Florida Sportsman Blog

Golf Course Bass Fishing

Any way you slice it, golf course ponds can be prime sites for hooking largemouths.

Some courses authorize, or even encourage, fishing. Writer Doug Kelly wets a line at Innisbrook, hoping for a bass like the one below.

I learned to enjoy the best of both worlds long ago as a caddy at the Doral Open in Miami. After lugging around the bag for Julius Boros during a practice round, we small-talked a bit until the conversation swung to our mutual fondness for fishing. Boros said he always brought along his tackle for tournament sites where bass and bream filled the water hazards. Accordingly we rendezvoused an hour later near the tenth green at Doral’s Blue Monster course with rods in hand.

By dark we’d released a dozen bass up to three pounds and oodles of chunky bluegills while casting small chuggers and plastic worms. Thereafter we looked forward to hitting the lakes after each round of golf.

Boros wasn’t the only pro wetting a line around the course that week. Most preferred to fish alone, letting the calm, waterside tranquility diffuse the pressures of tournament play. However, at one point Sam Snead sauntered over with his plug rod, telling us one joke after another, keeping us in stitches and somewhat distracted as we competed to see who could catch the most fish (Snead did). It’s a scenario played out similarly nearly every week now on the PGA Tour. While many Florida-based tour veterans such as Ray Floyd, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara, Greg Norman, Andy Bean, Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger consider fishing their favorite avocation, so too do numerous club pros and tens of thousands of amateur golfers such as myself.

Since that memorable experience with Boros, I’ve often doubled the fun by planning golf vacations and even one-day outings on courses that allow bass fishing. Such was the case on a memorable trip last year to Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida. I’d heard the bass fishing in the resort’s extensive lakes was spectacular, and the prospect of teeing it up at the famed Copperhead course and then jousting with lunker bass lit my fire. In fact, I scheduled an entire day of the three-day visit just to fish and the sticks stayed in the trunk.

Of Innisbrook’s five golf courses, the best bassin’ occurs around Lake Innisbrook, which borders the first six holes of the Island course. Other productive sites include the tenth tee of the Island course, the third hole of the North course and the pond by hole 18 of the Island course near the side of the clubhouse where several 10-pounders have been caught. In addition, a parking lot on the side of Lake Innisbrook is adjacent to the first fairway of the Island course. The reed patches hold plenty of bass and bream just 30 or so feet from your car.

Frogs are can't-miss lures, attracting bass along grassy shorelines.

I mainly concentrated on the waterway along the left side of the first hole, particularly a grassy point midway to the green or the cart-path bridge from the green to the second tee. Bric-a-brac surrounds the bridge culvert and a surprising flow of water gushes through it, providing eddies on the down-current side that serve as no-brainer ambush points. I worked a small topwater chugger (my favorite bass lure) along the calm eddy edges and only the rare retrieve didn’t draw a hit or at least little-guy follows.

Rigging for golf course fishing is no different from elsewhere, with everything in play from livies such as worms, crickets and shiners to plastic imitators. I tried a weedless frog across the outer bases of reed stands at Innisbrook and instantly nabbed a 2-pound bass. The setting—as on many golf courses—also looked ideal for flyfishing, with the characteristic open terrain posing no obstacles to back-casts.

As a general rule, early mornings and late afternoons will see more fishing action than midday, plus fewer golf balls will be in the air. Among courses which are open to fishing, you’ll find the policy is usually catch-and-release. That was the case at Innisbrook. Fishermen are advised to exercise proper etiquette—remaining quiet and staying out of the way —as golfers play through.

One nice advantage to these settings: Fish don’t spook easily. They’re accustomed to angry golfers tromping by looking for lost balls or riding carts near the banks. You can approach most bodies of water with all the grace of Godzilla and unless you walk directly upon fish, they stay put. Relatively little angling pressure on golf courses also often relates to better than off-course action.

Doug Schmidt, Director of Business Development at Innisbrook, doesn’t know if the lakes were previously stocked, but he did relate a nuance for which few other courses can boast.

“While there’s a healthy bass population in the lakes, we utilize an environmentally safe water waste system that also allows connecting via a berm to the Gulf of Mexico to adjust water levels. That means we also have saltwater species enter our waters at times. More than once while fishing near the berm I hooked what I thought to be a big bass and instead it turned out to be a huge snook or red.”

Schmidt favors a 4/0 hook in a slow-sinking plastic worm. He also stated that Innisbrook waterways vary in depth down to 30 feet, providing a variety of habitats with an abundance of forage such as tilapia, minnows and bream. This all comes together to frequently produce outlandish rushes of action. Case in point: Tour pro Jason Gore once found himself lugging his own golf bag during a practice round because his caddy didn’t want to leave a frenzied session of multiple hookups that included three bass over six pounds. Although the fine bassin’ at many Florida golf resorts and country clubs isn’t well-known, it’s attracted a growing legion of devotees.

I met one such fellow from Miami (who asked to remain nameless) who visits Innisbrook three times a year with his wife. He fishes all day, she relaxes by the pool and reads. He swears he’s never been skunked by always employing the same rig and method: A weighted chartreuse plastic worm cast 30 feet from shore, left on the bottom and only occasionally twitched.

Look close, and you'll see those are fishing sticks in the back of that cart.

The word about Innisbrook’s fishing assets hasn’t escaped the corporate world, either. Conferences are popular here and many attendees fish before and after meetings—some even during lunch breaks. Notable visitors include some members of the Hemingway family, who hold reunions here mainly to fish the Island course when it’s closed periodically for maintenance. You don’t even need to lug around your own fishing gear – at the resort’s recreational center you can rent a rod for as little as six bucks and also receive a small plastic tackle box loaded with lures, hooks, split-shot and bobbers. Hey, they want you to fish here.

Some of the best golf course anglers start at a young age, such as 17-year-old Derrick McMann from Orlando. As a youngster he cut his teeth with a canepole fishing at a municipal course. I witnessed McMann fishing nearby on Lake Innisbrook and his rod stayed bent constantly. It lit me up like an anteater finding a termite mound, but alas I caught very little. McMann noticed my futility and rubbed it in after each of his fish strikes by screeching, “Boom chicka wow wow” and then back-of-the-hand snickering. I felt like taking a sand wedge to the kid after hearing that refrain for about the tenth time, but quickly repressed it and instead retreated to another fishing spot.

Golfers at a club in Daytona Beach get their fishing Jones sated with special tournaments. Pelican Bay Country Club—which sports two courses with water access on nearly every hole—periodically sponsors a “Fins and Skins” tournament from May through September. The format entails teams of fivesomes playing a regular scramble format, but one of the five must fish each hole until the team holes out. Cell phone pics and a yardstick provide proof of catches. Strokes are taken off the final scorecards based on the number and size of the fish caught.

“It’s been a great event for us and a new market we’ve tap into,” said Steve Francis, Assistant Pro at Pelican Bay. “It’s so popular that the same teams return over and over along with a growing number of new participants.”

Florida Sportsman Contributing Editor Terry Lacoss reports that salt- and freshwater fish flow through the creeks connecting golf courses at Omni’s Amelia Island Plantation near the border of northeast Florida and Georgia. “Reds up to 15 pounds and tarpon to 40 pounds can be caught right along with bass,” said Lacoss. He recommends the lagoon bordering holes six, seven and eight on the Oak Marsh course for a mixed bag, and for pure largemouth action casting plugs and flies in 50-acre Red Maple Lake on the Ocean Links course.

Some would argue that golf requires more talent than fishing. Having quite a bit of experience with both sports, I concur that landing a weedless worm across a line of lily pads proves an easier challenge than hitting a high fade with a one-iron to a well-bunkered green. But that’s a dubious debate anyway—bass masters consistently rack up more catches than less gifted anglers regardless of their handicaps.

Author tees up at Innisbrook. Not too worried about water hazards, obviously.

The fact is, when playing a bass-laden golf course I often daydream about a pot-bellied bass crashing my chugger; when fishing for largemouths I frequently fantasize about crushing a tee shot past Tiger Woods. Such is the neurotic dichotomy of a golfer-fisher. It matters not if you’ve never broken 90 or can’t get a nibble in a school of starving stumpknockers— the only simultaneous cure is a visit to a fishy golf course. FS

Into the Fish at Innisbrook

Those who prefer an upscale golf resort where bass fishing reigns supreme will find that Innisbrook fits the bill. The golf is top-notch with the Copperhead and Island courses–both host sites for PGA and LPGA Tour events–regularly rating among the best in the nation. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with a wide choice of one- and two-bedroom suites, villas, guest and executive suites and vacation rental homes. Innisbrook also offers tennis, a superb series of golf instructional institutes and the Indaba Spa. Nothing tops the relaxation of a nice side-by-side couples massage after a day of golfing and fishing.

The resort’s restaurants feature informal grills with outdoor patios overlooking the golf courses, a market offering specialty foods, a festive pub and a snazzy sports bar, and Packard’s Steakhouse, which is as close to carnivore heaven as one can get.

The green sweep of the Innisbrook courses, the deserts of white-sand bunkers and the labyrinth of ponds that reflect bordering oak and cypress trees are entrancing. Superb bass fishing amid plentiful birdlife on an upscale resort is icing on the éclair. For details on rates and packages contact Innisbrook at 888-794-8627 or visit www.innisbrookgolfresort.com.

Fishing and Fairways

Here’s an alphabetized list of my Top 11 Florida clubs and resorts that allow fishing and possess good to excellent bass waters. Most sites are members only. If you’re not a member, it’s wise to befriend one and fish as a guest. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to join a club as a member for access – staying as a vacation guest as I do, for even one night, punches your ticket to fishing.

Some clubs allow non-members to patronize restaurants and other facilities, which sometimes includes fishing. Get in touch first to get the details. If a resort or country club is too pricey for you, check with municipal courses in your area. In all cases, being courteous to golfers and never leaving any debris, fishing line or other messes behind ensures continued access.

1. Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach
2. Doral Golf Resort in Miami
3. Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor
4. Jacksonville Golf & Country
5. Okeechobee Golf & Country Club
6. Omni’s Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island
7. Pelican Bay Country Club in Daytona Beach (open to public)
8. Pensacola Country Club
9. Quail Valley Golf Club in Sebastian
10. Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club in Sarasota
11. Willoughby Golf Club in Stuart

First Published Florida Sportsman December 2013

Everglades 295CC

The Everglades 295cc is aptly described as a family-friendly fishing boat. This high-performance, well-equipped fishing boat is extremely comfortable with captain’s-chair style seating not only behind the helm but on the forward seating as well. Other standard features for convenience include a head, shower and sink in the center console, a stereo, and an anchor windlass. At the helm you will find a tempered glass, hydraulic sliding windshield that allows you to control ventilation and keep you dry in the worst conditions.

Everglades construction uses a patented closed molded RAMCAP process that delivers an unsinkable hull completely filled with high density, closed cell, structural foam flotation. Two hundered gallons of fuel and 25 gallons of water are held in two tanks in the 28-feet, 7-inches long hull that is rated for a max horsepower of 700. The stable feel of the ride is enhanced by the 9-foot, 9-inch beam that gives you enough room in the 121-square-foot cockpit for a 34-gallon livewell and 171 gallons of fishbox space.

Keeping the family in mind, there is cushioned bow and stern seating and an optional side utility door that allows easy access for all manner of watersports.

Everglades 295CC Specifications
LOA – 28 feet, 7 inches
Beam – 9 feet, 9 inches
MSRP w/power – $222,389.00

Everglades Boats
544 Air Park Rd.
Edgewater, FL
877 902-6287
www.evergladesboats.com

Hitting the Creeks

Recent inshore fishing reports from the Big Bend region.


Hitting the Creeks

Florida Sportsman member: FELLOW-SHIP

Went out yesterday targeting reds up the creeks with my micro skiff, which is able to fish in a foot of water when I ask her to. We caught 12 reds half were keeper size, 2 were caught on shrimp the rest were caught on a paddle tail.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Birds to the Bay

Florida Sportsman member: huntentails

“We hit the water at the crack of noon. It wasn’t long before we had trout on almost every cast. Most were just underslot but we did manage to sort thru them for a nice bunch for dinner along with a nice pompano…”

Want to catch trout like this? Click here for how-to videos, feature stories, and more!

 



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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[...]

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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.

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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[...]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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[...]

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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[...]

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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.

[...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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! [...]

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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!

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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.

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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.

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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.

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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 [...]

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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.

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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.

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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.

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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 [...]

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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.

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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 [...]

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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″ [...]

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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.

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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

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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.

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After the Cast

Basic tips on how to move the food.

A long, smooth draw on the line slides the fly forward, perfect for tarpon.

What’s the ideal stripping cadence? Mostly, it depends on the species you’re seeking and the fly pattern you’re using.

First, the basics: Learn to use both your stripping hand and rod hand correctly.

In essence, the index finger (sometimes the middle finger, too) of your rod hand serves as a stripping guide through which you pull fly line to strip the fly.

Many bass and panfish anglers manipulate the fly with the rodtip, but in salt water, you should strive to keep your rodtip pointed straight at the fly, to avoid slack line which can hinder hooksets. (A Passion for Tarpon author Andy Mill makes a good case for a little “rod shake” when fishing flies built with marabou or rabbit strip: “I slide the fly forward . . .with a long, smooth stroke with my stripping hand. But I create the undulating movement I want my fly to make with my rodtip through my rod hand.”) For most situations in salt water, your stripping hand alone will suffice.

After casting, I lower my rodtip to the surface of the water (with sinking lines, just barely into the water). To move the fly, I grasp my fly line between the thumb and index finger of my stripping hand immediately behind the index finger of my rod hand. When I strip, I apply slight tension to the line by squeezing together my index and next finger. This keeps my fly line “in check” between strips so that in the event a fish makes a grab while the fly is motionless, it doesn’t simply pull out loose line before I can re-grab the line to strip again. Another option is to snub the line between your index finger and the underside of the rod grip. Either method keeps you tight to the fly, and you will detect those subtle pickups as well as be in good position to apply a solid strip-strike to set the hook.

This is good habit whether you are sight-casting or blind-casting, and particularly when allowing a fly to sink deep before starting to strip. I have watched a partner cast a fly with a sinking line and stand there with his hand at his side only to have a fish eat and pull two feet of loose fly line before he reacted. Result: lost fish.

General Stripping Cadences

>Snook and tarpon under bridges at night: I normally cast down and across the current. When I strip my fly, I make mostly long draws, slow and even, 6-inch to 1-foot pulls on the line to swim the fly. Once downcurrent of my position, I keep the line snubbed (as described above) to allow the current to pull my fly along against a tight line.

>Dock lights for snook, tarpon or trout: Short, repeated inch-long strips get the job done. The fly looks like a minnow afraid for its life! Other times, slow, 3- to 4-inch draws work. Some nights, dead-drifts are best.

>Clouser Minnows, crab patterns and many bonefish shrimp patterns: Perfect examples of flies that get eaten on the free fall more often than not.

>On the flats: Too many of us strip too much and too fast for bonefish, redfish and permit. In water over a foot deep where mostly cruising fish are encountered, gauge the traveling speed of the fish, get the fly in the fish’s path, “bump” the fly slightly to get the fish’s attention and then, stop! Let the fly drop. On the flats, most fish are accustomed to prey that dashes to bottom in an attempt to burrow in sand or mud, or hide in seagrass. If the pursuing fish lowers its head and puts on the brakes, or “lights up,” make a long draw on the line. If you come tight, strip strike without moving the rodtip much.

In the event that a flats fish is cruising along at a good clip, your best bet is too get the fly in its path, and then strip to match the fish’s forward speed.

>Pompano, mackerel and other speedy fish: Fast, erratic stripping can seal the deal. Quick, 6-inch to 1-foot pulls are great for macks, but in the case of pompano, think like a jig fisherman. Make two or three fast 6-inch pulls, and then pause to allow a weighted fly to sink. Pomps hits jigs on the free-fall, so expect this to happen with a fly, too.

Fishing with New Friends

Recent offshore fishing reports from the Northeast region of Florida.


Fishing with New Friends

Florida Sportsman member: model14

We next moved and found a goldmine of fish. Catch included many black seabass, numerous ringtail porgy, a big bull red, and a nice red snapper. I was really glad to see the boys get on some fish. Bait was squid, sardines, grunt and boston mackerel.

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Northeast Bottom Bite

Florida Sportsman member: minnowsnmonsters

We caught a few more just short grouper on that spot along with 12 to 15 snapper and a few bass before we decided it was time to move. Bait of choice all day was boston mackerel, the small livies were being inhaled by sea bass and snapper immediately upon hitting the bottom.

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Weekend Wahoo

Florida Sportsman member: out of the blue

The short flat starts to sing around 11am and we got our first high speed trolling hoo in the boat! Put lines back in water and then got a nice fish at 57.5 pounds.

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Northeast Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: benchmark

We fished only big hooks and tried to avoid them. No luck, caught them on everything we put down and released them all. Luke caught his personal best trigger, he was very happy young man. We also caught scamp, gags, and lots of red snappers.

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Breaking in the New Boat

Florida Sportsman member: Lug Man

We drifted the spot and put about 2 dozen baits in the live well anyway. My buddy decided he didn’t want to run another 15 miles in the slop so we just hung around 9 mile and drifted baits. We caught mostly sharks and red snapper which were released to swim free.

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Northeast Offshore

Florida Sportsman member: Richardrbloom

I gave the fish another 30 yards or so then threw it into strike and held on. Then the shotgun rod goes off and my buddy Austin grabs it. We had a double hookup for about a minute until mine came off again. We fought his fish to the boat and after only a few minutes of fighting it I sunk the gaff into it.

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Running Deep in the Bay Boat

Florida Sportsman member: Bigchocolatelab

Decided to make a move and pressed on eastward. Next spot, dropped squid on chicken rigs and livies and got into em. Found good football size bees, triggers, pinkys, and other fish.

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Cobia Chaos

Florida Sportsman member: Pangaman

The small cobia raced to the jig and grunts before I could get a bait in front of the big one. I caught and released 3 more cobia on the jig and pitch rod before I was able to get a bait in front of the big one. I had used all the grunts in the livewell and the only thing remaining was a half dozen small spanish sardines.

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Venice Bottom Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: Blind Squirrell

We fished sardines, squid, cut-bait and live pinfish on the bottom in 100″-110″ of water. We boxed our limit of red grouper, mixed in with big mangroves, some flag yellowtail, a few scamp, porgies, and lane snapper.

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Topwater Tuna Time

Florida Sportsman member: Snaphappy

When we arrived we were the first boat on the scene and there were fish busting everywhere! We started casting poppers and it was game on immediately. For the next two and half hours it was wide open. We boated 10 fish on poppers and 6 on live bait.

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Ending on a Good Note

Florida Sportsman member: bgood

We then headed off 35 miles to our first stop, the bites started off a little slow but it picked up and we caught our limit of snapper. 3 of them measuring out to 30 inches plus, we threw back quite a few 18 inch ones also.

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St. Augustine Bottom Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: DoradoDreamin

We finally changed to some chicken rigs and smaller hooks and the triggers, beeliners and porgies started coming over the gunnel. A bait would not last on the bottom for even 5 seconds before a fish would be biting.

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Birthday Snapper

Florida Sportsman member: Uncle_Mike

After the long run out we dropped the first bait to the bottom and had a 25 pound snapper in the boat within the first 5 minutes. After that it was non stop action for the next 2 hours. Had to pull up and leave early due to a storm moving in.

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Northeast Bottom Bumping

Florida Sportsman member: Mirage-GNV

Baited up at a wreck then went out to 21 fathoms in somewhat snotty 2 to 3 foot seas with a little rain mixed in to boot. The vermillion bite was easy, the ARS’s were reasonably plentiful along with the lesser AJs, but the sharks were thick on the ledges and live bottom.

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Mahi and More in the Northeast

Florida Sportsman member: arunram

“We could have stayed north and killed them but we just wanted to see what’s happening south. We released some small ones and kept 12 big mahi with the biggest around 40 pounds. Then we bottom fished for a very little time and caught…”

Want to catch huge grouper like these guys? Click here for how-to videos, feature stories, and more.



Bam Bam Mahi

Florida Sportsman member: Bam Bam

We had fish on within a couple minutes. The fish were chewing and we put 23 mahi in the box with including a few studs. Had one small sailfish and saw a big blue marlin go through a school of peanut dolphin and come out of the water with one in his mouth about 20 yards from the side of the boat.

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Northeast Mahi Madness

Florida Sportsman member: no peekin

We caught fish on plastics and skirted ballyhoo.Ended up keeping 20 fish and released some others.All were nice fish with 5 going over 30 pounds and the big fish hit the planer and was 36.8 pounds.

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Making it Happen in the Slop

Florida Sportsman member: T-Daddy

220 feet seemed to be the trick and we boated seven or eight Mahi, mostly from 15 to 20 pounds, but one at 36 pounds. We knocked more than one off boat side in the rough water and teetering gaff. One Wahoo hit on the plainer coming in at 26 pounds. We had a Sailfish in the spread as well but he picked on one of the only two rigs without a Ballyhoo and didn’t hook up.

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Getting Fishy out of State

Florida Sportsman member: ledslinger29

Hit the ledge to find a slow but steady bite on the troll, with 15 fish in the box we rode in to dive some numbers and see what we could do. Slippers were all over the place, and got a personal best 13 pound spiny. Also shot a 14 pound hog and a 25 pound gag, and had an overall good day.

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Crushing the Cobes

Florida Sportsman member: Boattronics

Next trip, Luis headed south with me again, and this time Jason the duck slayer got invited. Fresh off of grounding restrictions from telling a fish “secret” lol, he was eager to redeem himself to the rest of the crew, which he did get to do that day!

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Bringing Home Some Trophies

Florida Sportsman member: capcioffi

Time goes on and we spot a huge rip with weeds all over it in 800 feet. We go down one side (inside) and it is not producing. Cut across the weed/rip line and the water jumps 3 degrees. In come some of the marlin lures and out goes the meat. Within 5 minutes we get hit!

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Wrecking the Wahoo in the Northeast

Florida Sportsman member: 15whaler

“When we have a wahoo strike, its like a car accident. We are traveling at 13 to 20 knots, the fish is a torpedo, traveling at 30 to 40. Its a very violent collision.” Englert continued “We don’t throttle down, though. When we get a fish to the boat, I want you to grab the shock leader and secure the trolling weight. Walk everything to the front of the bow. That’s your job, understand?”

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Beating the Bottom, Northeast Style

Florida Sportsman member: JSiler21

We had a couple cool surprises also. My dad reeled up a grunt on a chicken rig and decided to just open the bail and send it right back down the way it was. Within 30 seconds his rod doubles over and the line starts screaming off the penn battle 6000. I decided clear a line we had on the bottom with another live grunt on it and when it came tight, my rod also doubled over. The penn senator 4/0 cranked in the fish in no time and to my surprise was my first bull red!

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Bottom Bite in the Northeast

Florida Sportsman member: redpro

Bite wasn’t on fire but we managed a good meat trip. Passed a nice rip around 130 feet that made us wish we were trolling. Caught our limit of beeliners to 4 pounds and some nice triggers, one almost hitting 8 pounds!

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Bottom Fishing from the Bay Boat

Florida Sportsman member: Bigchocolatelab

Bite has been frequent and consistent. Went out last few days with some friends in the Coastal Bay and found them in 80-110 feet. Got into a mix of nice BSB, triggers, B-liners, ARS, and a nice 15 pound gag! Couldn’t find the cobia everyone’s been posting on the forum about.

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Awesome Day On And In The Water

Florida Sportsman member: renovator

In between dives we fished and loaded up with some nice fish, threw back a few red snapper, and got a scamp at the end of the day. 4 lobster made the trip back to the dock as well. Found some new bottom numbers to boot.

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Teaching Them Young

Florida Sportsman member: capcioffi

I took my 5-year-old Cohen out Saturday before the weather front to snag some fish. In the morning it was gamey with some big rollers and side chop, but little man was game and put his fishing face on. It took me 30 years to get my first red snapper on a spinner and found a school of fish 16 miles out to put him on his first at age of 5. We caught over 70 red snapper, 14 vermillion snapper, 10 triggerfish, 6 small sharks, 1 sheepshead (Brother snagged him sniffing the bait), and 1 sea bass [...]

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Nearshore King for the Smoker

Florida Sportsman member: creekgeek

The fish headed due east but we caught up pretty quickly and stayed on top of her as there were a lot of other boats in that area. I have not caught a lot of big kings so, when I first saw it down in the clear water, I was more than a little excited at it’s size. Plus, I’m a fisherman and you all know that adds at least 25-50% to the size of any good fish! One good circle or three and Bob put the gaff in her and we had our first beach king. Awesome. I know a lot of you have been catching 30 pounders this summer and I really had no doubt that we had one but those must be some huge fish because I thought this was a whopper and it only weighed…25 pounds.

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Elton Bottom Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: Phinatical

Cleared the inlet around 6:25 Saturday with a crew of 4 plus my recon man (diver) Pat. Hunted pogies with little to show from one throw, they were just scattered everywhere but never balled up anywhere, so we pointed her east for the 50mi ride to Elton. Stopped short at TW to look around and then kept heading east. Pulled up on the first spot and on the first drift starting pulling up monsterous seabass. Most were easy 16 inches and fat if not more. We also got a couple fat beeliners off this spot and released some pig red snapper. We moved a little and then a little more and found some more nice bottom and dropped on it, pulling up an african pompano, two red porgies, a very nice mango, and then the cobia showed up under the boat along with some amberjack.

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Southeast Hole Sails

Florida Sportsman member: Triple A

Went to the rip and it was rough, turned south and pounded our way to the southeast hole to get a few kings for the smoker. Put the baits out in around 55-60 feet of water. Not ten minutes went buy we had our first hit. It took off like a smoker king would then it jumped. Dad called a cuda but I saw a sail and bill. Fought the fish for good while got him in the boat for a picture and then back in the water. He revived quickly and swam off. Looked back
towards land and saw nothing but dark skies the wind pick up but we stuck it out. After the storm skirted us we continued fishing with nothing but sharks, with our baits dying and looking pathetic we put out our final spread and were calling it quits at 1:30. Around 1:15 we saw a sail free jumping south east off the bow we turned towards him and did not see him, 5 minutes later we have another sail on the same rod, reel, and rig we caught the first sail on, after another good fight the fish was quickly revived and swam off.

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Bottom Bumpin’

Florida Sportsman member: Bigchocolatelab

Arrived at spot and seas built a little but not too bad. SW wind mixed with the SE swell to create a confused layout, but it was definitely fishable! We decided to drift fish with live bait and found action right away.

First fish up to bat was an assortment of seabass and beeliners. After that 2 of us stuck into a doubleheader of decent fish. First fish at the boat was a big Red snapper…and back he goes. Next fish was a nice Cobia! After a gaff malfunction we finally got him in and cracked open a few beers. Only 30 minutes in and the day started off right!

We drifted passed the spot and reset. This time we threw two flat lines out with big live pogies and started to bottom bump again. The drift produced again only this time Big amberjacks and red snappers showed themselves. As were drifting, both flat lines go off[...]

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Mayport Wahoo & Dolphin

Florida Sportsman member: mikelavine

Headed out of Mayport around 6:30 and stopped at 30 miles due to a lack of time today. Fishing in 100 feet of water, we got on a few cudas right away. After about a hour, we landed a 20 pound king with a curious cobia following that we couldn’t get to eat the bait. He finally swam off and got the lines back out. Within 10 minutes had a hit and pulled in a 10 pound dolphin. At 10am we had a hit on the ballyhoo and by the time the rod was off the outrigger, the reel was smoking and came close to being spooled on a freight train of a run. Got the lines up and had a 15 minute fight without even seeing the fish. The fish decided to take off again and then snap…my rod broke in two below the third eyelet. Great. We carefully kept fighting and 5 minutes later my buddy yells, “Thats a big wahoo!” Got him next to the boat, gaffed, and in the boat he came!

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Busy Day at the Ledge

Florida Sportsman member: arunram

That was my second offshore trip and I felt like I was in a dream. That water was cobalt blue!! I would never forget this trip in my life. The mahi mahi jumping and tail walking in the air was a beautiful sight to see. We also saw a 15 foot hammerhead shark cruise by us that scared the living daylights out of me. Boy, pulling those groupers up is like pulling a baby elephant from 120 foot water. These offshore monsters definitely whooped me! Thanks very much to Jimmy, Jerry and his crew for having me aboard the “Another Tangle”. It was a dream come true!

Click here to read the full forum report.

Trippin’ Out on Tripletail

Florida Sportsman member: Morocco_madness

Me and Steve AKA Pilingjunkie, hit the water around 8:00am for a day in the Inlet. Got out there and there was nothing happening. Got a pile of Whiting but the desirable species were just not there. First time in a while that the Inlet was a wash. Around 1ish i get a call from Tony(Boattronics). Turns out he had some luck finding the Triple Tails. He gave us a few pointers on how to catch them and donated a dozen or so live Shrimp. Hadn’t really intended on making the trip up the coast but we really needed to reclaim our dignity after the butt kicking we took in the Inlet. We took off toward Nassau following the coast at around 40-50 feet. We found some decent fish free swimming. Managed to get Steve his first TT and man, what a killer experience!! those things go all over the place! They jump and pull like crazy. Now of course im all kinds of pumped and want me one of these bad boys!

Click here to read the full forum report.

Mayport “Jurassic Drum”

Florida Sportsman member: Morocco_madness

Hit the water with another of our fellow forum members, Trevor, AKA, Shadowcast777. Stevo(Pilingjunky) hooked me up with around 2.5 dozen live Blue Crabs 2 days ago and decided to put them bad boys to use. We originally were planning on doing something different but nobody had live Shrimp. Once we got out to the Inlet, we set up shop on the South rocks. Set up a good spread of rods and kicked back. Wasn’t but maybe ten minutes before the first rod goes stripping. Had Trevor take care of it. 15 minutes pass and hes got a stud Bull Red in the boat. We set back up and it isn’t long before we have another Bull in the boat. Both fish were right at 40″. The bite died down so we dragged up and hit another area[...]

Click here to read the full forum report.

Playin’ the Drums

Florida Sportsman member: samsiam74

After looking high and low for some Blue Crabs, we headed out… The weather man’s report last night said 10-12 NW winds and sunny. Nice by the standards that Steve and I encountered over the last couple of days! Well, the weather man got the sunny part right but it was frigid this morning and the wind was a good 18-20 steady out of the north until about noon. Water was choppy as could be but we crept out to a spot that looked doable and anchored up.

Lines go out and not ten minutes later Sing is doing the tango in the back of the boat as he wrestles his PB Drum up to the surface.. A guess would be around 35 pounds… What a nice way to start the day! We send that big fish back down and lines go back out… A half hour goes by and one of his rigs starts doubling over again!

Click here to read the full forum report.

Mayport Inlet Reds

Florida Sportsman member: Morocco_madness

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Me and my buddy Tim went out today for a few hours of sheepshead fishing. Got to our target area at the Little Jetty rocks. Didn’t want to rough the Inlet due to the weatherman’s prediction of high winds and 3-5 foot seas. We wasted an hour or so at the Little Jetties and managed nothing other than a keeper Sea Bass. Seemed pretty calm out so i decided to check the Inlet just in case the weather prediction was off. Glad i checked. Dead calm, no wind and less than 1 foot seas. What a joke. Anyways, the sheepshead bite was very slow in the inlet today. Didn’t see anyone catching. decided to use up the dozen Large Blue Crabs i brought as a back up. Got a few bull reds and lost something very large.[...]

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Slaying the Porgies

Florida Sportsman member: Morocco_madness

I really enjoyed fishing for Sheepshead using a jighead. Took a second to get used to it but was a lot of fun. The Bite at our first spot turned off so we headed over to the Southern rocks. Once we got situated it wasn’t long before we get a few Decent Sheep in the boat. A short while later Leon brings up this giant Ring Tail! Neither of us have ever seen one this large. Next thing i know we are catching them left and right! Long story short, we end up boating about 40 of these things. Wasn’t long before the water clarity went to crap and we called it a day. An absolute blast![...]

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St. Augustine Bottom Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: blue bird

Made the run out in great conditions Sunday morning. The bottom bite was good with all the endangered species making a great showing!!

We kept some nice triggers and a nosy cobia. Strangely enough, we didn’t get a grouper bite. We did see some blackfins feeding around 27 miles out. They were traveling at warp speed, so we didn’t even try to put out a spread. it got pretty snotty later in the morning, laid down mid-day for a decent ride back in until the 15 mile mark. At that point the following East wind turned into some kind of Northwest / South combination wind that slowed us down a bit on the end of the ride[...]

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 


Offshore Jax Bottom Fishing

Florida Sportsman member: boattronics

We headed out to about 110′ before dropping. Action was very good, flat seas and minimal wind and current certainly helped. Good clean water too. We started filling the box with the tastiest demersals the bottom can offer, and as we worked deeper, the action continued to get better as we power drifted drops out to 145′[...]

We caught huge triggers, gorgeous mutton snapper, grouper and cobia for the box. A couple sharks, some amberjack, etc. And as always, we sifted through endless red snappers, huge vermillions and seabass that were unfortunately released.

Click here to read the full forum report.

 


Northeast Sword Report

Florida Sportsman member: knot tight

We went 3/3 on swords with 1 being released and two being taken. We high speed trolled in the evening with only a barracuda to show for it. We threw out ballyhoo in 400 feet in the morning and pulled the hooks on a nice wahoo and released another barracuda. We had a great trip with a awesome crew despite being surrounded by storms more than half of the trip. Thanks to Adrian, Casey, and Ryan for being an awesome crew in less than ideal conditions.

Click here to read the full forum report.


Sunday Snapper Day

Florida Sportsman member: renovator

Left the dock with crew of Chris, Troutdiggler and his dad Mark, Mularkey, and myself just before sunlight for the last day and the only day this crew was able to get in for this “mini snapper season”, puleeeezze! Baited up at BB, fished 110 feet water and caught fish most of the day. Had to move around a bit to get our limit, and along with some B’s, trigs, one gag, and plenty of throw back keeper seabass. Anyhow, hope a lot of folks were able to get out and enjoy the bite when you could find them.

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 


Birthday Fishing in St. Augustine

Florida Sportsman member: jacqueo

First of all…let me thank everyone on the forum for ALL of their awesome advice. About a month ago I posted on here questioning about St. Auggie fishing – AND the dreaded inlet. Growing up in South Florida the inlets are INSANE – narrow, and zig-zaggy (Boynton Beach Inlet to be specific). I hadn’t taken our new boat offshore since getting it about 4 months ago [...]

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 

 


“Guana Bite” Swordfish Report

Florida Sportsman member: beaubaker

Had a great time Saturday night/Sunday morning on the “Guana Bite”. Thanks to Captain Kevin and first mate Darryl for having me and Brian along to try our luck at the swordfish grounds. We dropped baits in the water way south and setup drift for a long, long, sleepless night. Around midnight we had a good bite on the short/deep rod but couldn’t manage to hook that fish up. We dozed and listened to satellite radio until sunrise when the short/deep drag sounds again [...]

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Beautiful Northeast Mangrove Snapper

Florida Sportsman member: Pangaman

Started the day at 20 miles catching bait. No white bait whatsoever, just grunts. We loaded up with 20 or so grunts and caught 3 barracudas and a bonito at the bait spot. We headed east and put out a bonito lure since we could only make 13 knots do to the swells being close together. We caught one nice bonito on the way to our first spot [...]

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 

 


Cobia Addiction

Florida Sportsman member: meglacharchodon

The first cobia hit a flat line on the Baitrunner, he put up a nice fight but pulled the hook ten feet from the boat. The next one hit a pogie on the bottom, he came to the surface and made a spectacular jump right before he ran circles around the anchor rope [...]

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The Ledge Report

Florida Sportsman member: knot tight

We had planned on fishing the Northeast Florida Marlin Association’s Dolphin Tourney but they cancelled it on Thursday due to a 3-5 forecast. We decided to make the run still and were pleasantly surprised. We started on a weedline in 120 and picked up a dolphin and a wahoo quickly. Fished it for a while but only had a few small bites so we headed east. We picked up a blackfin on the way east in about 150 feet. Had a nice fish light up the planer rod and pulled the hooks after about 3 minutes on the rod [...]

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Church Fishing Tournament

Florida Sportsman member: KINIB

So I had been thinking for a while now of ways to give back to my church and have fun at the same time. I am blessed to know a lot of great guys in this fishing community we have here and came up with the idea to try and hold a church fishing tournament. My thought was to try and get three captains to take four anglers a piece fishing for the day and with this also raise money for various charities the church participates in [...]

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 


STUD Phins!

Florida Sportsman member: CEE-STUD

It was one thing after another that has kept the CEE-STUD off the water for this dolphin season. Finally we had a weather window and nothing was stopping us this past Thursday. Sticking to our normal schedule, we were crossing the ledge at around 7 a.m. The water was green inshore at this time. We continued east until we found cobalt blue water in 1100 feet. There we picked up of a bunch of large patches of weed and scattered weed. We decided to start here [...]

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 


Hotspur Fishing Report

Florida Sportsman member: benchmark

Got talked into another last minute trip with noaa forecast at 3 to 5 feet Friday. Took Chuck and Officer Rob from AZ off to find the mahi bite. Really need to get back to work and see if we are still in business. Fish have been chewing with the barometer bouncing up and down. Had 10 fish in the first 1 hour of fishing and ended up with 25 for the day. Released numerous schoolies to grow bigger.

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 

 


Cobia Madness

Florida Sportsman member: Maverick

Dad had a buddy from work come into town this weekend and wanted to get on the cobia. Went out Saturday (5/5) to some pretty calm seas and high hopes. Worked it all day to only find 2 fish with lockjaw. Quite discouraging. Got up today (5/6) and figured we would head to Nassau Sound to see if we could get anything going…NADA. Went back to our original strategy and we found em’ [...]

Click here to read the full forum report.

 

 

 


Mayport Cobia Trip

Florida Sportsman member: ledslinger29

Not a bad looking box, and that's not the half of it.

It’s cobia and flounder season, for sure, though you wouldn’t always know it from checking the surface of the seas.

Go a little deeper, as FS member ledslinger29 did, and you’ll see the fish. He posted a brief but pointed report about his trip off Maport on the FS Forum.

Read ledslinger29′s post and thread here.


The Fish Whistle

Florida Sportsman member: Fish Whistle

It’s been awhile since a grind had to sharpen some senses. Left Mayport around 5 a.m. Saturday to nice flat seas and picked up bait. Headed offshore for some Moppin N’ Boxin. Our target species was the “mysterious” mutton. LOL! Fished the 30 30 – 30 05 We picked at them slowly the whole trip had 20 i believe. Seemed to be biting better in the day in 140ft. They are slowing down if you like them better get em’, had two nice mangos and a yellowtail, triggers we scattered along the break and plenty of pinkies to raid you bait! Jacks are biting extremely well! [...]

Click here for full forum report.

 

 


Recent Cobia Action!

Florida Sportsman member: Boattronics

Lately there have been quite a few inquiries about the cobia bite, so here ya go! Last year I met a customer that was obviously into cobia fishing. Every conversation we had, instantly gravitated towards that specail fish that we both love so much. A friendship was forged and we went cobia fishing, and had a great time. He called me again a couple weeks ago to do some more work, and once again we were talking about cobia [...]

Click here for full forum report.

 

 

 


Florida Sportsman member: Pullin’ Out

Left the inlet early wednesday morning to a black rough sea. took our time getting out, so we didnt beat the boat or ourselves to death. made it to 150′ @ 67 deg, put in the high speed lures and continued east. made it to 250′, saw a nice rip, cross it to find 70 deg water temp and turn south to troll down the rip. within 5 minutes we had a small dolphin on, put him in the cooler. reset the high speed and another dolphin is [...]

Click here for full forum report.

 

 


Wahoo on Sabbatical

Florida Sportsman member: bigfishliar

Jonathan took the crew thru not so calm ocean yesterday to hunt for wahoo. Not that bad on 45 ft boat.We high speed trolled, than switched to ballyhoo, fishing was slow. First bite around noon, got couple mahis, than later on wahoo on planer /lost by boat/. Switched back to high speed and got double hook up. The bigger fish took around 300 yards of line. Great day and fun with friends on the ocean. Sorry Jonathan for not using that overused EPIC word [...]

Click here for full forum report.

 

 


Fish Whistle Family Matter

Florida Sportsman member: Fish Whistle

Quick report from the phone left St. Aug LATE around 9 picked up some live bait and headed east started on the break trolled to the 29 58 with nothing headed deeper picked up one in 350 with nothing else to show for out there. So we came back to the break and trolled to the 30 08. Picked up lines as it was dark lol! Switched gears headed north for the mutton bite so as we got there it was on but I had to rig all the rods as I was the only dude there! [...]

Click here for full forum report.

 

 

 


2 for 2 Wahoo!

Florida Sportsman Member: Off the Wall 31

Fished Friday on the ledge east of St Aug. Had two strikes all day fast trolling, one at 10am and one at 2pm. Both at the south end 29-54 on the shallow side. First was in the mid 30′s and the second 20′s [...]

Click here for full forum report.

New Florida Deer Tag To Kick Off Funding for Grassroots Projects

The 2014 legislative session transferred the “Deer Tag”, formerly known as the Sportsman’s National Land Trust, to the Foundation. In transferring the administration of this tag to the Foundation, the legislative intent is to focus funding efforts on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC will not be the exclusive beneficiary of tag funds. A portion of the funds will be available to all eligible applicants.

“Increasing from 25 percent to 75 percent, the amount that must be used to fund programs and projects within the state that preserve open space and wildlife habitat, promote conservation, improve wildlife habitat, and establish open space for perpetual use of the public is what got me excited about the new tag,” said Florida Sportsman magazine Publisher Blair Wickstrom, also a member of the grants committee for the new tag.

“I wanted to personally get involved to make sure the state’s largest online hunting community, the Florida Sportsman Hunt Camp Forum, got a voice in how the funds from the plate get used,” said Wickstrom. “I’d like to see the revenue from the plate provide sportsmen with permanent access for hunting and fishing while improving habitat through cooperation with other conservation organizations. Having the Wildlife Foundation of Florida taking over the administration and grant process of the deer tag is a big win for the sportsmen in the state.”

The Foundation has established a new participative and transparent grant process driven by a representative Grant Committee. The duties of the Grant Committee are to set priorities for each funding cycle, to receive and evaluate all grant proposals and make funding recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

The members of the Grants Committee are:

Newton Cook, Board of Directors Future of Hunting in Florida

Tom Knight, South Florida Field Representative, National Rifle Association

Blair Wickstrom, Publisher at Florida Sportsman

Jim McClellan, Avid Outdoorsman and Blogger

Denise Davis Helms, Vice President and Secretary of the Florida State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, President and event coordinator of Women in the Outdoors, Quail Creek

Lane Stephens, Future of Hunting in Florida and Florida Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus Staff Director

Baxter Troutman, former State Representative and President of Labor Solutions

Diane Eggeman, FWC Division of Hunting and Game Management – Committee Advisor

Applicants must submit proposals for WFF grant support to the Grant Committee for consideration. The Grant Committee will submit a prioritized list of proposals to the Foundation’s Board of Directors for final approval. The project period will be from July 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016 (18-months).

Eligible non-FWC applicants include units of federal, state or local government, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, volunteer organizations (i.e., “friends” groups). The Grant Committee may, at its sole discretion, consider proposals from private for-profit applicants as well.

Two types of projects will be funded during the 2015-16 grant cycle:

1. 50% of the available funds will be used to support youth hunting and outdoor conservation education and programs in Florida. This portion of the grant process will be open to all applicants. For non-FWC grant requests, the grant amounts are limited to $2500.

2. 50% of the available funds will be used to improve access and amenities on hunting lands. Examples include cleaning stations, food plots, and other measures to benefit hunters and provide better access and amenities for visitors. These requests will take the form of grants submitted by FWC to the Grant Committee.

The following schedule outlines the dates for appropriate action for FY 2015-16 Wildlife Foundation of Florida Grant Proposals.

January 30, 2015: Deadline for all proposals (by 4:00 pm EST):
- FWC staff will prepare and submit project proposals to their DOI director.
- Non-FWC applicants must submit proposals to Mr. Bill Bibby, Foundation’s Grant Director via email at Bill.Bibby@MyFWC.com.

February 9, 2015:
-DOI directors submit prioritized list of proposals via email to Bill Bibby.

February 16, 2015:
-All received proposals sent to Grant Committee.

TBA February 2015:
-Grant Committee meets to determine final funding priority list.

March 1, 2015:
-Priority List and all proposals distributed to WFF Board of Directors for review.

TBA Spring 2015:
-WFF Board meeting for project approval and grant awards.

Contact
Mr. Bill Bibby 850/617-9650 Bill.Bibby@MyFWC.com

Click link for Deer Tag Form
Deer Tag Grant Form

West Central Florida Weekend Fishing 4Cast


Aripeka to Longboat Key
Includes Hudson, New Port Richey, Anclote Key, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Anna Maria Island and Bradenton


December 19-21

It looks like mild weather will bring kick off the winter season on Sunday, the day with the shortest period of daylight of the year. Moving toward Sunday we could be looking at mid-seventy degree weather. The calendar says it’s the first day of winter, but take advantage of it, despite an increasing chance of rain.

OFFSHORE/ NEARSHORE

Happy anglers with hogfish caught with Capt. Dave Mistretta while fishing aboard the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach.

The weather we are having is a bit strange for this time of year but because it’s still on the mild side, anglers are catching some Spanish mackerel off the beaches on bait balls that are in deep water. Trolling #1 Clark Spoons behind a #2 planer with about 30-feet of leader should get the spoon down to where anglers are finding these mackerel. Put out a flat line and a spoon in the prop wash to make your spread. Bonito to 12-pounds have also been slamming these spoons. Spanish have been ranging from 12-to 26-inches in length.

Offshore wrecks in 50-to 80-feet of water are still producing a kingfish or two. Nearshore anglers are still finding hogfish from 40-to 80-feet. Bait of choice is a small live shrimp rigged on a #1 circle hook with just enough weight to get the offering down. A length of 20-to 25-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader will help make the presentation stealthy. Capt. Dave Mistretta of jawstoo.com has been blasting the hogfish on 4-hour trips out of Indian Rocks Beach. Loading the cooler is the mission, and Mistretta and his anglers were up to the task. Mistretta reports that slow or slack tides and the beginning of the incoming tide have seen the best action for him. For information on these and other charters, Mistretta can be reached at (727) 439-2628.

Lots of mangrove snapper continue to be caught in 80-to 100-feet of water along with gag and red grouper. A variety of groupers and snappers are caught well offshore in 125-to 150-feet of water on wrecks and springs along with amberjacks.

INSHORE

A variety of action awaits anglers heading for the water this weekend. Don’t count anything out. Well, you may not want to target tarpon on the Suncoast, but a plethora of other species is available. Sheepshead are moving into bay waters in greater numbers. Anglers are finding them on rock piles and pilings at bridges, piers, and docks. Baits of choice are small live shrimp, sand fleas, and fiddler crabs. Barnacles are also a good choice whenever the pilings are scraped for chum. Don’t be surprised if a pompano or two show up if the action gets a little frenzied. Black drum are also around these same pilings just to add to the variety. There is a limit of 5 fish per person per day of black drum between 14 and 24-inches and one fish may exceed the 24-inch limit. However, if you’re taking these fish home for the table, be aware that the larger fish normally contain worms. The worms may not be harmful but are not very appetizing, so keep the smaller ones and send the rest packing.

If you’re fishing around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge or Fishing Piers, you may also find some decent action still on mangrove snapper. It’s a little later than normal for this action inshore, but near the center span of the bridge, anglers are still finding mangos to 5-pounds, and that’s a big inshore mango! Deeper cuts inside Tampa Bay are still producing some gag grouper for catch and release. Check out the channel markers for cobia. Several were reported being caught this week.

The trout bite has been on the rise, with much larger fish being caught. Reports of some in upper Tampa Bay, St. Joseph’s Sound, and Sarasota Bay say fish over 20-inches in each area have been caught this week. Good action on Paul Brown Originals, MirrOlure MirrOdines, and DOA Deadly Combos is the norm. A slow presentation for all lures is a must. Live shrimp is the live bait of choice on the flat right now.

Snook have been fired up in preparation for winter. Packing on the pounds is the objective and these fish do that by eating whatever they find. Jigs and shrimp are your best bet. The new CAL 4-inch Shad, MirrOlure’s new soft bait called the Marsh Minnow, and the DOA quarter ounce shrimp have been the top producers according to reports. Dock lights have been loaded with snook and good tides are making for a good bite here at night.

FRESHWATER

It’s crappie time! Hang on, because I have a feeling this is going to be one heck of a good season. Lakes in Central Florida and West Central Florida have been productive. Missouri minnows are the live bait of choice, but an assortment of crappie jigs set under floats at different depths will help you locate these schools of fish while drift fishing. When you catch a fish, toss out a marker and continue fishing, while also noting the depth of the rig that is catching the most fish. Then set several rigs at that depth. A simple cane pole with 4-to 6-pound test mono and a number 8 hook are all you need. Care should be taken while landing these fish, as their mouths are paper-thin. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMAIL Ray {941-228-3474} www.CaptainRayMarkham.com

South Florida Weekend Fishing 4Cast


Deerfield Beach to Key Largo & Flamingo to Cape Sable
Includes Pompano Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Homestead


December 19-21

Happy Holidays and great fishing South Florida! You just can’t ask for more as far as the weather is concerned for the Holiday Season! NOAA weather is predicting winds to be from the southeast at 5 to 10 miles per hour throughout the weekend.

Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Haulover, Government Cut to Ocean Reef

Tarpon fishing has started to turn on in South Florida. The action has mainly been around Government Cut but tarpon can also be found at all of the ocean inlets this time of the year as the giant silver kings wait for shrimp to migrate from the bays into the ocean through these inlets. Large live shrimp and two-ounce jigs account for most of the tarpon strikes but an assortment of Rapala plugs will get the tarpon as well. The best action typically starts an hour or so before the sun sets and continues through the night. Drift the live shrimp behind the boat as you bounce jigs off the bottom. Spanish mackerel are available along the beaches but crystal clear waters have made the fish tough to catch. Kingfish have moved into our area and can be caught by drifting live baits, dead baits hooked to a jig or three hook rig in depths from 120 to 160 feet of water. Look for the groups of boats in those depths to help you locate the fish. Allow enough room between you and the closest boat to keep from getting in each other’s way. Bonito’s, sailfish and a few dolphins can be caught while fishing the kingfish. With this week’s new moon you may see an increase in numbers of wahoo just outside the outer reef. Further out along the blue water’s edge dolphins have been feeding along current rips and along weedlines. A few blackfin tuna and skipjack tuna are in the same areas. Swordfishing during the daytime in 1800 to 2000 feet of water has been good. Bottom fishing over the wrecks and ledges has been very good. Mutton snappers, gag, scamp, red and black groupers and an assortment of jacks have been biting live pilchards, threadfin herring and pinfish. Nighttime bottom fishing has been producing a mixed bag of snappers, groupers, grunts, mackerel, bluefish and kingfish. High tide at Government Cut Friday night will be at 6:19.

North Biscayne Bay Inshore

Baitfish schools continue to be scattered throughout the bay. Feeding on this baitfish have been small jacks, blue runners, mackerel, ribbonfish, lizardfish and a few bluefish. When the baitfish schools are over grass flats sea trout are feeding on this baitfish. Rapala X Raps, Flat Raps and Twitchin’ Raps have been catching a lot of all of these fish. Live shrimp and pilchards fished under a Cajun Thunder float are getting the strikes as well. It’s a good idea to use a Mustad 1/0 long shank hook when you’re using live baits to help keep the toothy critters from cutting your line. Nighttime snook and small tarpon action has picked up a bit with the lighter winds. Dock lights, the shadow lines along the bridges and the ocean inlets are where these fish will be feeding.

South Biscayne Bay

Schools of bonefish have been feeding along the Oceanside and mainland flats during the late afternoons when water temperatures have risen as high as they will for the day. Live shrimp and HookUp Lure Skimmer jigs are a favorite for the bonefish. Snapper and groupers plus jacks, porgies and mackerel can be found in the finger channels and over structure in South Bay. Live pilchards, shrimp and frozen cut baits fished near the bottom will get you the strikes. High tide at Soldier Key on Saturday will be at 7:34 in the morning.

Flamingo in Everglades National Park

Black drum, sheepshead, redfish and a few snook can be caught with live shrimp hooked to a ¼-ounce jighead and fished slow near the bottom in almost all of the channels, creeks and rivers in Florida Bay and along the coast to Lostman’s River. Seatrout, ladyfish, jacks, bluefish, mackerel and a few pompano are feeding over the grass flats near Conchie Channel, First National Bank, Middle Ground and in Tin Can Channel. Live shrimp fished under a Cajun Thunder float and a Hookup lure jig head with a soft plastic Gulp! or Trigger X will always keep you in the action. Spanish mackerel, tripletail and a few cobias are being caught out in the open water of the Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Anchor in 10 feet of water. Place a chum bag over the side and as long as the tide is running you stay in the action. Low tide at Flamingo in Florida Bay on Saturday will be at 9:36 AM and at the mouth of Shark River low tide is at 6:44 AM.

shermana@bellsouth.net

{786-436-2064}

www.getemsportfishing.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Field Editor of the Florida Sportsman Magazines Action Spotter Report South Region
  • Field Editor of the Florida Sportsman Magazines Internet Fishing Forecast South Region

Florida Panhandle Weekend Fishing 4Cast


Perdido Key to Cape San Blas
Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe


December 19-21

Inshore

Looks like the weather forecast is calling for temps in the mid 60′s and a good chance of rain on Saturday. As most anglers know there is always a chance this could change. Anglers will want to keep an eye on your favorite weather site and plan accordingly. The good news most anglers across our region should get at least one good weather window to fish in. The cooler fall temperatures will have trout and redfish hungry and ready to eat. Look for the majority of trout to come from around the rivers, bayous, and canals. Redfish can be found in the same holes, but the hot redfish bites have come from around the bridges at night.

Now is a great time to head into the backwaters. This type of fishing is easily accessible for most and can be done in shorter length trips. Making it ideal for those new to fishing, youngsters, and out of town relatives. Artificial lures will work, but sticking to the basics can be just as rewarding. A free lined shrimp, or shrimp tipped jighead, or shrimp under a popping cork will all work. Those heading into the backwaters for the first time will want to focus in on the points, intersecting creeks, and bends in the rivers. Speckled trout will tend to hold in the deeper bends and often times in large groups. The intersecting creeks are good places to find a mixed bag. Live shrimp is definitely best in this scenario and can often yield trout, redfish, black drum, and even a bass.

Redfish anglers will want to head to the bridges, deeper docks, and seawalls. The bridges at night seem to be the best thing going, but almost anyone heading out during the day can find diner too. The best approach is to go piling-to-piling bouncing shrimp of the bottom and around the structure. Live shrimp on a jig head is hard to beat this time of year, but artificial lures will work too. Look for the best bites to come around the height of the tidal changes. Anglers will want to adjust jig head size based on tide. The lighter the better and often times using a lighter weight means casting up current of the structure to get the bait in strike zone.

Offshore

Anglers heading offshore will want to keep a close eye on the weather. It looks like Sunday may be the better of the two to bend rods. Those fishing in State waters will want to focus in on amberjack around the larger wrecks, triggerfish around the smaller wrecks and natural reefs, and the arrival of flounder around the shallower wrecks. Federal water anglers will want to prepare to chase vermillion snapper and scamp grouper, unless heading out for deep water species. The tuna bite has been hit and miss hopefully the weather breaks and some people get out to give reports

State water anglers have lots to choose from and hopefully the weather will allow everyone to get out. Look for keeper-sized jacks in good numbers around the majority of public wrecks. Large live baits and stout rigs should bring them in. Amberjack can be weary of weights. Using long leaders will increase bites. Triggerfish anglers will want to use cut squid on two-drop rigs around the smaller wrecks. As the fish fire up, look for the larger triggers to come from higher up in the water. Now is also a good time to start looking for flounder around the shallower wrecks a few miles off the beaches. Live bull minnows and mud minnows on the bottom will get these delicious flat fish to eat.

Further offshore in Federal waters anglers will want to gear up for vermillion snapper and scamp grouper. Small cut baits for vermillion snapper and medium sized live baits for scamp grouper. Look for clouds of vermillion over top of live bottom. Scamp grouper fishermen will want to keep the baits close to the bottom and the presentation as natural as possible. Heavy leaders are not needed for either species and lighter leaders will help with the bite. A flatline is always a good idea and this time of year it could mean a blackfin tuna. Tight lines!


www.Hellerhighwatercharters.com {850-529-8655} hhwcharters@gmail.com

Florida Keys Weekend Fishing 4Cast

 

Key Largo to Key West
Includes Islamorada and Marathon

December 12-14

Backcountry

Happy Holiday’s everyone! Great times in the Florida Keys backcountry! The fishing and the weather have been spectacular to say the least. Last weekend turned out to be a little chilly in the morning but it turned out to be quite nice. Redfish, snook, black drum, sheephead and many more made out for some great backcountry fishing. The cooler water temperatures have made the Snake Bight Channel as well as adjacent deeper island moats and shorelines very productive with snook, redfish, sheepshead and black drum. A shrimp slowly crawled on the bottom it’s hard to beat. Mostly every deeper channel has great action with trout, ladyfish, jacks and pompano. Look for the creeks and shorelines in the Cape Sable and Lake Ingram areas to be holding redfish, snook, blackdrum and sheepshead. Work the shorelines with a shrimp and jig very slowly for best results.

The calm conditions we experience at the beginning of last week made for some great Gulf fishing. From cobia to kingfish and Spanish mackerel they were all caught by anglers fishing the wrecks and bottom structure. Look for this pattern to continue through out our winter fishery. Tripletail are becoming more abundant as you run the trap lines buoys west of Sandy Key. The areas of Schooner and Sprigger banks have been providing good action of Spanish mackerel and a whole lot more. Anchor up just off the Park boundaries and start chumming, cast a shrimp and ¼-ounce jighead combination with a couple of inches of light wire on the chum slick and slowly bounce it back towards the boat for some great action. If you are looking for a fight put a dead bait on the bottom behind the boat for a passing shark.

The bonefishing has improved lately with the decrease in wind speeds. Look for fish to be mudding on the deeper edges of oceanside flats on the rising tides. As the water warms up through out the day fish will start pushing up in shallower water where they can be seen tailing and pushing while feeding. A well-presented shrimp will get you hooked up. There has been some great reports of cruising permit around the deeper edges so have a small crab ready at all times. So give the gift of Fishing and enjoy the great action going on right now in the Florida Keys backcountry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.letsgofishing.us {305-297-0438} info@beatslandcharters.com


Upper Keys

Hello everyone and welcome back to this week’s report! This week has been sort of weird as the ocean is creating a perfect condition for sailfishing, with smoking current to the NE and clean blue water. It is the recipe we look for when targeting these guys, but they seem to be lacking in the quantity that we normally see this time of year. There have been a few caught here and there, but nothing like what we normally see. There are fish above us, and it is obvious that there is a gap in the fish, or they are pushing out deeper, but it is definitely a little strange…more like irritating! It will pass, and everything will get back to normal very soon I am sure, but in the meantime I am going to enjoy this great mahi bite we are having in December, as well as the wahoo, tuna, cobia, kings, muttons, groupers, and pretty much anything else you want! The best part of all of this is we have been catching all of this while waiting on sailfish bites! It has been an exciting past couple of days, as we caught more than 10 different species in two days while kite fishing and putting down a bottom rod while drifting. We created some incredible table fare and a lot of fun for my customers. The best part was they showed up with a list of fish that were on their “bucket list”, and it was pretty lengthy, but after day two (of three days of charters) I am happy to say it is complete!

The fishing is very good right now, even with the sailfishing being a little on the slow side. It is a blessing to have all of these fish to choose from, and the ability to make an incredible day of fishing right now is not that difficult. The trick to ensuring that you have this incredible day is to fish for what’s biting! The sailfishing is on the slow side…so what, go fish for what is biting until they pick up again. That is what we have been doing, and it has worked out quite nicely. There is a ton of bait in the area, and with a little luck anyone can fill bait well with enough to make the day. The weather for the weekend looks like it could be a little breezy for the smaller boats if it hits 15 knots, but the way the current is going, it should lay down pretty good. Good luck everyone, and give me a call if you need a trip or advice!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower Keys

Fair weather this week allowed anglers in the lower Florida Keys to go deep and get in to blackfin tuna, sails, and wahoo.

Most of the action is happening to the west of Sand Key Light and like always live bait is the bait of choice. Pilchard have become very tough to catch, so having some sabiki rigs to catch some ballyhoos or threadfin herring is a must.

The blackfin tunas are busting on schools of sardines on the surface and by casting small diamond jigs you can hook up, as well.

Inshore the reef patches are on fire with multiple species of snappers and groupers as well as porgies and mackerel. Live shrimp is my bait of choice for fishing the reef patches but small pinfish work well.

Cobias are also migrating through the area and can be found along the reefs and wrecks.

 www.pepescharters.com { (305) 304-0983 } captpepegonzalez@gmail.com