Sunday, August 31, 2008

Snook Season Opens At Midnight

Snook season opens tonight at midnight (September 1st) for all Florida waters. It will remain open until December 1st in the Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County (Florida Keys), and Everglades National Park. Atlantic waters remain open until December 15th.

Size and Bag Limits
Atlantic- You may not keep any snook less then 28" long, or more then 32" long.

Gulf, Monroe Co., Everglades Nat. Park- You may not keep any snook less then 28" long, or more then 33" long.

You may only keep 1 snook, per day, in any of Florida's waters.

Snook permit required when saltwater license required.
State regulations apply in federal waters. Illegal to buy or sell snook.
Snatch hooks and spearing prohibited

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Indian River Lagoon Gets Mullet Madness

Mullet Madness

As the tropical storm season wanes along the Atlantic coastal waters of Florida, we welcome September with its hot and humid days and then say farewell to the summer as September exits on the shoulders of a prevailing northeast wind. Shorter days, longer nights, and the prevailing shifts in the wind and swells all signal the end of summer, and the beginning of the season of the mullet.

Capt Myers with big redfishCaptain Chris Myer's Bait Buster Redfish

I'm often asked the question, "When is the best time to fish on the east coast of Florida?" and the answer has arrived with fall and mullet migration south. Like many of the 700 plus species of fish frequenting the Indian River Lagoon throughout the year, silver mullet gradually return to our estuaries in spring and then form up for a mass exodus south once the water begins to cool. As the bait schools begin to gather, larger predators also realize it is once again time to fatten up for the arrival of winter.

As schools of bait move through the Lagoon and out of the inlets, they seem to move south in pulses rather than in a continuous flow, so as always, locating bait is the key to success. Bait pods are easily located by watching for diving birds and fish working them on the surface just inside the breakers along the beach, and along the shorelines inside the estuaries. Predator species like snook, tarpon, redfish, bluefish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, sharks, and kingfish will be shadowing bait pods all along the beach. Once you've located the bait concentration, simply determine its direction of movement, usually south, and set up in front of it and let them come to you. Fall is also my preferred time of year to target tarpon and snook in the surf.

The beach snook run has already started with a few fish being caught, and the run will pick up substantially just in time for the September 1st opening of snook season on Florida's east coast. When fishing from the beach, I prefer using live finger mullet or mullet imitation lures, matching the run. Fish the very edge of the beach, just beyond the whitewater, and walk along the beach working your bait along in the direction of tidal flow. My live bait rigs consist of a #3 Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook, a one ounce barrel sinker, and a 24" section of 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader. I also prefer to use 20-pound test braided high-vis yellow Suffix line to improve sensitivity and avoid line twist. First, slide the barrel sinker onto the terminal end of your braided line, and then splice in the leader. The knot will allow the sinker to slide freely up the braided line keeping it off of the leader and the hook. This technique will allow your bait to cover more ground and help keeping it in the strike zone longer. Make sure your reel has the strength and line capacity to handle a large fish, so you don't get spooled.

In terms of lure selection we have all heard the term, "matching the hatch", well in this situation your success is better defined by "matching the run". With this said, Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka Florida has simplified maters by providing an established lure kit referred to as their "Mullet Madness Kit". The Mullet Madness Kit comes stocked with a selection of proven lure styles and colors utilized by their Pro Staff, which is available in store or can be ordered online. The kit comes complete with the following lures and hooks:

Mullet Madness Kit

Flambeau 4007 Tackle Tray
Rapala X-Rap Subwalker - Olive Green
Rapala Skitter Walk - Silver Mullet
Rapala Skitter Pup - Holographic
Rapala Skitter Pop - Mullet
Storm Chug Bug - Metallic Blue Mullet
D.O.A. Bait Buster - Silver Glitter/Black back
D.O.A. Bait Buster - Gold Glitter/Green
Pack of VMC Ref 7381 3/0 Circle Hooks

To purchase your own Mullet Madness lure kit, visit the Mosquito Creek Outdoors store in Apopka, Florida, or save gas and your time by ordering the kit or any of the featured lures online and have them shipped to your doorstep at .

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-366-8085 landline
407-416-1187 on the water
866-790-8081 toll free

Friday, August 29, 2008

Islands And Chanels Hold The Fish

Fishing Report Fort Pierce - Port St Lucie - Vero Beach - Jensen Beach
August 28, 2008

Don't expect that ground to dry up just yet.....looks like another storm is out there brewin' and could very well head this way again. The river is stained brown with all the runoff freshwater flooding all through the Treasure Coast. Finding clean water will be difficult for a while longer, but the fish have to eat and if you try different areas you can still be successful out on the river. In spite of water conditions, we enjoyed some great catching this week!

I had R J Swinford, Joe Senneville and Cory Sullivan on the boat this week and we went out in search of some fishing action in the Fort Pierce area. After trying several usually good areas, we finally found fish gathered along the mangroves in a deep cut of water. We never had to look for another spot that day. They guys caught twenty some short snook up to 24", four slot redfish up to 26" and a number of snapper to make for a great day of fishing. It was steady action once we found where the fish were lurking.

Cory caught three of the redfish himself, while R J boated the other one. They all shared in the snook and snapper action. Live pinfish and shrimp on popping corks helped locate our fishing spot and we finally called it a day when we used up all our bait and an afternoon storm was working towards us. Try around the islands and along the channel edges. Live shrimp and pinfish are working great for now. DOA TerrorEyz has also been good for artificials. Top water lures will be the choice lures at first light.

Snapper action continues to be good along the channel edges. Some up to 13 pounds have been reported this week north of Fort Pierce. Snook action around the spillways of Taylor Creek have been producing some good sized fish. The jetties have also been a good spot to fish for linesiders. Snook season will re-open on September 1st, so get prepared for a lot of anglers out at midnight Sunday night into Monday.

Tip of the Week:
Take a quick minute and check out your navigation light on the boat along with your trailer lights. A lot of anglers will be heading for the ramps Sunday night for the opening of snook season and the Labor Day Weekend. Make sure all your lights are in good working order to keep yourself and others safe with the additional boating traffic this weekend. Keep safe this weekend and good luck fishing!

As always, remember, fishing is not just another's an ADVENTURE!!

Good Fishing and Be Safe,

Captain Charlie Conner

(Captain Charlie Conner has been fishing the Indian River Lagoon for over twenty-five years. Specializing in light tackle fishing in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Jensen Beach, Stuart and Port St Lucie, Florida. His weekly South Indian River Lagoon Fishing Report gives you the latest inshore fishing information for the Treasure Coast area on the Indian River Lagoon.}

Panhandle fishing report 8-29-08

Report for 08/29/2008

Salt Water

MEXICO BEACH/PORT ST JOE OFFSHORE The King mackerel fishing is still the main target with a few caught off the buoy line and inshore wrecks on drone spoons and dusters. The bigger schools are at about 18 miles out with the hot spot still being the 30-mile buoy off Cape San Blas. Remember, the MBARA King Mackerel Tournament is re-scheduled for Saturday, September 13 and you can sign up here at Half Hitch Tackle, Port St. Joe location. Reports are sparse from last week due to in climate weather. However, they should pick back up as long as the weather keeps cooperating.

Offshore reports from the squiggles have some nice Wahoo, Dolphin, and Tuna being caught on Blue Islander skirts and Ballyhoo.

The redfish are really coming alive around the grass flats and sand bars with the area between Eagle Harbor and pompano point producing the most the last few days. Anchor up on a sand bar and catch the schooling reds on the outskirts of the thick grass on an outgoing tide.

The trout are mixed in with these schooling redfish. Top water and artificial baits are still catching nice trout and redfish in the early morning and late afternoon. Spanish mackerel are still around the bay in good numbers. A Christmas tree rig is still the best bet.

Tropical Storm Fay made fishing impossible for most of the week. Yesterday was the first day nice enough to really fish offshore. Therefore, the report has not changed from last week.

The Black Snapper bite has been very good as of late. These fish can be caught over most any of the in-shore wrecks and reefs. The key to catching them is to lighten up. Use 1 or 2 oz’s of lead, light wire 4/0 or 5/0 circle hooks, 30 or 40# fluorocarbon leader and live Cigar Minnows or Herring.

Red Snapper season is closed in Federal waters. The State Snapper season remains open within 9 miles from shore until November 1st.

Wahoo are still biting from 20 miles and further offshore. Look for weed lines or large clumps. High speed trollers are working well, as well as ballyhoo and large live baits.

Tarpon are running the beaches in schools. These fish are very wary and will spook easily. Get in front of the school or anchor and wait for the schools to come to you. Be very quiet and pitch live baits ahead of the lead fish.

King Mackerel are plentiful offshore and near shore. Trolling has picked up while most of the fish are being caught free-lining live baits.

The first picture is Keleigh with a nice redfish. The second picture is Brian Tally and Bryan Knowles with reds, all fish were caught off the jetties.

beautiful girl, big redfish

two guys with two reds

Trout are all over deep grass beds in all of the bays. Live alewives will produce better sized fish, while grubs and topwater plugs will yield the most strikes.

Redfish are spread out over the bay systems. On a high tide, the redfish will be laying up in the flooded Spartina Grass. Top water plugs, weedless jerk baits and gold spoons will take these fish out of the grass.

Bluefish, Spanish and Ladyfish are plentiful on all of the major points around St. Andrews Bay, the Middle Grounds, and Camel Back Shoals.

The pier is getting a few reds, blues, Spanish and hardtails. There we a couple kings and a bonita or two this week also.

The charter boats have been mainly targeting kings and snapper near shore. Offshore they are getting a few grouper and some amberjack. Some Wahoo and a few blackfin tuna near the edge.

We have not had any bluewater reports this week.

In the bay there is a good bite of reds and some black snapper near the bridges and jetties. A few trout near the 332 bridge area.

The weather looks good on Friday and Saturday for a change!!

Fishing for Pompano has slowed in the last couple of months. There have been some reports of an occasional fish caught. Best baits remain live or frozen sand fleas and live and frozen shrimp. There are a lot of Ladyfish (skipjack), Spanish mackerel and Bluefish to be caught. Bright spoons, Gotcha plugs and Straw Rigs will catch them. Live and frozen Shrimp will take them too. There is no shortage of sharks to catch on the beach, there have been a lot of reports of Bull, Blacktip and Spinner sharks caught using Bonito and Skipjack (ladyfish) for bait. September and October should be great months for surf fishing.

Trout remain on the grass flats in three to five feet of water. You can catch your biggest Trout early and late in the day on top water baits and on live baits. Live Shrimp, Tiger Minnows, Pinfish, Menhaden and Mullet all catch Trout. A host of artificial lures will catch them as well. Redfish can be caught on the same live baits and artificial lures. Skipjack, Jack Crevalle, Bluefish, Spanish mackerel and Flounder can all be caught in the bay this time of year.

There have been some good reports of King Mackerel and Spanish mackerel caught right off the beach in the last few weeks. Live Cigar Minnows and Blue Runners (hard tails) are the bait of choice. Jack Crevalle has also been caught while fishing for King and Spanish mackerel. The big Redfish have begun to show up in the pass. Jigs, cut bait and live bait all take these fish. You may encounter a slot Red while fishing, but be sure to put the big ones back. I have heard of Cobia being caught on the inshore reefs with some consistency. Use live baits or jigs to catch them.

The bottom fishing for Snapper and Grouper remains very good. Live bait and frozen bait will work on both. Don’t be surprised if an Amberjack shows up, especially if you are jigging with Butterfly jigs or fishing with live Hardtails. Black Snapper (Mangrove) have been on all the reefs this year. Use live shrimp and live Tiger Minnows. However, they will eat the same baits as Red Snapper.

Remember that Federal waters are closed to Red Snapper but State waters (within 9 miles) remain open. I have had some good reports of Yellowfin Tuna being caught around the offshore oil platforms. Most anglers are trolling, jigging or chumming. Look for weedlines and floating debris if you are interested in catching some Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and other species.

Fresh Water
The largemouths are at the tributaries and hitting spinner baits regularly. For the big boys, fish wild shiners along the grass lines, or if you want to use an artificial, try shallow running jerk baits and topwater along the shore. Shell cracker and Bluegill bite is going strong this summer.

Half Hitch Tackle
2206 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

Fishing Report prepared by Half Hitch Tackle Staff.

The Captains Corner Fishing Report is provided by local charter captains and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Half Hitch Tackle.

This report is dedicated to the memory of Al Hubbard.
Al Hubbard was a field editor for Florida Sportsman magazine, an outdoor writer for the News Herald and a board member of the Florida Outdoor Writer's Association.
Mr. Hubbard was also the owner of Al's Outdoors Outfitting Services.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Apalachicola Reds Go Crazy For Shrimp

Robinson Brothers Logo
According to Bayfishing Captains Jr. & Tommy Holland, you can't throw a cast net right now for all the June Grass in the water. This is a GOOD thing (I learn something new every day) because evidently shrimp are raised in June Grass. So the mathmatical equation is Lots of June Grass equals Lots of Shrimp which results in Lots of FISH that feed on white shrimp. And, hint hint, the shrimpers are pretty happy right now.

boy with redfish9 year old David Aughtry caught this redfish with Capt. Chris 8/17/08

Exerpt from the fishing diary of Capt. Chris Robinson - 8/20/08
I went out for 2 hours on the low tide today in my marsh boat and was very surprised to see the number of shrimp hopping in 2-6 inches of water. It was crazy. The reds were feeding like mad on them, luckily I brought my fly rod along and caught eleven that were 4-7lbs. I think having a little more rain in the area has helped the bay shrimp. Many people think the best redfishing is in October but it's already happening right now on the right tide. The next 3 months should be great.

Fishing Forecast:
During the first part of September we normally experience summertime conditions (Hot & Muggy) that continue on until the 3rd or 4th week when we finally get that first slightly cooler night, and that first marginally less humid morning. Can't wait, can you? This is normally the time during which all hell breaks loose as the fall migration of white shrimp pour in followed by all the different species of fish that eat them, thereby causing fishermen everywhere to load up into their boats or hire guides and hit the water. Want to fish inshore & catch Redfish and speckled trout? Then definitely plan to fish from now through Thanksgiving or possibly even until Christmas if we have a mild season. Feeling more like Grouper & Snapper in big water? Come on & go ASAP before the offshore captains turn in for the winter.

Capt. Tommy Robinson heads south to the Lower Keys next week to fish for Permit for the next 2 months. He has a few 3-day weekends still open if you're interested in hooking up. Fantasy Fest & Fishing - what a combination!

Got drawn for a St. Vincent Hunt? Looks like the going rate for a boat ride with a licensed captain is up to $100 per person round trip. Several of our captains are available for this service. Don't forget to bring your waders!

Local items of interest:
The Water Street Hotel is celebrating their 1 year anniversary the weekend of Sept. 5th & 6th - check them out! Journeys of St. George Island is holding a Free Kayak Demo Day this Saturday August 30th from 10-3 at the SGI State Park Youth Camp. They are also selling off this seasons rental kayaks at great prices. To see what really swims in the Gulf of Mexico, if you are in the area be sure to stop by the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Panacea or check out their website Eco-Tours may be available soon.
Have a safe & pleasant holiday!

Kathy Robinson
Robinson Brothers Guide Service
118 Commerce St.
Apalachicola, FL 32320

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Late Summer Reds, Snook, Trout

Storm Aside, Fish Still Biting



Hello everyone. I hope you are having a good summer. It's been a while between reports, I know. There hasn't been a whole lot of changes over the last month. The rain has chased a lot of us off the water early or not even given us a chance to get the boat in. The clearer days have been successful though. The temps are very consistent and the moon phases have definitely played a major role in our success. Tropical Storm Fay has put a damper on this weeks trips, but will hopefully make up her mind and move on out. Here is a summary of what's going on out here.
This late in the summer is usually when the Tarpon begin move offshore to spawn, then make their way back to the South. So, we focus on Redfish and Snook with a few Trout mixed in. Frankly, the Redfishing has been the best of the three, especially around the full and new. Leading up the moon, we see the schools gathering on the flats and moving into the mangroves on the high tides. Pinfish has been my bait of choice, freelined as far into the trees as you can skip them. Cut bait works well also when the bait slows a bit. The bloody scent will sometimes draw them back to your area for a few more hook ups. The bite slows down after the moon phase passes, but there are opportunities if you move around some.
Snook are moving around a lot and aren't as reliable as they were earlier in the season. The west winds has prevented us from the beach fishing that can be so productive this time of year, so until they begin their trek to the back country we will need some cooperation from mother nature. There are some Snook already inshore around the spoil islands and the usual cuts off of the flats. Live sardines are getting hit when the tides are moving well.
Trout are still on the grass flats with moving water in the 3 - 6 foot range. They are on the small side but with some persistence, you can find a few sandy holes holding some larger ones.
I am getting a lot of calls for September. This is a transitional month that will see the Redfish populations growing as they prepare for their spawn through the fall. The Snook will begin to eat better after the normal break they take following their own spawn season.
Don't hesitate to call for a booking. You can't catch a fish from the couch.

Capt. Brian

Capt. Brian Caudill

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sarasota Deep Grass, Pilings Hold Fish

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 8/11 through 8/16/2008

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with snook, tarpon and trout during the week of August 11. The best action continues to be on deep grass flats with a variety of species including trout, bluefish and mangrove snapper. We also had action fishing lighted docks for snook before dawn and large tarpon around bridges and on the flats after daylight.

Charlie and Linda Alexander, from Osprey, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We had steady action with trout to 4 ½ pounds and bluefish on DOA Deadly combos, CAL jigs and Clouser flies along the west side of Sarasota Bay near Buttonwood Harbor and Long Bar.

A couple of other fly fishing trips later in the week produced tarpon and snook. After a 4-hour trip on Wednesday morning, I scouted Sarasota Bay and found tarpon feeding on glass minnows that they had balled up around bridge pilings. I jumped a pair of 75-pound tarpon on my Snook Minnow (a.k.a. Grassett’s Grass Minnow). I tie this fly on a 1/0 owner AKI hook, instead of the normal Mustad 34007 #4 hook, when I throw it at larger fish.

Montana fly fishing guide, Harrison King from Bozeman, MT, fished with me on Friday. We fished lighted docks on the north end of Siesta Key before dawn and he landed several snook, including a 28” fish, on my Grassett’s Snook Minnow. We headed for the tarpon that I had located on Wednesday at dawn and found them crushing glass minnows around bridge pilings. It required finesse and timing to connect with them, but Harrison was up to the challenge. I had him drop his fly in the fray when tarpon busted glass minnows at the surface and a fish inhaled his fly the instant it touched the water! After a 45-minute battle, including numerous jumps, Harrison had the estimated 60 to 70-pound tarpon alongside the boat. Great job!

This type of action should continue into September. There should also be good action with schooling reds in lower Tampa Bay, north Sarasota Bay and Gasparilla Sound and with tarpon of all sizes in upper Charlotte Harbor.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail and

eldery couple with large spoted sea trout

Linda and Charlie Alexander, with a 4 1/2-pound trout, caught and released in Sarasota Bay near Long Bar on a DOA Deadly Combo while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.

Harrison King, from Bozeman, MT, with a 28" snook caught and released with a Grassett's Snook Minnow fly while fishing north Siesta Key docks with Capt. Rick Grassett.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Eco-Fishing Community Meeting

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2008 11:09 AM
Subject: Florida Eco-Fishing Councils Hosts Second Community Forum

Carol Cross, Coordinator

Florida Eco-Fishing Special Advisory Council FEFAC
Soccer for Life, Inc
P O Box 381305
Miami, FL 33238

Re: Second Meeting of Florida Eco-Fishing Special Advisory Council FEFAC

Dear Member of FLorida's Fishing Community

I cordially invite you to attend the Second Florida Eco-Fishing Special Advisory Council Community
Forum to be held August 27, 2008 from 6:30 P.M - 9:00 P.M. at
Bass ProShop, 200 Gulfstream Way, Dania, Fl 33004.
This free conservation oriented, membership organization is designed to provide a forum, a meeting
place for all Floridians who are coping with two needs in Florida. One need is to find positive,
life affirming activities for Florida children so they develop a sense of ownership. The second need
is to preserve the environment of Florida. The children of Florida today must gain a sense of love
and responsibility for the preservation of our beautiful state, especially our water and fish

The first meeting was held on July 30, 2008. The major problems discussed at the first meeting
Mercury contamination in fish
Fish stocks down from over fishing.
The Everglades is losing ground to urban sprawl
High cost of fuels making boating and fishing nonviable
Lowered fish stocks
Fish closures
Shorter seasons
Bag limits
Monofilament line killing wildlife.
People are not using dehookers and deflators
People are not practicing catch and release
Oil pollution of waterways from boat fuel carelessness
Lack of shoreline cleanup
Lack of enforcement of licenses and limits
Lack of certification program

100 percent of the members felt that the following problems were important

Using deflators and dehookers
Using circle hooks
Restocking the marine environment
Teaching and mentoring youth
Bag and slot limits
Turtle conservation
Catch monitoring
shoreline restoration
Regulation of pesticides

At the next meeting we will discuss some solutions to the problems opened up at the last meeting.
In addition we will brainstorm on innovative methods for solving these problems.

I would like to request that your office support this forum by sending a representative and/or
offering a letter of support for this outreach. If all Floridians work together, we can maintain our
environment, indeed restock our fisheries and develop sustainable methods for sport fishing and
tourism in our state. We can bring up our children with an understanding and appreciation for the
tremendous wealth of fishery resources we have in Florida. At the same time they will learn to
protect and sustain them.

To support Floridians as they make this transformation, we have put up several websites about FEFAC
and the forum:
1. FEFAC Core Page -

2. Letter to elected officials
3. 2008 Brochure
4. Invitation ot the Forum
5. Invitation to FEFAC=
6. Letter for Teachers
7. FEFAC Agenda August 2008
8. How Florida Can Become A Leader
9. A Multidisciplinary Approach To
Florida's Fish Crisis
10..Turning The Page To The New
Florida Fishing World
11. Printable invitation to FEFAC

12. Print Your Own Ticket To the Forum

Email to for tickets or stop by the OutdoorTravelers kiosk. The
address of Bass ProShop is 200 Gulfstream Way, Dania, Fl 33004. To support all Floridians as we
make this transformation, we have put up several websites about FEFAC and the forum. Call 786-507
-1555 for more information

Captain Mike Locklear

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay's Fury

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report

By: Captain Tom Van Horn

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

I've got that squally feeling again. You know, it's the same feeling that draws us to the ocean's edge to witness Mother Nature's fury, strength and wonder first hand. It's the warm tropical wind in your face and the thick salt spray filling your lungs. The storm's fury is hard to describe, but its magnetic attraction also draws family, friends, and even strangers closer together compelling us to forget our mundane lives and focus on the think that are important, and teaches use not to take life for granted.

Fay's Furay on the Banana River Lagoon

If you haven't heard, Summer Squall Fay has settled in on Florida, dumping over 20 inches of rain on the Indian River Lagoon Coast in three days, and at this moment driving tropical rains are pounding at my window, with as much as another 2 inched predicted today as she moves northwest across the state. The ditches and retention ponds are full, and the lagoon water levels have increased by at least a 2 feet, so it hard to say how the additional fresh water will effect fishing over the next few weeks.

In regards to fishing, between the boat show, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and Tropical Storm Fay, I haven't had a chance to fish all week, so I've included several other fishing reports for your entertainment. I did manage to find a few walking catfish wondering about enjoying the damp conditions.

Catfish on a Walk-about

As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

407-366-8085 landline
407-416-1187 on the water
866-790-8081 toll free

Book a charter, and let's go fishing.

Visit for all of your outdoor adventure needs, its Where the Adventure Begins

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fay,Fay, GO AWAY!

August 20, 2008
Filed under: Ship's Log — Captain Ned Small @ 3:25 pm

The high tide flooded the streets of Everglades, there are a lot of palm fronds and limbs in the road, the usual rush of rainwater, blocked drainage and tide, we’re used to this and it’s no big deal but I hope you folks a little north of us are alright, the amount of rain falling up there is unbelievable. Couple that with a stalled tropical storm and an erratic trajectory, …well, I’m not sure anyone knows where this will end and we’re not unpacking anything just yet. It’s always a major, communal effort to prepare for these storms, all the feuds are put aside in the onslaught of a hurricane, we help each other in the hope that we can get by this and renew the animosity a few miles down the road.

I haven’t seen one quite like this, even though it remains “tropical,” she wants to lay over Florida until she’s damn well ready to let go. A little stretch over the Atlantic, intensifying, maybe back on shore, maybe crossing north Florida and back into the Gulf, maybe she’ll swing south again and hit Everglades one more time. A few of us were taking bets on the exact point of landfall when she was coming across Cuba, we were reasonably sure that it couldn’t develop and it was kind of fun, now all bets are off the table.

Most hurricanes, by the time they hit Florida are moving pretty fast, not Fay. She wants to drill around the peninsula, maybe taking a couple of sortes off shore to build up strength and then come charging back in, we’re safe for the moment but there is a high degree of tension in the City.

Captain Ned Small
All photos are the exclusive property of Capt. Ned Small

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clean Water Will Be Key After The Storm

Tropical storm Fay is currently sitting on top of the Mosquito Lagoon as it moves ever so slowly northward. The storm has kept me off the water for the past two days and things are not looking good for the rest of the week. As of right now, the water level in the Lagoon has risen nearly a foot in the past couple days. The fishing outlook for the coming weeks is anyone's guess.

I took my own fishing vacation at the beginning of the month to Stuart, Florida. My wife and I caught a variety of fish including tarpon, snook, snapper, and flounder. The DOA Baitbuster, holographic shrimp, and TerrorEyz were the most productive lures.

tarpon boat side


woman with big flounder

Last week, it was back to the Mosquito Lagoon. We experienced some unseasonably windy weather on both trips. Wednesday, Doug and Chris hoped to do some fly fishing but the high winds quickly changed their mind. They caught some nice trout on the stark naked CAL as well as plenty of smaller trout on jigs. One black drum was landed but the redfish managed to escape capture. The cloudy skies made it tough to see them before it was too late.

Captain with trout

man with big trout

Friday, I was joined by brothers Pete and Charlie for their first saltwater flats fishing trip. We started the day looking for tarpon. We saw a few and had some shots but no bites. Both brothers caught some big trout on the 5 inch CALs with a Woodies Rattle.

big trout

spoted sea trout
The high water had the redfish scattered but we did manage to find a few. Again, the sight fishing conditions were tough but Charlie threw to a couple redfish and watched this one inhale his CAL.

man with redfish

If the water levels remain high, the redfish will certainly push well into the back country. Finding them may require a bit of searching. Finding shallow clean water will be the key. Locate areas of fresh water runoff and you will likely find a variety of fish waiting to eat the bait that is being flushed out. Small tarpon and snook will be there along with ladyfish, jacks, redfish, and trout. Throw a holographic DOA shrimp up current and slowly work it back for best results.

Tip of the Week - Keep a Tight Line
Most of the artificial lures we use require the angler to impart some sort of life into them. This is commonly done by twitching the lure one or more times with the rod tip and the allowing the lure to fall. It is often while the lure is falling that the fish strike. Failure to have a tight line at all times is one of the most common reasons for missing strikes. After a short lift or twitch of the rod tip, keep the rod in that position and drop it slowly as you reel up the slack. When done properly, the line from the rod tip to the lure will remain taught. This will ensure that you will feel the bite and are able to set the hook immediately. The most common mistake is to drop the rod tip immediately after lifting it and then picking up the slack. This will lead to missed hook sets and is a main cause of knots forming in braided line.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

Save $25-50
Mention this coupn to receive $50 off a full day charter or $25 off a half day trip during the month of September. Offer valid Monday - Friday only for up to 2 anglers.

Offer Expires: Enter September 30, 2008

N.E. Florida Fishing Report 8-21-08

Ahoy there Anglers,


NMFS extended the comment period on the proposed rule to establish the National Saltwater Angler Registry Program. NMFS received a request from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to extend the deadline beyond its 60-day comment period until a date following the Council's August 11-15 meeting. The extension of the comment period for ten days allowed the Council to adopt comments during its meeting and to submit them before the comment period closes, and allowed other interested parties additional time to submit comments. The comment deadline was extended from August 11, 2008, to August 21, 2008.

Now let's see how much this will cost us to register to fish in saltwater each year. I thought a fishing license was registering to fish but nooooo. Someone needs more money.


NMFS extends the public comment period on the proposed rule to revise National Standard 1 (NS1) guidelines, including guidance on how to comply with new annual catch limit (ACL) and accountability measures (AM) requirements for ending overfishing of fisheries managed by federal fishery management plans. NMFS has received various requests to extend the comment period for the proposed rule beyond its current 90-day comment period. The extension of the comment period for another two weeks is intended to ensure that NMFS provides adequate time for various stakeholders and members of the public to comment on the proposed guidance on ACLs and AMs and other proposed revisions to the NS1 guidelines. The comment period ending date is extended from September 8, 2008, to September 22, 2008.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 22, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by 0648-AV60, by any of the following methods:

Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking portal:;

Fax: 301-713-1193, Attn: Mark Millikin;

Mail: Mark R. Millikin, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13357, Silver Spring, MD 20910
(mark outside of envelope ``Comments on Annual Catch Limits proposed rule'');

Boat Anglers Avoid Federal Regulation, Big Fines.
You could have been slapped with a $32,500 fine... all for just running your bilge pump. Or letting rain run-off your boat, or pumping water from your livewell. Luckily, that shipwreck has been averted thanks to a government act that, well, disregards a government act.
In 2006, a federal judge's ruling lumped fishing boats in with commercial vessels which must follow strict rules about water discharge. Commercial vessels must get special permits and are subject to an incredible number of regulations about water-based liquids from their rigs for the purposes of pollution control. It would have also required water treatment plants on board to treat ANY discharged water from inside your boat and even the cooling water going through your engine.
If a vessel fails to meet such a rule, it faces a fine up to $32,500 per day. And the way things stood, so would your small inshore boat starting Sept. 30, if you didn't go through the process of getting a permit. But President George W. Bush recently signed the The Clean Boating Act of 2008 (S. 2766) into law, which re-established the fact that small boats are free from such stringent regulations.
Now you can e-mail your friends the coast is clear. And by the way, 39 congressmen co-sponsored the bill... which proves Washington isn't totally void of common sense.
Thanks to all who wrote the politicians to get this done. Now we only have a two year moratorium on this bill so be sure to look for it coming back up in the forefront soon. We'll have to continue the fight for common sense when it does.

Well, here we are at the turn of the season again. When it gets into July and August then I just can't wait until September and the cooler water temperatures and then, oh boy, October! October is the time I look forward to each and every year. October and November are a couple of the best redfish fishing months, spotted trout seem to be hungrier, the black drum become more numerous, the whiting bite becomes better and of course my winter-time favorite the sheepshead will be firing up! Are we there yet? I can't wait!

Redfish are hitting better than they were last month and that is usual. Good catches of slot-sized reds along with the few oversized ones in the creeks as a bonus of fun on light tackle. Try top waters as the water temperatures cool down. My favorites are MirrOlure's Top Pups and Top Dog Jr.'s, Rapala's Skitter Walks and of course my ol' faithful the Super Spook Jr.'s. Try the Bomber Long A's for some great spotted trout action. Flounder are cooperating better this year so I bet this year's 'fall-flounder-run' is going to be a blast. Jacks and ladyfish are fun on light tackle. It doesn't always have to be fish that you take home. Have some fun with these species with lures on light tackle. There have been some great tarpon from 30 to 50 pounds in Clapboard Creek, Cedar Creek and a few others and also a few in the Intracoastal Waterway. Nice sized mangrove snappers have shown up better this year and they are some great eating fish.

Bull redfish, blacktip, nurse and bonnet head sharks are still at the jetties as usual and there have been a few bull sharks still hanging around and that's pretty uncommon for this time of the year. Whiting in the sandier areas along with some nice sized yellow mouth trout. Black drum are still at the rocks and that's as unusual as they are in the St. Johns River also this time of the year. Tarpon are being spotted at the tip of the rocks as well as along the sides of the rocks on the turn of the outgoing tides. Larger jacks and small bluefish are also in the areas either side of the rocks. A few flounder here and there inside as well as outside the rocks. Mangrove snapper are biting usually on the inside of the rocks.

Bull redfish are the most fun in the St. Johns River right now. Redfish to 50 pounds are being caught regularly again but some schools hold the 29" to 36" ones. Flounder are being caught at rock banks and at grass lines when the tides are higher. Spotted trout have shown back up better since we're getting quite a bit of rain South of us again. Tiny croakers are being caught by the hundreds and I've seen a lot of people keeping a bunch of these tiny fish. People, please let the majority of these fish grow up to at least the spawning size so we don't have another species overfished to the point of having limits imposed on these also. They'll be spawning in September and October and releasing their eggs to flow back South down the St. Johns River for next year's batch. This year's mangrove snapper have been nice size ones and not real hard to locate. Whiting are not as thick as they should be for this time of the year and try using cut bait for larger yellow mouth trout.

Spotted trout, redfish, flounder and black drum are what's happening best in the Cove. A few whiting and yellow mouth trout are in some of the areas but mostly seem to be smaller than in the main river. Jacks and ladyfish does not seem to be as numerous as they should be either. A few tarpon in the Cover but they just don't seem to want to bite anything. Bluefish are a nuisance when you get into them in there.

Whiting and a few pompano are being caught in the surf now. The pompano are a bonus when you catch a few as they're not normal fare for this time of the year. Bluefish are a nuisance while surf fishing too. Kingfish are still being caught right on the Jax. Beach Pier along with hooking up a tarpon or two so you have a chance tying into one of those monsters while surf fishing also. Rick from Rick's Bait & Tackle told me that they have seen a lot of sheepshead around the pilings at the Pier now but when bait is put down in front of them there has been no takers yet.

My good friend Captain Chad Starling of tells me kingfish continue to be the offshore staple. The pogies seem to be showing up now and then and kingfish love them. You just have to check up and down the beach when you get out there. Trollers can also expect barracuda, sharks, and bonita. Bottom fishermen can expect red snapper, vermillion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, sharks, some grouper, and amberjack around structure and ledges. A few sailfish are being caught now also. The fish are still biting so get out there and catch your limit!

Let's ALL remember to keep our trash secured in our boats. All of us can help keep Northeast Florida's waterways clean. Whether you're inshore or offshore, WE can make a difference!

You can say what you want about the South but,
you never hear of anyone retiring and moving up North,,,

Captain Vic Tison
Co-Host of WOKV's 'Just Fishing' Radio Show, Saturdays 6:00am to 8:00am
United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain
International Game Fish Assoc. Certified Captain
Regional Director for the Florida Guides Assoc.
Member of the National Assoc. of Charterboat Operators
Member of the American Professional Captain's Association
Sponsor of The Inshore Saltwater Anglers Club

Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc.
P O Box 28208
Jax., Fl. 32226
Web Site

Neither Captain Vic nor Vic2Fish & Adventures, Inc. claims any responsibility for any injury or loss of property arising out of any party using these Fishing Reports.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Snapper Save Summer

Fishing Report
Fort Pierce - Port St Lucie - Vero Beach - Jensen Beach

August 14, 2008

It's great to live and fish along the Treasure Coast! Fishing was a little on the slow side this week, but we had fun out there on the water anyway. Early mornings continue to hold the best opportunities for fishing. The weather has been fantastic if you get out and back before the afternoon storms roll into the area. Continued summer patterns will give you the opportunity to have some great fishing weather.

Fishing was on the slow side out there this week. Redfish were on the flats one day and disappeared the next. Trout fishing has remained on the slow side. The summer doldrums have really kicked in! We did manage some short snook on several days around the mangroves and docks. Kimberly Kolz caught hers from under a dock in Fort Pierce, while Adrian Lusardi lost a couple nice hits at the same dock. There was a definite lack of bait around the flats. Most of the anglers fishing this week were after snapper along the channel edges. I had several good reports of nice sized snapper from under some of the docks and north along the channel at Harbor Branch. The southerly winds kept us from enjoying fishing south of Fort Pierce on some of the days we were out this week.

Bridges have had some snapper, sheephead and a few reports of flounder. The jetties at night have continued to hold snook, jacks and tarpon. I had a few good reports of pompano along some of the beach areas on shrimp or sand fleas. Brennan Smith was out one day and caught several nice kingfish right along the beach. Live bait is the best way to catch them right now.

Tip of the Week: Snook season is fast approaching! It's that time of year to break out the trusty ol' snook gear and make sure it is armed and ready for action. Checking line, rods and reels are essential to being prepared for that opening night. It pays to get things ready now so you won't be running around crazily trying to get prepared. Oh....and it's also a good idea to check that snook permit and make sure it's still good. Have fun this snook season!

As always, remember, fishing is not just another's an ADVENTURE!!

Good Fishing and Be Safe,

Captain Charlie Conner

(Captain Charlie Conner has been fishing the Indian River Lagoon for over twenty-five years. Specializing in light tackle fishing in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Jensen Beach, Stuart and Port St Lucie, Florida. His weekly South Indian River Lagoon Fishing Report gives you the latest inshore fishing information for the Treasure Coast area on the Indian River Lagoon.}

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Everglades Fishing Adventures

August 18, 2008
The fey, Fay.
Filed under: Ship's Log — Captain Ned Small @ 5:42 pm

everglades thunderhead

After two days of wrangling all the gear into compact masses, we took the empty trash container and filled it with buckets of boat wax and chain saw oil, battery chargers and the odd anvil for weight, lashed it to the pilons under the house along with the skiff, (tied nine ways sideways,) and all the other miscellaneous ephemera from under the house, filled the few remaining boats we couldn’t tie down with water and cement blocks, got the generator into operating position and inflated it’s tires, lashed down a few skiffs at Ted’s on Chokoloskee, trailereed Vicki’s golf cart to high ground, tried to buy a flashlight at the hardware store, (none left,) and made sure the Florida Panthers had one last meal, there’s nothing left but to sit back and watch the show. The cats are in the rafters, under the deck and in the engine compartment of my truck. Don’t try this at home!

August 9, 2008
Filed under: Ship's Log — Captain Ned Small @ 4:59 pm

Captain John Stark and I went on a reconnaissance mission yesterday morning. We left my dock way before daylight and in the absence of the moon, we had to creep along in the darkness. We ran the ditch behind the Chokoloskee causeway and by the time the sky was showing the slightest light of dawn we were through Hurdles and flying south across Sunday Bay and into the backcountry. Our objective was a tarpon search, there was no wind at all and the water was mirror smooth, when the conditions are that smooth, and all boundaries are indistinct, it feels more like flying than anything else.

The first few spots we checked weren’t showing any fish but as we pushed further south we began to see a few tarpon, a couple of nice ones in a spot John had seen them in before, nice easy rollers about eighty pounds. But we were looking for something more substantial, we were hoping for a big school, a wad, a bunch that we could really work over and we pushed on.

We stopped in one spot a few minutes later and immediately saw skipping baits and the unmistakable signs of feeding snook. We broke out the light rods and the small flies and before we left that lake we landed probably twenty snook between 17 and 25 inches and two, jet black, spotted sea trout!

It was tempting to stay and enjoy the fun, but we were on a mission and decided to move on. We checked a lot of water without much success and as the morning waned and we were losing hope we began to steer for the Gulf and a straight shot back to Everglades. When you’re searching for something it seems you always find it in the last place you look and so it was for us. Tarpon, lots of them, rolling in the stillwater of upper Lostmans River. We spent a couple of hours messing with those fish and finally got one in the air, a sixty pounder that took one of my Black Voodoo flies, ‘tarpon on fly, Everglades style!’

When we got back to the dock the tripmeter was approaching eighty miles, we were sunburnt, wasted from the heat, and already planning our next recon!

August 2, 2008
It’s hot
Filed under: Ship's Log — Captain Ned Small @ 5:54 pm

Gulf temperatures are approaching 90 degrees, there is a lot of rain and blackwater is pouring out of the Everglades. Couple that with a five foot new moon tide and you have flood conditions on the flats, and in places, with all the blackwater and heat, you have to question the relative levels of oxygen in the water. There is bait though, in very specific places, lots of it, but for the past few days we haven’t seen many reds or snook on them. Tarpon however, love this and there are lots of tadpoles rolling in all the right places. This is not unusual for the ‘Glades in the summer and it can change rapidly, already we’ve had a couple of rainless days here this week, if we get an off shore wind, things (salinity,) could change in a hurry bringing the snook back in.

After a couple of years of relative drought we need the water. Sheet flow in the Everglades means good nursery habitat for juvenile fish and maybe we can hope for an upturn in snook and tarpon numbers a few years down the road.

Gov. Charlie Crist, on behalf of the State of Florida has made an agreement with Big Sugar to buy back a significant portion of the land south of Okeechobee, if I understand it correctly, 187,000 acres, roughly half of all the Florida cane fields. The impact this would have if incorporated into the Everglades Restoration Plan would be phenomenal, it could become the cornerstone of the whole process, it would be a huge step toward restoring sheetwater to Shark River Slough and Florida Bay. See,

Captain Ned Small
All photos are the exclusive property of Capt. Ned Small

Largest Tarpon On Fly?

Capt. Mike Locklear
August 19, 2008
Homosassa - Saltwater Fishing Report

Peter Moyer

Folks this story is about the "world's largest tarpon ever caught on the fly rod." There are not words to describe the passion that overwhelms a tarpon angler. They are truly "junkies". The setting is Peter Moyer and Mike Locklear together pursuing the greatest sport ever tried on a fly rod with [8kg. tippet] on a 10-weight fly rod. Below are some raw quotes from us via e-mail.

[Moyer]: Thanks for the photos. I especially like the up close subsurface photo. The colors are great, and you get an idea of the size of that huge fish.


[Capt. Mike - To: King] Included are a couple of photos. A tremendous fish. Yes releasing her was far more exciting than any other way. Peter had her controlled to the point of gaffing her. Later that evening after the fish was caught, I found that my lip gaff was inside the bow hatch and my tape was in the white box I carry. I really thought I had neither but it is not a big deal to us anyway. I feel either way she would have died had we not let her go when we did. Measuring her is just not a good idea because you have to lift her head and while she is subdued, wrap a tape measure around her belly. By that time her organs have shifted and she would have died at boat side or the big bull sharks surely would have bitten her to pieces later on. The kicker is had we measured her and the girth was 45-inches then we would have been tempted Poon sin and lost our morals. It was so very nice to watch her swim away and the reaction on Peter's face was that of a very satisfied client/angler. I am truly glad we did not try to gaff her.

big tarpon under water

[Moyer:] Slim rigged my flies last season on 16 (17.5), including the fly used on May 5. His rigs are very precise, and you can clearly see the end of the rig in one of your photos. Measuring from that photo the Tarpon was 83" long from nose to fork. That is conservative – I allowed for the bend around her head. She was very deep and wide – I would guess 45" or so. A big fish, in any event. I believe Jim Holland's fish was 46" by 76". I still feel great that we released her. 60-70 years to get that big, carrying 10-15 million eggs with the right DNA. Thanks again for the great job you did, Mike!

I have tried to be very careful and conservative in my calculations. I measured all of Slim's rigs done at the same time with those particular flies. The total lengths ranged from 39" to 39.4". She was hooked in the corner of the mouth, you have the full shock tippet in your hand boatside, and I figured about 38" of Slim's leader was outside the mouth. Using calipers from the corner of the mouth to the end of the tippet (which can be clearly seen in one photo and can also be seen in 2 others), I swung the 38" once more towards the tail. There was at least 3½" left to the fork, and at least 3½" inches from the corner of the mouth to the end of the mouth. Those are very conservative measurements. 38 + 38 + 3½ + 3½ = 83 inches. She was very deep and wide, and I believe 45" in girth is also conservative. 7 inches longer than Jim Holland's fish, which was 46" in girth.

I know a lot of b.s. can go into claims of giant fish, but your photo is very clear, Slim's leaders are very precise, and I am trying to be very conservative and careful.

I really appreciate your attitude, Capt. Mike. A lot of guides would like the personal glory in that situation, but you were as happy as I was, when we released her and watched her swim away. Yes, she really was very likely to be that big. Interesting that Al thought she could be over 200. I honestly thought that at the time, too.

I guess it is easy to obsess over these things, when the season is over and it's back to Wyoming for 11 months! I honestly could care less about world record fame and glory (real or imagined). It is nice to commend Mike and encourage conservation, and the rest is basically curiosity about just how big that huge fish really was – Mike's one picture did help, since it shows Slim's rig, the fly was right in the corner, and Slim's rigs were all 39" to 39.4". The subsurface picture boat side showed some of the Walmart belly, but obviously nothing objective.

I don't know how your one photo could be any clearer and more reliable for measuring the length, and I was very conservative in my measurements. The two 3½" measurements (on each end) could easily be more like 5" each, particularly from the corner of the mouth (where the fly was lodged) to the end of the snout. If anything, a tape measurement in the water (you are not supposed to lift them out of the water under current regs) would have been less reliable and would not be recorded in a photo.

On the girth, that is subjective. Your one photo (subsurface, boatside) shows a very deep and wide fish. Those half jumps right in front of me showed an enormous bulk – that is when I started thinking she was over 200. I have seen a lot of very large Tarpon in close over the years in Homosassa, but nothing even close to that. It is also interesting that the Tarpon seem to be fatter in recent years, due to net ban mullet or shrimp boat bycatch.

I dug out Jim Holland's 2001 article on the 202 pound world record. They initially guessed under 160. Then after an hour close in they estimated 160 to 165. Then at boatside on a lip gaff 165 to 170.

I am virtually certain we had the one, Capt. Mike, and 210 lbs. by the formula is conservative. But we made the right call in releasing a great, great fish. Kudos to you, your great work guiding, and your high ethics. Conservation gets to be more and more important, as time goes on.

[Locklear] Peter has had two mounts made. One for him and me from King Sails Taxidermy. I, too, believe this fish could have been well over 210 pounds because the measurements are in fact conservative. I truly believe all said and done that the tarpon was the largest caught on fly not only at Homosassa but the world.

The greatest feat was she is probably still out there and got to lay her eggs. I wish there was a way to protect these great fish from killing them for any reason. We would see more tarpon as a result of it. I have never seen the tarpon fishing as bad as it is now in Homosassa. Two tarpon caught all season in Homosassa.

Included below is the story I wrote about the ‘world's largest tarpon caught on May 5.

Without a doubt, fly fishing for tarpon gets in the blood and when you come from a family of tarpon guides I think it is in the genes. As much as I try to relax about the sport I still get so excited when I look at these huge fish that Homosassa offers.

Being back on the poling platform requires me to stay calm and give instructions to my client so he does not get too excited. It does not always work.

I knew that on May 5, my season fish was hooked up with long time visitor Peter Moyer of Homosassa. We guessed the 7-foot thick and wide toad to be 190+. I could go into the poetry and art of how that big fish reacted but I just can't bring myself to write it right now. Like Flip Pallot once said, the memory of the experience is burned into the mind forever and can be played back at will.

More importantly the man on the other end of the rod is the more interesting subject to write about. I do not have enough time to write but a piece of it now.

From experience of more than 15 seasons of 14 straight days Moyer has figured the game out from an angling sense that he is one of the top producers of the sport. Only his neighbor, Tom Evans has more time on the water spending the month of May with his dedicated captain.

His captains' guide him to fish and positions the boat so as to provide a clear shot with his 10-weight fly rod. I have witnessed a 7-weight in his hand and watch him bring in an 80-pound tarpon on it.

Many hours of preparation goes into his hand tied flies that he prepares while out in his home near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He will be watching tarpon videos and perhaps pulling on a Michelob Ultra or something better.

With Moyer and friend Tom gone, the fish will have a rest from these eccentric weirdoes. Truly the big tarpon are having a full moon party somewhere far away from here. No one has seen a school of fish the past few days. They have gone away to who knows where.

They will be back though and so will the anglers return year after year.

That huge tarpon was not touched by man and I did not get close enough to get a DNA sample but I did hold the tippet in my hand and said good bye to a friend, not a foe. Moyer was very pleased and got his fish of a lifetime perhaps a 200 pound plus tarpon.

This is what Homosassa tarpon fishing is all about. Getting a shot at a fish of a lifetime and preparing for it because it is in our blood.

Homosassa Fishing Forecast:
Redfish will be abundant through September

Captain Mike Locklear

Monday, August 18, 2008

Preparing Boats For Hurricanes

Fay is on her way!
With tropical storm Fay setting her sites on the western Florida coast, I decided to find out what boat owners should do to protect there vessels during a storm. I found some great resources from the Coast Guard, Barry University and Boat U.S.. This is what they say to do if you have a boat that you can trailer. If possible, get your boat out of the water and move it inland to a secure area, well above the expected storm surge. Lash your boat securely to the trailer and put blocks of wood between the axle and the frame of the trailer. Fill the boat about 1/3 of the way with water to give it added weight. The blocks will prevent the extra weight from breaking your springs. Use a heavy line to secure the boat, in four directions, to a fixed object. Screw anchors secured in the ground are best. Avoid tying it to trees. Trees are often blown over in hurricanes. Remove all gear that can create windage. This includes canvas covers, bimini tops, outriggers, antennas, anchors, or anything else that is loose or can become loose in high winds. Check out the links below for more detailed information.
Coast Guard Storm Center
Barry University: Prepare Your Boat
BoatUS Hurricane Brochure

Sarasota Fly Fishing

Fishing Report 08/15/2008 – Capt. Terry Frankford

The Reelin & Chillin was able to find, several species with redfish topping the list. Also, mangrove snapper were plentiful, spotted sea trout were hanging in the grass flats. A fly fishing trip was almost scrapped do to wind, however we still made it happen.

Enjoy a few fish tails aboard the Reelin & Chillin:

Scott Blankenbicker with ten year old daughter Sara, and friend Makaela headed out for an afternoon charter. After hitting several spots we finally found some nice redfish on a dock in North Sarasota Bay. Sara picked up her first red ever at nineteen inches. Soon after, her friend Makaela hooked into a huge twenty-eight inch fish. Dad and I just sat back and had a ball watching two ten year old lady anglers having a ball. Later we moved to a grass flats area hoping to get into some screaming action with spanish mackerel. No mackerel, however Sara managed to catch another red measuring in at twenty-two inches.

girl with trout

Father & Son team Randy and Justin Scheule requested a little spin, and fly fishing. No problem when they booked, however on the day of the charter the wind forecast was between ten and twenty-five knots. We headed out thinking fly fishing was a bust and decided to just go spinning. We hit a couple spots around some mangroves protected from the wind. The second spot - pay dirt. Both angler's caught redfish until the six dozen select shrimp were gone. My guess is we caught and released at least a dozen reds. We then headed for the grass flats netting a couple hundred sardines on the way. Seeing terns hitting bait on the flats we put the power pole down and had non-stop action for the remainder of the trip. Trout, snapper, and one ladyfish were feeding on the bait with the terns. In the last twenty minutes Randy decided to try a fly. Casting adjacent to the wind. he had no problem getting the fly out. I chummed the water with live sardines as they casted. Long story short several trout and mangrove snapper were caught on the fly by both anglers. He was casting a floating fly line with a chartreuse Clouser fly.

Captain's Tip -A little chumming never hurts
I know it's not what the purest fly or lure angler has in mind, however a little chumming can make a big difference in putting more fish on the line. It's different when in your own town, and on your own boat with plenty of time, however when you only have four hours on a charter to put fish on the line, a little chumming goes a long way. On the above trip we knew fish were in the area because we were catching them with live bait. When the fly rod was brought out I would chum with five or six sardines on almost every cast. We could see the fish hitting the surface, and they didn't hesitate hitting the fly. Some anglers use a plastic ball bat with the end of the bat cut out. I rigged up a plastic gin bottle with the bottom cut out and an old rake handle stuck in the neck end of the bottle. The gin bottle was used because the plastic is thicker than like a soda two liter bottle. I used the rake handle because I wanted it a little longer than the standard plastic bat so I could get more distance. I put a half dozen or so sardines in the bottle - spin them around a few times to get them dizzy then fling them into the target area. Give it a try sometime, it works great for both fly and spin fishing.

Tight Lines & Good Times, Capt. Terry Frankford

Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.
Capt. Terry Frankford


Friday, August 15, 2008

Jensen Beach Fishing Report

Beautiful days, rain in the late afternoon then beautiful evenings. For the early morning anglers that watched a beautiful sun rise, casting top water plugs it was big Trout, a few Red Fish and those pesky Snook. Areas north of North Bridge up to Harbor Branch live baits were the choice but from Bear Point south top water topped the list. Spooks, Skitter Walks, MirrOlures slow retrieve, fish up to nine pounds and then those pesky Snook. Snook season does not open till September first and they know it. Anglers moving out to the deeper water found the Triple Tail, Jacks and more Snook. Bridges were the location for Black Drum, Pompano and Blue Fish. Not sure about the Pompano and Blue Fish, don't they know it is not winter?? Yes, the Tarpon are every where.
From the surf, Tarpon, Snook, big Jacks for the early angler, chrome spoons and chrome top water are the favored baits. Looking to take some thing home, plenty of big Whiting and Croakers. These fish are at your toes, just a pitch will put you in the zone, if you cast you will be on the other side, pitch not cast. Lots of Sand Fleas on the beach, bring your rake, great bait for the Pompano season.
Off shore, from the Ft. Pierce Inlet it was ninety feet of water and a little north, that is where the action started. Good King bite, a few Dolphin and the bottom was excellent till that current picked up. Out of the St. Lucie Inlet, thirty to forty feet for the Kings and Cobia, sixty feet out for the Sails and a few Dolphin in the mix. Good bite of Tuna form both inlets and Bonita fest 2008 continues, you might want to bring along some extra bait.
Till next week bring plenty of water, sun block and where is the camera??????? HENRY

Snook Nook Bait & Tackle
3595 NE Indian River Drive
Jensen Beach, FL
(Just South of the Jensen Causeway)
(Since 1949)

Panhandle Fishing Report 8-10-08

Report for 08/10/2008

Salt Water

Do not forget! Red snapper season closed in federal waters on August 4. Several anglers reported nice catches of scamp in the last week, in water from 180-200’. White snapper and triggerfish are abundant, and mangrove (Black) snapper reports are steady from the car bodies and Air Force tower areas. King mackerel, as of this writing, are biting well west of Indian Pass, around the Air Force tower, and around the car bodies. The Kings should stay as long as the bait fishes are present, so far so good. Live bait slow-trolled works and dusters with cigar minnows are also very effective.

No changes in the Spanish mackerel bite as they continue to be caught trolling Clark spoons and Mackerel trees. Dorado are still with us and a few people found 3-5 lb. chickens around the larger weed beds. Wahoo are still hitting blue/white islanders rigged with ballyhoo starting at 20 miles out. Tarpon are moving east, caught quite regularly from outside Cape San Blas to Bob Sikes Cut, the water between Indian Pass and West Pass have the best reports right now. Live mullet and pogies on a 9/0-10/0 circle hook with 6’ fluorocarbon leader is an effective rig.

The Bay fishing report stays the same this week with the only change coming from an increase in flounder caught in the gulf canal and intercostals waterway on live bull-minnows fished on a Carolina rig along the drop-offs. Scalloping remains good with the easiest and best scallop numbers coming from the flats between Presnell’s Marina and Oak Grove on the east side of the bay. On the west side, try between Blacks Island and Pigs Island in water waist-deep and deeper.

The reports for redfish are coming from Eagle Harbor to Pompano Point. Hit the flats early morning and late afternoon for your best chances at trout and redfish. Try throwing jerk baits and live bait under a Cajun thunder. The Rapala skitterwalker and the Mirrolure Top Dog/Top Dog Jr. have proven effective. Also, try the Yo-zuri or rebel floating lures twitched above the edges of the grass flats.

Snapper season is closed in Federal waters. The State Snapper season remains open within 9 miles from shore until November 1st.

Wahoo are still biting from 20 miles and further offshore. Look for weed lines or large clumps. High speed trollers are working well as well as, ballyhoo and large live baits. Tarpon are running the beaches in schools. These fish are very wary and will spook easily. Get in front of the school or anchor and wait for the schools to come to you. Be very quiet and pitch live baits ahead of the lead fish.

King mackerel are plentiful offshore and near shore. Trolling has picked up while most of the fish are being caught free-lining live baits.

Trout are all over deep grass beds in all of the bays. Live alewives will produce better sized fish, while grubs and topwater plugs will yield the most strikes.

Bluefish, Spanish and Ladyfish are plentiful on all of the major points around St. Andrews Bay, the Middle Grounds, and Camel Back Shoals.

Redfish are spread out over the bay systems. On a high tide, the redfish will be laying up in the flooded Spartina Grass. Top water plugs, weedless jerk baits and gold spoons will take these fish out of the grass.

Fresh Water
No freshwater reports this week.

Half Hitch Tackle
2206 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

Fishing Report prepared by Half Hitch Tackle Staff.

The Captains Corner Fishing Report is provided by local charter captains and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Half Hitch Tackle.

This report is dedicated to the memory of Al Hubbard.
Al Hubbard was a field editor for Florida Sportsman magazine, an outdoor writer for the News Herald and a board member of the Florida Outdoor Writer's Association.
Mr. Hubbard was also the owner of Al's Outdoors Outfitting Services.