Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gulf Grouper Bite Still Hot

Fishing Report 30 January 2009:

Capt Jay of CJ Flats Saltwater Charters reports the Gag Grouper bite is still in full swing as the we move towards the end of the month. Anglers aboard the Ms. Guided have been wanting to capitalize on the Gag Grouper bite in Florida State waters before the season closes the 1st of February. Keeper Grouper can be found in Nearshore waters as little as 30 feet and there are still plenty of Grouper in the Bay. As for tactics, trolling big lipped Manns Magnum Stretch Plugs continued to help find fish, but nothing beats a live pinfish sent down on a traditional bait knocker rig.

Capt. Jay with groupergrouperIn addition to the Grouper, Mangrove Snapper and Black Sea Bass are still present around rock piles and artificial structures nearshore. To target the Snapper, Captain Jay downsizes the tackle and uses cut squid and Spanish Sardines sliced in half. Several of the Mangrove Snapper caught last week were over 16 inches - perfect size for scoring and cooking on the grill. A good GPS Unit and Depth Finder / Sonar are key in locating the structure and the fish on them. Capt Jay recommends if you are not hooking into fish within the first 2 minutes of anchoring up, move and try again.

grouperTo learn more about fishing in Tampa Florida or to book your next trip with CJ Flats Saltwater Charters, contact Captain Jay Schroeder at 1-877-463-5420 or visit

Capt Jay Schroeder
CJ Flats Saltwater Charters

Friday, January 30, 2009

St. George Island Forecast 2-09

February Fishing Forecast for the Apalachicola & St. George Island area: I can tell you what I THINK is going to happen based on over 10 years of experience & fishing reports (See our website!) but don't complain to me if I get it wrong because I still haven't figured out how to control the weather. There will definitely be some warm, sunny, mild days this month - if you see them forecasted, plan to GO FISHING! It will be worth doing. Redfish will be available but you'll have to release all the speckled trout you catch, as the season is closed the entire month of February. As the weather & water warms, Spanish Mackeral normally start showing up and they are a blast to fish for. Colder weather is great for striper fishing in the Apalachicola River system, so if it's not right for trout & reds, guess where you'll be fishing? Tommy & Chris head south this month to fish the Keys for Permit, Bonefish, Tarpon & Barracuda, but all the rest of the Robinson team will be right here for your fishing pleasure.

January Recap -
January 14th Ryan Rennie & his two sons from Kalispell, MT fished with Capt. Jr. Holland. The youngest, age 4, not only caught the first fish of the day and the biggest redfish, I believe he out fished his older brother in number of fish as well. And on this bright sunny day, they didn't even think it was cold.

During the middle of January we experienced a "Full Moon Tide" low early in the day, making anglers get a later start to their trip. Inshore fishing was a bit tough but if you worked real hard with a good guide you could surely catch fish - as Howell Cullens from Greensboro GA did January 10 & 11 - also with Capt. Jr. Saturday they caught their limit of trout by working hard at it and Sunday they caught 15 monster trout and three 26"-27" Redfish. Flats Guides Capt. Travis Huckeba & Capt. David Heinke had successful trips also, just not as many to bring home!

18lb redfish18 lb Redfish caught January 17th, 2009 (Eric Reed fished with Capt. Chris Robinson)

Capt. Chris Flats fished with Eric Reed on possibly the coldest day he's ever fished in NW Florida - however the Reds didn't seem to mind - note the pictured 18 lb-er. Yesterday, January 28th, Capt. Ken Finch guided Randall Montgomery (from Pinedale, WY and Wewa, FL) and his friend on a Bayfishing trip. The caught a 32lb redfish, a 27lb redfish and a 9lb red and 15-20 whiting. They actually caught and released about 60 trout on a silver mirrolure, hooking a fish every cast, 10 casts in a row. (They did keep their limit of trout!)

Anglers in the know are already booking their Spring Break trips. (hint-hint) If you fished with us for tarpon last season and have an interest in fishing your same days this year, please contact me immediately or your dates may be gone.

If you plan to be anywhere near the Apalachicola area the first weekend in February and you are thinking about a home purchase on the Forgotten Coast, the Realtors Assn. of Gulf & Franklin County is holding our 2nd Annual Forgotten Coast "Open House Tour". Homes will be open from 10-3 on Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th from Alligator Point to Mexico Beach, including Carrabelle, Eastpoint, St. George Island, Apalachicola and Port St. Joe. Look for signs and pick up info at any of the homes being shown or email me for more info. You can access the entire MLS on our "other" website .

Have a good "Superbowl Weekend"!

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

Blues and Jacks in Summer Pattern

Blues and Jacks in Summer Pattern

My fishing has been limited lately for various reasons. However the weather has been nice and fish are biting like it was summer. Most pros will tell you to slow down you retrieve in the winter to increase your opportunity of a hookup. Lately, with Indian Summer settling in water temperatures have warmed nicely as the day goes by and the bite is more like summer time.

On a recent outing I found both jacks and bluefish willing to take a plastic bait. Usually in the Winter I am using smaller baits like the Rip Tide 3 inch Mullet. On this winter day the fish preferred a larger bait. I started getting hookups when I switched to the 5 inch Rip Tide Flats Chub. The best color seemed to be something on the light side. Both the Gold Apricot and the Gold n’ Glow worked well.

jack crevalle with spinning rod

The jacks were the more plentiful and would fight for the right to eat one of the chubs. The 5 inch bait was rigged on a ¼ ounce Rip Tide Pro jig head. Rigged this way allows for long casts that cover a lot of territory. If you got a hit and missed, another jack was right there to take you on. That’s what I mean by biting like it was summer. They were very aggressive.

bluefish with spinning rod

I didn’t catch as many blues that day, but they were just as aggressive. They were biting on the same 5 inch plastics and they wanted them swimming fast. It is always a good idea to vary your presentation until you pattern the fish on any given day. On this day it was larger baits than normal and faster retrieves than normal. It was more like summer fishing, but in the winter.

That's what it's all about. Good fishin'.

Captain Ron Presley

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fat Girlz In South End Of Goon

It's good to be back on the water 1/9/09

It’s great to be back on the water after shoulder surgery forced a brief layoff. While the Doctor told me to expect up to 4 weeks of down time I was back on the platform 11 days post surgery…

I realize I missed some hot and heavy action during my recovery, but I’m happy to say that my guests were able to scratch out a few fish in less than ideal conditions.

David was down from South Carolina and tried for a repeat of his last adventure with me where we killed the “Fat Girlz” in the IRL a couple of seasons back. This trip the timing wasn’t nearly as good and he had to settle for a puny 10 pounder.

Collum was treated to his first fishing trip by boat by his grandfather, David. These guys are from Scotland and aren’t used to our way of fishing. The youngster took a couple of reds with mullet chunks and David thought the puffer that ate the fly was wonderful!

Charlie and Ted join me every winter when Ted vacations from the Great White North. This year Charlie was in less than great shape with back problems. These guys have been fishing together for as many years as I’ve been alive and I’m 50!! So our usual method of fishing (sight casting) was replaced with bait tossing. Soaking hand-picked live shrimp in sand holes that afforded some extra depth relief resulted in several smallish reds and a few catfish. The pinfish also raised heck with the shrimp, a testament to our warmer than normal winter!

Al owns a great fishing lodge in Canada and lives on Merritt Island during the off season. We ventured into the ‘goon in hopes of finding good numbers of slot reds this morning. The fish I was hoping for had yet to return to spot one or two so a change was called for. I found a group Fat Girlz in the south end of the ‘goon and I moved into position. Al made a perfect cast and two twitches of the Exude Dart and it was “Fish-On”. A 20 minute line screaming battle and the 18 pound girl was aboard for a quick photo and release. Not a bad back-up plan after all…

Captain Mark Wright
cell - 321-302-3474
home - 321-264-3474

Jensen Beach Fishing Report 1-29-09

FISHING 1/25/09

Did I say Blue Fish, from the bridges, surf and flats? Blues and more Blues, so many you could see them coming. Surf anglers talked about the Whiting and the Pompano but it was the Blues that kept the rods bent. From early to late on cut mullet, and spoons, at a few points it was one cast one fish, so many, anglers were removing the barbs from the hooks so the fish could get off. Long cast and short they were every where. The Pompano were there if the Blue fish did not get the bait first. Heard about and saw some nice catches of Pomps but the catch times and locations were short and fast. Look for the Sand fleas on the edge, where there is food there will be fish and Sand Fleas are the favored for the Pompano. The Blue fish were in the two to four pound class, anglers reported catches of two at a time, lots of fun and I was at work.

Offshore it was north of the inlet, eighty to one hundred feet of water was the zone, lots of Dolphin. Lots of small Dolphin but there were plenty of good size fish also and one could sort through the small and larger fish, no excuse for taking those small fish. Anglers looking for live baits in that thirty foot zone, spend a few more minutes and have that pitch rod ready, still plenty of Cobia in the area. Spanish Mac's are thick south of the inlet , you might want to freeze a few, they do make excellent cut bait for bottom fishing.

Fishing the rivers, now that Trout season is open we have had good reports form the Neetles island north to Bear point, from Joe's point south to the Stuart Causeway but all any one wants to talk about are the Pompano, come on anglers they are just Jacks with a good PR man. There are no Pompano reports from the library in Ft. Pierce to Walton Road but there are plenty of Red hanging around those docks on the west side of the river. No pompano form bear point south but some excellent Trout on new penny jerk baits. No trout at the bottom of Sewalls point but pesky Pompano have been there taking anglers baits. No Red fish in the Hells Gate area but again those pesky Pompano are there, we have had reports of those pesky Pomps in the Club Med area of the St. Lucie river but no Blue fish. Now there are a few in Indian river but if I were looking for the Pompano the St. Lucie river is where I would be.

Till next week, a fish to important a resource to be caught only one time, release for tomorrow.....Henry

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sleep In When It's Cold

Fishing Report

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

January 23, 2009

As I look around outside and see brown grass....frost scorched plants & trees and my poor tomato plants....we sure did have one cold front move through this week. The days haven't been so bad, but the nights have chilled the water and made it more challenging to fish on the river this week. Look for a fantastic weekend ahead to get out and do some fishing!

I was out over the past weekend, just before the cold front hit so hard. Ray Boyd and his son-in-law, Mike, were out with me and we ended up having a great time on the water. With the water so cold, we found trout, ladyfish and jacks on the flats. Ray and Mike decided to have a contest to see who caught more fish. We lost count of how many and they tried to keep track of who was ahead. Well, rules continued to be changed and challenged so I have no idea who won the contest, but we all had a wonderful time on the river. I think this was a continuation of the contest from last year.....

It's important to find the warmer water to find the fish. Deeper water will work better in early mornings and you can move to the shallows on these sunny days to look for redfish and trout. Jerk baits, suspending lures and live bait will be good choices of baits. Fish slowly as the fish will be slow to move and sometimes you have to put if right in front of their face to get them to eat. Harbor Branch and Queen's Cove have continued to hold trout, ladyfish and jacks. Fishing around bridges, docks and deep cuts can pay off in this type of conditions. It has been a challenging and cold week!

Tip of the Week:
It's not as important in getting the early start in cold conditions. As the sun warms up the water, the fish will become active and more apt to feed. Fishing lures slowly along the bottom will give you more opportunities on each cast and have a better chance getting that hit from a fish. DOA shrimp or CAL jerk baits are great ways to fish for trout and other species in cold water. Deeper cuts along mangroves can also be a great area to target fish. Fish slow and low and have success in this artic weather.......

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.}

Redfish Save The Day When It's Cold

2009 Winter Fishing Report

Goodbye 2008 and welcome 2009! The past year was an outstanding year on the water. The guides of CHO look forward to another great year in 2009. The winter pattern on Charlotte Harbor has definitely settled in. With the recent record low temperatures, and some of the lowest tides in years, the fish can be found grouped tight together. This time of year usually substitutes the use of a trolling motor for the use of a push pole while stalking the flats. Clear water, shallow depths, and high blue skies have to be dealt with using as much stealth as possible.

push polling

A lot of anglers don't like to do it, and it may take a lot of time and patience, but it can be a key advantage to catching fish this time of year.

Redfishing generally thrives in the winter. No matter how cold it may get, there are always redfish willing to move around and eat. For the live bait anglers, a nice sized hand picked shrimp will do the trick. Whether it be free lined and casted to sight fished reds, or dropped on the bottom using a small weight in the middle of a sand hole, you can't go wrong. For the arti anglers, this is the time of year to break out the plastics, whether it be hard or soft.

Believe it or not, even during the coldest of days, redfish are very willing to nail a top water plug. For the sight fisherman and their poling skiffs targeting tailing redfish and sight fishing to solo fish, a soft plastic DOA shrimp, 5 inch Gulp jerkshad, or a 3 inch Gulp shrimp can get the job done. Usually the best time to hit these shallow depths for feeding tailing redfish is the beginning of an incoming tide right after a really low slack tide.

landing the fish

2 guys with redfish

man with redfish

On days that it seems there is no water left in the harbor, this can be some of the easiest times to find fish. On a recent outing, a school of redfish ranging from 6-15 pounds numbered in the hundreds as they took up an area of water the size of half a football field. They had no where else to go on their usual haunts in the flats. They all dropped off the edge of the flat into the only water there was left for them. Every cast produced a fish for as long as the anglers wanted to fish.

Oyster bars and sand bars can be good protected areas for trout and redfish when getting out of the more windy days. Cut bait, artificial lures, and live shrimp will get the job done for both species.

man with sea trout

redfish close up

Snook can be found at ease in canal systems, mangrove creeks, and flats basins further into the harbor. They will follow the warmer water. Some days may be fickle at best when snook fishing, other days they will chew the bottom out of the boat. For anglers wanting to have a lot of action there are ladyfish on the outside of most large sand bars. They will be following the minnows and smaller bait fish schools. These are easily found by finding the hoards of diving pelicans.

diving pelicans

Cobia are making a showing throughout the harbor. Look for them on markers, pilings, and outside edges of sand bars. The snapper bite is on as well as the inshore gag grouper fishing.

It won't be too long before our SW FL warm weather paradise arrives again. Enjoy the winter time fishing, it s a great way to learn a lot about the surrounding flats as you scout areas uncovered by the low tides that you rarely see in the summer months with the higher water.

Tight Lines from the guides at CHO

Charlotte Harbor Outfitters
Captain Tim White
Captain Chuck Jenks
Captain Jason Dill

Posted on 24 Jan 2009 by admin

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lower Keys Permit And Tarpon

Key West Fishing Report - January 2009
By: Capt. Justin Rea

January 5, 2009

Happy New Year everyone! The days have been nearly perfect this week in the Keys. Perfect weather for permit fishing in the backcountry. The tides have been right in the afternoon this past week giving us multiple shots at big permit on the flats near the Gulf edge.

The months of January and February bring a lot of opportunities to the flats for serious fly anglers as well as folks looking for some light tackle fun fishing.

If the weather is right and we get a few warm days in a row, the tarpon will make a show in the deep basins and that can be a real treat in the middle of January!

There may even be some bonefish around but a few cooler days and they are gone for a while. Instead there are large jack crevalle, seatrout, ladyfish, snapper and grouper to fish for all over the Lower Keys.

Whatever you passion is, come down and visit us and go fishing!

I still have some great dates available in February for permit (and tarpon).

Contact us at 305-744-0903 for availability.

Capt. Justin Rea
Sugarloaf Key, FL 33042

St. Johns River Shad Run In Full Swing

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report
By Captain Tom Van Horn

Well, the weather warmed up this week and we had some good opportunities for catching both on the Lagoons and in the St. Johns River. The only problem was someone forgot to tell the fish. On two trips to the Mosquito Lagoon this week, we found a good numbers of schooling redfish pushing around the shallow flats, but we struggled to get them to feed. The fish were so spooky we couldn't keep them from bumping up and moving of, so our limited results came from staking out and letting the schools come to us. On each day we caught nice fish, but only a few.

28-inch redfishRich Leeper with a nice 28-inch redfish.

On the St. Johns River, the shad run is in full swing, but again getting the fish to eat was tough. My best results this week was 4 shad taken on chartreuse Crazy Charlie fly. Again, the shad were working the upper third of the water column, but my offering did no appeal to them. My good friend Paul Macinnis provided the best report as he caught eleven shad, a mudfish, and a mess of brim and crappie on a trip to the river last week.

If the weather holds and we move away from this moon phase, the bite should improve by the weekend.

shad on flyPaul Macinnis with one of his 11 shad on fly.

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

407-416-1187 on the water
407-366-8085 office

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reds Warm Up The Cold

January 22, 2009 - Cool Temps and Warm Hearts
Over the past two weeks, we have seen some of the coldest temperatures along central east coast of Florida in years. It has sent shivers down our thin-blooded spines and panic into the lives of our semi-tropical finned friends. However, no matter how cold the temps outside, the outstanding fishing action has warmed the souls of our stout-hearted clients as the following tales testify.

Capt. Peter guided Mike Rinkus, along with his son Michael and friend Alex, on a cold but sunny day where the winds allowed some winter flats fishing near Titusville. And even though low temperatures had thinned the food chain on the flats and scattered the schools of foraging fish, our guest anglers from Colorado caught two of the most unforgettable, heart-thumping and adrenaline-pumping, bull reds in recent memory. Pictured below is Alex with a redfish weighing around 25 pounds followed by Michael with a monster that pushed the scales close to 40 pounds.

In our next report, it was Captain Peter again, with some assistance from the �old man� of Native Sons, guiding John, Joe and Krista Jachino from Illinois. The wind was a�howling and Jack Frost was a�nipping so we fled for sanctuary in the Honest John canals near Sebastian Inlet. The fishing action was some of the hottest we�ve experienced in a long time. The final fish count, conservatively guestimating, was around 70 including a least 20 runt reds, 25 sheephead, 20 mangrove snappers, 5 black drum and a couple of mutton snappers. Pictured below are Krista and a black drum, Joe and Krista with a pair of sheephead, Peter and John with a mangrove snapper and Krista with a rare mutton snapper caught in the river.


A very special angler, Chaz Farley from Melbourne, is the star of our next report. Chaz, along with his uncle Dr. Cronin, and cousin Charlie chartered Capt. Roland for a day of fishing on the Indian River in the Grant/Sebastian area. Chaz had the hot rod catching a super slam of 24 fish which included redfish, drum, trout, sheephead, and snapper. After his sixth fish of the morning, he excitedly exclaimed, �I�ve got my A game today". What a blast it was to see him enjoying life with few of the stresses we all know so well. Pictured below is Chaz with one of his redfish.

Captain Roland also had the pleasure of hosting the Rinkus family for yet another day of fishing last week. This time they headed for the Honest John canals as the stiff winter winds limited access to the flats. Again, they caught so many fish it was hard to keep an accurate tally. their super slam included sheephead, drum, trout, snapper and redfish. By the way, they really enjoyed seeing the natural beauty of the historic canals much as everyone else we take there. Their comment was common, "We never knew this place was here. It is amazing." Pictured below are Jacob Rinkus and a rare spotless redfish.

Our final report is odd in that it is about hunting and not fishing. We have been working hard to organize an outfitting and hunting arm of Native Sons. Incidentally, we will have much to report of this new enterprise in the coming weeks. Picture below is one of our year-round quarries, a wild boar weighing around 150 pounds. It was shot by Perry Coleman of Melbourne on a hunt guided by Captain Roland.

In summary, there are plenty of options for great outdoor experiences along the central east coast of Florida even when Old Man Winter pays us a visit.
Posted by Rocky Van Hoose on January 22, 2009 at 08:53:11 PM

Native Sons Fishing Guides
Captain Rocky Van Hoose

Captain Brad Jones

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tampa Bay Fishing Guides

Fish Tampa Bay while you are in town for the big football game.

If you are coming to Tampa Bay for the big bowl game on February 1st, why not spend some time relaxing while enjoying a day of fishing. Florida's West Central Gulf coast offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the world, and right now the fishing is outstanding! Call one of these great fishing guides today and set up your fishing trip of a lifetime. You'll be glad you did!

Capt. Bob Smith
Phone: (941) 366-2159 Cell: (941) 350-8583.
My Website:

Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail and

Capt. Brian Caudill

Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.

Capt Jay Schroeder
CJ Flats Saltwater Charters

Captain Clay Eavenson

Captain Jazz

Captain Mike Locklear

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002

Captain Stewart Ames
© 2007 Captain Stewart Ames,
Gone Fishing Charters, Tampa, FL

Capt. Brook Wallace
Full Boat Charters - Bradenton, FL

Friday, January 23, 2009

Everglades Fishing Report 1-09

January 2009
Everglades City, Florida

Happy New Years to everyone and many many more to come.

black drum

The weather is still good and fishing is great. I am sure that winter is just around the corner, but couldn’t prove it to me today. As I write this report, the temperature is in the mid to low 80’s and the sun is shinning bright. What more could you ask for? Okay, good fishing. Well, the fishing has been good also. The cold fronts are starting to move down slowly so the fish are moving into their winter homes. The water temperature is in the low 70’s which means that the fish are on the deeper edges of the flats, in the river mouths and in the backcountry. Jan and Feb is when we catch what we call our mix bag. We will be catching a little of everything. It is not uncommon to catch 6-11 different kinds of fish. Let’s see, trout, pompano, redfish, snook, mackerel, bluefish, black drum, sheepshead, whiting, snapper, flounder, jacks, ladyfish and maybe even a chance to jump a huge tarpon. Sounds like fun and it is.

Just a quick reminder that TROUT season just opened as of Jan. 1 and it is looking like we are going to have another good season for big ones. These fish (trout) are really good to eat too.

So like I always say..what are you waiting for.. pick up the phone and make that call for the fishing trip you have been dreaming of. The weather is great and so is the fishing.

Captain Becky Campbell 239-695-2029

Captain Becky Campbell

Panhandle Fishing Report 1-23-09

Report for 01/23/2009

Salt Water

Trolling for grouper continues to produce some nice fish. Troll the Mann’s Stretch 25’s in fifty feet or shallower water, or over shallow wrecks like the lumber ship. Use your stretch 30’s in sixty plus feet of water. If you must anchor up, the water is calming some and if you can head to the 120’ mark for the best bite. Reports say Triggerfish are around any wreck or reef and are abundant. Amberjack’s are a great target right now and the bite has been strong. Set up a chum line over the offshore reefs and Air Force towers and toss a free line bait in amongst the chum line.

We are hoping this cold front will move in some bigger fish and this week several larger trout were caught at the PSJ marina. Live shrimp fished on the bottom is the bait of choice. The canal is a good back up location with some larger fish moving in there too. Good redfish numbers also reported in the canal jigging live bait along the bottom. The whiting are still thick in the surf at Cape San Blas.

Fresh Water
The Crappie bite came back on with this cooler weather. Investigate Depot Creek with a couple of dozen minnows. The bass moved up a little and reports have them in ten to twelve feet of water. Successful anglers are using plastics. The bass are hitting the plastics on the way down, so keep your line tight and watch for the slight movement as the fish takes your lure and then set that hook home.

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, January 22, 2009

Jiging For Pompano

January 21, 2009

Sarasota Florida Fishing Report
By Capt. Bob Smith

Hold on to them Ladyfish! That seems to be the only action since the
temperature drop, but it will pass. The fish will acclimate and if the
temperature stays low, they will move to deeper water and start to feed.

When the water gets cold, only the snook may leave and go up the rivers.
Most of the other fish stay in the area throughout the winter, regardless of
change. The weather will turn them on and off.

We expect to find trout, pompano, bluefish, redfish, flounder, mackerel,
sheepshead, snapper, grouper and many more species throughout the winter

One of our favorite fish is the Pompano and they had been cooperative before
the bad weather. Pompano feed on sandy bottom, from the Gulf beaches to the
grass flats and channels around the bay. They can also get very hot in the
passes. When we fish the passes, we drift and bounce a pompano jig on the
bottom. I like to tip the jigs with a very small peace of shrimp. I make a
short cast, leaving the bail open and letting the jig free-fall until it
hits the bottom and then close the bail. Without reeling in line, I give
the jig a short hard snap up and let it free-fall back to the bottom. This
will send up a small puff of sand, simulating a crab digging in. If you are
doing it right, you will soon see the paint disappear from the jig, but the
tail will hold some color. I like yellow or chartreuse best.

Live shrimp with a large splitshot will also work; just let it drift along
the bottom without snapping.
Pompanos favorite bait of all is live sand-fleas. You seldom find live
sand-fleas for sale, so you need to catch them yourself. They live in the
surf and you need a sand flea rake to catch them. They will drown in a
bucket of water but do well in about an inch of wet sand. You need to catch
them just before you go fishing.

Enjoy & Protect
My Website: http//

Thank you!

Capt. Bob Smith
Phone: (941) 366-2159 Cell: (941) 350-8583.
My Website: http//

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Black Drum And American Shad

van horn header
Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report

By Captain Tom Van Horn

As we brace for some of the coldest weather experienced in Central Florida in years, high winds and cold temperatures will keep most sensible anglers on shore for at least the next few days. Today we experienced west winds between 20 and 25 knots, and our low temperatures in the Orlando area tonight will be just below freezing. For those of you from up north who read my reports on a regular basis, this may seem like a spring day for you, but for us thin blooded southern anglers, these are extreme conditions. Fortunately, this blast of cold air is predicted to warm up by Saturday so we definitely have something to look forward to.

This past week, water levels on the lagoons and in the St. Johns River remain extremely low, so extreme caution is a requirement when under way, especially on the flats. So, please take your time working your way in and out of the shallow water to avoid damaging sea grass and you vessel.

slot size black drumDavid Peterson with a slot Black Drum caught on a
small live shrimp, and released to be caught again.

Jason Peterson with his IRL black drumJason Peterson with his IRL black drum caught on a small chunk of fresh blue crab.

Two species of fish were my primary focus last week, one in saltwater and one in freshwater. On the lagoon, sizable schools of slot size black drum have been abundant this winter, and the shallow water levels have them bunched up on the deeper edges of the shoals. These black drum will take well presented artificial bait like a D.O.A. Crab or Shrimp and a fly, but on most occasions they will pass up these offerings. So, be sure to pick up a couple dozen medium live shrimp or some fresh blue crab on your way to the lagoon.

Uncle Larry took first blood with his IRL Black Drum.
These schools of slot size black drum have been showing up in increasing numbers these past few winters, and although the daily allotment is five per person, please practice CPR, catch-photo-release, of only keep what you can eat fresh, so their numbers will continue to increase.

The second species I've been targeting is the American shad. The shad have moved up the St. Johns River in what seem to be better than average numbers. I've had good reports from several different anglers catching shad in the double digits, but I also received reports of anglers getting skunked, so as always, it's just a matter of finding hungry fish.
This up coming week, I will be working the Crappie Masters Tournament in Travares Florida on the Harris Chain of Lakes, and I'm glad I'm just covering the event for Coastal Angler Magazine and not fishing it. I will fill you in on my next report.

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 on the water
407-366-8085 landline

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

Jacksonville Fish Adjusting To Cold

Ahoy there Anglers,

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made it out to New Berlin Boat & RV Superstore Plus this past Saturday. It was great meeting the people who enjoy receiving my fishing reports and listen to us on our Just Fishin Radio Show. Those sure were some good hamburgers, huh?

As you can tell by receiving this report today, the 25 knot winds are keeping me off the water, yet again! I sure hope this year's winds aren't anything like 2008's. The bite has slowed with this Arctic blast we're having. The bite will pick back up soon because when the water temperatures drop suddenly, like it did last week, then the fish's metabolism slows down and they do not need to feed as much because they are not burning as much energy by not moving around as much. When we have colder temperatures and have the wind blowing at the same time, it chills the water so much faster by creating waves that allow the air temps to mix with the water's surface. If the winds didn't blow as hard when we have the colder temps then the smooth water surface wouldn't mix with the air as fast. It's a slower process and the fish get used to it quicker. The fish though do have to eat and will as soon as they get used to the colder water. It usually takes a few days after a sudden drop.
When I call my customers and tell them that there is a "SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY" posted so we should reschedule their booking, they usually tell me that I have a large, 23' boat. Not a small craft. Just for everyone's information, the "small craft" the Coast Guard and NOAA considers is any vessel under 20 meters. That's 66 feet. So, if you see a small craft advisory and especially a small craft warning, please stay on land. It's not worth it to venture out. I talk to the Coast Guard and FWC guys all the time and they tell me that it never fails, someone will be out there in those conditions and get in trouble and they'll have to go get them.
I know it's hard enough to want to go fishing in 28 to 32 degree weather and then when the wind blows at 15 to 20 knots and the wind chill is down in the teens it gets brutal. Where is March already? Let's get this stuff over with.

The redfish have slowed down a little as the water temperatures are dropping like a rock. After a few days the bite will resume. We just need the weather to resume back to normal to go along with it. Redfish biting on live mud minnows, live shrimp, cut mullet and quartered blue crab. If you see a lot of reds in the creeks but have a problem getting them to bite anything, try a blue crab. Just toss it out and let it sit. Keep your line a little slack so when they pick it up they won't feel any tension and will usually go ahead and take it.
A flounder or two are still around here and there but don't look to catch whole lot of them. We're catching two to three a week while targeting reds in the shallows.
Speckled trout, (proper name is spotted seatrout) are biting in the deeper areas of the creeks and the Intracoastal Waterway. This time of the year I'm targeting them with live shrimp drifted under a long slip-float rig. You can catch them on lures but need to reach deeper when the water gets this cold. Their bite will also pick up in the next day or two because the water temperatures are evening out.
A few yellow mouth trout are also in the deeper areas and the black drum bite picked back up in the creeks. Some are up to 18" which are great table fare.

black margate
black margate1st and 2nd photos are of a 2 pound black margate.

The sheepshead slowed down last week when we had that Arctic blast come through with the high winds. I don't look for the sheepshead bite to pick up for a little while now. Oh, you can still catch sheepshead with fiddler crabs on the rocks just not as many but this time of the year I try to concentrate on the larger sheeps with quartered blue crab on the hard bottom areas in the river.
Black drum are still biting during this time of the year. Cut blue crab or dead shrimp work well. The cold water temperatures does not seem to bother them as much as other fish. The same thing with the ringtail porgies. You can usually catch ringtails even through the coldest month of February. Ringtail porgies are a very overlooked fish. They fight hard, eat the same food as sheepshead, have the same teeth and even taste like sheepshead. Sheepshead are members of the porgy family also.
Oversized redfish along with a few slot-sized ones are also eating our crab and shrimp baits too.
There are a few black margates still around. These fish are also porgies. For those of you who don't know what a black margate is, they look like a cross between a sheepshead and a black drum only the teeth are sharp pointed. The 1st and 2nd photos in this report is a 2 pound black margate. The whiting bite has picked up finally and you can target these in the sandier areas at the rocks. Yellow mouth trout in the sandier areas also. Some of the black sea bass we're catching at the rocks are now over the 12" mark. Good eating too.
Next photo is a 3 pound ring-tail porgy then the next, a sheepshead's teeth. The proper name for a ring-tail is actually spot-tail porgy. It's just the spot goes around it's tail so most people call them ring-tails.

ring-tail porgy
sheepshead from the front
sheepshead side viewRIVERS:
Black drum are still biting in the rivers. The St. Johns and Nassau Rivers are giving up pretty good numbers of these fish. There is the occasional oversized redfish mixed in with the drum too. The whiting bite has picked up in the St. Johns and Nassau Rivers and I've even heard of some real nice croakers that's came back in and are willing to bite again. Just this past week there were some catches of 35 to 50 nice-sized croakers being caught in the St. Johns.
Yellow mouth trout are still being caught, although not as many lately, but still some good legal-sized ones in the rivers. A few sheepshead on the rock banks and dock pilings throughout the rivers but that bite has also slowed due to the cold water.
Spotted trout along grass banks and rock banks in the river. If you're not catching them on the usual lures then try slip-float fishing with live shrimp deeper in the water column. I like to start at the bottom and then raise my bait about 6" with every few drifts until I find just what column they're holding in.
Check out the 28" black drum in the last photo of this report. What a fight!

28 inch black drumMILL COVE:
Spotted trout, redfish and black drum are the main players in the Cove right now. In the shallower water that's in the Cove I like to use the Cajun Thunders with a live shrimp about 16" under the float. Work grass edges at high tides, especially where you know there are oyster beds under the surface. There are some nice whiting and yellow mouth trout in the deeper areas in the Cove also.

Whiting at the Pier and mostly down by the Gate Station and also the Picnic Tables along with a few black drum and small bluefish. Dead shrimp or sand fleas are the preferred baits for these fish. They've been catching some nice whiting and drum at the pier whenever the wind lays down and the water clears.

Offshore has been hit or miss as far as the weather is concerned. It's been windy and cold, the same as it has been everywhere. The water has been cooling down quickly with the past couple freeze fronts. Capt. Chad Starling was at Nine Mile on Thursday and the water temp was 59 degrees. The snapper will be moving further out soon, as the water continues to cool down. Even though you can catch red snapper in cold water, he likes to look for water temperatures of 63 degrees and up. There are also some flounder in the 10-30 mile range offshore. That's why we don't have many inshore now. They can be caught on live bait or cut bait. If you use cut bait, cut it in thin strips so it appears to be swimming in the current. Black Sea Bass can be caught around live bottom and they love cut bait, squid and fish bites. If you want larger beeliners, don't stop till you get about 25 miles or so out. There have been some wahoo caught in the blue water along with the occasional dolphin.

Remember everyone, let's keep our trash in the boats. With all this wind it's easy for it to blow out before you know it. I always keep a bag in a small plastic trash can so when I return to the ramp I just pull the bag out and drop it in the City's receptacles. It's easy, you should too.

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.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good Year For Trophy Seatrout

Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

Winter has arrived in central Florida. After having mild weather for the past month, the water temperatures have plummeted into the 40's. In addition, the water levels are the lowest I have ever seen them making it difficult to reach many of the areas we usually fish.

High winds have forced the cancellation of several trips recently and will continue through the middle of this week. When the winds subside, I expect the sight fishing to be outstanding with numerous schools of redfish and plenty of big trout.

The month started out on a positive note when I fished with Jim and his sister Juanita. We caught four black drum first thing in the morning and left as the holiday crowds began to arrive.

After a bit of searching, we found a good concentration of redfish. They caught eight reds before we moved on to some trout fishing to complete the slam. Using 3 inch CAL tails, over twenty trout were caught and released.

My next trip was with Chris, a fly angler from Virginia. The weather was perfect with calm winds and sunny skies. We found several schools of redfish which we had all to ourselves for several hours. Chris had consistent shots at the schools with the flyrod but, most times, the fish stayed just out of his reach. He did manage one bite and several follows but did not connect with the fly. Chris traded the flyrod for a spinning rod with a four inch CAL tail and landed four reds in short order.

He ended the day catching a few trout on the three inch CALs. The weather most of last week was cloudy and windy and I cancelled my charters.

Saturday, I went to Mosquito Lagoon with my old friend Paul. With both air and water temperatures in the 40's and the wind blowing when we arrived, we didn't have high expectations. The first spot was a bust but within minutes of arriving at our second spot, we saw numerous tailing redfish. Paul quickly hooked up with a red using a three inch CAL.

I hooked two reds on a new color DOA crab.

Paul followed up with a few more redfish before we grew tired of the cold and wind. Yesterday, Tom and Don joined me for a great day on the Lagoon. The winds had finally calmed and the water had risen and inch or two. After a long pole across as shallow area, we reached an area of slightly deeper water that was alive with schools of redfish, black drum, and big trout. Don caught a couple black drum on a DOA crab but the redfish were not willing to eat. We tried several other baits for the reds without success. We elected to target the big trout and I gave them a five inch holographic CAL. Soon, Tom was connected to the first redfish of the day. They caught a few more before I had to get them back to the ramp so they could catch an early flight home.

This year looks like it will be very good for trophy seatrout. We have seen many of them on each trip and the cool weather will keep them in the shallow sand holes. Most of the redfish are now schooled up meaning you can find large groups of them but not as many singles. As is typical in winter, the fish are very shallow and very spooky. A very slow and silent approach is necessary to get into casting range.

When the Fish Don't Cooperate
Finding the fish is only half the battle. Once you locate them, you must trick them into eating your lure. On most days, the way you present the bait is more important than the color you use. Unfortunately, the fish don't always play by our rules or do what we expect. For example, winter redfish eat mostly crabs and shrimp. Usually, a well placed DOA shrimp or crab will get them to bite. Yesterday, the fish we found were having nothing to do with it. I know some of you are thinking, "If only you were using live shrimp." I spoke to a guide at the ramp who had been using live bait and could not get the fish to eat. When we changed to a large jerk bait, we immediately started getting bites. Ordinarily, this is not a bait we use for redfish this time of year. On this particular day, however, the bigger bait was the key. This has happened on more than one occasion throughout the years. Fish that seemingly have lockjaw will suddenly turn on when you find the right lure. The moral of the story is, if you have found the fish and they do not want to bite, try a wide variety of sizes, colors and shapes before you move on. Sometimes they bite what you least expect.

Winter Flats Kits
Mosquito Creek Outdoors still has some Winter Flats Fishing Kits available. I had them put together an assortment of my favorite lures is a single kit. Buy the kit and save on the cost of purchasing the items separately. Visit the store or call the store at 800-250-5191 and have the Capt. Chris Myers winter fishing kit sent to your door.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

Monday, January 19, 2009

Find The Warmer Water, Find The Fish

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

January 16, 2009

Looks like the latest c-c-c-cold f-f-f-front has invaded the T-t-t-treasure C-c-c-coast and brought some cold nights and cool days for a few days. Staying warm is part of preparing for your trip on the water. I broke out the ol' long handles this week in order to make fishing a little more comfortable. I called the Fishing Center in Fort Pierce to see if they stocked ice augers!!

Fishing will change as the water temperatures drop rapidly over the next several days. Looking for fish in deeper water will help improve your catch. Try fishing areas that might help keep the water warmer. Concrete seawalls can retain heat from the sun and keep water a little warmer than the surrounding water. Look to the shallows later in the day as the sun warms up the water. Fishing your lures or bait very slowly will also give you a better advantage.

Bob Baker was back this year to visit with his dad, Tom. We ventured out on a nice day and found the trout in the mood to eat as well as the usual ladyfish and jacks. Both caught their share of nice trout up to 20" and filled in the day with the ladies, jacks and bluefish on the flats. Tom Hull was down from Melbourne and we launched from Round Island on a windy day on the Indian River. It was just as this cold front had made it into the area. I didn't expect the fish to cooperate as much, but I needed to run the boat and do some scouting around the area. Harbor Branch has steadily been producing trout. We found them on the flats with DOA CAL jerk baits. I have been using the silver mullet and Arkansas glow colors a lot lately and having good success with them. Ladyfish and jacks kept us busy on some of the trout flats as well. We stealthily made our way onto some of the better redfish flats and found a couple of hungry reds along the mangroves and shallow flats to end up with a good day of fishing in less than desirable conditions.

Trout fishing will change this next week to deeper water. Try channel edges for some good action and deeper tidal cuts around the islands. Docks and the bridges will be great areas as well to find fish hanging around to keep warm and wait for an easy meal to drift by with the tides. Bridges will produce sheephead, sand perch and snapper. You can't beat a slow worked DOA shrimp around the docks. Redfish will be a little more tolerant of the cold water, but getting them to bite might be a challenge for a few days. I generally like to move out the three to five feet of water when the sun is high to find fish trying to feed and keep warm. The jetties will continue to hold jacks, mackerel and bluefish, while the surf should have plenty of whiting and pompano cruising along the beach.

Tip of the Week:
Remember to slow down your retrieve and approach around the flats. Fish are lethargic in cold water and will be slower to react to bait or lures as well as your boat moving along the flats. Trout will hang in the deep sand holes and will be more likely to hit a slow moving lure. If you are drifting too fast, you will see lots more fish than you will catch. Slow it down and improve your catching in cold water.

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.}

Fish Potholes On Negative Tides

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 1/4 through 1/18/2009

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with trout, bluefish, pompano and reds during the past couple of weeks. The best action continues to be on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with trout, blues and pompano. Anglers fishing Charlotte Harbor with me also had good action with reds, snook and trout.

Fly angler Nick Reding, a Sarasota winter resident, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Jan. 5th. We had fast action at Stephens Point with trout, pompano and blues on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. We also waded a sand bar on the west side of the bay near Bishops Point and caught and released 7 or 8 nice trout to more than 20” on Grassett’s Flats Minnow flies. Later in the week, Keith McClintock and his son-in-law, Rick Anderson, from Lake Forest, IL and Victor Feldman from Champagne, IL, fished the same areas with me. They had fast action with pompano, blues and trout on CAL jigs and DOA Deadly Combos. On Friday, Mac Arnold and Paul Moore, both from Henderson, KY, fished Sarasota Bay with me. They had good action on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with trout and blues.

Fly angler, Bob Harness from St. Louis, MO, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, Jan. 12. Since it was overcast, we stuck to deeper water where Bob had steady action with trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. The best action was at Stephens Point on the east side of Sarasota Bay. Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, and Victor Feldman, from Champagne, IL, fished Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with me on Tuesday. They had fast action with trout to more than 20”, 5 reds to 32” and a pair of snook on CAL jigs with shad tails. A front pushed through late in the day, dropping temperatures into the 40’s at night.

Pete Makowski, from Sarasota, FL, and Frank Vener, from Westport, CT, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. They had steady action with trout to more than 20” and a pair of pompano on DOA Deadly combos and CAL jigs with shad tails. I gave a presentation on “Winter Fishing with Lures and Flies” at the Florida Fishing College in Manatee County on Friday and Saturday. Bad fishing weather is great for fishing shows and I was pleasantly surprised when there were more than 200 people at my presentation at 1 PM on Friday afternoon.

It has been cool for the last several days, dropping water temperatures in shallow water into the 50’s. Deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay should continue to produce trout and blues. However, pompano are questionable with the water this cool. Trout and reds in potholes of Sarasota Bay and in Gasparilla Sound should also be good options. Next week’s tides will improve towards the end of the week as we head towards a new moon on Jan. 26th. Negative low tides will concentrate reds and trout in potholes and reds may tail on shallow grass flats of Gasparilla Sound. Deep grass flats should hold trout, blues and possibly pompano depending on water temperature.

If you are interested in learning to fly fish in saltwater. I will be the instructor at a CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing school on Saturday, Jan. 24th. Cost is $150 for the course, which runs from 9 AM to 4 PM, and will cover basic casting, shooting line, roll casting, leader construction, fly selection and saltwater fly fishing techniques. Students will be provided with a text book, an instructional DVD, lunch and the use of premium Orvis fly tackle. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 to sign up.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail and

sea troutFrank Vener, from Westport, CT, caught and released this nice trout on a CAL jig with a shad tail while fishing Sarasota Bay with Capt. Rick Grassett.

redfishVictor Feldman, from Champagne, IL, with a nice Charlotte Harbor red caught on a CAL jig with a shad tail while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.