Florida Sportsman TV Season Seven
Tarpon exploding on acres of tiny minnows in brackish, dark-water bays: It looks like an instant hookup, but it’s not easy to fool those big fish. Watch Editor Jeff Weakley and Capt. Ralph Allen break the code onCharlotteHarbor, onFlorida’s lower Gulf Coast. Learn why lures sometimes trump live baits, what makes that water black, and why late-summer tarpon could be called “The Fish of a Thousand Cats.” In a Boatmanship Seminar, we reveal how you can protect your engine from the effects of ethanol fuel. Also, who needs circle hook jigs, anyway? You might, if you fish for reef fish on the Gulf Coast.
All-Water Drift Attack
If you only watch one offshore fishing how-to show this year, let this be the one. With Managing Editor David Conway and renowned Capt. Bouncer Smith of Miami, you’ll learn an all-water attack for offshore fishing: Don’t let a single chance to catch a fish pass you by setting up a drifting spread of up to nine lines—at once. For beginners in the blue water, it’s essential viewing, and for the experienced, Capt Bouncer has some great time—and money—saving techniques. In the Seminars, Capt Bouncer demonstrates the proper methods of leadering billfish and Blair Wickstrom investigates the growing popularity of speed jigging techniques.
“Everyone likes a party, and where I’m from, everyone likes to fish, so the idea of combining the two, party and fishing, sounds like the perfect business model,” commented Blair Wickstrom. Join Blair as he heads out of Hubbard’sMarinaon the west coast, aboard a partyboat, the common name for large charterboats willing to take groups fishing, all over the state. Whether you fish all the time or will be taking your first trip offshore, you’ll be accepted and have the opportunity to catch everything from snapper to grouper to kingfish to dolphin. Make it a party. And when it comes to cleaning your catch, don’t throw back some of the best parts, learn how to make the most of your catch with Editor David Conway as he shows you how to “really” clean your fish.
Catfish, the Ones You Want
They’re great eating, and they can grow to over 100 pounds! We’re targeting freshwater catfish this week, such as the monster flatheads that are invadingNorth Floridarivers. Editor Jeff Weakley visits a unique tournament, the Florida Catfish Classic on the Apalachicola, where there’s a bounty on those flatheads. Then, he settles in for some relaxing, down-home-style channel catfish action on beautifulBlueCypressLakenearVero Beach. North Florida,South Floridaand all points in between: A fish fry is always easy to come by. Fishing at night? Don’t miss our Boatmanship Seminars, as Sam Hudson and Blair Wickstrom showcase gear and tips for safe, enjoyable fishing and navigation.
Managing Editor David Conway joins members of two strong Florida fishing clubs, the Central Florida Offshore Anglers out of Orlando and the Florida Sport Fishing Association of Canaveral, for a crash course in trolling blue water out of Canaveral. Using information from the Florida Sportsman Forum, Mitch Roffers’ Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service and the combined help of club members, there’s a memorable day of catching: dolphin, wahoo, amberjack cobia and more. Also, Editor Jeff Weakley demonstrates new sonar technologies, and we visit a professional smokehouse for tips on smoking fish and meat at home.
Fish Filled Potholes
Whether you’re fishing new waters or your backyard the trick to being successful catching fish, is finding them. Come aboard with Blair Wickstrom and Capt. Phil Dugger in Gasparilla Sound as they begin their search in potholes, transition spots where the grass edge of a flat bumps up to a sandy, harder patch of bottom. Also, in this episode learn some secrets of using and storing scented baits with Editor Jeff Weakley and how to rig nature’s best bait, shrimp, with Editor Sam Hudson.
Easy Fun Fly Fishing
From backwater ponds to offshore reefs,Florida has exciting, unexpected opportunities for the fly fisherman. Using affordable gear and basic techniques, Jeff Weakley and FS fly fishing columnist Capt. Mike Conner reveal how to catch fish you can find almost anywhere around the state: Largemouth bass, seatrout, mackerel and yes, even amberjack! In the Seminars, Sam Hudson brings you details on getting rigged up with a basic fly fishing outfit. Plus, traveling with fishing rods of all types.
Spotlight on Snook
In the winter of 2010, snook populations suffered serious losses in the severest cold to descend on Florida in more than 30 years. How has it changed snook catch and bag limits on both Florida coasts? And what does the future hold for this revered sport fish. Head of the FWC/Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s Snook Research Program, Ron Taylor, gives us the answers. We’ll also go fishing with the scientists who get the answers from the fish: Jim Whittington and his team tag and implant snook with radio transmitters at the St. Lucie Inlet. Plus, we’ll drop in on the FWC meeting when the current snook regulations were developed. Sportsman Seminars cover good health practices for protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun, and Associate Editor Sam Hudson’s survey and review of landing nets.
Bank on Undercuts
Where swift tidal current meets tree-lined shores, you’ll find awesome habitat for all kinds of fish. Under a canopy of mangrove roots lurk snook, snapper, grouper and drum. How do you get at them with lures and baits? Editor Jeff Weakley joins Capt. Kevin Merritt to find out, somewhere in the mangrove wilderness down south of Naples. In the Seminars, a magic trick revealed, as David Conway rigs lures to swim backwards; meanwhile, Blair Wickstrom reviews important tips for safe trailering.
On the trail of the Mahi
There’s no better fish than dolphin, a.k.a. mahi-mahi, they’re fast growing, hard fighting, good eating and most importantly willing to eat just about anything that swims in front of it. All good things to an angler, except, dolphin are becoming harder to find in some areas. In this show Blair Wickstrom teams up with Don Hammond, and his dolphin tagging organization, to cover the best practices in tagging a dolphin, but also to go over the best practices in catching them. And when you do catch one, don’t miss bringing him aboard: Editor David Conway covers the best gaffing practices and Jeff Weakley the latest in high- speed reels.
Steinhatchee Summer Slam
Smack in the heart of the state,Florida’s Big Bend offers a chance at great grouper, big cobia and snapper of all sorts, plus one of Florida’s most fun water hunts: scalloping. Or how about all that in one day? In Steinhatchee, Managing Editor David Conway joins Capt. Brian Smith of Big Bend Charters to rack up a Steinhatchee slam. Learn tips on catching red grouper, effective scalloping, and smart strategy for the Big Bend’s offshore waters. Plus, publisher Blair Wickstrom looks at the latest boat-theft prevention devices, and we give you a few terrific recipes to savor the flavors of great Big Bend catch cooking.
At some point you’re going to be fishing an area you’re not familiar with. After you’ve narrowed down some of the likely spots: creek mouths, bridge pilings, oyster bars and other likely ambush spots the next question is what bait or lure to use. With so many types of baits at your disposal it pays to have a method to your madness when selecting what you tie on. Blair Wickstrom joins lure manufacturer- and world record- holder Patrick Sebile as they go through the process of finding out what works and what doesn’t. Also, when it comes to finding new fishing grounds, you need to have a road ready trailer, join FS staffer Jim Langone as he tunes up his rig.
Best of Florida Sportsman TV
Don’t miss the “Best Of” Florida Sportsman Television, where the pages of the popular magazine come to life. This year’s shows covered it all. “We fished inshore, on the flats and nearshore waters. We ventured offshore, trolling and bottom fishing. We fished for dolphin to catfish, yes catfish, the sweet kind. We fished on a partyboat and drop off the side of a boat in a party style activity, scalloping. Florida’s fisheries offer it all, if you’re not sampling it, you’re missing out,” said publisher Blair Wickstrom. If you enjoy Florida’s outdoors, you’ll love the highlights from Season seven of Florida Sportsman.
Florida Sportsman TV Season Eight
Show 1 - “The Treasure Coast”
Join Editor Jeff Weakley as we begin season eight of Florida Sportsman TV, the year we travel to the hottest fishing destinations in the state. We begin with a good one, the Treasure Coast, an appropriate name for the stretch of Florida’s Atlantic shores from Jupiter to Sebastian Inlet. Gold coins still wash ashore now and then, reminding us of the countless Spanish galleons which sank during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Today, anglers travel from all over seeking a different kind of treasure: Big snook, which spawn in area inlets. Sailfish, which are year-round but especially plentiful in winter. Monster tarpon. Spanish mackerel. Seatrout. And of course, big fish on the wrecks... including modern-day structures sunk to improve fish habitat.
In towns like Jupiter, Stuart, Fort Pierce and Vero Beach, there are good public boat ramps, waterfront inns catering to fishermen, tackle shops and first-rate guides. There are state park beaches, and many county-owned access points, for surf fishing.
Also fishing with Jeff will be Captain George Gozdz and Earl Bentz of Triton Boats, They’ll be fishing inshore for snook and trout, nearshore for tarpon and cobia and offshore for dolphin and tuna., all in the same day and the same boat. That’s fishing in the Treasure Coast. Join along.
Show 2 - “The First Coast”
In today’s show we’ll be fishing with Editor David Conway on Florida’s First Coast: from Fernandina Beach, down through big city Jacksonville, St. Augustine and the beaches of Marineland. Crossed by lakes, rivers, creeks, marshlands and inlets and bordered by some of the broadest beaches in Florida, the First Coast is second to none when it comes to fishing in Florida. This region of the state sees big tidal fluctuations--a 6 foot tidal swing is a lot of water moving through—and those big tides can dramatically transform a fishing spot in the course of a single day. Redfish are abundant, in the backcountry to the beaches, and the seatrout fishing—in the wild backwaters of marshlands right down to Jacksonville’s city docks—and the flounder fishing—some of the best in the state.
All along the First Coast there’s great pompano fishing on the beaches, something a family can do together. And you can’t forget the sheepshead fishing—something for those cold winter days. There’s striper fishing, shrimping in the rivers…it goes on and on. Offshore, it’s bottom fishing for big snapper and grouper and a run to the Ledge for dolphin, wahoo and sailfish. There are tarpon and kingfish and cobia on the beaches—almost everything that mainland Florida has is all here along the First Coast in its season.
Begin planning your trip by watching today’s show.
Show 3 -“The Emerald Coast”
In today’s show Editor Jeff Weakley will uncover the jewels of the Emerald Coast. This part of Florida is often called the Panhandle, because of its shape on a map. But it’s the exquisite color of the fish-filled waters that earns the name Emerald Coast. Out of Destin, Pensacola, Panama City and other towns, inshore anglers enjoy year-round action in the bays and passes: redfish, seatrout, flounder, even big grouper and snapper are caught inshore. Offshore, it’s a thrilling seasonal mix of warm-weather pelagics including dolphin, marlin and king mackerel, and resident snapper, grouper and AJs. And then there are Panhandle specialties: Sight-fishing spring run cobia; dropping for summertime red snapper, which many say is the most delicious fish of all.
There are lots of friendly folks up here. It’s the real south, as they say. Of course, the weather’s much different than south Florida. You can expect a real winter, even with occasional snow flurries, which you might mistake for that sugar-white sand on the beach. Just offshore, emerald water deepens to a tantalizing blue.
In today’s show Jeff will be joined by Jason Thunderkirk and Doug Perkerson, friends from Gulf Coast Boating Centers. Join along.
Show 4 - “Fishing the Sun Coast”
Publisher Blair Wickstrom explores the marvelous expanses of the Sun Coast, or as many simply refer to this week’s destination as Tampa Bay. This dynamic fishery covers the offshore and inshore action on the western side of Pinellas county, from Tarpon Springs south to the Skyway bridge and the entire Tampa Bay.
Whether you’re offshore minded and targeting the state’s best grouper fishing, or spring or fall kingfish runs or more shallow minded and focused on the miles of seagrass flats for seatrout, snook and redfish the Sun Coast has something for you.
Show 5 - “Key West”
Managing Editor David Conway travels to Key West to fish the reef, wrecks and patch reefs with Captain Pepe Gonzalez. There’s no end to the directions you can go for fish in Key West, a place that’s a stroke of geological genius—and a stroke of great fortune for anglers the world over. It’s a tiny island, about two miles by four miles long, at the end of an island chain, perched between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and dotted with wild backcountry keys and flats. To the west, too far to string a road along like the other Keys to the north and to Miami, are the Marquesas and the Dry Tortugas, incredible fishing destinations in their own right. But the mix of all these factors, the flow of the Gulf through the Keys, the relative lack of population for all this water, the coursing of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic just south of the island chain, all make for an unrivaled variety of fishing, a selection of species that changes with the seasons, a constantly refreshed vitality to the waters, and relatively light fishing pressure, all in a setting in a cool subtropical town just far enough away from the mainland to be an escape act all its own. Sure the town is touristy, but it’s fun. The fishing is a serious and as world class as you want to make it. We’ll see scenes of dropping for grouper in bottomless depths; jigging for tuna over offshore wrecks; plugging for cero mackerel on the nearshore reefs; and potluck fishing the famous Key West Harbor. It’s a can’t-miss, highly scenic episode, of keen interest to traveling anglers the world over.
Show 6 - "Lake Okeechobee"
Florida’s biggest and most famous lake is on a hot streak. So is Central Florida professional bass fisherman Bobby Lane. Editor Jeff Weakley joins Bobby for a day of scouting on Lake Okeechobee. They fish out of Harney Pond Canal, on the western shore of the 730-square-mile lake, and use a mix of tactics. Waiting for the winter sun to warm the waters, Jeff and Bobby try their hand at shiner fishing. The bass tournaments are strictly artificial lure-only, but drifting a live shiner is productive for visiting anglers hoping to catch the biggest bass of their lives. Later, Bobby takes Jeff on a wild ride through the cattails into Lake O’s famous Hayfields and hidden ponds, where fishing weedless soft-plastics is the way to hump up prespawn largemouths. The day ends with a trip to the north shore of the Lake, where we catch up on the crappie fishermen heading out for a night on the water. A local expert gives us the rundown on top tactics for bagging these great-eating panfish. The entire episode is colored with scenic images ofLake Okeechobeein perfect form: Herons, migratory ducks, healthy vegetation. Editor Jeff Weakley takes some time to explain the ups and downs of Florida’s Great Lake.
Show 7- “Boca Grande”
On this week’s episode of Florida Sportsman TV Blair Wickstrom will be fishing with Capt Phil Dugger in Boca Grande, FL, Spanish for Big Mouth, the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, one of the fishiest bodies of water in the state. Boca Grande pass in essence is the small end of the funnel, where if it swims in Charlotte Harbor, the big end of the funnel, you’ll likely see it in the pass as the tide turns out. Boca Grande isn’t an island, but the pass separating two islands, Gasparilla Island to the north and Cayo Costa to the South.
Tarpon have made Boca Grande Pass famous, and continue to do so with increasingly popular tournaments in the summer. But, it’s all the other species that swim thru, and near, the Pass such as redfish, trout and snook which bring us, and thousands of other anglers, to this South West Florida fishing and boating destination.
Show 8- “The Everglades”
On today’s show Publisher Blair Wickstrom will be fishing and camping with personal friends Kent Hughes and Mike Miller in the Everglades National Park.
There’s lodging in Chokoloskee, Everglades City and to the South right outside Flamingo in Homestead, but there’s no better way to see the Everglades than to camp there.
The prime camping months, really the only time you want to camp, is from mid-November to the end of March. Outside of these three to four months you want to be off the water and in your car when the sun goes down.
Once you begin to explore the countless mangrove islands, some claim 10,000, and begin casting to likely fish holding creek mouths, oyster bars and mangrove shorelines you’ll want to spend as much time on the water, as opposed to running back to a hotel as well.
For complete information on camping and fishing the Everglades National Park, including information on techniques, species, as well as guides and accommodations, visit www.floridasportsman.com, and check the South Region page.
Show 9 – “Islamorada”
The Sport Fishing Capital of the World has delivered on its promise over the years. We’ve filmed a number of TV shows in Islamorada, and produced dozens of magazine articles, all of them concentrating on different species and different waters accessible from the bustling village in the Upper Keys.
On our latest foray, Editor Jeff Weakley fishes with Florida Sportsman online fishing forecaster Capt. Juan Garcia. Garcia knows the ins and outs of the reefs on both sides of A1A, and on a cold winter day, he’s never far from a grouper hideyhole. We fish “out front,” on the Atlantic side, for a mixed bag of gag and black grouper, Spanish and king mackerel, and some of the wariest, best-eating of all the snappers: Big mangroves and the elusive hog snapper.
Light tackle is the name of the game for most all of Islamorada’s great fisheries, including sailfish and tarpon, but out on the deep blue, guys break out the heavy gear for swordfish. The Gulf side always has some great surprises, too, and we’ve got some great fishing stories to tell of past trips there.
As you’d expect in a destination with such a diverse, year-round fishery, Islamorada is famous for its marinas and accommodations. The whole town is built around recreational fishing. This year, we check out the new Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle, a fine place to spend the weekend with family or fishing buddies.
Show 10- “The Gold Coast"
In today’s show we’re getting a late start with plans for fishing into the night. Publisher Blair Wickstrom will be fishing with Capt Larry Simons and launching their boat from Haulover park at the north end of Biscayne Bay. From here there’s easy access to what's biting in Miami. For Blue water ocean action or quality deep water reef fishing you can hit the safe, and boat friendly, Haulover inlet, or you can stay inside and fish the grass flats, patch reefs or finger channels of Biscayne Bay via the Intercoastal waterway.
Don't let Miami's skyline or often bumper to bumper expressways deter you from scheduling a fishing trip to the state's largest city. The diversity of the people is equaled by the diversity of what you can catch.
The plan for this week’s show is to begin inshore, fishing northern Biscayne Bay for trout, then to head offshore to showcase Miami’s offshore action, and then to come back in to Government Cut, loaded with a few dozen live shrimp, to see if we can end the day with a some Gold Coast Silver, Silver Kings that is, Tarpon.
Show 11 – “The Nature Coast”
Florida’s Nature Coast stretches from Wakulla County to Hernando County on the west coast and includes the famous little fishing towns of Steinhatchee, Cedar Key, Homosassa and Crystal River. In that range you’ll find some of Florida’s most consistent redfish and seatrout fishing inshore, as well as top notch bottom fishing offshore.
Join Managing Editor David Conway on a tour of the Nature Coast’s wide array of fishing options as he fishes out of Homosassa with Kyle Pazian and Joe Blasco. They’ll be hard rock fishing on the limestone beds for trout and redfish. Other highlights include some of the state’s best red grouper fishing, plus a look at the Nature Coast’s unique scallop fishery.
Show 12-“The Space Coast”
Florida’s Space Coast, centered in Cape Canaveral, is blessed with wide beaches, good fishing and beautiful towns. The Space Coast range includes Mosquito Lagoon, one of the country’s most famous redfishing locations, as well as the Canaveral Bight—famous in its own right for east coast tarpon fishing. It’s virtually a rite of spring in these waters to chase cobia off the beaches, and the summer trolling season compares well with any location in Florida. Ride along with Managing Editor David Conway as he tours the Space Coast fishery, highlighting options for trolling offshore and bottom fishing wrecks for amberjack.
Show 13 - The Best of Florida’s Fishing, a Season’s Best”
Tune into this week’s show to see the best of the best. In one show we cover the best fishing the Fishingest state has to offer. From the Panhandle in Destin, south along the gulf coast to Homosassa Springs and the Nature’s Coast, south to Tampa and Clearwater of the Sun Coast, then down to Boca Grande and finally to the southern tip of the gulf fishing out of Chokolosskee in the Everglades National Park.
After showcasing the best inshore and offshore action the Gulf of Mexico has to offer we made two trips in the Keys, one in the southern most city in the country, Key West and a second stop in the self proclaimed Fishing Capital of the World, Islamorada.
After our Keys trips we headed up the Atlantic Coast beginning in the Gold Coast, the state’s largest city, Miami. Keeping with the Gold theme we then went north to the Treasure Coast, visiting Stuart, FL. Continuing on we then hit the Space Coast and finally ended the season long journey at the First Coast, fishing out of Fernandina Beach.