportsman member: Flash Her personal best Flounder to date at 19 inches. I saw some action also and tossed a rattle trap. Hooked up and had a good fight going until it came free. Turned out it broke one of the hooks on the trap. Looking at them, it needs a new one for sure. Click here to read the full forum report.
Big Bend Bulls on Top Florida Sportsman member: jperdue Took the wife fishing this morning. Top water is about the only thing she fishes with anymore. I Caught one red about 22 inches then she went back to back on top water with a 38 incher and 36 incher. Bite shut down at 10:00am. Both were the largest I have ever seen caught on top water. They were sent back in with no harm done. Skitter walks around the creek mouths seem to work the best. Click here to read the full forum report.
Crystal River Reds and Scallops Florida Sportsman member: tekmunki We had a great time, went for a dip with a few scallops, didn’t get too crazy or gung-ho about limiting, just wanted a nice day and something to nibble on… it should be noted, my scallop location skills pale in comparison to Marrio’s. LOL We didn’t spend all day on the scallops by any means, we managed to sneak in some fishing, which I’m sure was a welcome refreshing change to the nonstop scalloping Marrio has been busy with. With Marrio’s help, I caught my first mangrove snapper and the kids each got to reel one in, then we moved into the red-fishing where Marrio got a taste of my redfish curse for a bit- that is until— BAM big hit, big fish, 30-inch red. I caught my first overslot red! Click here to read the full forum report.
Holiday in Hudson Florida Sportsman member:Jim311 A friend of mine has a small house on a canal in Hudson. I hadn’t ever been to the area and she is out of town and asked me to mow the lawn so I figured I might as well make a weekend out of it. Adam met me down there Friday night. We fished in the canal for a few minutes but got run off by the rain. Got up at a decent hour Saturday and hit the nearest boat ramp. The wind was blowing a fair bit, and we were in my gheenoe and seeking protected water. We fished some grass flats right near the ramp and deep cuts on the outside of a little private bayou with no luck. We ran into some creeks south of a big residential canal and knocked around in there too. The water looked great, lots of deep cuts, grass, good amounts of bait.. but nothing was biting. We got tired of that after a while and ran back towards the marina and had lunch at the restaurant right near the marina. Lunch was pretty good, and after chilling there for a while we went to the marina and got some frozen shrimp, and then headed north to try that area on a suggestion from a forum member here. The area there looked similar to the last place. We beached the Gheenoe near a shack and wade fished for a bit. After a while I had a blowup on a topwater plug, and landed an upper slot trout. That was the only fish caught wade fishing in that spot, so we shoved off and drifted a deep cut between islands, casting topwater plugs, paddle tails, and Mirrodines. Good size trout were just blasting my topwater plug and we took home 4 for a fish fry… Click here to read the full forum report.
Crystal River Mixed Bag Florida Sportsman member:nick We went out Saturday and got rained on a bit, but that’s what rain gear is for. Cruised in the shallows basically spooking reds with the trolling motor down, alternating between; the gulp shrimp, pumpkin spice zoom super fluke, gold spoon, mirrominnow, and a top dog. Released 6 slot reds and one overslot. I lost a 30 inch plus red that went airborne after my top dog. After 3 attempts at the bait he finally got it but pulled the hook after a few runs. Big trout were busting the mullet schools and this made easy pickings with at mirrominnow. Released 8 trout that were all over 20 inches except one that was 18. Pops also got spooled by a tarpon after it made two jumps. Fish was probably 80 pound’s but he didn’t stand a chance with a 2500 stradic. Lots of juvenile sharks swimming in the shallows. Water temp 79-84. Sunday-Only went out for a few hours throwing gold spoons we released 5 lower slot reds and one 25 inches. I did manage to successfully sight fish a 42 inch black drum with a gulp that put up a good 15 minute fight. After the tide got up high it was over and we decided to try for triple tail on the way back even though I had no shrimp. Saw 7 tripletail, hooked 4 and put 2 on ice. One that wouldn’t eat I attempted to throw the cast net on Water temp 81-85
Crystal River Snook, Reds & More Florida Sportsman member: mitziboy By the time I loaded the boat, made a sandwich, and lowered my baby into the canal it was about 11am. First spot first cast I missed about a 25 pound snook on topwater, that will get the blood flowing. It was a super low tide so I didn’t expect to get much more than that hit since whatever fish were in the hole would be trapped, but that was not the case. We ended up with close to a dozen snook, most around 25-30 inches and a half dozen reds around 17-20 inches. Fished around some more and caught a few more of both and headed back to the house. Click here for full forum report.
Chassahowitzka Trout & Reds Florida Sportsman member: Billy Ran to my trout spot and I put a decent trout in the boat. We both said nope, “we want reds”, so back it went. After a couple more fish that didn’t make it into the boat we went hunting for reds. To say Duane knows the area is an understatement. I thought I had a pretty good feel for fishing spots but he took it to another level. The skies were clear as a bell and the sun was beating down but he had a few spots to try. First nice fish was a 21 inch red, then I got a 23 incher, we lost a couple more, Duane hooks a decent snook but it gets off at the boat. He hooks another and it gets off. He then hooked a touney winning red…right under the mark. I hook up on a snook, hoping for some sort of slam[...] Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Redfish & Trout Florida Sportsman member: huntentails We had a window Saturday morning so another instructor and long time friend from North Dakota and I made a run from the south to the Bend for some shallow water fishing. We hit the ramp at just after 6:30 am and I finely new why I have been spoiled by fishing weekdays, and staying away on the weekends! With that being said, we were out front Homosassa around 7:45 and in search of a bite There was no shortage of boats and people. It makes it tough fishing the skinny stuff with people constantly running by checking you out. The fish were there but very spooky and most times would fail to engage, even though you put the plug where it needed to be. We did manage a nice red and 7 big trout for our efforts with the red a hair under 27 inches, trout of 24 & 23 inches and five more from 18 to 20 inches. Click here for full forum report.
Crystal River Inshore Slam Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed Went out for what I thought was a couple hours topwater. Tide was high incoming, light wind and blue sky. First place- nothing. Second place, the bar was covered, but I fished it thoroughly, getting a few small Jacks and a lady fish and finally a small trout, but a trout none the less that would become important later. With the water higher than I expected, I decided to head way inshore. Even though it was getting late and the sun was high I pressed on with my trusty Skitterwalk. This 25 inch Red rewarded my perseverance with a great battle. It was one of those fish that would not give up[...] Click here for full forum report.
Crystal River Trout Florida Sportsman member: anglerbros 7286 Jake and I headed towards the channel out of Ozcello this morning looking for trout. Saw overcast skies so we thought it would be a good day for topwater! Started off with some nice trout on the spooks, the bites were a bit spread out and the tide was moving out so I didn’t want to get stuck so we moved out a bit. We started thinking when we hit 5 keepers we would limit easy so we were letting go anything in the 15 inch range and not bother measure anything unless it looked pretty big. Got a couple 20 inchers to add to the cooler and limit around 12. Jake’s went 22 inches and mine went 20 inches. Then came the tide change an wanted to get in the water and dive to change pace. Feels good to jump in once in a while to look at the inshore rocks and see all the spade fish, snapper, small sheephead and the ocassional gag in 3-8 feet of water. Caught and released some more trout, not many more keepers but we released a good 5-10 keeper trout and several under sized trout on the lil johns. Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Reds and Trout Florida Sportsman member: Dogdoc2011 Went with two buddies of mine out of crystal river and ran south at first light. Got on a school of nice slot reds at first spot and had a double and triple hook ups on topwater. Limited out on reds in about 20 minutes and turned a few back before moving onto trout. Found the trout in 2-3 feet spotted bottom and all they wanted was topwater as well. Caught 3 limits of nice trout with the biggest being 24 inches by 11:30 and called it a day. Click here for full forum report.
Crystal River Trout Florida Sportsman member: anglerbros 7286 Jake and I headed towards the channel out of Ozcello this morning looking for trout. Saw overcast skies so we thought it would be a good day for topwater! Started off with some nice trout on the spooks, the bites were a bit spread out and the tide was moving out so I didn’t want to get stuck so we moved out a bit. We started thinking when we hit 5 keepers we would limit easy so we were letting go anything in the 15 inch range and not bother measure anything unless it looked pretty big. Got a couple 20 inchers to add to the cooler and limit around 12. Jake’s went 22 inches and mine went 20 inches. Then came the tide change an wanted to get in the water and dive to change pace. Feels good to jump in once in a while to look at the inshore rocks and see all the spade fish, snapper, small sheephead and the ocassional gag in 3-8 feet of water. Caught and released some more trout, not many more keepers but we released a good 5-10 keeper trout and several under sized trout on the lil johns. Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Reds and Trout Florida Sportsman member: Dogdoc2011 Went with two buddies of mine out of crystal river and ran south at first light. Got on a school of nice slot reds at first spot and had a double and triple hook ups on topwater. Limited out on reds in about 20 minutes and turned a few back before moving onto trout. Found the trout in 2-3 feet spotted bottom and all they wanted was topwater as well. Caught 3 limits of nice trout with the biggest being 24 inches by 11:30 and called it a day. Click here for full forum report.
Crystal River Nearshore Cobia Florida Sportsman member: Clay G. Shidler With reports of Cobia moving north and the hot tripletail bite that has being going on out of Crystal River me and my brother headed out in search of some nearshore pelagics. We started our search at the scallop rack where we promptly caught a well full of live pinfish and a few small spanish mackerel. After loading up on live bait we headed west under cloudy skies in search of brown bombers on a series of small limestone ledges in 12 feet of water and we were not disappointed. As we pulled up on the first spot, my younger brother threw a 2 ounce Spro jig towards the spot and his jig was immediately crushed by a spunky 25 pound Cobia. As he landed his fish I pinned a live bait on a 5/0 circle hook and dropped it over the side and before I could put the rod in the holder my pinfish was eaten. I reeled down tight and the fish took off like a rocket towards the south and the fight was on. Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Nearshore Trout Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 We took off at 7:15 and headed out about 6 miles to a 5 foot flat I call the bombing range. Nothing military just the area we break out the bombers and pitch them at anything that would bite. This being my 1st trip there this season I really didn’t know what to expect. Ladyfish, blue runners seabass mackerel shark and of course trout. Lots of everything but plenty of trout to fill our limit with 16 to 22 inchers. The only slow period was on the tide change for about a half hour. Had a live pinfish out for any big guys that wanted to play but only shark today. The trout pushing offshore right on time and seemed to really like chartruse in the morning and green backs in the late morning and afternoon. Click here for full forum report.
Waccasassa Reds Florida Sportsman member: G8trbait When the wife is away the men will FISH! Wife headed to California for her spring break so I took a planned mental health day this Monday with a coworker of mine. Hit the water around 8:30 in the morning to high cold winds The bite was too quick, caught two nice ones at 24 inches and 25.5 inches, and that was it. The water was coming out of the creeks so fast it reminded me of trout fishing in N.C. I was actually trying to get hung on the bottom. Once hung the fish would come by and pick up my shrimp. This did make for two very good fights. They would turn sideways and just pull drag! Unfortunately the catching was done within the first hour. The wind pushed the tide in so fast I don’t even think the fish noticed it. Click here for full forum report.
Warming Weather and Hot Fishing Florida Sportsman member: Clay G. Shidler This past week has been great for inshore fishing; guides from both Crystal River and Homosassa have had successful days with good catches of both trout and redfish not being uncommon. Rising water temperatures has been the driving force behind the great fishing this week. Anglers should look for the trout to be active in water temperatures above 65 degrees and redfish to become active in temperatures of 63 degrees and higher. The kelp grass flats and oyster bars in the Crystal River and Homosassa areas are holding good numbers of trout because those are the areas that warm up the fastest. The redfish are beginning to school up on the hard bottom flats and oysters bars in the Ozello area and they can normally be found patrolling the backside of most islands that are in the sun and out of the wind. The best way to target these fish is to fish live baits in the morning when the fish are colder and less active, as the sun warms the water artificial lures become the best way to cover the most water. Click here for full forum report.
Windy Post Front Trout Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Forum member Roger was heaqding to Homosassa for a visit and asked me if I would take them out fishing for a day during thier visit. I rarely say no to a forum brother and we chose Wednesday to chase some trou. We took off at 11 and found scasttered slot trout while we waited for the tide to get right. There were pockets of small trout to be caught on every cast but we avoided those to find larger fish. As the tide turned to incoming the wind picked up to 20 from the NW making our drifts faster than ideal. Racheal had the hot stick this day catching several overslot trout. They took a dozen trout for a fish fry and released the rest. The water was clear and 62 degrees with small pockets of 64 degrees. Click here for full forum report.
Red Hot Crystal River Florida Sportsman member: jbehnen Weather was not promising, but Dan said lets give it a try, and I was glad we did. We hit some rock bars, oysterbars and shorelines off Crystal River and it was one fish after the next in the boat. The trout bite was so good we ended up throwing back a ton of fish because they were too big and we already had our three over twenty on board. We started hoping for some shorter fish. We hit it all, trout, reds, pompano, spanish mackerel, and sheepshead[...] Click here for full forum report.
Rainy and Cold with a Hot Bite Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Kevin Joined me again today to see if we coulld get some big trout to pose for the camera (I lost the shots Monday). His brother Tom joined us as well. The forecast said light breeze and 30 percent chance of showers. Well it rained from the time we tossed our first lure till I was finished cleaning fish. Kevin used to -fish with me up in Rochester NY trolling for salmon but his brother has not spent that much time on the water. Despite the conditions the trout were really chewing. Another 50+ fish day with several solid 3 and 4 pounders. Click here for full forum report.
Short Day on the Bay Florida Sportsman member: huntentails Linda and I did the ten to two today despite the wind? All I can say is the fish are there even though today most were just a little shy of the slot? Its always fun having the action but we kinda picked our way around the sub slots to end up catching a few nice ones? Linda had fish of the day today at 22 inches most were returned to fight again, but we headed home with three for the grill! Click here for full forum report.
Waccasassa Bay Shalow Creeks Florida Sportsman member: PONCE We went up the West side to a nice productive hole last year but things were tough. The beginning of a new moon and nice winds did not go well for the hunt for Reds today. Lots of mullet but no signs of reds at all. Brandon got out and walked some creek bars and caught a couple smaller slot reds with me landing a nice 19 and 21-inch trout all on soft plastics. Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Trout’n Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Don and I spent a few hours on the flats today doing what we love to do. The day started off a bit slow while we killed time waiting for the tide to shift to incoming. Working the edges of cuts with Mirrolures we picked away at mid to under slot trout. When the tide got right we started picking up quality trout on a regular basis. We released several over slot fish and kept a limit of smaller 17-20 inch trout for the table. Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Gator Trout Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Don and I chose today to jead out for the day on the bay. It looked like Thursday was to be the best day for us so off we went. The water temp started out at a chilly 58 degrees and very low tide. We worked the shallow stuff exclusively looking for some big girls. Today they were on but not in any real big numbers. The quality more than made up for it. We picked away for 4 hours and bagged 4 over slot trout from 21 to 26 inches. the 26 incher was my best in a year and she was fat and fought like a redfish despite the cool water temps[...] Click here for full forum report.
Playing Around in the Backcountry Florida Sportsman member: river1 My wife and I fished up around the Salt River today. What a great day in the back country. We casted plastic on 1/8 oz jigs. My wife does not like treble hooks so that was an easy fix. We only got one under size trout but oh boy we landed some nice trout over slot and a Spanish mackerel all in the skinny water. We did have to bring a couple fish home for dinner only because they were eating so hard they swallowed the bait deep. [...] Click here for full forum report.
Crystal River Reds & Trout Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips The day started at around 9am with one of my friends from work Will and my son Jeremy. Launched at F.I.T. and went to the mangrove covered shorelines of the Salt River to sight fish some reds and trout. We saw a bunch of reds from the tower but soon realized that they can see me just as good as I can see them. We found some shorelines that the sun was at the correct angle to camouflage the boat. We got into a ton of rat reds next to a sandbar that appeared to have fiddler crab holes all over it. After getting our fill of rat reds we drifted some flats that had a good amount of kelp grass. That was the ticket today for the trout [...] Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Reds & Trout Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 We started in an area along a series of islands casting spoons for reds with no luck. We saw very little life there so we decided to head inside to look for trout. With the 68 degree clear water we were unsure where the larger trout might be. We tossed mirrodines from the barrier islands out to about a half mile onto the flats with some success but nothing fast. I decided that we should move inside a good bit and that did the trick with trout coming to the boat often. Don hooked a nice red and landed it for a quick photo and back it went. Then we hit a deeper cut that put a trout on our lines on almost every cast. when that bite slowed we started drifting along a shoreline and I hooked and landed a 27 inch red that we took a photo and released [...] Click here for full forum report.
Still Catching Fish on a Rough Day Florida Sportsman member: anglerbros 7286 We couldn’t wait to even put the fish away we were tossing them on the floor trying to get a bait in the water asap! After about 15-20 minutes of this bite we brought in 5 nice sea bass with two around 12 inches and a nice sheepshead a little short of 16 inches. Bite slowed down we looked at the floor and was like I guess we can put the fish away now . Moved around a bit in this nice hole, picked up a keeper here and there and then I got another sheepshead pushing 17 inches [...] Click here for full forum report.
Great Weather, Great Bite Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown Put the boat in around noon to flat calm overcast conditions. I was thinking topwater all afternoon. Got to the first spot and within 5 cast had a nice trout in the box. 5 more cast and Bruce adds a 24 inch red to the party in the cooler. But then the clouds parted and the sun came out. Had to switch over to soft plastics and the bite slowed a bit but was steady and we had our limit of trout and reds with in just over 4 hours. I also took my fishing bow to shot the sheephead we have been seeing but had a very high tide that put 3 foot of water over most of the bars. Now the black drum are in full force and were running down soft plastics[...] Click here for full forum report.
Good Day in King’s Bay/Crystal River/Salt River Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Got out today with Adam (LineDrive) and my son Jeremy for a day of fishing. Got out to Kings Bay early this morning to see if we could jump some tarpon before the dive boats show up. Got a bunch of ladyfish early on. Fun to catch but we wanted to see the pooners. Each of us ended up with one hitting our baits but no connection. The dive boats show up in full force and put the pooners on edge so we decide to hit the salt river for some trout and redfish action[...] Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa; Staying Busy. Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Today’s forecast was looking like a winner so we shoved off at around 11AM. The sun was shining bright but the wind was blowing a bit stiff from the north. As we hit the rivermouth well into the long outgoing tide, we picked an area that would allow us to cover productive areas casting with the wind. We worked the edges of cuts adjacent to the shallow flats with slow sinking twitchbaits and shallow diving crankbaits. The action wasn’t fast and furious but I managed half a dozen trout all right at 20 inches with one being 22 inches[...] Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Trout Florida Sportsman member: angler18 Since I was there and had a few hours to play Sunday morning, me and Mitchell left the dock at 8 am to see if we could find him a few trout to take home for dinner. The water was 64-65 everywhere we went, and the wind was lighter than forecasted for a change. We threw mirrodines and soft jerk baits for about 3 hours and picked up about a dozen trout with 2 just over 18″ and 6 keepers in all. Also had about a dozen ladyfish to keep us busy between the tide change. A better than expected quick trip and a good time[...] Click here for full forum report.
Foggy Day Trout Florida Sportsman member: Scott Crown Wanted to see if the trout have showed up yet. I Have not been to my old stomping grounds in months and my buddy Mike bought a new (to him) flats boat last week, so I had an excuse. Hit the water at daylight, if that’s what you want to call it. It was flat calm, very foggy conditions. Went to some of my shallow spots first and they were[...] Click here for full forum report.
34 Inch Snook caught at Blind Pass Florida Sportsman member: PONCE The fish were more active down there with average size 20-to 24-inch snook being caught along with some black drum off the bridge along with a assortment of other fish. There were a ton of mullet and white bait running the shoreline at Blind Pass so the cast net came in very handy [...] Click here for full forum report.
Waccasassa Bay Reds Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz Well what do you do when it’s going to be windy, tides are wrong, and the Gators are playing in the evening. Go fishing of course. I knew it was calling for some wind and they were right. It did make for some tough fishing but me and Capt. Mullet still got a good mess of trout while waiting for the afternoon high tide. Bright skies and a pretty good breeze made topwaters a no-go. So go to back up plan of traps and spoons and we were able to put a few reds in the boat [...] Click here for full forum report.
A Good Morning on the Crystal River Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips After nearly a month off the water I was finally able to spend a couple of hours harassing some fish today. The day started out with a beautiful sunrise on the Salt River. We made our first stop at a few mangrove shorelines at high tide and my Uncle Roger was the first to hook up. A fat 23 inch redfish. We got on a few rats but this was the one that was coming home for dinner [...] Click here for full forum report.
Trout, Reds, and Flounder Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Don and I took a short trip today to work the inshore flats with plugs. I packed a light tackle bag with just (what I thought) I needed. The trout were taking Rapala Flat Raps but right off the surface. With my topwater plugs at home I made it work twitching that flat rap along the surface. Before long we had a couple trout each in the box for dinner and released a few more most pushing 19 inches [...] Click here for full forum report.
Hot Homosassa Redfishing Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 So, when the bite is good, it’s hard to stay home. Plus, it’s always fun to put some friends on the hot bite, so I had Don and Lee join me today. We finally found a few ladyfish and some decent trout so the bait was in the box by noon and it was off to the islands. A strong high tide along with overcast skys and rain on the way put the reds on the bite even better than yesterday [...] Click here for full forum report.
CR Reds and Rain Florida Sportsman member: HammerheadTed Woke up early for some topwater and was greeted with some rain just offshore, SHOCKER. Actually, it worked out well since there was a good cloud cover, just what I like. Decided to stay in the Salt River area since it is a shorter run when the %#&@* hits. Caught a 21 inch red in the first area, but the Jacks were so thick it was hard to get an undisturbed retrieve, but fun! [...] Click here for full forum report.
Crystal River Scalloping Day Florida Sportsman member: wmflyfisher First of all I would like to thank windysurfer and troutman for helping me over these past few weeks. It’s been YEARS since I’ve been scalloping and yesterday didn’t disappoint. We put in at Yankeetown and traveled south to CR for scallops. Water was clear and the tide was high. My wife, mother, and sister had never scalloped before. Once I figured out what I was doing we had our limit in a couple of hours. Had to move around a few times but no biggie. Had a BLAST! Click here for full forum report.
Spoon Fed Reds Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Both reds were in the mid-slot and returned to fight another day. A first for me was seeing two reds casting at both and actually catching both. I usually blind cast to areas that I know hold fish but this time was a bit different tossing spoons past and infront of fish I spotted. It certainly is a ton of fun to see a the fish smash a spoon (or any other bait). A short but sweet trip with my neighbor and friend Don. Click here for full forum report.
Nature Coast Reds and Trout Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Don and I got up early this morning to hit the daybreak tide to get after some reds with spoons and then head out to drift for some trout. We hit the 1st half of the outgoing and the reds had started moving out off the banks a bit. But for an hour the bite was hot with 3 reds boated all in the upper and over slot [...] Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Scalloping Report Florida Sportsman member: Catalyst We headed to the Camp and Water Outdoor Resort for our first family scalloping adventure. I have always wanted to give scalloping a try and finally got a chance to make it over to Homosassa. We started our trip with very little knowledge of the area other than head out the river and look for boats. We quickly found the boats and also got a few scallops. We started kind of deep in 6-8 feet and didn’t really know what to look for but we still got a few dozen [...] Click here for full forum report.
Inshore with New Neighbors Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Mike contacted me from Coneticut by reading our fishing reports. His Mom and dad bought a place in my neighborhood and love to fish but are new to saltwater fishing. Mike and his wife are here on a visit and asked if I would take His wife Laura, his Mom Patty, His dad Eric and himself out and show them the ropes [...] Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Trout Bite Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Had to shake the cobb webs off after the storm so I decided to head out and work the shoreline for ladyfish with Pete. The water temp was a comfy 80 degrees and stained. We worked the cut infront of the Homosassa River and picked away at ladyfish and trout all morning. The trout came near structure at the ends of the tides and the ladyfish were everywhere. I believe I limited on slot trout, keeping only one for dinner [...] Click here for full forum report.
Father’s Day Trout Driftin’ Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips We decided to give the redfish a break today and do a little Carolina drifting for trout. We first started the day around the oyster bars and the mangrove shorelines for a little top water action. Got a few to cooperate [...] Click here for full forum report.
Fishing with the Reel McCoy’s Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Forum Member Brent (Reel McCoy) has fished with me a few times before this trip and it is always fun to have him and his family aboard. Today both of his sons Colby (the younger guy) and Dallas joined dad for a day drifting up some trout. We hit the water at 7:45 and ran out to 9′ to begin our drift with the outgoing tide [...] Click here for full forum report.
Fishing the Waccasassa Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz You know the weather man never gets the forecast right. So they predicted rain and since they are usually wrong it going to be a good day. With a early morning high tide we get to the ramp at first light.. A perfect morning for top-waters. I get this big blowup and don’t connect so Ponce comes back and scores a slot red. Click here for full forum report.
Nature Coast Weekend Florida Sportsman member: jaeforceone Had a chance to sneak out and do some fishing over on the Nature Coast with A2OZ. Working a certain cove I hooked a ladyfish and she spit the spook in the air. oh well…I twitched the lure three more times to have this fat snook smash it. Probably the most epic topwater bite I have ever experienced. With such a wide back I was hoping she measured over 35 but was 5 inches short. Either way it was a good fight and a great way to test out the new eyecon 6’8 MXF. Click here for full forum report.
Wacasassa Fishing Florida Sportsman member: Redbonz Friday the 11th we hit Wacasassa knowing there was a little bit of a high in the morning but not a lot of water moving. Caught a few redfish on topwater, gotta’ love the blowups on topwater and quite a few blowups and short strikes. Not going to tell what color was happening- ha, ha. Trout were hitting Gulps and dines and got a good Georgia limit. Water was pretty clean for the WB [...] Click here for full forum report.
Spoon Fed Reds Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Mike and Rye wanted to get on some redfish on artificials. Like myself that means no bait no gulp just spoons, spinnerbaits and plugs. we took off at 3:30 to catch the late afternoon high tide. The skys were high so I concentrsated in areas that I knew would have some colored water. The reds were fiesty right from the start. They were chasing the spoons and we could see them miss often. A few found thier mark and inhaled the spoon. We moved around points with good flow and deep water near by and picked away finding a great late afternoon redfish bite. All the reds we caught were in the slot. Click here for full forum report.
Super Moon Slammin’ Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 The CCBA tourney is a family fishing tournament that I have fish the past 5 years.The format is simple and fun for all. It’s main prize money is for trout and redfish and includes cobia and catfish as secondary categories. The past couple years Joe and Billy joined me as the team on my boat. It seems to be a rare thing when 3 guys can spend 3 days aboard a boat and not get on each others needs. It’s even better when my two guests are superb fisherman with the drive necessary to fish hard all day while keeping it fun and focused [...] Click here for full forum report.
Crystal River Reds Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips I finally got back on the water after 2 weeks. I end up getting a chance to fish with my old friends Dennis and Mike. We haven’t fished together since Christmas because our work schedules do not match but he took off today to fish with me [...] Click here for full forum report.
Inshore Red Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Don and I hit the water for a short afternoon trip on the inshore flats. The water temp was 69 degrees out near Marker 22 and clear. We drifted over the skinny flats on the incoming tide and the large trout and redfish were hungry! Mirrodines fished slow over the flats and along the shorelines produced lots of trout most over slot to 24″ and four reds to 32″. The fish are scattered all around the flats including some out to 6′ that I heard of today. Another fine productive day on the bay here in the Big Bend. Click here for full forum report.
Lesson One and Nice Snook Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Mike, A neighbor on our street had moved here a few months ago and is getting into the swing of saltwater fishing. He has spent lots of time here in Florida mostly bass fishing and has chartered a few times on the flats. He hooked up with a guide here and also a few neighbors that to him over complicated the flats fishing here and wouldn’t really show him the here and why of Homosassa. His friend who rewards our forum talked him into approaching me to teach him the ins and outs of Homosassa. Of course i agreed ’cause it’s what I truly enjoy doing. Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Inshore with Don Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Well the family is all back to work and home now so it’s time to get back into my routine. Well the same game but the names have changed to protect! Don and I hit the water at a leisurely 9:00 and headed out onto the flats looking for some trout for dinner. We took a few in tight on mirrodines but decided to look around for some other areas. We did find some trout around the outer St. Martins Keys and once we had enough for 3 households dinner we moved inside looking for reds [...] Click here for full forum report.
Fish Were Hungry Florida Sportsman member: Fishin Rod Lightnin’ and I headed for HSB again this morning to see what we could get to come out and play. We dropped the boat in the water at a little after 6:00am and sat there in the howling wind waiting on daylight. As soon as it got light enough to see we headed for our favorite redfish hole and it was way to rough to hit the flats or even fish the outside today. We hit one of the creeks and it was nice fishing with the wind being blocked but then came the rain. Click here for full forum report.
HSB Florida Sportsman member: tekmunki The inshore seas were super-calm this morning and remained as such all day, the breeze was just enough to keep the heat from getting to you, and kept the bimini top down all day in spite of equipping it expecting a 90+ degree scorcher… When it got too toasty, we got up on plane and cooled off with some ice-cold dye-free Gatorades that really hit the spot. Now this was a great day to take kids fishing [...] Click here for full forum report.
Every Other Day Florida Sportsman member: jaeforceone Took some of my nursing classmates to the Homosassa area for a late morning launch. Started off landing 20″ Seatrout and some lower slot reds. Soon after a short instruction I had them working the spook jr trying to get the rhythmic motion down. Each of them caught only one fish each but they were big fish. One Trout at 20″ and One Red at 27.25″ [...] Click here for full forum report.
Reds with Joe and Billy Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 There are always a few guys that just seem to click when together on the water and today I had the pleasure of fishing with two of the best. Joe and Billy (both forum members) joined me this afternoon for a day pounding the banks for reds. With the strong high pressure and strong winds I figured we would go through the motions but really didn’t expect too much. We hit the incoming tide for it’s duration and found what shelter from the wind we could manage. Click here for full forum report.
Lovin’ Spring Time Florida Sportsman member: jimsfishingobsession I did a few fishing trips over the past couple weeks and of course got a dive in too. We got a ton of snook in the river one afternoon. The snook came in at all different sizes anywhere from a foot long to almost 40 inches. we mainly fished with the D.O.A. terror eyzs for the snook. We also managed to catch about a half dozen reds and 3 mangrove snapper that same afternoon in the river but most were small even though we did get 3 slot reds, all after the sun went down [...] Click here for full forum report.
FS TV Nature Coast Shoot Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Blair contacted me a couple weeks ago and asked if I would help out by doing an inshore segment for thier television series “Destinations” Our part was the Nature coast area. I agreed figuring it would be relatively easy to put together some inshore action this time of year. Well a couple of curve balls were toosed my way. Mother nature decided to blow 20 out of the east for a solid week having me worried about having enough water to even get near my fish. The other part was a real challenge [...] Click here for full forum report.
Windy River Fishing Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Me, my son Jeremy, and my friend John decide to hit the creeks of Crystal River today no matter what the weatherman said about the SW winds. We end up hitting the river early so we can catch the incoming tide. We hit the water at about 7 am with the winds blowing at a 10 to 15 from the west. The winds got worse and worse the rest of the day. Turned 20 to 25 real quickly [...] Click here for full forum report.
Big Big Snook Florida Sportsman member: Indianoutlaw I got to fish a little bit with SnookMagnet two weekends ago, but we didn’t have much to report. Simply had a great day on the water, did well with the trout, but only managed three reds. Captain Jerry Kernan sent me pictures of a great snook he caught last week. Fish was hooked in 18 inches of water on a falling tide down South, made three blistering runs of 50-75 yards, and then [...] Click here for full forum report.
Homosassa Trout and Reds Florida Sportsman member: troutman57 Mark contacted me and asked if I would take him and a couple friends out on the flats fishing during thier stay here in Homosassa. I offered to show them around at the begining of thier trip so they would have an idea where to start when they set out on thier own. We settled on a Friday afternoon trip with Bob and his friends Steve and Craig. They met me dockside at 12:30 ready to fish. All of them were able fisherman so I planed a day of chasing trout with artificials (mirrodines) and maybe a redfish or two Click here for full forum report.
Sheepshead Beat Down Florida Sportsman member: ripnlips Today’s plan was to hit the near shore rock piles and see if we could get the sheepshead to bite. The day started out beautiful with light winds from the west and air temps in the low 50’s. With the baitwell filled with 200 shrimp we set off to some rock piles that shutterkng and I hit a few weeks back and also some that I have not been to in nearly 15 years. Click here for full forum report.
by Florida Sportsman•
October 26, 2016
Recent offshore fishing reports from the Southeast region.
Palm Beach Offshore Action
Florida Sportsman member: Angler Management
Great action on the last two days. Kites up between 70-120. We landed six out of seven on sails and several mahi, kings and snappers on gigs and small mullet dragged on the bottom. Even snagged a snook at the end of the drift, in 50″ Sailfish action!!
I spent all weekend trying to get the ship ready to take it out on this small chance of boatable seas. We got out around two pm and within one minute out of Boca, we had a barracuda hit one of my ballyhoo.
While fishing in the Southeast, Forum member dcheek2112 snags an epic assortment of wahoo, grouper, snapper, tiles and porgies. He caught a limit of grouper: gag, scamp, snowy, kitty and yellowedge. Nice!
We decided to try a rattle jet for the shotgun and a few ballys and bonita strip. In about 240 feet a few small mahi hit the spread and was really cool to see some jumps with 2 fish on, a bit frantic but landed them both and kept one, nothing major but thankful once again for some mahi action and meat for our table.
I get Jody baited up with a live Sardine and she flips it out 20 feet from the side of the boat. A Wahoo skyrockets 5 feet out of the water next to the boat and it was game on. I’m waiting any minute for the line to go slack since we are using 40 pound fluorocarbon leader. After 45 minutes the fish is within gaffing range and I get a great head shot.
Grunt chunks and sardines have been my bait of choice, live goggle eye caught some nice ones too. I use a long leader, 15 feet of 40 pound fluorocarbon and a circle hook for the snapper. The best bite has been when tide is running the right direction from the south with lite ESE wind. The bite has been the best when tide has us using 4 to 8 ounces to hold bottom.
Headed to a spot in 25 feet I hadn’t fished since last year; marks on the machine indicate some life so lines in around 1:30am. Depsite not having any chum the fishing was good, baits were getting thumped not long after hitting bottom. I caught a 28 & 26 inch mutton right off the bat and a few legal mangos and some short muttons.
We started on the hill, with the current ripping at seven MPH, tuna were deep at 200 plus feet. Trolled the 80 foot line. Nice weed line but no bites. Bottom fished by black condo when a cobia came up to boat. The fish ate a bucktail jig and 25 minutes later we landed a 30 pound cobia.
Started trolling off of Boynton heading North. Got a king early on to get the team fired up and in gear. Next up was the grown man as buddy buddy calls the wahoo. Started screaming on the planer. After lines all cleared she popped up on the surface to make life a little easier.
Went over to the channel this past weekend. Joseph wanted to put one of his little buddies on the tuna.The bite was tough in the channel as you’ve seen from several reports but we did manage to bend some rods and bring home three 60 to 70 pounders and a couple of smaller fish.
After that I decided since the bite seemed to be in the 400 to 500 foot range we should stay there. I turned back out to 500 feet. Got to 500 turned around and started heading back to 400 and saw a large green turtle with about four dolphin under him.
I had my fingers crossed but I had a feeling the wind would be more then predicted. Anyway lines in ,fish on ,and she reels in her biggest mahi to date. She was thrilled and the winds were picking up so I turned back toward the inlet and called it a day.
It’s been a month since my last trip and was well rewarded for the long wait. It was kinda ugly in the am but the phone radar showed it was going to clear. Trolled all morning to no avail between 280 and 420 feet, strong current and blue water. Found a slight rip in 300 feet off Jupiter and at high noon the flatline goes off.
Within about 10 minutes of trolling the long starboard reel starts screaming, rod is bent over double, and all the wire is off the reel leaving only about 50 yards of the backing. I was worried that the wire to mono connection would break, fortunately we remained tight and after about 15 minutes we slid that wahoo thru the transom door and the congratulations began.
We checked in, topped off and got out hunting. Looking for the right conditions led us north of Memory. Pounded that area between 100 and 400 feet, running big lures at 15 knots. We steadily picked at them and put eight fish in the box (seven hoos and one fat king).
I think the fishing is in a good pattern right now, the steady dose of light north winds have finally allowed us to develop a pattern. The sails are moving in nice packs from 110 to 130 and 180 to 210 feet. Mixed in are the usual kingfish, Mahi and some cobias on the flat (deep) rods.
We pull up and my wife snags a wahoo on a vertical jig under the mouth. Bar jacks were everywhere and could not keep baits away. I decided to jump in, saw about 25 to 30 wahoo under the water that would stay deep, but come up to the surface every now and then. I shot a dolphin, rainbow runner and a triple tail (Federal Waters).
The beach has spinner sharks migrating down it so its a great way to hear action. 10 to 20 feet from breakers to dodge wall is holding large schools of sharks. 20 pound spinning gear makes it a blast. In the mix we managed a 39 pound cobia and lots and lots of sails.
A little while later another fish came up on the same short kite. Also aggressive he ate in one bite and headed for the long bait. This one I was ready for and came tight quickly. He didn’t even skip a beat. Despite me pulling on him he took drag right to the long kite bait. I tried winding it out of the way but he inhaled it. Holy cow!
Action was off the condos in 130 to 150 feet, with 143 being the hot number. Goggle eyes were getting pounded all day and we broke off a few and had some 30 plus pound fish sharked, but managed a 42 and 45 pounder on the marina scale and broke our current record.
Two minutes later we had a HOT sail lit up behind our daisy chain. It was lit up and going back and forth between dredge, chain and pitch. I pulled chain away, Fred expertly dropped back, sail ate, was in air, jumped twice and we were tight!
Saw some reports recently of some nice tripletail being caught and thought I wouldn’t mind inviting a few home for dinner. Sunday we headed out with my dad and brother and the first spot we pull up too yields a nice seven pound tripletail.
Pretty good swell with chop on top for the ride home, luckily we were cruising in the troughs. Lucky enough to see the first two sunrise and sunsets of 2016 from the boat and catch some good fish go along. Hopefully it’s a good omen for the rest of the year.
I thought I saw a huge flash of mahi blue but wasn’t sure so I didn’t wanna get my hopes up. But when I saw a cow around 10 to 15 pounds hit the other line as we were clearing I knew then it was a pair and this thing put on a show.
Another pass and I’m in the process of setting a rigger bait in the clip and the line starts smoking for a few seconds then nada. It turns out it was a blue marlin that went over to our other rigger bait and popped off before we had much to say about it. It did put on a nice show on the surface as he was greyhounding away though.
I caught and release a few more slingers. I came across some type of blue plastic 15 gallon bucket/drum. I trolled passed it and get hit (big bull) on my 12 pound test spinning rod. I was losing line fast and was afraid I was going to get spooled. I was by myself so I had to back down and fight the fish at the same time.
We set up shop at about 7am, and within two minutes we had a nice gaffer in the box.
We reset and get SMOKED, this time it’s a nice king. Put em back out and a stud Wahoo misses the first time, then comes back at 50mph and gets it!
Found great conditions in 200′ and put a couple of ballyhoo’s out. Ended up finding an incredible edge with huge mats and flyers in 600′ with nobody around. After 15 minutes we found a few dollies and a little tuna for sashimi.
We headed over to another spot that is known to have some big gags and blacks all over it. Set back up and threw out some flat lines and started bending rods , once again muttons and mangos were hitting the deck.
Crew wanted to make a run for it, so offshore we headed to the swordfish grounds. Before we even got our full spread out, the long feather chain gets nailed and gaffer Mahi on. Landed the fish in short order and reset our spread.
On the way back in we stopped at those same weed lines we saw on the way out and caught two 8 pound fins. We had the school around the boat a couple times but just like the fins under the wooden crate they seemed lethargic and were not hungry.
The action started in 140 and was hot all day from 70-130 feet from trump to breakers. We were able to hook lots of fish and the lady anglers did their best and we captured four nice fish over three hours. They were able to get 4th place dolphin and 4th place King however the prize money was paid only three prizes.
The fish was brought to the boat quickly and we didn’t realize it was a wahoo until it was right next to the boat. Fish was landed (21.6 lbs) and total chaos broke out on the boat! Sarah knew right then and there that she got her first wahoo and possibly first ladies tournament win. She lost her voice from screaming she was so excited!
It didn’t look like anything was on it, so we threw a weighted mullet under it and counted to 10. Both of us came tight on fins and got them in the boat. We also caught one triple tail on a live mullet.
We catch two or three more and work for some time and it was either quiet or the bells are ringing as we ended up with a baker’s dozen of decent size dolphin. They are not all that big but they are easy to clean and very tasty, we threw back several that did not meet the size limit and hopefully the next trip out they will still be around and have grown considerably and put up a lot more fight.
110 feet just south of Juno today, 4 inch micro goggle eye on 12 pound spinning gear, customer fought it for 30 minutes. Was 54 in the boat and after 2 hours weighed 49.89 on sailfish marina tournament scale.
Justin just turned 21 years old and wanted a big wahoo for his birthday. Started off high speed trolling at 5:30. No hits so I change it up to mullets at 6:00. I noticed there were plenty of flying fish everywhere so I put out a white and blue islander over a big split tail mullet on the shot gun line about 400 feet behind the boat. As I was setting up other lines, the shotgun line starts screaming.
Ran out to the deep and found SICK conditions like Bill and others saw. Thousands of baits, acres of mats and starving dolphin.We caught 10 schoolies before we found the bigger fish and boxed several nice gaffers in the 15 to 20 pound range.
Nice temperature break in about 120 to 150 feet out there with a color change. There are schools of dolphin and big dolphin around it. We’re averaging about 12 fish per charter. Get out there and get you some.
We decided to sneak out for half-a-day between storms and try our luck on tilefish. It took us a while to find a hungry colony, but worth the effort. Ended up with my first double header and our limit of five.
We had a nice knock down but didn’t stay hooked and have no idea what it was. Then after a driver switch and turn back south the drag starts screaming. Brought up a real nice black fin tuna. This fish was not leader shy one bit.
We decided for Saturday’s Bigdog Fatcat we were gonna fish some other spots south. Well it turns out it was the right move, we killed it. We ended up with 9 kings from 11 to 26.7 pounds, a short cobia, 4 keeper muttons up to 4.5 pounds, bonita, and some other bottom dwellers.
We then headed East to deeper water and found some promising changes in the surface and we deployed our live bait, we did some chumming and quickly gathered some large sharks behind the boat with a few good size cobia.
I slowly bring the fish close enough for Mike to reach out and stick a perfect gaff shot right in the melon. As him and Yoan fight to bring him into the boat is when I realize how big he really is. We get him on the deck and reality sets it!
We moved deeper to 200-300 feet, no bites. Well we thought no bites. As we reeled in the deep rod it had a small blackfin tuna attached to it. Weird thing was he wasn’t hooked. The circle hook just around his tail. We must have been dragging in backward for a long time because he came in dead as a door nail.
“Lots of life in 65 feet, so we lowered the riggers and started trolling. First knock down was at 7:20, small gaffer fin. Reset and continued to work a rip, south. Second knock down shortly after, spooled us before we could get control…”
Got the chance to venture down to Costa Rica in March to get away from work and do a little fishing. Fished with Tranquilo Charters out at the FADs. Ended up getting my first marlin and roosterfish. Got a lot of bites from marlin but being the noob that I am to marlin fishing most came unglued.
Quickly caught 3 dozen baits and headed out to 270 feet. Wasn’t long before we had a double header sailfish. We got one and mine spit the hook. Soon after that settled down we had yet another double header sailfish hookup. This time we got both to the boat.
I spot a frigate and Capt. Adam puts us in the area as 2 live gogs were sent out to slow troll along, didn’t take long and big bull is jumping behind the boat. Ian was aboard today and never caught a dolphin, so the rod was passed to him and he did a sweet job leading that fish right to the gaff.
Decided we might as well pull a spread during our beer drinking adventure. Ended up with 4 dolphin. Smaller 3 in the 28-30 inch range, and the big one went 43 pounds. There wasn’t a favorite bait among the fish today.
Ran about 15 miles off and I spotted a bundle of balloons and floats then Ryan spotted the right frigate!
On the third pass I look back and see 4 20 to 30 pound phins chasing the spread! All 4 rods go off, but we went 2 for 4 with a 20 plus pound cow and about a 25 pound bull!
Headed out of town for a week so figured I better slip offshore this morning. Some beautiful edges with weed out there in various depths. I opted for one in 235 feet and had two sail releases on flatlined greenies within the first 90 minutes before things got quiet.
The flocks were far and few but persistence paid off and we had a triple header on. Two of the fish got cutoff either by sharks or wahoo but I luckily stayed tight to my fish. The battle was outstanding and made me promise to start doing lower back exercises.
After practically stopping the boat and locking the drag on this fish otherwise he would have spooled my 50 wide tiagra I start cranking the fish in which took about 30 minutes of pain and agony to get to the shock cord. The fish was almost directly straight down when I noticed the wings of the yellowfin tuna.
The wind overpowered the current so it kept us moving south and we fished our majority of the time just south of the breakers. We seem to float between 180 and 350 feet of water, although we really weren’t paying attention because it was really nonstop action.
Today was Cayden’s birthday so were looking for a birthday phin or hoo. We cleared the inlet to nice flat seas. About an hour in the planer pops and Cayden starts reeling gets tight and bring it to the boat. That was his first fish on the wire line. It was a nice one the biggest of the day.
There were several very nice triple tails but we couldn’t get a bait to them though the hundreds of jacks and triggerfish. After 30 minutes of trying I finally was able to get a bait to the biggest one. Two jumps and he threw the hook, bummer for sure. Trolled a bit more and made several drops with only some very large Rosie’s to show, no love from the tiles.
Nothing on the troll, but after a few drops at the tile grounds we got a 17 pounder, headed shallow and picked up a grey tile as well. We trolled home, seeing a lot of flyers and birds and ended up with 10 footballs and 3 average phins. Good times! Phins and tuna were landed around 200 to 350 feet.
After slowing the boat and pushing the drag way up the rod was bowed way over and we all thought we were going to have a really nice wahoo. Well on the leader that wahoo turned into a 70 pound class yellowfin. The tunas around Harbour Island are known for eating only live bait, but this one wanted a blue and white islander on cable going 18mph.
Got to 120 foot and the right long goes off like a firecracker, but no run. As we are discussing whether we wanted to keep this ‘bonito’ for strip baits, and the angler is cranking like a banshee, we see stripes! Here comes the hoo!
We headed out to the bait grounds and managed to get a couple dozen goggle eyes. After the sun came up we headed south to the kingfish fleet in 70 feet off of Juno pier and joined the masses. We got our limit of Kings from 30 to 36 inches and then headed out to try our luck deep dropping for golden tilefish.
I asked the guys if they wanted to reset or head in and drop for some tilefish and they all wanted to reset so we did and it’s good thing we did. We hooked up within minutes of dropping and then the tug of war began. The next fish finally came to the surface and we could tell it was a much larger fish. Another harpoon shot and we drug her into the boat.
The seas were nice and we were able to put 4 in the box by 10:30 or so before heading back to Old Bahama Bay to meet some friends and have some lunch. Trolled from OBB to Sandy, nothing doing. Pulled in and reset N of Memory. The wind has swung around and it was a little bumpier and wetter, but we managed another 2.
“I’ve been fortunate to fish the last few weekends, live baiting off of Jupiter. We have been catching sails and dolphin pretty consistently similar to other reports on this forum. I had the awesome experience of watching my daughters both catch their first sailfish…”
We went 13 for 15 on sails, with a few on fly. Lots of big mahi. A few YFTs that made for some sashimi. We also bottom fished, dropping to about 405 ft and landed a nice red snapper and a few blue-line tiles, which tasted absolutely incredible whole fried that night!
She came up to me and wondered how come I’ve never taken her wahoo fishing… “It’s too hard for you to reel,” I said. “I’ve seen your videos and those big electric reels,” she replied. “It can get a bit boring if we’re just running around looking for a bite,” I said. “I’m patient, I’ll bring a book and some magazines.
It was kind of sloppy and grew as the day went on. We put one of the girls on her first sailfish. A big one! So we ended up taking a quickie photo and then a nice slow clean release. We grabbed a mahi and then a mutton when the girls said they weren’t feeling too good. So we went in a little early.
Turns out we never ran out for dolphin because we were catching up wahoo all morning on the out going tide. The current was running south and a front was visible just to the north. We were fishing with two wire lines and a 80 wide with braid and a variety of trolling lead from 16 to 48 ounces.
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!
by Florida Sportsman•
October 26, 2016
Recent inshore fishing reports from the Northeast region.
Mayport Inlet: The Spot is Hot
Florida Sportsman member: Salty Dog
Went out to some of the sheepshead and trout spots around the Mayport area to see if the fall fishing season had arrived yet. I found hungry, aggressive fish at every spot. Brought home a cooler full of sheepshead, trout and nice inshore sized mangrove snapper.
Mayport Inlet: Sheepshead, Flounder, Redfish and Trout
Florida Sportsman member: Morocco_madness
The transition from late October to November is always prime time Sheepshead fishing. The largest concentration of fish come through Mayport Inlet every year at this time. They quickly disperse throughout the river, the ICW, and neighboring estuaries. The best fishing tends to be at the tips of the Mayport Inlet Jetties.
The one thing that I took off of that trip, was that it is way more to fishing that bridge, than just wheeling out a cart and tossing shrimp over. It takes patience, preparation, and timing to be successful. Knowing what the fish want and how to present it, are crucial.
Finally getting around to posting some shots from our day fishing the Full of Bull tournament. We did decent catching and releasing three fish from 29 to 38 inches. It was a little slower than the previous days we were out “practicing” for the tournament.
The retrieve I go with is simple, “bump, pause, bump, pause.” Roll the bait back towards the boat slowly and once you get bit, pause roughly 1 to 2 seconds and sting it! The bite of a Flounder varies from fish to fish but most of the time, if the fish is of half way decent size, you’ll feel a single thump followed by a sensation of weight.
I stopped in the creek across from Pine Island to catch more bait. I got lucky and caught a nice ladyfish while netting some mullet at sunrise. We went south and found a few places that looked fishy. By 9AM, (2 hours of fishing) we had five 22 to 24 inch redfish and a nice 25 inch trout.
It was pretty steady action for about 2 hours. We caught rat reds, trout, mangos, and flounder. We lost some good hits too. The tide came up, and water covered up our sandbar, so we decided to call it a day.
The Big, breeder Red Fish have started their annual movement up river from the St. Johns River Inlet in anticipation of spawning season. These fish begin staging on the 40 foot dredge lines that edge the shoulders of the rivers shipping lanes every June. This period is what we call the “Pre-Spawn”. The breeders gather up in numbers and gorge on fish and crustacions to fatten up for the spawn that typically begins in the early weeks of August.
I got about a dozen finger mullet and paddled north out of beach marine. Fished the finger mullet on cork and Carolina rig for the last two hours of the incoming with no luck. As the tide started flowing out I switched to a 1/4 ounce jighead and penny gulp shrimp. Started dragging it in creek mouths and banks and ended up with three keepers.
The Shrimp boat action is hot and there is no shortage of fast and furious, line screaming craziness to be found. No hassle, no wait, instant gratification. Big Jacks as large as 50 pounds and all manner of sharks. You can pitch large plugs behind the these boats and get these guys nearly every cast.
I’ve never really scouted for the flood tide around home so last night I decided to go check out some areas I thought I might be able to walk once I felt confident that those pop up storms weren’t going to be an issue.
Went out after work yesterday to soak a few crabs, fishing the buckman in 20 feet of water, the bite was on fire! 9 reds all over 36 inches with the biggest being 42 and one 40 incher with a tag in her.
The reds are on fire around the little jetties. Last Saturday we brought in seven upper/over slot reds fishing shrimp on the last of the outgoing and first of the incoming. All the fish swam away healthy that day.
At this point I know what I have and am overcome with mixture of excitement, nervousness, excitement, this is why I’ve been using 30 pound leader after all! After the first jump the fish found the current and ran towards the ICW and deeper water, line peeling off my 1000 letting the drag work.
Fishing all artificial, mostly working the docks on mid tides and natural structure on West side closer to the bridge and just south at high tide to mid low, some nice sized reds, a couple of flounder and a few smaller trout first couple trips then Saturday night my buddy put the first North Florida snook on my boat.
It’s that time of year again! The first full moon of early Spring has past and the “big uglies” have reached the North East Florida inlets. These massive inlet monsters head up from south Florida and migrate north every year around february.
The past week in the valley has been nothing short of “EPIC” for me. With the water temp in solid 70 degree range and bait thick as fleas on a stray dog, the bite has been the best so far this year. With mullet as thick as you can imagine, the reds, trout and a few flounder have all the food they want.
Three ways are really working well with mullet. Popping corks with 24 inches of 30 pound flouro with 3/0 khale hook works well at creek mouths or oyster beds with current. Freeline live mullet hooked through the back, casting to schools working the banks. The last is 1/8th ounce jig head with a live mullet that can be used about a 1000 ways.
Focus on the river, not the creeks, but river shoulders. Find spots with current breaks, bottom contours, and sharp drop offs. Bottom type is definitely a factor. Gravel, shell and rocky bottoms are all good signs to look for. I don’t do well in areas with sand or mud bottom.
Got out this morning and picked the right creek, Alexis had a fat 16 inch flounder within a minute of the mullet hitting the water. Was expecting reds but no complaints. My second cast, I hooked something solid on the catch 2000 and unfortunately it got me in the oysters and sliced the leader, downside of using a 1000.
We hit channel markers and pilings from the inlet up the intercostal. Number one circle hooks and very small leaders (6 inches of 15 pound flouro) was the ticket. We ended up with six nice sheeps but two absolute STUDS, at 10.25 pounds and 7.20 pounds.
Went and hit the Harbor in the cold wind with two buddies and 4 dozen shrimp. Most fish caught were under slot reds and trout but we found a 20 inch red and a 17 inch flounder to bring home for dinner.
We managed nine keepers the majority were 2 to 4 pounds again. We didn’t go through half a pint both days. The key was moving water, we fished the exact same spot both days and when the tide was moving we caught fish and when it stopped, so did the bites.
This is my favorite time of year, the water temperature drops into the 50s-60s and the reds start to school up thick. Low tides and mud flats are a few degrees warmer than the rest of the ICW and I target them there. Moving slow on my push pole, no trolling motor, I can get close to a school and start picking them off.
I spent a day hitting a number of productive Inlet holes in an attempt to reassess what’s around out there. I haven’t been spending much time in my usual playground. It didn’t take long to figure out that the bull reds and black drum were pretty thick.
Aside from the windy afternoons you can’t ask for anything better. The bait situation is just amazing with all the shrimp, mullet and blue crab right now in the valley. Fishing creek mouths, oyster beds, mud flats, and drop offs this time of year will produce big payoffs.
Water temperature is still in the high 60′s and will stay there until something big comes along to change that. Trout, reds and flounder are still thick and are feeding on mullet and a second hatch of shrimp in the valley. Best bet is popping corks fishing with 3/0 kale hooks working the last outgoing tide and incoming tide.
However about 30 minutes later my rod tip starts bouncing, I pick it up and i’m on! This one did the same thing as the last, immediately screamed drag and jumped, it proceeded to jump four more times before we got him to the boat.
Eventually, we reach a spot where I’m hooking up pretty consistently. Chips getting some action on the Fluke but not near the action I was getting. Eventually, he ties on an X-Rap he happened to have. His was orange and yellow. Before long, we’re either hooking up or getting hit on every cast.
We had one hour of nonstop action- rods bending, fish retrieving, rebaiting, casting, releasing fish, kept a few. Every bait was eaten, all three said presentations. I would subjectively say the live mullet was the most popular choice.
We finished the day in the same spot my dad landed his big fish and my 11 year old, Marina, connected with her best red ever. She wanted to give the rod up as the big fish made several long runs on light tackle and with the help of a strong outgoing tide.
I’ve been on a healthy dose of both species as well as some of the largest sand trout I’ve ever seen. The same places I mentioned above are holding ridiculous numbers of trout. I was actually targeting trout when I realized that the Bull Red presence was so thick in the shallows.
The slot reds are chewing VERY well right now at both the little and big jetties. The bull reds have emptied out of the river and are officially done spawning. The good news is they are a year round species for us and the inlet is where you’ll be finding them from this point on through early June.
Take a look—and listen—to what’s going on down there.
Kirkconnell with narrow-barred mackerel speared on a liveaboard charter in Indonesia.
One of the most challenging things for me as a fisherman is knowing what is actually going on below the surface.
Some of the best in the world have never seen what happens when a mutton snapper picks up a bait, or how slowly a wahoo is usually swimming. They just have theories based on experience and the feel of the bite. You can have everything perfect. The right bait, hook, fluorocarbon to braid knot. You’re marking fish on the recorder. But you don’t get hit. It’s frustrating, but sometimes that is what it takes to get even the most stoic angler into the water.
As a Florida Sportsman, you likely have already gone scalloping on the West Coast or to the Keys for lobster season. Swimming at the surface with your mask, snorkel and fins, you at some point had to hold your breath and leave the comfort of unlimited air for just a few seconds to grab dinner or check under a coral head.
Little did you know you are now a freediver.
You stopped being a snorkeler the second you left the surface and entered a new realm and a sport that will challenge and reward you and combine three of your favorite things: hunting, fishing and diving.
As with any other sport on the water, there is a lot to learn and safety is the number one priority with anyone wanting to go past the snorkeling phase.
Freediving can be a dangerous sport when not done properly and before you do anything else, please take a freedive class. Over the next few months, I’m going to share tips, stories and techniques on freediving, spearfishing, lobstering, and fishing that will help you get the most out of your time above and below the water, but nothing can replace the knowledge you will gain in an actual class.
Personally, I am a hunter. If I am leaving the surface and heading down 30, 60 or 100 feet, something is coming back up with me. I grew up watching my father and mother, cousins and extended family freedive and catch lobster, conchs and spear amazing fish in the Caribbean and here in Florida and there was nothing I wanted more than to be a part of that contagious excitement of each dive.
That thrill is one of the coolest parts about spearfishing and freediving. No matter what your age, you can freedive. Granted, the better the shape you are in, the more relaxed you are, the better you are going to dive, but in two days most freedive classes will have you diving 66 feet, holding your breath for three minutes, and teach you the safety to protect both yourself and your friends as you dive.
Each time you are in the water you are going to be more relaxed and everything around you will react accordingly. If you are swimming like you’re being chased, all the fish are going to think the same and not stick around to see what is chasing you. Act the way you want them to act.
The same goes for fishing. When you run up to your spot on a full plane and then do five circles over it before ramming it in reverse and dropping anchor, how do you think the fish are going to react?
When you are in the water, the sound of the engines going in and out of gear can be equated to a cannon shot and I’ve blamed more than one missed fish I was lining up on whomever was running the boat (not my poor marksmanship). Whether it is a school of tunas or groupers on a wreck, be mindful of your approach with the boat and even more so while you are diving.
Dive safe, fish smarter and each day on the water is going to be better than the last.
Editor’s Note: We’re proud to introduce a new FS Seminar Dive column with contributions by Cameron Kirkconnell, a globe-trotting, record-holding spearfisherman and resident of Southeast Florida. Kirkconnell will be covering a range of topics, from safety tips to gear selection to trip-planning. FS
First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine August 2016
Recent inshore and offshore fishing reports from the Northwest region.
St. Mary’s Success
Florida Sportsman member: Familyfisher
This ended up being one of the best days we’ve ever had for bringing fish home. We’ve definitely caught more fish, but we’ve not kept a lot more. Ended up with some nice trout, redfish, black drum, and a decent flounder.
Sunday we did a little better, landing 22 fish (give or take). Most measured in the mid 20’s with one going over slot. It was top water early, then spoons and plastic twitch baits as the tide rose. Around 10am we switched over to pinfish. Had to get off the water by noon both days due to the heat.
Took my fiancé and the new boat to Steinhatchee this weekend. First time she has ever been out on a boat in the saltwater. Limited out on scallops in the morning and trout in the evening. All the trout were caught on white gulps.
Then a school of bulls moved in and we really had some fun on 2500′s and 15 pound braid as you can see in the photo’s. Fish are there you’ll go get em and we’ll keep dreaming and looking for that tagged fish.
My daughter came down to the coast for her birthday weekend and wanted to go fishing! So dad poled the boat for two days and here are the results from this weekend fishing around Carrabelle, FL. She caught nine over 15 pounds and I actually caught two on fly and one on spin.
The next spot had an absolute incredible show of fish on the bottom. As quick as we could get a bait to the bottom, our rods were getting doubled over. HUGE sow snapper, one after the other. In between the snapper, we caught a few red grouper and a healthy stock of sea bass.
My daughter came home last week after doing a 3 month internship in New York City and she needed some boat and beach time badly before heading back to UGA. Trout and redfishing has it moments in August (mostly bad) so I decided to load up on some tasty bait fish and head offshore for some action.
Alicia and Tyler were on fire and pulled in some nice fish while I lost a few good ones and followed through with a skunk nasty. We caught 4 grouper on the last spot before running out of live bait and left a bunch of fish in the rocks.
We moved around a few places in that depth, catching some more keepers and picking through a lot of shorts. We needed to head in soon so I started working my way back in and found some new bottom showing fish. We ended up finishing our limit and getting the red grouper here and ran in with the fish still biting.
about 10am and a little more water, we headed to the spot, eased into the area and within minutes I had locked up with a 23 inch redfish on a topwater plug. After landing that redfish, we then hooked up with another, this time a 29 incher that gave me one of my best ever redfish fights. For the next 2 hours we were in solid redfish.
My next cast I get a huge blowup, fish gets hooked and taking drag. It’s got to be a red, couple of good runs and I get the fish close enough to see and it’s another large trout. Into the boat and another quick measure at just over 27 inches and 5.12 pounds.
Like I was saying, the bite was off the chain. The fish just kept hitting and hitting. Trout, Jacks, Spanish and Bluefish, a completely mixed bag, were all crushing our plugs. By about 10 o’clock, it slowed down a bit and we turned our last ditch effort towards getting a Redfish with the peak tidal movement coming in.
At the first hole it was game on from the first drop and we proceeded to load the boat with the giant humpback seabass I’ve been hearing about. Seabass are our parents’ favorite fish and Alicia and I enjoy them very much for table fare as well. We wanted to make sure we caught enough to feed us for a few weeks, but to also save some for my folks back in Orlando.
On the way I see a big wake in about 6 inches of water to which I place a nice shrimp at it nose. Fish on, although it didn’t make the normal runs like a red. As it gets closer we realize its big 5 pound sheepshead. I don’t catch too many sheepshead tailing so this was a nice bonus. After poling a few hundred more yards I see another large wake in very shallow water. Again placed a shrimp at its nose, boom! Another sheepshead and this one was even bigger than the first.
We set up on spot two and proceeded to put a few big Red snapper boat side to be vented and released, cussing their lack of presence the previous week, I think everyone took turns reeling up a decent ARS before the Mango’s and the Red Grouper started chewing and I can’t tell you how happy that made us! And yes some other anglers drifted so close to our marker buoy I thought they were going to use it to anchor on.
Our plan was to fish the Wakulla beach area, but concernes of crossing the mouth if the river forced us east. The mouth of the river can get too choppy for a 14-foot John in a hurry. We ran into a carpet of floating grass, forcing us off plane every 100 yards or so. We started fishing creekmouths as the tide started coming in. We didn’t have much luck so we headed up the creeks. We went way up, further than I thought they would be. We went to a spot I affectionately call “liars bend”. Tw and I have fished this spot about 10 times in the past 2 years and have never caught a fish there. But when he goes solo, it seems to produce. Liars bend gave us 4 slot fish 20-26 inches and a rat. We moved to a creek over and found a nice bend and picked up another 4 slot fish bewteen 23-26 inches and a nice 31-inch fish for the captain.
A quick stop at the Moorings for fuel, ice and bait and we were off. The plan was to go deep but with fresh repairs we were kind of hesitant. The boat ran great at 2100 rpm’s and cruising at 23 knots and once we hit 80 feet with no problems the owner made the call to keep going. Not much further and a over heating alarm came on for the #2 engine, the one that was worked on. We couldn’t see any leaking fluid so we limped on with one engine. We reached our destination and the first baits were dropped at 1pm. Right off the bat every rod was bent over and 5 snapper came over the side and hit the deck. The show on the bottom machine was unreal but as soon as we got there lightening appeared from nowhere. Everybody jumped in the cabin and the radar was pulled up. There was a storm a few miles south of us and it was growing rather fast. As much as we hated to leave that mark we moved on. We stopped 2 more times (a total of 3 stops) and we were headed north. By this time the engine had cooled enough to get the cap off of the radiator and we couldn’t see any coolant. We added about 3 gallons (it holds 4) of water, started the emgine, looked for leaks which we didn’t see and headed on in. The cap was not real tight and we’re not sure where the fluid went or even if it was topped off after being worked on. I’m thinking with us sitting around waiting on them to fix it coolant was not put back in but not really sure. The engine ran great with no alarms all the way back in. Other than a couple of setbacks it was a great trip. 10 red snapper, 3 Lane snapper, 1 red grouper and 1 king was the catch for the day. The seas were great at 1-2 foot the entire day.
After loading up with bait, I ran out to a spot in 18′ with very rocky bottom and within seconds of dropping our anchor we’re spotting eagle rays and cobia are tackling our initial drops. We’re a bit slow to reach our initial bite and lose it, but didn’t have time to cry about it because almost instantly another rod off the back gets hit. End result a 31 foot short but solid fighter that we tag and release.
Things really slowed down after the initial bite, with just enough time between a few monster bites that we were too slow to the reels. Growing worried we might not get any more bites, I decided to chum some dead baits and it sure seemed to work as within minutes we had on the bite we wanted! A BIG keeper cobe that gave Ontiltttttt exactly the fight he wanted[...]
Ecofina Cobia & Grouper
Florida Sportsman member: big bend gyrene
Met up outside Tallahassee at 5:00am, and with crossed fingers we would be greeted by calm waters we made our way to the coast. First good sign of the day, it was calm… quite a change compared to the prior week’s weather.
Bman couldn’t have fought the fish more perfectly. He had the darn beast on for about 40 minutes or so, with us gasping at each and every run and turn of the reel, wondering which would give first, the fish, his 20 pound line being pulled down towards rocks, or his small freshwater size chug bug. Again, Bman showed unbelievable finesse in keeping the 30 to 40 pound cobia on the line and slowly but surely he turned the tide against the beast, or at least it appeared so as the cobia came closer and closer to the boat.
First good sign of the day, it was calm… quite a change compared to the prior week’s weather.
Second good sign of the day, while I quickly load the live well with pins Bman has a hot hand during slack tide catching mackerel, bluefish, and trout.
The good start had me biting at the bit to get on cobia, but due to the open grouper season and a slack tide pre-dawn launch I asked Bman to humor a different plan of attack than I’ve taken in the past.
Versus instantly running out to deeper hotspots, Bman and I stopped in a 15 foot rocky area and started trolling stretches towards a distant 19 foot spot. My goal involved more than simply catching grouper, as I wanted to record bottom readings from my Lowrance for future reference. This all sounded good and well during our pre-fishing war room strategy talk, but unfortunately we had not one single grouper bite during the scouting mission.
The only positive of the mission came when we reached our rocky end point in 19 feet of water. Bman noticed a wake being pushed about 30 feet in front of our bow and thinking it was a big mackerel, he threw a small chug bug to it on a rig that just as easily could have been used for catching small bass. Massive, massive, MASSIVE topwater gulping bite, and Bman yells, “IT’S A COBIA!” Absolutely and the very first midshore cast of the year off Marine’s Dream and it’s a BIG cobia.
Left the dock yesterday afternoon at 3:30 with every one running in from the storms look at me and my guest like we had lost are minds. With nasty looking storms all around lightning popping to the north I was wondering on are last min decisions to get out and try to catch a few fish. With my trusty I phone in hand I could see a small break in the storms so we put the hammer down and headed out the river.
Hit a couple spots looking for some sheepshead for dinner with no volunteers for the tacos. So I headed off to flat that had been holding some decent schools of reds earlier in the week. The wind had picked up pretty good so I figured it would be pretty challenging to say the least. No sooner than the trolling motor got wet we where hooked up on a pig[...]
Finally after months of dealing with house buying, house selling, moving, & the holidays, I was able to get back on the water. The weather Sunday was absolutely perfect. Sunshine, blue skies, 1 foot in the morning, slick in the afternoon…It doesn’t get any better than that! We ran out and secured a dinner of beeliners and seabass then I let the kids spend the afternoon catching AJs one after the other. Two worn out kids, lots of smiles, and a great memory for her friend who caught the biggest fish of his life. As much as I love fishing with my buddies, this is the kind of day I really live for.
Has been a while since my last post but man the fishing has been great this year. Yesterday me and a client headed out about lunch time for some skinny water inshore action. Sheepshead where every where making it hard to spot reds with the sheepies darting every where. I was on the poling deck maybe 10 minutes when we spotted are first target. One cast landed this nice pompano.
Decided to fish around Lanark as I had got some good reports from fishing buddies of trout and redfish being caught. Had a few numbers in the GPS that had been productive in the past so we headed over to them and did little for over an hour due to low tide except catch pinfish for bait. Around 12:30 Mackenzie’s drag starts screamin’ and she had something big on her pinfish. Fifteen minutes later with a little help she lands this big Redfish between 20-25lbs[...]
We made the call to take our last licks at some gags before the closure on November first. The crew for the day was myself, Dad, Don (Greenbone), and Mike. We pushed away from Shell Island Fish Camp in St. Marks at 7:30 a.m. to a brisk, sunny morning. NOAA was calling for 5-10 knot winds and 1-2 foot seas but when we made it to the flats, well, let’s just say they were wrong. It was white capping as far as you could see with a stiff 15-20 knot northeast wind. We caught a well full of pins and pigs and decided to stick to the flats for a few hours and see if she would lay down enough to get to some close federal holes [...]
Was down at Econfina for the weekend. Fishing was very slow due to lack of moving water and very stained water clarity. We did manage 14 trout, 5 rock bass, and one flounder for the cooler. All fish were caught on gulp shrimp in various colors. The surprise came friday mourning when we fishing around a rock pile in two foot of water. My partner had a gulp on a cork freelined out the back of the boat. Then bam rod gets doubled over and the fight is on!
We went to St. Mark’s at sunrise to take advantage of cooler weather in the area. I caught a 20 inch redfish right away using live shrimp. There were plenty of Spanish mackerel that kept crashing into a bait fish school, so I knew I would get some of them. My first was a 20 inches and then I caught an 18 inch snapper and kept both. I was losing a lot of bait to a school of small sea bass, but then a mangrove snapper of keeper size showed up and I was able to add him to my haul [...]
Went out with Clay Oaks, it was a bit rough but we caught fish: 6 AJs, 5 gag grouper, 3 red grouper, and various assorted smaller snappers. Brought up a whole lot of red snapper, that was frustrating. We were in 92 to 96 feet of water.
With snapper season coming to an end in the near future Line Dancer wanted to make two final trips offshore. The first was going to be a test run with the World Cat with just LD, myself, and his father-in-law on 7/12 with us swapping out the father-in-law for his wife and sister-in-law on Friday (the 13th – more to come on that) [...]
Hit the fish again today with my little brother. Never had a fast bite today like we did yesterday morning, but we caught fish pretty steady all day. Again back at the ramp by 1:30. Limit of red snapper and gags, 3 red grouper, 4 mangrove snapper, and some assorted sea bass and beeliners [...]
Celestial Crab Anniversary/birthday trip was successful! Happy Eight years to my rib Celeste!! We had a great diner at my friend Danny’s restaurant Tamara’s in Apalachicola. This our unexpected second June trip this snapper season, things somehow worked out that The Celestial one and my beautiful daughter could join us, the stars aligned, the moon was waxing and the crew restless. Seas were not as predicted, but then when are they, my plans were to fish with some familiar faces, but a son of one and daughter of mine threw us a curve ball, we did best to make contact and keep things in play, but with extra fielders it ended up being a 2 boat trip on Saturday [...]
My wife and I went out early to the jetty in front of the St. Mark’s lighthouse and had a great day. Using live shrimp I caught a 17.5 inch redfish, and followed it with another at 17.75 inch and released both of course. My wife caught a huge Spanish mackerel that gave her quite a fight. I managed to pull in a flounder and then she topped off the day with a surprise pompano [...]
I planned on fishing with my wife’s uncle on Friday, but that got called off due to the weather. Omegafoo was planning to fish on my boat with us on Saturday. with the forecast still more than my back could bear we changed gears and decide to try some of the close in stuff. We got ready and headed out early Saturday morning and the seas sure made me glad we were not going to try and run 40 plus miles [...]
Seeing that it was the opening weekend of red snapper season and we had a narrow weather window on Sunday, myself and the crew decided to give it a go. My best friend who I used to fish with all the time until he moved to Delaware to take a job was in town for the week and chomping at the bit. We left Tallahassee at 6 am and were in St. Marks putting the boat on the trailer at the marina by 715. Once on the trailer we headed west to Lanark [...]
Here are a few pics from some recent trips to Taylor County. Most of these fish were caught out of Fenholloway but long runs between points, bars & creeks. Mostly my tournament partner but a couple of me as well [...]
I’ve been fishing quite a bit since it warmed up, but wasn’t too much thinking about cobia until 2 weeks ago. We were working the bars at the mouth of St. Marks and having luck here and there on redfish, trout and flounder that were unlucky enough to smell the fish blood stains on my skiff (it’s like collateral chumming), but never really keyed in on the fish in my opinion. We got some trout and had some fun over the numerous trips in March and April, and Bruddy fell in the water. The trout are around the bars and nearshore, pinfish are on the flats in 4 to 8 feet. In about 20 feet, things were pretty quiet most trips except for the hoards of millions of bait that seemed ever-present and hungry [...]
My dad and uncle and some friends camped down at the Econfina State Park to make some memories. Uncle Butch and I met down there a little after lunch and set up camp. After setting up tent and screen room we decided to go out…wind was calm and we were met by bites on every cast soon to find out the bottom is littered with baby rock bass. Ended up catching one keeper trout. My buddy and his kids were out there and had been since 10 am they had four when we went to fish shoreline in hopes of reds with no luck. We decided to head in at 6 pm to meet with dad. Only to learn dismayed that my buddy stayed where we drifting and put 9 more keeper trout in the boat.
Put in around 9:00 AM – tide dead low — ran North and fished in 3 to 4 foot of water that had a lot of bait pods. First fish was a good size mack, but as i didn’t have my net ready he ended turning at the side of the boat and cut me off and swam away with a brand new $12.00 lure .. Fishing was red hot, lots of ladyfish, lower slot trout, couple of bluefish, kept one 22 inch trout. Moved inside to fish the river mouths as the tide was on the increase. Caught eight reds, one 24 and one 22 inch which i kept.
I love the spring every time you go on the water you never know what your going to find. We have been fishing grass flats from 2′ to 5′. Speckled trout have been busting top water plugs and jerk shads. There are a few spanish showing up and a lot of bait on the flats. Live shrimp on the reds and flounder has been the ticket the weather and the fishing has been outstanding [...]
First off, hi everybody, I’m new to the forum. Enough about me me lets talk fishing. The weather the last couple of weeks has made it a little challenging. I’ve been catching some nice speckled trout in the creek mouths in the crooked and new river. Top-water plugs are my favorite mirror lure or what ever you got as long as it looks like a wounded mullet fishing em’ slow. On the flats we have been fishing for big red drum there’s some big schools out there sight fish in 1 to 2′ fish points, potholes, look for mullet
and rock grass fish DOA shrimp or gulp. Trout and flounder are also being caught on the flats with some blue fish and spanish starting to show up [...]
Hey yall’, I don’t know if you’ve been thinking fishing lately like I have, but this warm weather is really sticking around. Most trips, the warm outer clothes had to stay on most of the day, but we were blessed with a few calm days where conditions allowed for me to turn the skiff loose in the gulf [...]
Pony Keg had to stay behind to work on a school project and was not happy about it. That left me and Big D to thin out the fish population. This is my favorite time of the year to fish for many reasons. No bugs, no sweating, and no crowded ramps to name a few. We did not set any records, but did catch a few good fish and had a great time floating around on the flats. I will be back before the first hard freeze hits [...]
I was invited to hunt a Northern Florida WMA this past weekend and it turned out to be an awesome hunt! Between my buddy and I, we saw 22 deer of which two were shooters. I was able to harvest a nice eight pointer that weighed 122 pounds.
We started our walk and didn’t even round the corner and had a few does in our site, but wanted to move into better range and cover. We crawled up on a big bush with this one in our sites at about 75 yards. Now we are set up perfect wind in our face and all the cover we need, my son has the rifle on the bi-pod and the deer is broad side.
I decided that if he lifted his head again I would draw and try to get a good look for a shot and as if on cue he lifted his head up and away from me and I drew, quickly settled my pin and squeezed the trigger. I heard and saw it thump him and he ran through the brush and heard him crashing through a flag pond where I thought I heard him pile up.
I shot this unique 8 point yesterday. This buck I got a shot on last year but my arrow practically bounced right off of him and he ran off. He showed up again this year and gave me another chance. This time he only went 40 yards.
Passing on our outdoor activities to the next generations is so important to us. Here are a few pics so far of gators from the public water hunts. Just a little over a month left and still have many more to fill.
The key for us was the 2 mojos we had out. The guys to our right didn’t have any and another group of guys 100 yards to our left didn’t either and neither of them shot any. We didn’t take a shot more than 15 yards, all decoying ducks.
We got in the stand about 4:30 pm and soon saw three “scout pigs” come to the edge of the feeder area. The real activity started about 7:30 pm we watched two separate sounders of hogs come to the feeder. One sounder had sixteen hogs and the other had over a dozen. They weren’t big hogs but just the right size for the smoker.
The hogs were right on time and came into the new feeder at 8:18 pm. We watched them feed for about ten minutes and then picked out one that looked like it would make a nice batch of bratwurst. Andy nailed his hog right behind the ear with the .270 and it went down like a rock.
Facing away from us the whole time it never did turn sideways but it did turn its head to look in our direction two times. On the second time Kaitlyn took the shot at the base of the ear with the lil’ 5.56/223 black rifle and the big pig just dropped.
The first one took about 15 minutes to kill, we knew where the bird would be. We heard him when we got to the spot, ended up setting up in a cattle pen and called him in from about 400 yards. The bird came in on a dead run and was killed at 30 yards.
The gobbler gets to the same decoy set as I had and jumps on the jake. No shot yet and I’m thinking what the hell? Then boom, a miss! The boy loads another shell in his pump gun, bird jumps up, but stays and re-attacks, then boom again and he jelly heads him!
The next couple of minutes go by quickly as he is looking for a hen and moving around in the tall grass. He finally stops and gives me a clean shot and I laid him out with the Stevens 20 gauge with Federal Heavyweight #6′s.
It’s been a good season with lot’s of encounters. Youth hunt with my daughter,friend and his son the birds never got closer than 50 yards, but the kids had fun. Also they got the privilege to see four panthers, a big female with three big kitties.
At 7:30, he spots two hens followed by a gobbler 80 to 100 yards out, but he shows no interest in leaving the girls. At 8:25 I hear a gobbler cluck to our right followed by a bird walking off the end of the tram and slipping through the hardwoods. Dad says he can make the shot and flips the bird onto his back, graveyard dead at 44 yards.
My dad said he was able to set up about 70 yards from him on the roost and the bird stayed in the tree till 8:00am. Once he dropped out of the tree like batman it took him about 20 minutes to get within range of my dad.
Frustrated we decided to go to another spot we had luck at in the past and finally we hear a turkey gobble. Yippie that is great. Finally a single gobbler comes in and my buddy gets to take the shot. Success!
We got set up and the first call I did on the box a bird gobbled, we couldn’t believe it! and for the next half hour before legal light we had about five birds on the roost gobbling their heads off. Then for two hours straight I had them gobbling all around us, not five minutes went by that four or five didn’t gobble.
Two weekends ago, I and five other adult Boy Scout leaders (from Geezer Patrol) got together to share a little bonding time at the Broomsage Quail Plantation in Callahan. Here’s our trip as seen through the eyes of a lens.
We went out yesterday late afternoon and had some good daylight success. My lease is located in central Florida. They were on a feeder when we pulled up to fill it and the picture kind of says the rest.
Last weekend for my son Casey’s 17th birthday I took him and his good friend Harrison out for a quail hunt at Broomsage Quail Plantation in Callahan FL. Casey graciously allowed his sister to come too. Having hunted quail, partridge, woodcock and pheasants with my Brittany as a child I wanted to pass on the joy of watching bird dogs work.
There was no way we were gonna get back to the ramp if we hit open water to make it to a favorite spot. So we stayed close and stayed in the interior. Ended up with quite a few ducks in the dekes. There was teal, coots, tons of scaup (bluebills), had a pintail work us plus a shoveler and a pair of big ducks I didn’t identify.
We put out about 50 decoys and got into the blind and within minutes we had a beautiful drake redhead lit up in the setting sun drop in with his landing gear down right in front of me. Instant success!
The weather didn’t look good Friday morning but it looked like there might be a break for a few hours Friday afternoon so my friend Chip and I decided to go hog hunting, i’m glad we did. Chip saw three doe under his tree stand about 4:30pm and about thirty minutes later four hogs showed up at the feeder in front of the box blind where I was sitting.
Got it done Sunday night with the Mathews! Just got onto a new area in town. People called me in cause they’re getting over run. Anyways, set a feeder last Thursday, hogs showed up instantly. This guy showed up at last light and I sent the Rage Hypodermic right through both lungs, and went 40 yards with decent blood.
Forum member Blue Thunder got into some ducks this weekend. With the fronts pushing through, he believes this has more ducks moving south. He was able to put his nephew on a limit this past Saturday. Nice work!
I spent the evening reading until 5:30 and I lost too much light. At 6 I looked down the pine row and there was movement. I picked up the binos and when he picked his head up all I could see was the beams outside the ears swinging every time he turned his head. I took my time and took the shot to drop him in his tracks.
I spent last weekend at camp with my wife and nephew, it was his first time ever camping. The weekend concluded with this nine point on the ground. I’d been hunting him specifically since bow season, I could never get his pattern but saw him on camera regularly enough to get lucky.
The whole area is mixed palms and inkberry or gallberry. I thought maybe a pig was feeding out of sight. Then a long stretch of no noise, so I pulled out the grunt tube and did a few. A short time later I saw his face looking my way a good 50 yards away by the sweetgums. Had I not been studying the area so thoroughly I would have missed his face in the shrubs.
Five minutes later I get home and before I pulled in the drive the front door was opening. She was ready to look for her deer. We go to the plot and she shows me where he exited the plot. We take up the blood trail that she showed me and 45 yards later we found her deer.
I killed this buck on my lease in Hillsborough County yesterday. He was chasing a doe throughout the swamp I was hunting. A few grunt calls got his attention for a second and I dropped him with my 20 gauge slug gun.
While I’m scanning all the open areas 100 to 200 yards out I catch movement. The buck is at 40 yards and I have no clue where he came from. I instantly noticed he is a shooter and focus on the shot. He is quartering too me so I take to shot right through the front shoulder. buck runs off 40 yards and piles up.
I said a little prayer that he might be rewarded with a deer sighting for being so patient. About 2 minutes later, I looked to our left and saw a deer headed our way. Turned out to be a little (165 pound) six point buck. I whispered for him to sit very still and he whispered back,”are you going to shoot it?” I whispered, “do you want me to?” He said yes and I made thunder again.
My buddy could not make with me on Sunday so I went solo. With the wind blowing perfect, and conditions to be perfect I went for it. I set up on the edge of the swamp in my climber, as soon as the sun came up the monster stood up at 100 yards!
As we hit the first side trail we heard what sounded like something falling out of a tree? We stopped and listened to see which direction it came from. After a minute or so we saw some movement roughly 30 yards off the trails into the brush and it was headed our way!
My two boys, who are 3 and 4 were extremely upset because I couldn’t take them and I promised them i would take them before the season was over. Well, my 3 yr old didn’t let me forget about that promise. He told me that’s all he wanted for his birthday was to go alligator hunting. Since I work 3 Saturdays a month this past weekend was going to be our best opportunity.
We spent all of the next two days searching high and low for Danny’s bull. We rode 40 to 50 miles each day on the four wheelers all over the mountain to no avail. Finally,on the last morning, at first light, the stars aligned and Danny had a bull moose dead in his sights at 115 yards. He took it down with one shot from his .308.
He went down and right next to where he went down a big gator popped up. I wasn’t gonna miss twice in a row and snagged him. Two hours later we got him to the boat. He wouldn’t give up and managed to bend my spear when the tape wouldn’t break.
About 150 yards out I see movement and it is a buck jumping through the grass straight at me. The deer eventually gets to 30 yards and I make a perfect shot on him. He makes it about 150 yards and piles up, perfectly symmetrical 10 point.
With one night left before I had to return to work and my dad had to fly home we decided to call in pro and went with a guide. We called up Alligator Inc. and they had Phil and his wife Tammy available to take us out. Phil did a great job and we ended putting a pair of nice size gators on the boat filling our tags before dark.
Took my son out to fill his tags. Rain made it tough to hunt daylight last night, so we left the water and went back this morning. Two done by 8:30. Much easier to sort through them in the daylight. 10′ 5″ and 8′ 3″.
Put the boat up on plane and made a run at him. Visually marked him with a wind shear line on the water and he went down with 150 yards to go. Shut the boat down as we got close and with a few casts from the crew we had him on the 12/0. Worked him for a little while and got another rod on him. My dad who is 72 shot him with our double trouble dart mounted to the spear gun.
The treble quickly sank and was stuck in the mud so I passed off the rod and grabbed another. After three more failed attempts with the second rod, the passed off rod started peeling off drag and our 5’2″ 90 pound permit holder was fighting a 10’9″ 270 pound dinosaur.
After a bit it stands and turns to sniff Kaitlyn’s bolt in the ground and gives me a broadside shot. The shot looks good and about ten seconds later and real close, it gives a death moan, followed by 2 others.
Off at a distance we spot three real trophy boars, but they give us absolutely no chance at a shot; they are on the run. Looks like they did not get that big by mistake, they have us patterned. Finally one monster stops and looks back, big, really big, mistake. The Marlin 45-70 put him down.
He was able to get them to about 50 yards when the first one started strutting towards his decoys. Shortly after he had all 6 birds walking pretty towards him. The largest of the group started walking up and he nailed him at 30 yards.
I closed the distance to about 50 yards and the ol Tom had enough, his head turned blue and his posture changed. He puffed up and started walking towards me. I knew it was about to go down! This bird got to about 20 yards and charged me and Butch at full speed ahead. He got to about 2 feet before he realized something wasn’t right and turned away and I let him have it at literally 5 feet!
I quickly learned that turkey hunting and duck hunting are a completely different ball game and like most people I struck out my first season. After this duck season my friends and I decided that this season we would put the time in and get our birds.
We only had Saturday morning to get it done as I had church and Easter plans with the in laws. Well, it didn’t take long to get on a couple of gobbling birds and we had one down by 7:30. I can’t even explain the feeling of sharing this moment with my grandfather.
I was able to help my buddy get his first Florida gobbler this morning. The bird worked in all the way to 70 yards away and then ducked into some planted pines. I told my buddy that the bird was probably going to come out to our left and pop out right in front of us. That’s exactly what he did, but he hugged the line of palmettos the blind was in all the way to the blind’s window.
When they got parallel to us, I ranged them at 65 yards. Every step after that, they were going to get further away. I called again, and they answered, but kept walking. Too far for my son to shoot! Some would argue that maybe too far for me as well! I leaned across my son, rested my elbow on his thigh, told him to cover his ears, and let the Mossberg 835 with 3.5” Longbeard XRs sing.
Set up on a bird that was across a creek. Didn’t figure I could do anything with him and I was right. He flew down the other way. Next think I know 2 birds gobbling behind me. Get turned around and after 4 more gobbles here they are. My hevi-shot connected and my buddy that was with me missed.
No hen talk, but I did hear one gobble so I knew he was there. The hens started flying down with 12 finally settled in out in front of my blind. I yelp and he gobbles, so I just knew he was headed my way. I hear the drumming and he’s there, but guess what? He heading out to the hens in the field until he sees “Pretty Boy”. He changes direction and he on his way to the decoy where he runs into a load of number 5′s.
At 8am my friend had 8 hens walk by through the ferns on the edge on the cypress. All they could see, were just necks and heads sticking up past the ferns. At 8:10 here comes a second set in the same direction with 7 birds. Except this time, the last bird has some red on his head.
With a gobble at about 40 yards my son turns around and says nature’s calling and he can’t hold it. When he turned back around the gobbler was 20 yards lined up perfect but caught the movement and took off. Realizing it was probably game over we answered nature’s call and set back up on the same spot. No more than a minute later this jake pitched down right where the previous bird spotted us and saved the day.
My son took his first Alligator in the a YHPF Youth Hunt Saturday at Dupuis WMA. He lost two 8 footers and then harvested this 6’5″ gator. Those South Florida canals have some bad rock ledges. All 3 kids took gators and the kids did all of the casting and rod work and hit them with the bang stick.
We slipped into the stand and she was enjoying the woods. Little cool and windy but just after six 3 pigs came down the swamp edge and she dropped one in its tracks. It was her first time that she shot at an animal and I think she is hooked.
We hunted till 11:45, and finished up with 14 birds for 3 hunters. A nice mixed bag with teal, shovelers, ring necks, scaup, and yes, a drake red head for my buddy. The drake was the last bird killed so it was a heck of a way to finish up the day.
forum member down4dacount shared some photos of some this seasons hunts. Nice!
After being in the stand just about an hour I stand up to stretch real slow and I look behind be and in about a 3 foot gap in to palms I see this buck standing there eating. I didn’t have much time to shoot but I knew he was a shooter so I pulled up the 30-30 and let it do the work.
After being in the stand just about an hour I stand up to stretch real slow and I look behind be and in about a 3 foot gap in to palms I see this buck standing there eating. I didn’t have much time to shoot but I knew he was a shooter so I pulled up the 30-30 and let it do the work.
Had made a quick trip to PA and came back with the Flintlock still loaded. Decided to take it out today and see what I could drum up. This guy came slipping by and stopped just perfect. Pulled the hammer back and squeezed it off. When the smoke cleared he had just dropped in his tracks.
I saw one shooter on a lease in 2012. Biggest buck I saw was a small spike on public land during the 2013 season. Saw 11 different bucks hunting with a friend at his place in central ga this year, but nothing that met my age requirements. Finally, the day after Christmas one presents me with a shot!
I get off the phone with her and I’m texting my hunting partner to tell him, i thought to myself “I need to nock an arrow incase a big one is following her”, not 2 minutes later I see this buck coming down the same trail she was on and he’s at 30 yards. Luckily I just happened to still be in shooting position, I let him get to the 20 yard mark I pre-ranged, stopped him with a mouth grunt and let it fly…whack!
I started to feel discouraged since I didn’t get a shot off but I kept heading in and next thing I know I was 15 yards from a little boar. Needless to say I pulled the trigger on my old .410 and he instantly dropped.
Suddenly a very respectable gray boar stops an looks back to check on us. He is so far away. Is a humane shot possible at that distance? Our especially equipped cart provides a very stable platform from which to shoot. Let’s try it; Brian agrees! I hold my breath and put the cross hairs just under the monster’s ear. Ever so slowly I gently touch the trigger. Bam! To my amazement the large boar falls.
He’s standing behind some grapevines so I still cant see the headgear real well, but at this point I don’t care. I have a clear shot at his chest and it’s a legal buck on my last hunt. Bad day to be him. I take aim at his chest, take my time and BOOM goes the slug gun.
Five minutes later the one that walked past me appeared right in front of me and I turned the green light on, covering the beam to diminish the light beam, I estimated it was at 20 yards and brought the crossbow up holding the green light under the crossbow. As the illuminated red reticle sight got right behind the hog’s shoulder I opened my hand to make the beam stronger and let er rip.
He appeared to have a little better head gear so I told her to hit her grunt call and estrus bleat to see if he will come in…what do ya know? He starts making a beeline for us! He presented me with a perfect 22 yard broadside shot and the rest is history!
one girl had deer hunted with her father for 3 years but had yet to get a deer and also Aliyah, who had never hunted before but was so proud of taking her first deer. Of the eleven youth hunters that participated, nine of them got a deer!
Tori’s boyfriend, Dean took out one the cull bucks we have on the “to be disposed of” wall and Toni shot, what she thought was a doe at about 200 yards. It ended up being a button buck, but that happens to the best of us.
The smoke cleared the opposite way he ran so I saw most of the exit and heard a great big crash. Upon retrieval I found him to be a nice 7 point, 132 pounds, check station estimated him at 3.5 years old.
The big buck left a good blood trail and was pretty easy to find even in water but he only went about 15 yards. The two smaller bucks left no blood at all in the first few yards. The first of the smaller ones was also in a swamp and completely covered himself with mud.
He finally stopped 200 yards away and I was able to get a shot and put him down. I thought he was just a nice 8 but when I walked up I realized he was a 13 pointer. Needless to say, it made up for my unsuccessful bow hunt.
This buck had been cruising roughly 700 acres based on trail pics so it was anyone’s guess where he would show up. He came in checking for does at last light. Haven’t put a tape on him yet but looks like he may break 100 inches.
Around 6:15 I hear what sounds like a deer creeping through the water and can barely make out feet in the distance before he makes a turn and starts angling toward me. Stopped him at about 28 yards quartering to me. Passed right through and he piled up 30 yards away.
With the woods being wet from rain overnight this deer snuck up on me, looked over and he was 15 yards away. when he got behind a tree I stood up pulled back and shot him. I hit him perfect but arrow didn’t come out other shoulder.
I dropped her off and turned the tractor around headed back to the clubhouse. Before I made it back, she called and said to turn around. She had shot a doe. She said they came out into the plot just as the tractor pulled away. This time one made the mistake of getting within range.
Took this 9 pt Wednesday morning at 7:20am following a doe. No official weight, estimated at 135 to 140 pounds. 47 yard shot with a 100 grain RamCat. This buck didn’t have much width but he had some nice mass and interesting character to the rack.
I see the path hes going and set up a shot as he walks into my shooting lane. 20 yards out I release my arrow with a toxic broadhead and I hear that sound for the first time “thwack”! He’s hit! I watch him
run and crash and continue running.
Danny dropped his first doe on Saturday at 130 yds and his second on Sunday at around 120 yds. They both dropped in their tracks. We had a great time hanging out, exploring and enjoying our pup Gunner. He got his first taste of deer blood. Watching Danny hunt is so much more rewarding than squeezing the trigger myself.
At about 8 I caught this guy trying to slip through one of my shooting lanes at 35 yards, so I gave him a grunt to stop him and I sent a slick trick on its way, the shot was farther back than I hoped for. After a sparse blood trail of 50 yards I backed out and called a buddy with best tracking dog (Rascal) that I have ever seen. It only took Rascal 10 minutes to retrieve my kill.
After a soggy sit Saturday, I was happy to see clear skies Sunday. Had deer out all day in the fields Saturday, Sunday morning I had a buck walk by my stand before shooting light. About 8am I saw this buck out in the field and grunted him in to 30 yards. Close enough. Thwack. Smoked em.
We got quite a surprise when arrived at our tree that morning as turkey’s were roosted in our tree despite not having any pictures of them in the preceding weeks they scared the crap out of us when they flushed. But we were able to get set up and ready with plenty of time to wait for daylight.
Well my girl and I decided to try hunting a romp n stomp WMA I’ve never hunted before this year. After a lot of scouting and a rough opening day, she was able to score her first ever archery buck. It’s not her largest buck she’s ever killed, but I’d say it’s probably her biggest hunting accomplishment to date! A nice little 4 point to start the season off right!
Within 20 minutes he had snapped my rod in two places. I grabbed my baitcaster, set another hook in him and he proceeded to blow out the anti reverse and release the treble. At this point he was sitting on the bottom and not moving so I was able to cut the braid on the broken rod and transfer the line to the 6500 with no anti reverse.
Unlike my gator hunting where I’ve baited gators using “well-fermented” (rancid) sheep lungs we would be using rod and reels and snatch hooks adorned with a small cyalume chemlight so you can see where you’re casting. Gear would be strong spinning reels with stout rods, 60 pound braid, two feet of 80 pound leader on which the cyalume is attached and a weighted treble hook.
Well this year I was not fortunate enough to be drawn for a gator tag but luckily I have a couple of friends that drew a few Tags. We filled 2 of the 4 tags we had for the first phase this weekend and with a little luck hopefully we will fill the other 2 this week!
Opening morning found me sitting in a small food plot down from the ridge. No gobbling! No sounds any where. Really an unusual morning. Decided to just sit back, make a yelp here and there. Just enjoy the morning. Right at seven o’clock I hear that familiar sound that you just love to hear. A drumming gobbler!! He’s behind me and working his way right by me headed to my brand new Avain decoy. He didn’t make it.
After sunset I heard a deer snorting in the distance and about 30 minutes later I heard a pig “woof”. Ten minutes and a few hog grunts later, a single black hog works through the palmettoes. Turning on the green hog light I see her moving through the palmettoes and with a clear shot she drops. It’s more pork chops to play with!
We sat for almost 3 hours in light rain when four piggies came out of the palmettos. By then we couldn’t really see them well enough for a good shot so Casey turned on the hog light. The green light didn’t even phase them. While Casey was turning on the lighted red reticle on the red dot I asked him not to shoot the largest one, as I was pretty certain it was a boar hog. One shot and the second largest hog dropped and the three others tore out of there.
A week later after two more unsuccessful hunts in this area I had an exciting day. Spooked two gobblers off the roost walking in, and sat down immediately. Heard hens fly down minutes later and talked with them for an hour. Cackling back and forth, yelping, cutting…it was pretty awesome and lent me some confidence in my calling. But I never saw a bird.
Five minutes later Linda let the air out of the gobble bag and sent the ole boy into a final dirt nap. Some how its not just about a dead bird, its spending time with good friends and people you love chasing birds in fields and woods all over this beautiful country!
It is an area where because of neighboring fences, you are forced to walk very close to roosted birds. Fortunately it was dark, especially with tree cover, very dark. We walked in again trying to simulate a cow under the birds. As we set up the decoys we could hear some very quiet clucks and tree yelps so we knew turkeys were nearby. Once we were seated , it didn’t take long to hear gobbling in response to coyotes yipping.
I kill deer and pigs, regularly but though I have been Turkey hunting each spring for at least a couple of hunts, I had never been close enough to a Gobbler to bag one. Last year I even went with a professional guide at the invitation of a Turkey Hunting Client. Of course I have seen birds, especially out of season, and had birds respond to calls, but never in range.
It’s at this point where it gets blurry because I had him in range but needed his head up and over the palmettos as he started to walk straight away. Finally he stops with his head up but it’s behind a dead palm frond, oh well, BOOM! He rolled, I ran up a few steps and, having already resolved myself to the action, shot him again.
For thirty minutes we were calling back and forth and they would respond right away. Finally one of the birds began closing the distance and got within 20 yards and stopped to see what we were. Eric shot the first bird and rolled him right there and right away the next one came running at the dead bird and jumped on it like you see on tv. Quickly I shot the second one and down he went.
Walking up to it I couldn’t believe how large it was. It had to be between 275 and 300 pounds. With my time running out I put a rope on it and tried moving it. It barely budged and there was no way in heck I was getting it back to the truck.
By now it’s getting light and they stayed bedded down for about 30 minutes until a shot off in the distance startled them and they stood up. The largest one walked away with the second following it and I thought I had blown it but the smaller one worked its way out of the palmettoes. This time I didn’t wait and took the shot as soon as it presented a chance. At the shot it dropped.
I was then invited to hunt with my buddy and his dad and brother on a management area I’ve never been to. They gave me one rule. If it’s legal, shoot it. So when two sows busted out of the palmettos in front of us, I greeted them with 3 volleys of 00 buck.
Woke up at 4 am this morning and it was pouring down rain. Really wanted to roll back over, but I showered up and figured I’d sit in truck until it eased a little bit. With a little light in the sky the rain eased, so I a silently made my way over wet leaves to a lane that essentially parallels my food plot; the two actually almost come together where I was sitting and then diverge at about a 30 degree angle.
Forum member rrbgtt used the recent downpour to his advantage, Limiting out on these awesome birds. Despite the lack of meat due to small size, the snipe makes up for it in taste! Not to forget how much fun targeting these guys are.
I get about 50 yards from the stand and hear a faint splash behind me. As I turn around dead in the middle of the trail there are four pigs following me looking dead at me and continuing to walk straight at me just loafing along at about 80 yards. So I got down on a knee picked out the biggest Sow and laid the hammer down. She went 190 pounds on the scale.
Getting nearly dark and on the verge of being too dark for camera light. She squeezed the trigger and a solid hit. In the camera I watched it go down about 30 yards into the thick brush. I didn’t say anything and watched her squirm in her seat still wondering if she hit it or not. I played the I don’t know if you did I couldn’t tell in the camera. Made her wait patiently for a half hour and we got down.
We spotted some bucks cruising but had no shot. Ended up getting down and making a beeline towards them. Cut the distance down to 150-200 yards and picked out what I thought was the biggest. I was wrong, but it was still a doozy. Put the crosshairs on him and let my super six bark.
The last picture I had of him was from the first week in October. Having not seen him in almost two months I had assumed he had been killed. This being said I was surprised to see him trotting across a hay field at about 180 yards last Friday shortly after first light. After my third grunt he finally stopped and the Hornady .270 Super Performance did the rest.
I grunted twice and he started coming. He got inside 200 yards and I pulled the trigger. Oops. I forgot to take the safety off. I tried to calm myself and lined up for a shot again. He stopped broad side 180 yards out and I shot. I could see that I hit him.
My boots sunk deep into the ancient peat soil. For a moment, there came a sudden realization of the perceived futility of what it was that I was attempting to do. I began tugging on my legs to break the grip of the swamp. The only branch within arms reach was lifeless, suspended in the air only by the strength of some small vines. A few small vines which my right arm, seemingly by its own volition, had become entangled with. So there I am with a heavy slug gun in my left hand, a right arm elbow deep into a knot of vines and both feet held snug in the muck.
Friday afternoon started slowly in the blind, until a couple of coons showed up to entertain him till the feeder went off. The dinner bell rang and we had only one guest show up. This bad boy turned broadside at 30 yards. and my son aimed his shooter and proclaimed he was ready. As a precaution I drew down on him with my .308 to make certain of a clean, humane kill. It turned out my rifle would not be needed. My boy dropped the hammer and I watched in awe as the pig stumbled spraying blood for about 25 yds. till he fell dead.
He slowly turned to leave and gave me the front quarter shot and I took it. He made it about 5 yards and was down dead. Perfect heart shot. There was absolutely no blood so he would have been real hard to track. When my buddy came over he said “There’s no hole. He’s not dead”. Funny thing is the day before We sat for 13 hours straight and didn’t see squat.
We backed out with our climbers and tried a different approach to the same area. First sit after the adjustment yesterday evening and this bad boy popped out. Filled our tag nicely. Took this picture of him with his buck right where we found him. 113 2/8 10 point. His first good buck and our first public land registry buck hunting together.
Finally after passing numerous 2 and a half and a couple nice 3 and a half year olds I watched this guy follow a doe on to a food plot . Never been seen before and never on any of our cams. And I never had to think about shooting him.
Well, I managed to weed one of the dumb ones out of the shallow end of the gene pool. Not much to the story, early Saturday morning he came in through the swamp eating submerged acorns. The .50 caliber did it’s job.
My son took this piebald 5 point this morning during a youth hunt. Could not believe what I was seeing when he shot it. I have only ever seen 1 piebald deer and that was at the Joe Budd check station. Really cool deer. We are having the whole hide tanned.
So after sitting for about an hour at 7:30 I see a big bodied deer crossing a shooting lane at 50 yards. Antlers! I was just a little too high to have a perfectly clear shot so I made an awful noise that was supposed to sound like a grunt and stopped him in his tracks. I had a shot at the rear part of his vitals so I took it quickly and in a weird position. When the smoke cleared I saw no deer.
Sunday morning I almost slept in, but finally got motivated to go. Really nice morning but no activity for a while. At 7:45 a.m. I look to my right and spot a deer at 30 yards that had just came out from behind a bush. He ate for a few minutes and finally gave me a 27 yd shot.The hit was a hair back but it still got his lungs. The deer took off around a corner and out of sight. I decide to trail immediately because of approaching rain. I Got on a decent blood trail and made it 150 yards then the rain started to hit hard. I lost all the blood in the middle of a ankle high grass field. I decided to walk in a grid to search the field. I finally found him after a 45 minute search and walking right by him 2 times. So happy I found him.
Made a trip to the lake this morning with the wife, daughter and her boy friend ( His first time on a gator hunt. ). Caught this guy ( 11′ 8″ ). Kind of odd in that we heard them bellowing just like in the spring and then this guys swims out all bowed up a few hundred yards away.
Got lucky in that he was in some thick stuff when he went down. He settled instead of swimming off as they usually do. Gently set a big hook in him and slowly raised him to the surface, rod in one hand and harpoon in the other. Soon as he came into sight hurled the harpoon and from there it got wild as he was green. Pulled the boat all over for a while before we could get another harpoon in him.
Where we got lucky was in that if he had bolted when the hook was the only thing in him we’d of lost him.
Well after watching this buck all summer and following his every move around the ranch I finally caught up to him. A long story short the hunt Saturday night in the pouring rain, on the ground because my wife wanted to go, and a panther at 10 yds was my most memorable hunt ever. With the lightening cracking all around us I never thought we would have much action. Well at about 7:30 the rain let up and this guy decided to show up…very cautiously. He came in at 110 & 3/8 pounds.
Well deer season officially kicked off for us this morning here in FL. It started off a little rocky but ended with sweet success. My Alarm went off at 4 o’clock this morning. I was out of the house by 4:30 and out to my hunting spot by 5:15. I got to the tree I was going to climb and put my climber up against it and realized something wasn’t right with my new hazamore seat. I fiddled around with it for about 15 minutes and couldn’t get it figured out and decided it was time to climb the tree and that I would just have to stand for the morning. I was all ready and set up when the sun came up, except I had no where to sit. Right at daylight I catch movement… it’s 2 does. They were at 25 yards and stopped. They knew something was up and kind of wandered off in the other direction.
Last day of the hunt decided to leave them alone and hunt another bird we thought would cooperate. Well that didn’t pan out either. Right at daylight he gobbled and gobbled his head off but quickly flew down to a group of hens. Around 7:45am we decided to move over to the pasture again where we knew those birds were working through. Thought what the heck.. last day of hunt dont have anything to lose. Get setup around 8 in this cow pen on the edge of the field and put out the Dave Smith gobbler with a hen decoy. Waited about 20 minutes and made a few light calls. All of sudden we see hens working to the right of us. They don’t seem interested at all in calls or decoys, but all of sudden things changed. A gobbler was tailing the hens and once he saw the decoys it was full strut mode. He ran to the gobbler decoy and preceded to beat the living crap out of it. Man i wish i had the camera with me because for the next few minutes (which felt like eternity) he put on quite the show. He jumped on top of the decoy, ripped the tail off.. spitting, drumming, mad as hell trying to kill the decoy. Waited until he broke strut and got a few feet away from the decoy and let the lead fly. What a hunt. What a decoy. What a way to end the season.
Well, after guiding for my boy and a friends wife and (3 for 3), It’s my turn now. Got setup at dark in a spot I usually see turkeys work the area. I started moving further in , called a couple of times in one spot. Nothing. Moved a 100 yards away a made a few hard cuts and a few yelps. Bam! A hen fired off 60 yards away. I quickly scrambled to find where to sit. Got settled and 2 minutes later she showed up. Yelping,purring,cuttin’, and looking for me. She passed 12 yards by me and went in the woods still calling non stop[...]
Saturday and Sunday Chief Osceola and I got worked over pretty good by this one bird we called “long gobble” He had the longest gobble we have ever heard. Anyway he was a smart one. Saturday morning we set out the decoy and he gobbled at least 40 times off the roost and flew down and was on a beeline to our decoy. We both thought well, this is gonna be easy. That was until he stopped at about 65 yards and stayed that distance for about an hour til his hens came and then they dragged him to the other side of the field.
[...]Well after 15 minutes of watching I catch something out of the corner of my eye and its a gobbler only 30 yards away walking towards them! I wait for Joe to get the camera on him and Joe clucks to get his head up and boom..I missed! he started running and I popped him on the run… My bird is there flopping and i hear Joe say “dont go get him yet and hand me the gun” the other bird “long gobble” sprinted from 200 yards across the field to spur my bird.Once he got a lick in Joe nailed him.
Made camp too late to Turkey hunt Saturday afternoon so I set out to roost a bird while walking with my rifle for a hog. Had a nice Boar pop up and used my new VXR red dot scope on my old Browning 30-06 A-Bolt to drop him. Great scope for low light hog hunting as I always had problems with low light and a black cross hair on a black hog. Got a couple pics then had to clean him on the ground as best I could in the Jeeps headlights as I could not lift him alone. About half way through cleaning had Yotes all around me howling. Kinda cool but also makes the hair on the back of your neck rase. Sunday am heard gobbling way off and made some calls but then had two barking dogs running all over! That killed that hunt. Sunday afternoon set up on a dry slew and had a hen and her boyfriend come in. I let him do his dance with her then I cut in. Boom, nice bird. Great weekend of hunting.
We got to our spot and went in with 45 minutes left of daylight. On the way I heard a gobble bout 200 yards out, then 3 more. I knew where he was going so we circled him. We got 150 yards from where I thought he would be and yep ,there he was. Big longbeard hanging down . It was a long night that’s all can say. We setup on him 80 yards from him. I could see him through the branches. Sunwas coming up and hawks and crows calling. First gobble from him sparked 4 other birds in the area. Christopher was getting excited and shaking. I made some soft purrs and clucks, and that bird gobbled at everything I threw at him. The only thing I overlooked was a old trail in between the pines. I kinda knew he would flydown and maybe go down that trail. He flew down and landed 65 yards from the hen decoy. Then right from above us, 2 other birds flew behind us[...]
I want to give thanks to all the guys in UWF for doing 2013 Jack Bylsma III Youth Hunt at STA 1 and everyone who helped and donated . Every kid won something in the raffle and the food was awesome. Thanks to both Bill’s for cooking , Big Thanks to Milan , Ryan , Newton and everybody else who made this event possible . This is Christopher’s 3rd Youth Waterfowl Hunt , but this one he was doing all the loading and aiming on his own . Still waterwhacking but doing the job . I told him next season it’s time to shoot flying ducks .
Spent the weekend with some buddies hunting their club on the Bama border near Blackwater and busted this 175 pound 11-point buck chasing a doe across a cut bean field. Shot him trotting at 350 yards. Have yet to score him.
We extended our deer season this year and hunted in Alabama this past weekend. My oldest son Michael killed his first buck. The rut was supposed to be in full swing there, it wasn’t quite on yet, there were definitely signs though. We put in some serious hours in the stand and he was able to kill a 7 point. Both my boys got there first bucks this year.
I wanted to share this with you guys, an east central Florida public land buck! My brother saw this buck as we were walking around but could only see horns over the tail grass. We got within 60 yards, the wind was good and the buck made two steps my way. I had a clear shot! By far my biggest buck! What do you guys think he will score?
Haven’t posted any duck reports from this year so far but we’ve been having a pretty good season. Quite a few limits of ringers/teal, a couple redheads, a few pintails, ruddys, mottled ducks, blue bills, etc.
I shot something this morning I never would have imagined could make it this far south, a pair of black scoters. We were hunting blue bills when I had a group of 20 large divers come in, I peeled out 2, a drake and a hen [...]
The wife and I made the Christmas trip to Tennessee to visit Mom and Dad this year. They usally come down here. It was definatly the right choice. Got there Friday night (21st) and temp was already 25 degrees. While unpacking I realized I forgot extra ammo for the rifle! I only had three rounds for the trip. Woke up Saturday morning to 18* on the top of the mountain the bottom was even colder. Yeah, ummm I think I’ll go back to bed and scout later. So later that day I’m sitting in a old barn in a “holler” where I had seen a huge buck about 5 years ago. Right before dark two little wrens fly in the barn and start taking a dust bath two feet from me. “Pretty cool” [...]
Shot this one today ahead of dogs in Ocala. He was trying to slip across the road when the 30-06 bar caught him. He weighed 114 pounds. Dogs trailed him for over an hour and a half before they jumped him.
My season has been pretty slow until a few weeks ago when things started to take a turn for the better. Up until early Dec I had only seen one good shooter buck, probably a 120-inch 10 point that came into a food plot at 1 p.m. on a full moon on Sept 29th and stayed behind a pile of grapevine and some palmettos until he was 12 yards away. I was drawn on him for a minute but could not find a window to shoot before the wind swirled and he got nervous and trotted off. I was pretty down after that because I usually only get one or two chances a year at a good mature deer with the bow and for the remainder of the first part of our chopped up season I hardly saw a thing. Meanwhile 3 friends came out and each killed an 8 point on their first sits of the year [...]
Unbelievable Hunting Weekend
Florida Sportsman member: Iggy7
First morning out last week and within a minute of being in my stand (and with my gun still on the ground at the end of my pull rope) two deer walk in. I am somehow able to pull the gun up without spooking them and the buck walks into a clearing and stops with just enough of his body showing for me to get a 60 yard broadside shot. Just under 20 minutes later, another buck walks in and gives me a quartering to shot at 25 yards. And with that, I have 2 bucks on the ground less than 30 minutes after getting in my stand. Three days later, I’m sitting with my 16 year old son who has been shutout for 4 hunting seasons straight. We see a couple deer and he finally is able to put his first deer on the ground! [...]
My son and I were invited to hunt some private land outside of Tallahassee. He took a 80 pound doe at 80 yards through both shoulders with his .243 Rem 700 Youth. Actually, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. We saw 8 deer including a buck harassing does. It was a beautiful morning.
If you’ve followed any of my threads, you’ve probably seen pictures of Dawson (my friends 12 year old son). Whenever I go to GA to hunt, I sit in the stand with him so his Dad can sit with his little brother. I hunted with him this past weekend when my daughter, Toni, killed her first buck. Dawson didn’t get to hunt again until this morning. He just called me as excited as he could be. He said, “Mr. Rusty, I got him!”
This was another successful weekend, even if I hadn’t killed anything . I managed to pickup a return on Wednesday. I Called my buddy he couldn’t make so I called another friend . Friday we left and got there 3:00pm . Had several options on where I had seen bucks, so we did a little stalk hunting / scouting. Wind was blowing 15-20 mph which was good for stalking . Walked up to 2 does within 25 yards . Saw very little sign of deer , lot’s of rottin , and none of who made them . On the way out decided to check out several oaks and saw a hog that was easily 250+[...]
My dad and I made it to our place in Georgia for our yearly deer hunting trip. Had a great time. Checked the cameras the night we got there and we did not have any monsters or anything. Had one decent buck that had some pretty good browtines. Everyone around us had pictures of him and I tried thinking of what stand I could catch him at the next morning. I decided that I might be able to catch him a few hundred yards from the water hole as he was going back to bed. I was right [...]
While glassing the edge of the island at 9:30, I caught a little movement and lifted the glasses to see the 3 gobblers feeding about 90 yards away. Just then, out of the corner of my left eye, I saw a streak of brown. I dropped the glasses and saw a doe coming right down the logging trail with a buck on her butt. He was grunting and had his head down to where I could only see he was tall but not count points. I picked an opening in brush about 60 yards in front of me and trained my scope on it, keeping both eyes open to make a quick judgement on the buck. As the doe entered the opening, the buck slowed and I could tell he was legal by club standards. As soon as his chest hit the edge of the scope, I centered and pulled the trigger. He didn’t even twitch. I figured he was an 8 and was pretty tickled to get him.[...]
As you guys know, it has been windy as heck, but I couldn’t resist swaying back and forth for a few hours! Right about 7:30 a.m. this morning after hitting the grunt call a few times, this bad boy slipped in behind me in the nasty cypress swamp I was sitting in. One shot to the neck was all she wrote. The good thing about the wind was that the smoke cleared pretty quick and I could see him hit the dirt! Quick hunt!
Enter your big buck for the Florida Sportsman Forum Big Buck Contest here!
Successful Weekend of Hog Hunting
Florida Sportsman member: FloridaBoy
I knew it was going to be an action packed weekend so I waited until today to post it all in one report, so here it goes. Thursday I went out with a buddy to my favorite WMA to set up my tree stand and check my camera for the last time. I have been getting some good bucks on my camera but it was only taking a few pics of them so I decided to set it to the most sensitive setting. So when we checked the cam there was 2,700 plus pics [...]
Another great weekend, but this one had lots of events from the start. A few miles from the entrance to the WMA, in the middle of my lane were two big hogs, luckily I saw them and swerved and avoided ramming and damaging my truck. We checked in a headed to our spot. The plan was to wait until daylight in an area we were last weekend where I had seen a big buck with a doe right at daylight. We waited for an hour and nothing. Well, since in my usual spot I hunt not much action happened the weekend before, it was time for a new game plan [...]
Well this year I had the fortune of picking a quality Archery Quote Permit in the 2nd Phase of the redraws. We did manage to get out and get a little scouting done and set some trail cameras out. My guest for the hunt was my Grandpa, who turned 83 this year, but still gets around remarkably well for his age. Once the hunt started it was extremely slow compared to our prior outings in this area. But we hung with it and were seeing a few deer here and there [...]
I shot this buck on Saturday morning at 7:40 a.m. on my lease in Fargo, Georgia near the Okeefenokee. I had one those mornings you dream about. I had a nice 8 come in from an overgrown clear cut with dog fennels head high. He caught me in my stand, and after a 5 minute stare down, he finally relaxed and when he went behind a bush, I was able to stand and get my bow. At that point he started to stare down an abandoned road, and here comes a 6, a smaller 8 and this deer [...]
I was lucky to have pulled a gator permit for STA 1 phase 2 and my buddy Jeremy (fishaddict) knew a few honey holes so we (me, jeremy, my dad) headed out saturday and Sunday mornings to try to fill our tags. Got an 8 foot right off the bat Saturday, a good eater, and cleaned him. Had a blast. Wanted to head back out Sunday morning and be “picky”, only going for a 10 foot plus [...]
Last year I shot an 8 point on the last day. Fast forward to ml opener this year. Here is my story:
Finally I used the new hunting season dates to my advantage and was able to kill me a rutting South Florida buck.
Saturday was opening day for our black powder season down south. First morning was beautiful, not a lick of wind. One of them mornings you dream about during the off season. Only problem was you didn’t need a flashlight to get to your stand the dang moon as bright as can be. I sat at my favorite for sure thing stand and didnt see a thing. Was I surprised, NO, been there done that too many times [...]
The plan was to get my older brother his first deer/Buck this opening weekend. He can’t shoot a traditional bow due to his Rotator Cuff tears in his shoulder so he would be using his cross bow which he had yet to take any game with. His son, my nephew, always comes out to the lease with me and helps me so I always give him one of my two allotted Bucks, which he decided to give to his dad this year. So, the mission was on [...]
With a lull in-between seasons, Florida Sportsman member jrb651 thought it would be a fun idea for everyone to share some photos of their deer camps made while the season was in full swing. Check em’ out, you may get some great ideas for when it’s time to set up camp once again this year!
“Hey everyone, I saw a post like this on another forum recently Im not sure if a simliar thread has been started on FS but I had a great time scrolling through the picutures of every one’s hunting camps. It’s kind of a “lull” time of year so its fun to at least see photos of deer camp. Could be old or new, matter of fact the old time camp pics are fun to look at.”
As a “Florida Sportsman” sometimes you need to prolong your season so a trip out of state is required. This was our third year going to Nebraska to chase big Eastern Gobbler’s. My brother, his two sons and I hunted west and south of Lincoln on public WMA’s and private farms. We stayed at my nephews friends little hunting “shack” as you can see and had to rough it [...]
Well, my good string of bad luck continues, as I went birdless for 2012, but I won’t complain too much after getting 6 days of great hunting weather, while chasing turkeys in my favorite part of the country.
Pictured are a few of the birds taken, as well as a 174″ gross buck shot in Iowa last fall, by a friend.
Headed up to my buddies lease for some fun on the last weekend. The plan was to do some calling for 1 of my buddies since I had already limited out. Well the boys stayed up to late, and enjoyed themselves a tad to much. When I got out of bed it was already light, and over cast with rain threatening. My friend who was supposed to go was sawing logs so well I opted out, and took my other buddy. I was not real optimistic. Since I killed my bird on opening weekend at his place the birds had been scare I think mainly do to a dog problem [...]
My first Osceola turkey, a 12 lb, 9in bearded, 3/4&7/8 in. spurred turkey. I have been pursuing the elusive wild turkey for two seasons now, and today it finally work out. I have had many sits with Jay calling and toms responding but just could not bring them into the decoys or gun range. Some of my closer calls were ended by someone else’s gun shot. This season started out promising, I saw lots of birds just could not get them in range. I was hunting a local WMA with 30-40 other hunters and they were just too stirred up. This place has too many roads and drive by callers [...]
One of my all time favorite sports is the challenge of hog hunting. The wild hog, recognized as one of the smartest animals in the woods, is also a gourmet’s delight. No wonder hogs are one of the most sought after animals in the woods. Florida is a tropical paradise. A paradise offering some of the most exciting hunting this great country has to offer. At the top of the list is the big bad Florida wild boar. The Florida wild boar, a cunning, dangerous, adversary, the beast with an attitude, all bad. Who could ask for anything more? [...]
Great shot of a big buck taken in Central Florida. “Finally killed him,” he reported. “I have 15 pictures of him on game camera since bow season. He finally made a mistake. 106 5/8 gross score and 104 3/8. Another Florida Registry buck.”