Friday, February 27, 2009

Jensen Beach Fishing Report 2-26-09

Pompano Heaven

This week Henry talks about pompano fishing from the bridges, flats, and beaches around Jensen Beach and Stuart, Florida.

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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Redfish On Like Gang Busters

2-18-2009 - Trout Limits and Redfish Schools

Unfortuantely, I still don't have my camera back but hopefully some of my clients will send in some of the pictures they took.

About a week ago the bite was hit or miss. Over the last several days though the trout ate really well. And today, finally, the redfish turned on like gang busters.

Yesterday I had Marquis and his wife Rebekah on the boat. Marquis really wanted to get into some snook but the snook are still a little sluggish from our previous weeks of cold weather. So we headed out in search of redfish. I took them to a spot where I had gotten into some good redfish a few days earlier with clients and the signs all looked right at first. We saw a few fish, mullet were everywhere... But after trying it for an hour, we only had one hook up. So we headed out to find some trout. That was the ticket. When we first pulled up to the trout spot, I opened the livewell to grab one of the 72 shrimp I had bought only to find that there was just 5 shrimp in the livewell. Somehow most of the shrimp they had escaped through the drain! I had never had that happen before! Oh well, We caught nice keeper trout on all 5 live shrimp and then I broke out the deadly combo. Frozen shrimp, Cajun Thunder Poppin' Cork and Slayer Inc. jigheads. The trout ate it up. We soon had our limit and then we were releasing fish becuase we just couldn't keep any more. I asked Marquis if he wanted to keep catching the trout or if he wanted to try for reds again. He said, "Let's get a red." So we hit one more redfish spot. It didn't take long to spot the reds but they just would not eat. I don't know what their deal was yesterday.

Today was a different story with the redfish. We fished much farther north than yesterday and found 3 very large schools of redfish. Each school must have been real hungry because we had several double hookups and sometimes several fish woudl chase after the same bait. The most productive lures today were the Sebile suspending minnow and the new Mirr-O-Lure soft plastic jerkbaits fished on Slayer Inc. Lure Co. jig heads.

We've got a couple of mild cold fronts coming over the next couple of weeks but I don't think it will effect the bite too much. It may make the fish move around a bit but I don't think it wil get cold enough for the fish to get lockjaw again like they had with the last cold front. There are only a few days left open for February. So if you want to go fishing before March, jump on it as soon as you can. As of right now there are 15 days left open in March and it is usually a very busy month so plan ahead if you want to get in on some awesome redfish action.

Tampa Bay Fishing
Captain Clay Eavenson

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time To Target Big Trout

February means it's time to target big trout. Large specimens are abundant and average 17 to 22 inches in length. Although there are days when these fish don't cooperate, they seem to be the Tampa Fishing Report exception this time of year. As a general rule, fishing is productive from several days after a cold front passes right up until the next one arrives. The day after the front comes through will likely be the toughest day to catch fish. After weak cold fronts however, fishing may be largely unaffected. Also, don't assume that the rainy day before the real cold arrives won't be good. The trout don't care about the rain and may still feed aggressively if the actual front hasn't pushed through yet. Target times of day that have the best water movement to maximize your catch. If you want to throw artificials, use 1/8 to 3/8 ounce jig heads with swim tail plastic baits like the 12 Fathom "Fat Sam Mullet". Jig these just fast enough to keep your lure out of the grass and you should be rewarded. Remember that fish almost always strike as the bait drops so expect to feel the bite as you go to raise your rod to jig the bait. If you want to maximize your chances for success, use big shrimp that are "bobbered" to float about a foot off the bottom.

boy with redfish

Trout FishingAt the top and bottom of stronger tides, think redfish. On days when your tide chart shows a big negative number, plan to be in any fish concentrating pot hole that you can think of. There is definite truth to the saying "fish in a barrel". If you have some favorite redfish flats that have deeper sand holes in them, sink baits into these on the dead low tide when these fish have nowhere else to go. Drop offs at the edge of these same flats will also hold fish, as they stage here and wait for the tide to move back in so they can push back up on the flat to feed. Although our fish numbers are reduced in the winter, catching quality fish is a distinct possibility if you diligently work this plan.

family with 2 trout

Once the tide has pushed up to its highest point for the day, docks and protected backwaters become the target areas. These locations become prime in winter largely because of temperature. Most productive Tampa Fishing Guide redfish docks have seawalls nearby and sit over black mud bottom, which both effectively absorb heat. Protected backwaters typically have the same dark mud bottoms and their shallow waters heat up much more quickly than the surrounding deeper waters. Expect redfish to seek water that may only be a couple of degrees warmer. "Split shotted" shrimp, pinfish or cut baits, such as ladyfish, are all great offerings for fishing docks. Scent is important. Clipping the tail off of your shrimp or pinfish can only help. Although these baits are equally effective on a backwater flat or shoreline, you may want to use an artificial to cover more area. A 1/8 ounce jig head with a gold or rootbeer colored tail is an effective approach.

fisherman with sea trout

There are many good tide days still available in February so if you're interested in catching a limit of big winter trout and taking a shot at some backwater redfish, now's the time.

Good luck and good fishing.

Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters
US Coast Guard Licensed Captain
Member Florida Guides Association

© 2007 Captain Stewart Ames, Gone Fishing Charters, Tampa, FL 727-421-5291

Monday, February 23, 2009

Put Out A Bait, Let The Fish Come To You

Ahoy there Anglers,

I want to take a moment to tell you all about a project I'm putting my heart into. It's the Dinsmore Elementary School Library. I know it doesn't have anything to do with fishing but it does have something to do with seafood, fish, shrimp, crab, clams, scallops, etc. So please, take a moment to see what I'm talking about!

With all these cold windy days I've had off, I've been going to my granddaughter's school helping out and attending the awards ceremony for the kids, etc. My daughter said she wished she could do something about their school library and their lack of books for the kids. So one day I visited their school Library. What a shame! They hardly have any books. Shelf after shelf is empty. What books they do have are quite a few years old and are in bad shape. My kids also went to that school quite a few years ago and so I know it's a great neighborhood school out here in Dinsmore, on the far North side of Jacksonville. There are almost 700 kids at that school from Kindergarten to 5th grade.

I think a great idea would be to get as many seafood and dessert recipes from my fishing report subscribers, our Just Fishing Radio Show listeners, the school's faculty and parents of the kids at the school and then compile them and make a Seafood Recipe Cookbook to be sold and all the profits go to the Dinsmore Elementary School Library to buy books for these young kids. I believe it'll make a huge difference in some young children's lives.

One morning my daughter and I went back to the school and spoke with the teacher in charge of their library about making the project a reality and she was overwhelmed with gratitude. She said she could arrange a "take home notice" for the kids to give to their parents for sending in recipes and would talk to the Principal about having a yard sale Saturday, May 16th so people can bring in books that they'd like to donate for sale, (the library has to have certain type books made for school libraries that are thread sown bound not glued) and maybe purchase books and other items during the yard sale to help these kids. Hopefully May 16th will give us enough time to get enough recipes for the seafood cookbook, have it designed, printed and bound and have them for sale then too. My wife said she'll set up a database for the recipes and I believe people would like their names and City, State at the bottom of each recipe so they could feel they're a big part of this too. Might make more people want to buy them knowing they get recognition for contributing. I'm open to any ideas you may have too. I took some photos of the library so you can all see what I'm talking about.

How does "Just Fishing Gets Hooked On Reading Cookbook" sound?
I'm going to talk to a couple of printers to see if they'll be kind enough to print them and bind them for free or at least a very reduced cost because of it being a school fund raiser in exchange for a full page ad in the front of the book or their business name on the cover or whatever we can work out. If you know of any printer companies that may be interested in helping out please let me know!

I'm going to donate the first $100 to the cause and then do fishing seminars at the yard sale and see if I can get some give-a-ways, tackle, etc. from my sponsors to bring more people to the yard sale that day.

Let's all make a difference in these kid's learning abilities. Reading is so important and when they don't even have enough books to go around it's a shame. The young minds of tomorrow needs us. Send me whatever recipes you can. Please help !

With this water temperature still going up and down, it's hard to get the fish to cooperate every time you're out. We've been doing better just putting pieces of quartered up blue crab and letting the fish come to us. I have a surprise bonus you'll be able to catch in the creeks with this method also. Very large sheepshead. Yes, I said large sheepshead in the creeks. We've been catching sheepshead from 6 to 10 pounds in the shallows on the first three hours of the incoming tides. I don't know why the big ones are in there. I don't remember catching such huge sheepshead in the shallows before this year but it sure is happening this year. A great bonus since trout season is closed this month. The redfish are schooling up, as usual for this time of the year, and so finding a school and just tossing out a piece of crab and waiting on them to smell it and come to you is a whole lot better than spooking a school that's sitting still when you're trolling across a flat. Spotted sea trout are in the creeks and are taking liver shrimp, Gulp! baits and a few lures too. There are a few flounder around but they are few and far between.

Sheepshead are on rock banks, bridge pilings and dock pilings and the big ones are still on the hard-bottom spots in the river. While you're targeting the nice sized black drum from 4 to 17 pounds we're experiencing right now in the rivers you'll also catch sheepshead from 6 to 12 pounds in the same locations with the same baits. Crab, dead shrimp, clams are all making the drum and sheepshead bite. Don't be surprised if while you're catching drum and sheepshead you all of a sudden hook into a giant drum. I know it's early but there are reports of some around, even North of us already. It's been a strange year so far. Whiting and a few yellow mouth trout are also in these same locations. Remember you can harvest yellow mouth trout but not the spotted sea trout yet. A few nice croakers are around but most of them are tiny. Bull Redfish are few and far between in the river but there are some to have fun with. I've even seen a few nice mangrove snapper lately.

Sheepshead, black drum, oversized and slot reds are all biting out at the rocks when you can get out there. With the winds we've been having this year already we can't even get out there half the time. When you can make it out there you can catch the drum, large sheepshead and redfish on the hard-bottom areas and if sheepshead fishing on the rocks, sheepshead, black margates and ringtail porgies are all biting slowly. I'm looking for all the species I just mentioned to fire back off in only about a week or two at the most as they usually do. Yes, it's getting that time of the year and I just can't wait. They WILL fire up as usual. Whiting off the tip of the rocks on the sand and also up inside the North jetty West of the red buoy on the sand.

Spotted trout and black drum are what's happening in the Cove right now. I like to target both of these species on the last hour or so of the incoming and the first hour or so of the outgoing tides. I like to target the redfish during these same tides with live shrimp under a Cajun Thunder or a regular popping float but you can also target the reds in the shallows just before, during and just after low tides you just have to really watch where you're going in there on those tide phases. It's really low in there. Not many flounder in the Cove now but a few yellow mouth trout in the deeper areas are eating dead shrimp.

Whiting and a few black drum are being caught in the surf. The way the winds are right now it's really a hit-and-miss situation though. One day they're doing good and then the winds change direction and speed and the bite slows right back down. It's very hard to predict how good you should do when you go. You just have to go and see for yourself until we get some sort of consistent weather and winds.

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.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fishing A School Of 600 Black Drum

Mid February, Bang the Drum!

The first 2 weeks of February have been fantastic unless you’re a black drum! My guests have been having a field day on these relatives of the redfish. Although not considered as glamorous as the more popular redfish the black drum gives a great fight on light tackle and is fine table fare.

We’ve been fishing a school of drum that consists of around 600 or so fish and they often group up into one huge bunch only to break up again into several smaller pods. The bite is great at first light and a live shrimp is eagerly taken. During the week of the full moon the bite was best later in the morning and peaked at mid-day.

On days when several boats show up to fish at the same time the drum (quite expectedly) become a bit shy. It became necessary to feed a biting fish 10 or 15 feet of free running line before attempting to sink the 3/0 circle hooks with a steady reeling action. It also helped to downsize the leader to 16 pound Gamma fluorocarbon where I usually use 20 pound.

While the fish moved up and down the shoreline over a quarter mile area they really didn’t leave unless the winds drove them from the flats. The high winds towards the middle of the month are what finally put a damper on our fishing. The school of around 600 fish now appeared to be 100 drum as most of the fish have gone to other areas. My guess is they’re looking for calmer and cleaner water…

Captain Pat and I found these fish on a Monday scouting trip. Pat caught at least 10 from the bow and I landed 3 from the poling platform. All were caught on Exude soft plastic baits either shrimp or darts. Many more were lost to pulled hooks or simply being snagged and the hook coming free.

Tuesday Stacy & David joined me for a frenzy of drum fishing. They caught over thirty (30) black drum between 6 and 12 pounds, keeping only 4 (half their legal limit).

Wednesday Deb and Brent from Vermont and long time clients and friends climbed aboard. A windy forecast sent us in a different direction only to find a bumper crop of catfish and puffers. I think I zigged when I should have zagged!

Thursday the weather was awesome once again and the drum seemed like a sure bet. They were and Deb and Brent also broke the thirty fish mark using live shrimp…

The next 4 days we caught drum, but in greatly reduced numbers. Higher winds and dirty water simply changed the game, but still resulted in happy fishermen!

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

Posted on 19 Feb 2009 by Capt. Mark

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lure Presentation Key To Catching Fish

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

February 19, 2009

We had a variety of weather conditions around the Treasure Coast this week. Calm, summer like days over the past weekend to downright blowing conditions later in the week. Some days it was really a challenge in getting out on the water, but we managed to do just that and everyone had a great time in spite of the blustery days we faced. It looks like we should have a decent weekend at least for fishing inshore. Water temperatures have varied each day. Warmer water last weekend to much cooler temps after the wind had its way with the river. The water was crystal clear through Tuesday, but the next day it had been clouded up everywhere we fished.

Kyle Collins and the whole family joined me on a very windy day. Kameron and Skyler really enjoy fishing and Skyler led the way by catching the most fish. Kameron, mom and dad tried to keep up, but Skyler had the best day. She even caught a redfish that broke her off next to the boat. Jake, Jack, Jim and Ben joined me on a windy day as well. We found ladyfish and jacks for the boys. Jack and Ben caught a number of fish to have a fun day on the water. Jake and Jim helped make sure the boys had fun catching fish. Bob and Don joined me on a day that was much better wind conditions. We caught some trout up to 20" and drifted on the usual ladyfish and jacks to end the day with some wild and crazy fishing. It was a fun week for us all.

There are lots of fish out there if you can get to the flats. Redfish, snook and trout have been in shallow water, but it has been difficult to fish many of those areas. I managed to get out Sunday and found some nice fish hanging around some of the docks. It was a good day for redfish and trout. DOA TerrorEyz continues to be the best producing artificial for us. Once the water warms up a little, the fishing should be fantastic out there. For now, fish deeper water early and you can find the fish moving shallow later in the mornings. We can look forward to March as another windy month ahead. Each week, you will face different challenges on which way the wind blows.

Bridges are still producing black drum, sheephead, snapper and some croakers. The jetties are full of bluefish, mackerel and jacks with some good reports of flounder on the south side of the jetties. I talked to several night anglers who have caught some slot and oversize snook this week. Beaches will have whiting, bluefish and some pompano in the surf.

Tip of the Week:
Fishing with artificials can be fun and exciting for any angler. There are more kinds, colors, variations....etc...etc....of lures available that is worse than shopping for toothpaste or shampoo! Any lure out there can catch fish on any given day. Whichever you decide to use, it is more important to use the proper presentation than worrying about color or size. There is more information than anyone could want out there about fishing and you will find that most will always use presentation as a key element to catching fish. Experimentation is one way to determine how to fish any kind of artificial. Whether trying it fast or slow, shallow or deep, or different ways just to work your lure, it can make the difference in catching or fishing. Always be open minded to trying something different. You never know when you just might find a lure that produces fish when presented in the right way. Have fun out there!

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.}

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Redfish On Sarasota Bay Structure

Fishing Report 02/19/2009 – Capt. Terry Frankford

Angler's aboard the Reelin and Chillin picked up some nice redfish around structure in Sarasota Bay. A couple broke off, a few were over the twenty-seven inch limit, and several made the eighteen to twenty-seven inch slot. Also, trout have been around in deeper areas near grass flats. I believe their staying deep for warmth. We found them in six to eleven feet of depth and caught them on live shrimp and Billy Bay Halo shrimp. We also caught a fair amount of pompano at Steven's point jigging live shrimp - great fight, and great table fair.

A fish tail enjoyed aboard the Reelin & Chillin:
Don Bourdon with son Robb, grandkids Chloe, and Jake enjoyed a great trip with trout, and redfish on line. Jake broke the ice with the first trout then all angler's kicked in ending up with seven nice keepers within the slot of fifteen to twenty inches. We caught all seven in two different locations, like I said above, in deeper water near grass. Then we took off for some structure fishing with redfish in mind. Chloe broke the ice with a big red measuring out at twenty-six and three quarter inches. It had to be one of the fattest reds I have ever seen. Pa Pa Don helped a little to keep it from breaking Chloe off in the structure. With not much casting area for four angler's Chloe took a back seat so the guys could have a chance at a big one. As luck would have it the three guys have their hand picked shrimp tucked up in the structure perfectly and Chloe cast way off to the side in a somewhat grassy area - BAM she hooked up again, this one measured in at twenty-six inches on the nose. Like all good fishermen say "they would rather have luck over skill any day". Chloe had the luck for today, two reds, and three of the seven trout.

Captain's Tip - Winter Trout
Trout are looking for warmer water during the cold months and with the surface temperature being between 60 and 65 degrees for the last couple of weeks that's where we found them. I did find them in clean deep water not to far from the pass, however it was a body of water that didn't have much current movement. Yes the tide moved, however not fast enough to cause the colder surface water to mix with the deeper warmer waters. I also had my clients slow down on the retrieve if moving at all. Just a little twitch of the rod and a crank or two on the reel to catch the eye of a trout. It worked for us on our trips so give it a try, think warm dark bottom, clean water but not moving, and slow the retrieve.

Tight Lines & Good Times,

Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dunedin Trout Fishing Phenomenal

Fishing Through the Cold Fronts of February


Hey friends.
Well we pushed through a number of 'very cold for Florida' fronts this past month. It gave me time to finish work on my new vessel, a custom Dorado 23, pictures to come soon. Also, thanks to those who have shown interest in my music career by visiting and purchasing my debut CD 'Pocketful of Change'. It has been a great past few years, fishing with great clients and making music in between. I think I have figured out how to take advantage of this state!!! Anyway, the fishing has been pretty good around those cold fronts. I had some cancellations, but did run a good amount of trips. Here is what's been happening...

showing off big trout

The name of the game lately is the phenomenal Trout fishing we see every year around this time. The Dunedin area has been my focus for these great creatures. Mostly floating live shrimp under a cork, around the spoil islands. If you find that the water you are fishing is too crowded, don't hesitate to move on to another island or even a shallow flat to the east. There are plenty of Trout in many different locations, you just may need to move around to get them. If you insist on fishing an area already populated, show some friendly etiquette and approach quietly for the upwind side and slip into the fishing zone. Frequently, I will see someone come blasting into a group of other fisherman and no one gets a bite after that. By this time in the season the Trout are pretty well beat up and can easily be shut down by a bad approach. Another tip is when a good bite seems to quit all together, a simple 10 - 20 foot move in the direction you believe most logical to go, can result in further bites by staying with the school. They will sometimes squeeze in very tight to shore or move right off a drop into 4 or 5 feet of deeper water. I recently took a childhood friend, Robbie Lunsford fishing with his father-in-law Jim. It was great to see my good friend after many years, but better to see him hanging into some big Trout. We were able to focus on an area of swift moving tide in 5 feet of water. The fish were definitely feeding better once the tide began to move well. Your favorite jerkworm can also work well on a flat while drifting, but can sometimes irritate a school of Trout. I tend to throw plastics only when I am alone in a spot. It can be a great way to locate a group of fish, then I'll switch over to some live offerings to hold them there. Always remember to handle Trout with care. Good dehookers can mean the difference between life and death among Trout.

Redfish are starting to group up in the usual areas. Docks and oyster bars in direct sunlight have seen several keeper size Reds. I will say they are pretty finicky and need a lot of patience to hook. Pinfish and shrimp are my best baits right now, but Gulp Shrimp worked along the edges of bars and flipped under the docks will get a strike too. I tend to fish potholes on a low incoming tide after locating the Redfish by slowly drifting into an area. However some of the bars I fish need the high tides to concentrate the fish on top of them.

Can you believe March is almost here? We should see the Redfishing getting better and a few Snook to move out of the backcountry with a string of warm days.
For those of you looking for the best Tarpon fishing in the world, I still have good days open around the best moon phases in Boca Grande. The season kicks off starting in May going through June. My new boat is going to be awesome for Tarpon fishing. Please call now to book a Tarpon experience of a lifetime or a great day of inshore fishing with yours truly. I'm ready, let's go!!!

Capt. Brian

Capt. Brian Caudill

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sun Works Like Magic On Lethargic Fish

Fishing Report February 2009:

The cooler waters have not been all doom and gloom for those anglers preferring Inshore waters. We have had continued success in Tampa Bay during our version of winter by switching up tactics. Anglers aboard the Ms. Guided have been more than accommodating to leave the docks a little later in the day to avoid the morning cold. The bite this time of year tends to be better later in the day as the sun has a chance to work its magic.

In areas where we were catching Trout in 2' to 3' of warmer water, we now find them a bit deeper. We have also been targeting the residential canals adjacent to flats were fish are normally caught with consistent results. Whether residential canal or deeper flat, live bait or artificial, a slower presentation is key into trigger lethargic fish into striking.

For Offshore anglers, water temperatures dipped into the 50s the first half of February which put the lockjaw on some of the more popular sportsfish we target along the Sun Coast. In addition, Gag Grouper season closed on the 1st of February in All waters and Red / Black Grouper season closed on the 15th of February in Federal waters putting a damper on anglers interested in filling coolers.

We have been successful in targeting Mangrove Snapper, Black Sea Bass, and Key West Pork Chops (Grunts) in 30' to 50' of water, and Amber Jacks further out for those looking for dinner. If you are clinically insane like I and enjoy diving in the winter months, there are still plenty of Hogfish to be speared.

For more information or to book your next saltwater adventure in the Tampa area, contact Capt Jay at 1-877-463-4520 or email

Capt Jay Schroeder
CJ Flats Saltwater Charters

Finding Winter Redfish

Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

Fishing in Mosquito Lagoon has been very good for the first two weeks of this month. Despite having some record cold temperatures at the beginning of the month, there have been plenty of redfish, black drum and large trout on the flats. This past week, the weather was back to normal with warm temperatures and happy tailing redfish.

The first day of the month, I fished with Tim and his wife Noley. Very low water made it tough to get to the spot I had chosen but we arrived to find multiple schools of redfish and black drum. The fish were plentiful but, as is common with fish in very shallow water, they were spooky. As the day progressed, Tim started getting the hang of how to make a proper presentation and was able to hook up with a couple nice redfish with a 3" DOA CAL.

nice redfish with DOA CAL jigI had to cancel my trips for the next two days as a front pushed through with high winds followed by overnight temperatures in the 20's. By Friday, I had to get out on the water. It was still cold and when I arrived I found the water had dropped to 44 degrees. It was not a pleasant day with the wind whipping across the cold water. I saw plenty of very large redfish and black drum but most were not interested in eating. I managed to land two black drum around 15 pounds and one redfish.

Sunday, it was still cool but much warmer. I fished Mosquito Lagoon with my wife. We saw plenty of redfish and caught both redfish and trout on holographic 3" CALs.

Thursday, UK angler Jerry made his second trip with me to Mosquito Lagoon. Heavy clouds most of the day made for poor visibility. Jerry landed a redfish on his second cast and things were looking positive. We encountered multiple tailing redfish throughout the morning and spooked many we did not see. As the day wore on, the sun began to break through and we fished a flat holding a good number of redfish and large trout basking in the sand holes. Unfortunately, Jerry never hooked another fish.

Friday, the weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, light winds and near 80 degrees. Joe and Dustin took a break from the races and Daytona Beach to check out some Mosquito Lagoon fishing. Our first spot held about ten small schools of happily tailing redfish. Dustin was soon hooked up to his first redfish but the hook pulled before it got to the boat. Both walleye fishermen, Joe and Dustin were not used to being able to see their targets in the water and found the precision needed to properly present the baits fun but challenging. Despite missing lots of fish throughout the day, their persistence payed off. They ended the day landing redfish of 38 and 42 inches, both over 20 pounds.

fisherman siting with big redfish
huge redfishYesterday, I fished Tim and Mike. Despite a cold front bearing down on us, the fishing was surprisingly good. Tim hooked a very large fish that pulled the hook and Mike followed up landing redfish of 36 and 38 inches.

big redfishThey each caught some nice trout and a couple smaller reds before we found a flat holding many tailing redfish. High winds made casting tough but each guy managed to fool one into biting.

Royals fan with slot sized redfishThe redfish, trout, and drum fishing should continue to be excellent during the next month. Many of the fish are in very shallow water. Stealth and quickness and accuracy are the keys to success.

Finding Winter Redfish
The winter season has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, there are many schools of redfish. Find a school, approach them quietly, and don;t cast on top of them and you are likely to get a hookup. Schools make larger targets and are much easier to see. On the down side, if most of the fish are in schools, that leaves few singles and pairs on the flats. If you are not where the schools are, you may see very few fish.

So, where do you start looking for them? For starters, you need to get shallow. If you cannot get in 18" of water or less, you will be unable to get to many of the winter redfish. Often, they are in a foot or less. Pick a spot and begin to pole or drift across. While looking for the reds, watch for stingrays, mullet, and catfish. If you see none of then in ten minutes or so, It way be time to move. Often times, moving less than a mile can bring quite different results. Even if they are not tailing aggressively, the redfish schools will commonly show themselves by flashing their bellies or by part of fin breaking the surface.

There is no substitute for searching and covering water. When you locate the fish, they will often return to the same general locations year after year. Keeping a log will help you to keep track.

During winter, the shallow flats can experience quick and large swings in temperature as fronts pass through. The first day or two after a sudden drop may force fish off the flats. once they have acclimated, they will return to the flat for food and warmth.

Tampa Fishing Show
February 27- March 1, I will be at the Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo and Boat Show and the Florida State Fairgrounds. I will be giving seminars on flats fishing Friday and Saturday. . I will also be at the DOA booth throughout the day.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

Monday, February 16, 2009

Catching Sarasota Trout On Every Cast

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 2/1 through 2/14/2009

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, for the past couple of weeks had good action with trout and bluefish. In addition, we’re still catching a few pompano and large Spanish mackerel made an appearance in Sarasota Bay the last couple of days.

A strong cold front pushed through early in the week of Feb. 1st. We had a couple of near freezes in our area, but no damage was done to the fishery. It was 34 degrees on Thursday morning, so Orvis Regional Business Manager Robert Bryant and I decided to wait until about 10 AM to start our trip. Due to a strong north wind, we fished Little Sarasota Bay, which offered some protection from the elements. Despite tough conditions we caught and released numerous ladyfish and 3 or 4 trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on intermediate and Depth Charge fly lines. We found the fish right in the ICW channel near old Midnight Pass.

The next day Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, and his cousin, Jack McCulloch from Englewood, FL, fished Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with me. We caught some very nice trout, including a couple over the slot, around spoil islands and sand bars in Gasparilla Sound on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms. Keith also fished Sarasota Bay with me and his guest, Bill Garrett from Naples, FL, on Wednesday, Feb. 11th. They had steady action with trout and a few blues on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms near Buttonwood Harbor.

Sarasota winter residents, Harry Beaty and Tom Schalk, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday. The action was a little slow in the morning with a few trout and blues on CAL jigs. The action picked up in the afternoon when Carter Fox, from VA and his 3 guests fished with Capt. Roy String and me. The group caught numerous trout, including 8 slot-size trout, bluefish and a pompano on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos near Buttonwood Harbor.

Fly anglers, Marshall Dinerman from Atlanta, GA, Josh Fine from CT, and Brian Green and Keith Lindberg, from Canada, fished with me on three different trips on Thursday and Friday. They caught trout, blues, pompano and big Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on intermediate and intermediate sink tip fly lines. Marshall caught a pompano and several trout on Thursday morning.

Josh had an excellent trip with numerous nice trout, Spanish mackerel and blues near Buttonwood Harbor and Long Bar on Thursday afternoon. We were surprised when big Spanish mackerel showed up in a heavy sea fog (less than 100’ visibility) that stayed with us all day. We caught a couple and got cut off once and at one point were catching a trout on every cast. Brian and Keith had good action with trout on Friday. They also caught a pair of big Spanish mackerel first thing in the morning at Stephens Point.

Next week’s tides will improve towards the end of the week when we’ll have negative lows early in the morning. Reds, trout and snook in potholes should be a good option as well as tailing reds on shallow grass flats of Gasparilla Sound. Trout, blues, pompano and Spanish mackerel on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay should also be a good option and has been providing the fastest action. Also, look for mackerel in the coastal gulf when conditions are good. There is still space available in CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing school on Feb. 28th. I will be the instructor for the course, but you’ll need to contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 to sign up. Cost for the school, which runs from 9 AM to 3 PM, is $150 and includes the use of premium Orvis fly tackle, a textbook, an instructional DVD and lunch.

Tight Lines,

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

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

Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, caught and released this over slot trout on a CAL jig with a jerk worm while fishing Gasarilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with Capt. Rick Grassett.

Brian Green, from Fenwick, Ontario, with a nice Sarsota Bay trout caught and released on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly while fishing Sarasota Bay with Capt. Rick Grassett.

American Shad Run On St. Johns

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report

By Captain Tom Van Horn

Well, the extremely cold weather we experienced these past few weeks has subsided and Chamber of Commerce weather has settled in just in time for race and bike weeks in Daytona. It's these cool, clear, and bright sunny days that make Central Florida such a great place to live and visit, and we are truly blessed to have excellent fishing as well.

My week started on Monday when I had the opportunity to join Captain Eric Ciocher host of the Ultimate Catch Fishing Show for a day of filming on the St. Johns River near Puzzle Lake. The episode we were filming was about fishing from Malibu Kayaks, and our original plan was to film a black drum and redfish show in the legendary Banana River No-Motor zone, but every time we scheduled a shoot, either the weather was unfavorable or some other unforeseen event would scrub the event. Well. We finally decided to shoot the show fishing for American shad on the St. Johns River, and all of our delays were rewarded by one of the best shad runs I seen in years. From the first cast of the day until sunset, we had constant action catching over 100 fish between us on both spin and fly tackle. All of the fish I caught were on a 5 weight fly rod throwing a very small chartreuse crazy Charlie and on several of the fights I had large roe shad take me all the way into the backing. The weather was gorgeous, the fish were chewing, and the non stop action produces over four hour of footage for a 30 minute show.

photographing guides with catch and kayakUltimate Catch Fishing Show is broadcast on Bright House Sports Network covering the entire Central Florida region from Tampa- St. Pete across To Daytona and Melbourne Beaches. Ultimate Catch airs on Channel 47 Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.

The following counties are included in the Bright House Sports Network Coverage area: Brevard, Volusia, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Sumter, and Polk. This covers the major Metropolitan areas of Daytona, Orlando and Tampa.

I returned to the river again several times during the week, but the bite was slow, so I would have to classify the shad bite as hot and cold.

fisherman with redfishOn the Lagoon, water levels remain very low and there are a good number of redfish and black drum schools working the flats, but the shallow clear water makes for some really spooky fish bringing our catch levels down. It's very frustrating when you see hundreds of fish, and you can't get a cast in front of them or they just swim past your offering without even a sniff, but that just adds to the challenge of sight fishing.

Although getting the fish to eat is a challenge with these conditions, patients pays off as was the case with 7 year old Brian Rohde and his dad from Casper, Wyoming. Between the two of them, 4 black drum between 10 to 20 pounds came to the boat, 3 caught by Brian the Drum Major Rohed.
On a side note, black drum numbers have improved to the point they are becoming a common targets, adding to the excitement of an emerging fishery, but greedy meat hunting anglers are pounding these schools taking illegal limits and if this practice continues this new fishery will be short lived. Don't get me wrong, because I enjoy a fresh fish dinner as much as anyone else, but there is no reason to be out there every day taking more fish then you can eat. So, please be respectful of our resources, and we will all benefit in the long run.

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

407-416-1187 on the water
407-366-8085 land line

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

Friday, February 13, 2009

Panhandle Fishing Report 2-13-09

Report for 02/13/2009

Salt Water

The amberjack are still hanging out in the deeper water at the 120’-200’ range. Remember the regulations on length for Greater amberjack is now 30” to the fork. Since live bait is so hard to come by this time of year, bring yourself some Northern mackerel, or Cigar minnows, and squid as back up. If you have not yet, try jigging the Shimano or Williamson jigs for grouper, both can be great producers and many times better that cut or live bait.

Many anglers are enjoying catch and release fishing for trout in the gulf canal and along the wall of the PSJ marina. Black drum are still a good target for the gulf canal too. Use live shrimp directly on your jig-heads or frozen shrimp on the bottom using a Carolina rig and Mutu light circle hooks size 1/0. Some big Sheepshead are being caught this week around the seawall and out around the range markers and buoys. Use a small shank Mustad live bait hook and fluorocarbon leader with just enough weight to keep your rig under control. Remember to set the hook on the first nibble or you will lose the fish. The whiting bite has been solid in the surf and most were caught were off Cape San Blas around the Stump Hole.

Fishing Bob Sikes cut on a calm day will catch you some nice Sheepshead. Use small shrimp or dig up some fiddler crabs for the best bait. The current gets strong, so have some heavy lead available.

Mot much has changed over the last few weeks but new things are just around the corner. Reds, Blues, and Sheepshead are off the jetties. In the bay, the trout have been very good around areas where rivers and creeks feed into the saltwater bayous.

In the gulf, the Reds and Bonito are roaming the beaches for both surf fisherman or boaters. Offshore the Amberjack and Triggers are the main stay.

On the pier, a few Bonitos, Sheepshead and a Red or two.

We expect to get a batch of eels the last week of the month so that the last weekend someone will hopefully go and find the first Cobia of the year. The Full Pull is one of the boats that tries hard for the first one. I believe the earliest they have ever seen one is February 26th, and the earliest they have hooked one is February 28th and they have caught one as early as March 2nd.

Also in the near future is the arrival of the Spanish Mackerel. They normally show in the middle of March.

The Florida Sportsman Show held at the Okaloosa Fairgrounds is Saturday and Sunday February 21st and 22nd. They have a good list of seminar speakers and you will have the opportunity to meet Factory Reps from your favorite tackle makers. They will be there to answer questions on products, give fishing advice and help anyway possible.

Lastly, Wednesday the 18th at McGuire’s is the Emerald Coast Saltwater Seminar Series. Sonny Granger will be talking about spring time Redfish tactics. The Seminar is sponsored by Half Hitch Tackle and the Ships Chandler.

Fresh Water

Bass anglers tell us the bass will start hitting the beds now, so go sight fishing in Lake Wimico around any good sandy areas like cold-water bend and the mouth of Depot Creek. White lizards, Zoom flukes (watermelon/white), and really any of your soft plastics will work. The fish that are in transition right now will hit Bandit crank baits in the Humble Bee color in depths of 4-8’. So, go cross some eyes and have fun bass fishing.

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.

Warmer Weather Puts Fish In The Mood

Fishing Report

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

February 13, 2009

The Treasure Coast was greeted to some fantastic warm weather this past week and it appears that we can enjoy similar weather in the coming days ahead. Winds have been light one day and blowing the next, but inshore fishing has continued to be improving with each sunny day. Water temperatures are climbing and the fish are coming in shallow on the flats. Hopefully, this is the coming of spring weather and those nasty cold fronts will be milder in the weeks ahead.

I was on the water several days this past week and found the fish in the mood to eat. The full moon had a little affect on the daytime bite, but overall, the fishing has been great out there. We have continued to start the days in deeper water and finding a variety of fish hanging in five to ten feet of water. Tom Hull was back down from Melbourne and after finding a number of nice trout in the deep cuts, he got slammed by a gag grouper that refused to come up from its lair on the bottom. With some coaxing, he finally got it to come up to release it for another day.

Moving onto some of the vast grass flats later in the day, we found numerous snook, redfish and trout laying in less than a foot of water. Most were just in the mood to get warm that day, but it is a good sign of the fishing that lies ahead. We managed some good bites under the docks and landed one hungry snook. DOA jerk baits and TerrorEyz kept us busy this week with trout. Rootbeer is the color that has worked best for us lately. We have found trout from Round Island down towards the power lines. Fish three to five feet of water and you should be able to find a limit of trout this week.

Around the docks, channel edges and bridges you can find sheephead, black drum and snapper. Live or dead shrimp are the choice baits. The water continues to stay clear in most areas and where you can find the warmest water, you can find the fish as well. Snook fishing was good during the full moon period at night this month around the bridges and inlet. Look for fishing to be good this next week as the sun warms up the water and the fish will become more active on the flats. Beach anglers are still enjoying good catches of bluefish, whiting and pompano along the surf. Sand fleas, shrimp and silver spoons will usually get you some action in these areas.

Tip of the Week:
Safe boating is everyone's responsibility. It is amazing at the number of boaters on the water that seem to have no indication of knowing the Rules of the Road. I am sure most of you have encounter one of those on the water and just shake your head in wonder. There are pamphlets and literature available to give anyone the basics in boating. The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers safe boating classes. There are even a number of online courses that you can find through I appreciate Ed Killer for putting weekly safe boating tips online and in the St Lucie News. With the amount of boaters on the water, especially on weekends, keep yourself and everyone around you safer by knowing and using the Rules of the Road.

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.}

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stuart Fishing Report 2-9

FISHING 2/8/09

Lets go catch a fish, the weather has moderated, the wind slowed and the best part is the fish are hungry.
Blue fish in the surf, rivers, inlet, you might say they are every where. On the surf it was spoons and mullet, from the bridge it was spoons and mullet, one might say spoons and mullet for Blues and it does not matter the locations. If it has flash or scent they are on it. In the inlet, one cast one fish, on the surf one cast one fish and from the bridges it was minutes between bites, yes the Blues like the cooler water. Also the surf saw other species and I am not sure why some were there, big Sheephead, big Croakers even a few Flounder made the show as the water warmed and the Blue fish moved out. Clams were the favored bait this week for the Pompano, short runs with no pattern.
Off shore it was Sail fish and plenty of them, trolling baits and live baiting the Sails were there. We had reports from 80' out to 200' both north and south of our inlet that was the zone. Not big Dolphin but every one came in with two or more, they were ten pound class fish with a mix of King fish. Live bait from several locations both north and south of our inlets. As the water warms keep a look out for the Cobia, they will be hanging out on the bait schools.
Red fish made an excellent show, they like the cooler water, Bear Point and Round island areas were the locations using live or artificial. Trout were spread out, some here and there not allot but every angler had some thing to say. Pompano are every where, from the North Fork to the Cross Roads up into the Indian Rivers. Jigging spoons, small jigs or a shrimp on a jig head moved slowly across the bottom put plenty in the boat. Snook, stay in the deeper water and present your baits across the bottom slowly, be ready to set the hook. These fish are still slow from the cold, they will pick up the bait not attack, pay attention.
Till next week, 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)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Everglades Grouper On Fly

DeJavu, all over again
Filed under: Ship's Log — Captain Ned Small @ 5:21 pm

Here’s Jay Althoff with the fish of the day. The fishing is tough but you never know what the Everglades might provide in the way of opportunity. We wrassled a few snook in the morning and then we sighted this one in Last Chance Bay on the way home. Here’s the result of the reapplication of rule seventeen. Jewfish on fly, Everglades style.


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

Boca Grande Pass Report 2-09


Tarpon are showing in Boca Grande Pass. The big push of fish is expected hopefully in Early April but we will wait and see. There are Tarpon in the backwaters that have started to transition out of the winter habitats. Sight fishing for redfish has been very good if you can find a leeward mangrove shoreline. Poling the mangroves and casting shrimp surface sliders has been productive for fly fishing. Snook have been showing on the flats and in the mangroves as they flood. Trout fishing has been excellent on the deeper grass flats. A popping cork and a DOA shrimp have done well. Mangrove snapper fishing has been very good with live shrimp in the deeper mangrove cuts. Spanish mackerel in the harbor has been spotty but heavy chumming will get them going and keep them acting long enough to cast artificials and hook up on almost every cast. Fly fishing SHARKS is always good with the biggest being a 5 foot spinner last week. The gulf has been tough due to heavy surf and northeast winds at 25 mph. Backwater and transition flats can be excellent for fly and artificials.

Tight lines,
Capt. Al

Boca On The Fly
Captain Al White
(941) 697-0320 Cell (941) 830-1375

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big Fish On Homosassa Flats

Big Fish Loading up on Local Flats
Report Date: January 29, 2009

Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold!! Its hard to predict the weather right now, but something that has been very predictable is the large schools of fish pushing all over our local flats. Big schools of Redfish and even Bigger schools of Giant Black Drum have been roaming all over the local flats, creeks and coves during the recent month. Even the Sheephead and Bluefish have been showing up in masses and are more than willing to take a perfectly placed shrimp or jig.


Mark Best is also pictured here with his first Redfish and @ 25" this isn't a bad one to start with either.

This time of year can truly be very unpredictable both with weather and fishing opportunities. One day the high will push around 60 and the fish will be loaded in the rivers, two days later the highs will be in the 80’s and fish will be in large pods from the rivers and creeks to the offshore humps and rocks. One thing that is for sure is that the water is crystal clear and when chasing any species of fish this is definitely an advantage for the angler. I always try to promote this time of year as one of the best for sight fishing. With little rain and light winds our gin clear flats become oversized aquariums and the sight alone of such crystal clear water makes you think your fishing some small island in the Caribbean.


Sheephead are the top dogs on most local angler minds right now. There are NO pieces of shrimp that stand a chance while these Sheephead are around and feeding.

When sight casting fish in shallow, crystal clear water a stealthy approach is a major key. Using an electric motor or a push pole is a huge advantage especially when fishing in mere inches of water. If you have never fished water this shallow before, you truly don’t know what you’re missing. Tailing fish, huge wakes, and giant splashes are just a few of the unexpected thing you come across while fishing in such skinny water. Fish tend to congregate in this shallow water during this time of year mainly because the shallower water tends to warm faster with more direct sun light and a lighter current flow. When Gulf temp drop into the 50’s you can still count on the local creeks and coves to have water temps remaining in the 60’s, which helps to keep fish moving and active.

On a few recent trips we have been targeting skinny water Redfish, Sheephead and Giant Black Drum all of which nave been sight casted. The best part about this type of fishing is that all of these same species normally tend to congregate along the same rocky coves and outcroppings that the Crystal River and Homosassa areas are famous for. Mark Best and I spent the day throwing spoons to tailing reds and were rewarded with 5 nice fish around the 20-25 inch range. Amazingly enough while we were working these spoons we even managed to put a few Speckled Trout in the boat all over 20”. Normally, Trout will shy away from a spoon but on this day they seemed to jump on anything that crossed their paths. 2 days later a friend of mine Capt. Dan Clymer and I were working the same area and found a few Reds and Trout and a ton of Giant Black Drum all in the 30-50lb range. Let me tell you in a foot of water there is not a better sight than seeing the huge backs and tails of a Giant Drum sticking out of the water. Rule of Thumb if you can see their tails and backs, they’re feeding and it doesn’t take much to entice them into a strike. A well placed shrimp or crab can be a sure bet for landing a fish of a lifetime. On this day Dan had all of the luck in his favor and after five perfect casts he was finally able to talk a 35+ pounder into taking the bait and the fight was on. After a 25 minute fight the fish bottomed out the Boca Grip and was released to fight another day.

black drum

While Poling my 17ft Pathfinder in less than a foot of water myself and Capt. Dan Clymer were surprised when a school of 5 Big Black Drum began feeding and tailing in front of us. After a perfect cast and a long fight Dan landed one of the Giant Drum!!!

You just don’t know what to expect these days. The one thing you can expect is a beautiful day on the water and the enjoyment of the outdoors. So if you’re interested in burning some line off a reel give Red Hot Fishing Charters a call today we’re in the Fishing Memories Business.

Capt. Kyle Messier (352) 634-4002

Red Hot Fishing Charters
Crystal River and Homosassa, Florida

Monday, February 09, 2009

Fly Fishing Keys Flats

Key West Fishing Report

Updated fishing reports for the flats and offshore

February 7, 2009

There has been some down time this week with a brutal cold front that moved through the Keys. Just prior to it I was fishing with my Dad and our best bet during the warmest part of the day was to hunt for barracuda on the ocean flats. There were plenty of cudas around and they were willing to eat. We hooked quite a few on tube lures. We had some shots at a couple of nice bonnethead sharks one of which took the fly without thinking twice.


What is yet to come is the warm up. The forecast says we'll get warmer weather after this weekend. That is when the flats will come alive again. The water needs a few days to get back to normal temperatures before we'll see some permit back on the flats.

February and March are prime time for permit. There are a lot of big permit in the Lower Keys - more so than the Upper Keys have to offer. What will follow with warmer water temperatures are the silver flash of big tarpon. They can appear as early as now and can stick around well through the summer months.

You can reach Captain Justin Rea at 305-744-0903 or email

Capt. Justin Rea
Sugarloaf Key, FL 33042

Friday, February 06, 2009

Panhandle Fishing Report 2-6-09

Report for 02/06/2009

Salt Water

This week is definitely Sheepshead and black drum week. Big drum and Sheepshead will be found around all the range markers and buoys just outside St Joe Bay. Use a strong short shank hook Carolina rigged with fluorocarbon leader and just enough weight to get your bait down. Use small live shrimp for the Sheepshead and larger live shrimp for drum. February means trout are a catch and release only, if you want some of this type of action, head to the deeper holes and up into the canals and bayous. The bonus is, where the trout are, the redfish are. The intercostals canal continues as the hot spot for both redfish and trout, not to mention those drum and Sheepshead. Do not forget the rivers and bayous, as these areas are great on colder days.

The whiting are schooling along the beaches in large numbers this week and the “stump hole” off Cape San Blas is a fantastic whiting haunt and along Mexico Beach between the pier and the entrance to the canal. Use Half Hitch custom 100% fluorocarbon 2-hook pompano rig with shrimp for a perfect whiting set-up. Use a pyramid weight just heavy enough to hold your rig in place. Some big redfish will also be along the shoreline at sunset. Use a 4/0 circle hook Carolina rigged on a 20lb class rod/reel.

Grouper have moved to the shallower wrecks and reefs as the water temperature drops this month. The big boys will be at 150’ deep or more. Around the inshore wrecks, trolling with a Mann’s stretch series lure works very well and you will want to use the 25+ series in 30’ of water or less and the 30+/40+ series for deeper water. Of course, using live bait works best, but wintertime makes it harder to find live bait. Frozen cigar minnows & northern mackerel will work well.

The Black and Gag Grouper season is closed now until Mar. 31st. Red Grouper will be closed Feb. 15th through Mar. 15th.

Several AJ’s are being caught around the 100 foot mark over bridge spans and large wrecks.

Sheepshead have started to move into the jetties now. Live Shrimp or Fiddler Crabs with just a split shot is all you need. Bull Reds are being caught with live shrimp and pin fish around the jetties. Trout have moved into the creeks and bayous with the cooler temperatures. The Steam Plant is producing a lot of fish. Live shrimp will produce the most fish.

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.

Tarpon Springs Trout With Redfish Kicker

Fishing Report

Tampa Fishing Charter Report 1-29-2009

It's been a great week here in the Tampa Bay area. Most of our fishing charters have run out of Tarpon Springs mainly due to the unbelievable trout fishing and the really good redfishing that's been going on up here. The Superbowl is this coming weekend and that has brought a lot of visitors to the area and that in turn has created a full week of fishing charters.

girl looking at redfish

three redfish

This week Trout again were the focus (as is usual this time of year) but redfish have been the "kicker" fish. We've been trying to hit the trout spots during the incoming tide and the results have been great. They won't eat very well on the leaving tide but when the tide starts ripping in, it's game on. We had one unusual day this week where for what ever reason the trout wouldn't eat artificial lures very well so we went back to using shrimp fished under a Cajun Thunder bobber. They really seemed to be keying in on that combo. Trout in the 28-25" range were frequent participants in the good bite. In fact, the size of this fish has been consistently large. We didn't catch one fish that was too small to keep all week. That was great.

The redfish have been eating cut mullet pretty well. We've been getting into them at the barrier islands on low tides and hitting them up on the mainland when the tide comes up. We've been waiting to target them until after hitting the morning trout bite and this has rewarded everybody pretty well.

girl with redfish

man with redfish

We've got a cold front upon us (passed through today) and the wind and temps will keep us off the water until at least Tuesday. But warmer weather is forecasted for the rest of next week so look for more of the same reports next week. Trout and redfish. What could be better? Oh yea.... snook! That's just around the corner!

Tampa Bay Fishing
Captain Clay Eavenson