Thursday, April 30, 2009

Best Near-Shore Fishing All Year Is Now

Mosquito Creek Outdoor's Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Forecast, May 2009

By Captain Tom Van Horn

Be sure to check out the Ultimate Catch Fishing Show on the Sportsman Channel (TSC). Channel 118 on Bright House and 605 on Direct TV. Air Dates: 05/17/09, 05/19/09, 05/24/09

Show #: 2009-08
Title: St. Johns River Shad Run

Network Spots: Tuesday 02:30 EST Time
Thursday 17:30 EST Time
Sunday 11:00 EST Time
Sunday 23:30 EST Time

This week Captain Eric Ciocher hits the St. Johns River shad run in full swing as Captain Tom Van Horn guides him to the action of the Atlantic shad run in Central Florida. As an added bonus they also catch a number of other interesting species along their kayak journey on the St. Johns River in search of American shad. This is ultra light tackle fishing at its best - both saltwater and freshwater fishermen will enjoy this show!

May's Outlook

As the breezes of April give way to the summer doldrums, warmer and calmer ocean waters set the stage for some of the best near-shore fishing experienced all year, especially for the folks running smaller boats. The baitfish have already arrived in good numbers and the strong easterly fetch which set up during the end of April will push inshore clean water, flotsam and fish.

Beach Jack caught by Mark Blyth

The bait pods, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), have shown up along the beach, and now is the best time to target the ocean predator shadowing these schools. Drag screaming kingfish and large jack crevalle are my favorite targets, but it's not uncommon to catch large redfish, blacktip sharks, cobia, and tarpon from within these pods of bait as well. To locate bait pods, simply look for feeding birds, flipping and jumping bait, muddy water along the beach, and busting fish.

Dolphin Photo by Rodney Smith

Offshore, dolphin fishing will be the focus of blue water anglers this month. April and May are the time of year when the larger bulls are taken off the Florida Space Coast. The early season dolphin bite has already yielded fish in excess of 60 pounds. Also, as a bonus, the potential of taking a blue marlin or sailfish are good. Near-shore, the kingfish bite has heated up on the near-shore reefs and wrecks and some cobia are still around. As the seas settle down and the bait schools move in close to the beach, look for the kingfish action to move in also.


Additionally, Spanish mackerel, snook, large redfish, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead and black drum are just some of the species available in the Lagoon inlets and beaches this month. As the baitfish migration moves north, this type of fishing will only improve.

On the Lagoon flats, redfish and spotted sea trout will provide the majority of action for light tackle and fly anglers. The water has warmed up to the point where jack crevalle, ladyfish, snook, and tarpon are showing up in good numbers. I like to target redfish and sea trout at first light or at dusk, with top water plugs like the Rapala Skitterwalk or Storm Chug Bug. As the day heats up, change your focus to the deeper edges of the flats (2 to 3 feet deep) jigging with a DOA CAL tail or the DOA Deadly Combo.

Last but not least, if you are interested in learning more about fishing the saltwater flats, mark your calendar for the free flats fishing class 2 of 8 class series, "Lines Leaders and Practical Knots, Saturday May 16th, 10am - 12pm at Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka Florida.

As always, if you have any questions or need help, 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!

Apalachicola Fishing Report 5-09

Laura Berringer fished with Capt. Chris Robinson on April 21st. She always does well fishing with both of the Robinson Brothers. Chris has some secret stash of Redfish around here someplace that his anglers are catching double digit numbers from but he's not saying where they're at! Here's what he IS saying...

woman with redfish

Reds and Trout have been good even though there is an abundance of muddy water in the area. In the long run the amount of freshwater in North Florida is a good thing for the health of the ecosystem. The water temp is starting to hold in the 70s and the Reds are starting to get active in the shallows. The flats in some areas are starting to clear and other parts of the county are going to take some time to clear. I have been happy to see the trout biting good on oyster bars and grassflats, the average size trout has been good and fat this spring. The weather is on a good warm stable trend so the fishing should really get good for the rest of the spring.
Capt. Chris Robinson

man holding fishing rod and nice redfish

Hector Morales and his group of 20 anglers from Lawrenceville, GA chose to come to Apalachicola to fish with us after their Steinhatchee trip got cancelled for April 18 & 19. Hector's 37" Redfish was caught on Capt. Jr. Holland's boat - that's Capt. Jr. at the helm, behind Hector.

man crouching over 17 pompano on a dock

Finally the Pompano have really started biting after the cooler water & weather shut them down earlier in the month. Capt. Nathan Donahoe poses with the fish that he and another angler caught the other day. The weather's beautiful right now & should be great on into June. May is just always Marvelous here!

FGA Director, Capt. Bob Zales, has informed us that the Florida sales tax exemption for charter boats is on the table again. If this exemption is lifted it means that you will have to pay sales tax on your fishing charters. If you are a resident of Florida, please take a moment to contact your state representative and senator and ask them to leave the exemption in place and NOT to Eliminate it!

Real Estate Good News!! Florida's existing home sales rose 30 percent in March, making it the seventh month in a row that sales activity was higher than year-ago levels, according to the Florida Association of Realtor's latest housing data. And locally, the first quarter of 2009 posted the highest number of sales on St. George Island since 2005. Robinson Real Estate Company has been busy showing property to interested, motivated buyers. On Saturday afternoon we even looked at properties via bicycle - How Fun! Check out our featured listings and other properties for sale via our MLS at

Area Activities & Events.
This coming weekend is the Blue Crab Festival in Panacea on Saturday and Sunday and next Saturday May 9th plan to come to Apalachicola for the 17th Annual Spring Tour of Historic Homes. Cost is $12 per person. Call 850-653-9550 for more info.

Wall That Heals Coming To Apalachicola
From April 30 to May 2nd, Apalachicola will host the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Traveling "Wall That Heals" memorial and museum, an exhibit that features a half-scale replica of the Memorial and a museum that travels to communities throughout America.

Please note that I incorrectly reported the date of the Apalachicola Historic Tour of Homes in my last email. It's THIS Saturday, May 2nd - always the first Saturday in May. So come on down this weekend and tour some beautiful homes AND see The Wall that Heals.

Hope you have a great week - call or email me if you want to come fishing!

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

Kathy Robinson, Realtor
Robinson Real Estate Company

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Snook Are The Talk Of The Town

26 April 2009

Captain Jay Schroeder of CJ Flats Saltwater Charters reported spring is in the air, but April started out a bit cooler than anticipated with consistent strong winds out of the Southwest leaving near nearshore waters a bit murky for the highly anticipated King Mackerel and Cobia migrations. Captain Jay did report that on the days when winds were light enough to venture out, the cooler temperatures kept the Grouper bite red hot and close in. Gulf temperatures have still been lingering in the low 70’s but with above normal highs projected through the end of the week, Captain Jay looks forward to a resurgence in the King Mackerel bite and Tarpon beginning to show with consistency.

Offshore - Captain Jay reports Gag Grouper season opened 1 April and keeper fish are still being caught in as little as 30 feet of water. Best baits to start are cut Cigar Minnows and Spanish Sardines, then switching over to large Pinfish. Setting up a chum slick and free-lining live bait has also enticed some of the early big Kingfish who have shown up in deeper water. Captain Jay stated don’t be surprised if a Barracuda or two also pays you a visit; last week anglers aboard the Ms. Guided enjoyed a 6 footer who set up shop right near the boat. Anglers also enjoyed a mixed bag of Key West Pork Chops (Grunts) and some very nice Mangrove Snapper which helped round out the catch for the dinner table.

Inshore - Captain Jay reports Snook have been the talk of the town as they have started moving out of the backwaters, cruising the flats, and working their way towards the beaches. Artificials have been moderately effective early morning and late afternoon, but nothing can beat a blacked out live-well and a Wiffle Ball Bat to pull big Snook out of the Mangroves on a higher tide. Captain Jay recommends start by slinging freebees out there and once the Snook are turned on, they will readily strike pitched whitebait on a 1/0 Circle Hook. The Snook action has been non-stop with trips aboard the Ms. Guided producing as many as 50 fish in half a day. Trout and Redfish are still out there too. When it comes to Redfish, fishing pressure on the schools around Tampa has been high, especially near Fort DeSoto. Captain Jay recommends exercising proper etiquette to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get in on the excitement. As for Trout, the action is still good too. Many schoolies can be caught near drops in patchy grass flats on jig heads and soft plastics, but if you want the big Gators... go shallow, go early, and go with big topwater plugs.

For more information or to book your next fishing adventure along the Suncoast, contact Captain Jay Schroeder of CJ Flats Saltwater Charters at 1-877-463-5420 or visit

Capt Jay Schroeder
CJ Flats Saltwater Charters

Jacksonville Fishing Report 5-09

Ahoy there Anglers,

Well, here we are in the time of the year where a lot starts happening quickly. We were wearing jackets one week and now it's getting into the 90's all of a sudden. The winds have been a lot calmer and the water temperatures are rising at a steady pace. I'm sure glad our winter is over. I don't know about this "global warming" thing as this past winter was full of cold fronts and record cold temperatures, even early on. I have never seen our water temperatures drop into the 50's here in Northeast Florida in November much less the middle 50's in November like they did this past fall. I hate to see the sheepshead go but I was pretty sick of the fronts and winds we've had.

The creeks have fired up with redfish and trout lately and am looking forward to the flounder getting thick again. Redfish up to 31" in the shallows have been eating our baits and I'm sure with all the reds we're seeing this spring it's going to be a great year. I can't wait to catch some monster reds on top waters before the water gets really warm. Spotted trout have really been thick in the creeks but of course there are a lot of shorts but if you keep searching you can find some real nice sized ones too. You can catch trout on slip-float rigs and Cajun Thunders with live shrimp or Sure Catch Jigs with Gulp baits, various plastics, live shrimp and mud minnows or hard lures, (some of my favorite trout fishing) like top waters, suspending, crank baits and my favorite the Bomber Long A's. The flounder are showing up more and more and I like targeting them in the creeks with live mud minnows or live shrimp on 1/4 oz. Sure Catch Jigs. I'll be looking for some real drag-screaming fun with some jack crevalles anytime now. I love seeing the surface turn up when a jack exploades on a top water lure.

Bull redfish, black drum and whiting are the main players going on at the rocks right now. Look for the flounder to show up any day now too. I searched for them just Friday out at the rocks but with no luck yet. Any day now though. Bull sharks should show up in about a week or two at the rocks and if you like a strong fight, you sure ought to tackle one of these guys for a while. The black tips will show up right after the bulls then you'll have plenty of rod action with various species of sharks and tarpon about then. The black drum should stick around for about another month or so too but the bull reds should be there the rest of the year with a few slot-sized mixed in with them now and then. There have been some real nice sea bass caught out there but most are too small. Ring tail porgies are good eating also but most people don't realize it so they don't target them very often. That's OK, leaves more for the people who do know how good they are. We also saw a school of cobia, about 8 to 10 pounds apiece, hanging around the boat last Sunday on the inside of the North jetty on the incoming tide. They wouldn't hit anything I cast to them but that's a great sign of thing to come anyway. They were even 15' from the boat at times.

Black drum, a few huge sheepshead, whiting and yellow mouth trout will probably be your best bet in the river system for a while now. Bull redfish will be all up and down the river in the usual places and I love searching for those larger jacks that school up now and then. Small, and I mean small, croakers will eat your shrimp up if you get into a school of them. These are really bait-sized now but the larger ones will drift in here come September then in October and November it's on for these guys. If you catch some though put one back down on a larger hook for some real rod bending action. Spotted trout along the grass edges and rock banks and the Bombers work real good in those areas. They'll hit em like a freight train. Just work them slow.


I just could not believe how many pogies were all over the place around the bridge in the Cove last Friday. Thousands of them all over the surface. Now that's redfish candy, tarpon and sharks too. If the tarpon were in already that'd would've been the place to be Friday. Spotted trout along the grass edges on the higher tides and if you know where some submerged oysters are along the grass that'd be the location to concentrate on. Redfish along the same areas and also in the shallows on the calmer days during the lower tides. Yellow mouth trout in the deeper areas along with a couple of black drum.

Whiting, bluefish and Spanish are still being caught in the surf along with a few black drum. The pompano really haven't shown up as good as I thought they would by now. I hear the Jacksonville Beach Pier is fired up right now so get out there and catch them while it's happening. They've even had their first kingfish of the season caught on the pier already this past week.

My friend Captain Chad Starling is telling me the dolphin has shown up at the ledge real good now. They're catching some huge ones also. He said the trigger fish were so fired up about 50 miles offshore this week that they're catching them with snapper hooks while snapper fishing. Cobia have shown up now and then out there and I think they'll be pretty good this year from what I've already seen and heard about. Kingfish should be caught more and more now. Beeliners are so thick you can catch your limit pretty quick.

Please remember to take a trash bag with you to be sure your trash makes it back to the dock's trash cans and doesn't blow out into our beautiful waterways. Mother Nature needs all the help she can get.
The fishing is getting better and better so get out there and get em when you can. They won't wait on you.

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.
If you no longer wish to receive Capt. Vic's Fishing Reports, please e-mail me to unsubscribe and I'll remove your address from the lists.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How To Fight Big Reds

Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters Capt. Chris Myers Fishing Report and Newsletter April 26, 2009 Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

Large schools of silver mullet are flooding into Mosquito Lagoon and the game fish are enjoying the new food source. Trout can be seen blasting the bait schools along the edges of many flats. The redfish are taking advantage of the mullet and pinfish as the water temperatures rise into the mid 70's. While the wind has made some days difficult, the fishing remains solid.

Last Sunday, John and his son Nick took their first trip to Mosquito Lagoon. Nick caught a couple redfish in the 15 pound range but it was John who hooked up with the big fish of the day, a 38 pound redfish.Using the DOA DEADLY COMBO they landed numerous trout as well, which were shadowing the mullet schools.

Wednesday, Jim and John joined me on a breezy morning. Neither guy had any fishing experience but Jim was soon hooked up with his first redfish.The weather quickly deteriorated as clouds moved in followed by high winds. We saw a couple schools of large redfish but could not stay with them. We spent the rest of the morning trying to stay out of the wind while targeting trout. The fishing was slow in the areas we visited.

Thursday, Mark, a fly angler from Massachusetts, started the day with shots at some large schools of redfish tailing and finning in very shallow water. We had perfect weather with no clouds and calm wind. As the sun came up, we encountered small groups and single redfish as well as a few large trout. We took a short break from sight fishing to allow Mark's daughter, who has come along for the ride, to catch a few seatrout. We ended the day with shots at some huge schools of redfish. This was Mark's first time sight fishing the flats and never quite got the fly to the fish but he had fun trying.

Jeff and John joined me on Friday for a half day trip. It was another perfect weather day on Mosquito Lagoon. We began by using a Chug Head and CAL tail combo to catch a few trout as the sun came up. We then found a school of big redfish and both guys enjoyed some drag pulling action from fish in the 20 pound range.After the big reds moved on, they used the Deadly Combo and a CAL tail on a jig to land numerous trout around the mullet schools.

Saturday, the wind was blowing again but the skies were still clear. Arizona resident, Will wanted to fly fish for reds. We found several schools of finning reds at the first stop we made but did not connect. Will had steady shots at fish throughout the day, both reds and large trout. The steadily increasing winds made fly casting tough but he stuck with it. He had several follows and had a couple giant reds try to eat the fly as he was lifting it out of the water. Unfortunately, the fly never seemed to be in the right place at the right time and Will did not hook up.Now is a good time to sight fish trophy seatrout on the flats. This is some of the most challenging fishing as these fish can be difficult to spot and are very wary. If you can get a bait into their sand hole before they become aware of your presence, they are willing to eat a variety of lures. Soft plastic jerk baits and shrimp are very effective. Use barbless hooks to make releasing these big female easier as they frequently take the baits deep in their mouth. Shallow flats with plenty of sandy holes and mullet are good places to look.

Fighting Big Redfish
Now is a prime time to hook up with a huge redfish. I often hear stories from anglers who tell of fighting one of these trophies for an hour or more. While it is fun to have a tough battle with a big fish, hour long fights can often result in the death of the fish. With 10-15 pound braided line and proper technique, even beginning anglers can bring them in in less than 15 minutes.

If the fish is not pulling line off your reel, you should be getting it back. Always pull in the opposite direction the fish is swimming. This will involve constantly having to switch the angle of the rod and the fish changes course. Line should be retrieved by pulling the rod back and reeling as the rod is lowered. Winding the line on under extreme pressure can cause the line on the spool to dig into itself. Keeping the angle of the rod low and to the side will increase the pressure on the fish and shorten the fight.
As summer approaches and the water temperature increases, the amount of oxygen in the water decreases increasing the stress on the fish. After a battle with a big fish, allow them to rest for a minute before pulling them out of the water. Have the camera ready before you bring them on board. Maintain control of the fish while placing the back in the water and make sure they are ready to swim before releasing them.

By following these few simple measures, you will ensure the trophy fish will survive to fight another day.

Mosquito Creek Angler Improvement Class
May 16 will be the second angler improvement class at Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka. Capt Tom Van Horn and I will be covering Practical Fishing Knots. Learn to tie knots with braided line, mono, and flurorcarbon that are simple and effective. There is not cost for the class and registration is not required. The class will be held from 10-12 at Mosquito Creek.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

Sarasota Trout Fishing Is Strong

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 4/13 through 4/26/2009

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action recently with trout on CAL jigs with shad tails and flies on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. In addition, we also caught a few snook, pompano, blues and reds.

Fly angler Paul Dixon, from MI, and Todd Banner, from Bradenton, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, 4/13. They had steady action with trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies, CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos along the west side of the bay near Buttonwood Harbor. The next day fly angler Terry Rychlik, from CT, fished the same area with me. He caught and released several trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on an intermediate fly line. A front was bearing down on us and forced us off the water by 10 AM. My new Garmin 545s GPS/Sounder combo unit with XM weather is great! We monitored the approaching front on the radar screen on my boat and were safely on the trailer as the front punched through. What a valuable tool!

The next day’s trip was blown out as a strong northwest wind churned the area of the bay we had planned to fish. I was back on the water on Thursday with Marc Chiapperino and his son, Marc, from NJ. They had steady action with trout and a bluefish on Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad tails. Marc caught and released a big red on my Grassett’s Flats Minnow fly along a mangrove shoreline north of Long Bar.

Howard and Jason Rosenbecker, from Bradenton, FL, fished with me on Friday morning. Wind was an issue as it has been most of this spring, but they still had some action. They caught and released several trout on CAL jigs with shad tails and Clouser flies along the east side of the bay from Stephens Point to Bayshore Gardens. Jason used his new Orvis TLS fly rod and Battenkill Mid Arbor reel and christened it by catching a few fish. Detlev and Stephen Korff, from Germany, fished the same area with me that afternoon. The wind dropped a little and the action picked up. They caught and released numerous trout to 21” and a pompano on CAL jigs and Clouser flies. Longtime friend and customer Pat Campbell, from Toronto, OH, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday. The action was slow to start but it finally picked up when the wind shifted to the west and allowed us to fish the west side of the bay. We caught and released several trout on CAL jigs and Clouser flies near Buttonwood Harbor.

We found reds and snook on the flats to be very challenging last week. Fly angler Jim Strouth, from Sarasota, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We caught a few trout on Clouser flies near Buttonwood Harbor, but couldn’t get reds and snook to bite. Fly angler Denis Clohisy, from WI, and his friend, Brian McInnis, from Sarasota, FL, fished with me for the next 3 days. We fished Little Sarasota Bay on Tuesday afternoon and evening. They caught and released trout, jacks and ladyfish before dusk on flies and jigs and 6 or 8 snook after dark on my Grassett’s Snook Minnow fly. We fished hard for reds and snook the next couple of days, but just couldn’t get it going. They caught and released mostly trout with a few other species (jacks, ladyfish and blues) along the way.

My friends Mark Nichols, owner of DOA Fishing Lures, and his wife, Jenny, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, we participated in the 14th annual Sarasota “All Release Challenge” fishing tournament. This is a fun, low stress tournament that also raises money for conservation. DOA has been a sponsor or donor, since the beginning of this event. You couldn’t fish any harder for reds and snook than we did, but they didn’t cooperate. We caught and released trout to 21 ½”, jacks, ladyfish and bluefish on CAL jigs with grubs, jerk worms and shad tails.

Next week’s two tide days are strong early next week and will get weaker by the end of the week. Trout fishing has been strong and reds and snook will have to begin eating sometime. Keep your eyes open for the first tarpon of the season, which should start showing around Sarasota Bay any time now.

Tight Lines,

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

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

Marc Chiapperino, from NJ, caught and released this nice trout in Sarasota Bay while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.

Marc Chiapperino, from NJ, and his son Marc (above), fished Sarasota Bay with Capt. Rick Grassett , where he caught and released this nice red on a Grassett's Flats Minnow fly.

Denis Clohisy, from Hudson,WI, caught and released this snook on a Grassett's Snook Minnow fly while fishing "snook alley" in the ICW at night near Venice with Capt. Rick Grassett.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mullet Flood Indian River Lagoon

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, April 24, 2009

By Captain Tom Van Horn

Events and Seminar Schedule:
May 16th "Free Fishing Classes" Introduction to Saltwater Flats Fishing Series, Class 2 of 8, "Lines Leaders and Practical Fishing Knots" 10am-12 noon at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 S Washington Avenue in Apopka. Instructors are Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn. For more details or directions, contact Mosquito Creek Outdoors at (407) 464-2000 or visit their website

X Marks the Spot
Although the winds of spring are starting to wane a bit, April remains blustery and I'm honestly looking forward to the doldrums of summer. Other signs of summer have arrived as hoards of silver mullet and bay anchovies (glass minnows) have flooded the middle reaches of the lagoon. In addition, a tremendous amount of Atlantic menhaden (pogies) and threadfin herring (greenies) have invaded the beaches and the buoy line out of port Canaveral. As we all know, the arrival of these bait species equates to improved fishing both inshore, near-shore and offshore, we just need the wind to lay down a bit.

Caught on a white Trigger X Crab

Caught on a white Trigger X Crab

Inshore this past week I made several attempts at fishing only to be blown off the water. On one occasion we attempted to fish early before daylight to avoid a weather report predicting 10 to 15 knot winds from the south, only to be faced with 20 to 25 knot winds by 10am at which time we called it a day and returned to the dock. I knew the winds would be a challenge later in the day, but I forgot that when the weather gurus predict 10 to 15 knot winds, they really mean you add the two together. Although the wind was unforgiving, we did manage a short window of top water action with a few small sea trout and a nice battle with a redfish; before it broke off on the trim tabs, caught on a three inch holographic bone chartreuse Skitter Walk.

TVH NMZ Trout Apr 23, 2009 7

On Thursday, the winds finally subsided and I was honored to fish the Banana River No-Motor Zone with Glyn Austin in an attempt to field test the new Rapala Trigger X soft bait. One of the best parts of being a guide and publishing a fishing magazine, is I often get a chance to try new lures before the hit the streets, a perk I totally enjoy. Our goal was to catch both sea trout and redfish on the new baits, and our efforts were rewarded by some gorgeous weather for a change and some hansom fish to boot. As I poled the flat Glyn worked a mixture of 3-inch shrimp, crab, and freshwater jerk worms in combination with Woodies Rattle Hooks and DOA CAL Jig Heads. The sea trout seemed to like the Trigger X baits the best, but we still managed a handsome redfish as well. Although most colors tried caught fish, the white shrimp and crab produced the most fish.

TVH NMZ Trout Apr 23, 2009 2

Caught on a new penny Trigger X Shrimp

According to Rapala, Trigger X soft baits are the first to use sent-emitting pheromones made specifically to target freshwater and saltwater species. The feeding pheromones stimulate fish into frenzy. As with any soft bait fished in the Banana River Lagoon, I strongly suggest sight fishing these baits as much as possible as the puffers loved them as well. Puffer fish are a curse for anglers and a blessing for soft lure manufactures, so if you desire to blind cast these baits, fish them fast to avoid the dreadful puffer attacks. Over all, I was satisfied by the results we received using the Trigger X baits, as I know for a fact they do catch fish.

TVH NMZ Trout Apr 23, 2009

I would also like to conclude this news letter with reports of commercial kingfish boats returning to the Port with their limits caught in less than 50 feet of water in the areas of bait pods, so the kingfish are moving in. I also heard that both jacks and some cobia were in the mix, so I'm chomping at the bit to troll some live baits off of the beach, as soon as the weather takes a breather.

Bob Reed

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 0n the water
407-366-8085 Landline

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

A Good Time To Catch A Slam

A Good Time to Catch a Slam

Spring has sprung, the mullet are running, and it’s a good time to catch a slam of redfish, sea trout and snook. Wind has been more than a little problem lately with March trying to hang on into April. Even April is about over, but the wind has cooperated more lately. With light winds the bait and fish are easier to see on the flats. On my last trip out it was the birds that signaled the presence of bait - and as it turned out fish too.

I moved in toward a sometimes productive flat. The wind was calm and visibility was great. Mullet were plentiful and an occasional trout would scoot out in front of the boat as I used the trolling motor to approach the diving birds. Stealth is an important strategy on calm days in shallow water. When I got close enough to start casting I chose a RipTide Ultimate Minnow to start the days fishing. After about a dozen casts the first fish came to the boat, a nice 24 inch redfish.

redfish in water with rip tide ultimate minnow

Having no more hookups on that flat I moved to a channel entrance to a residential canal that is characterized by mangrove trees hanging over the water. I spotted trout, reds, and snook all congregated in the same generally area. They were up tight to the shoreline and back under the mangroves. I tried a variety of baits without success. Those fish just didn’t want to hit anything. I called it a day and headed for the ramp, but I was reminded of the good possibility of catching a slam during this time of the year. In this case, a slam could have come from one short length of shoreline - if only the fish had cooperated. You can’t always make em’ bite, but you won’t get any if you don’t get out and try.

captain presley with redfish

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

Capt. Ron Presley

Captain Ron Presley

Friday, April 24, 2009

Panhandle Fishing Report 4-23-09

Report for 04/23/2009

Salt Water

Offshore reports this week suggest there are so many red snapper that anglers are having trouble getting their baits past them to the grouper waiting below. One hundred fifty feet of water continues to be the best depth for catching grouper. Live baits have accounted for most of this week’s catches with northern mackerel running a close second. AJ activity has returned for anglers working the deeper structures offshore with jigs. There are sporadic reports of king mackerel activity. Spanish mackerel fishing is good along the buoy line and beaches and the clearer the water the better for these fish. We are still seeing a lot of stained water due to the recent rains.

The Spanish mackerel are moving around inside St Joseph Bay from the buoy line to Blacks Island. Schools of ladyfish and bluefish reported outside Eagle harbor. The flounder bite is good around the deeper holes near the head of the bay and around Black’s Island and many caught under the Tapper Bridge ICW and in the Mexico Beach canal. Some nice big trout and redfish caught on live shrimp, grubs, and top waters in the head of the bay drifting over the middle grounds. The pompano numbers were just ok this week and a lot of black drum and redfish caught in the surf as well along with just a few whiting.

The Cobia bite is on!!!! Find clean water away from the pass and start looking. Jigs or eels will work, these fish are hungry. The Spanish Mackerel bite is a little slow but they can be caught down the beach to the east or west. Grouper have been biting well from 7-10 miles out. Lots of big AJ’s are still being caught around the 100 foot mark over bridge spans and large wrecks.

two cobia

Picture courtesy of Gary Bryant. Two cobia caught 4/22/09 - 33lbs and 28lbs

The bay water is very stained. Mangrove Snappers and Sheepshead are still being caught at the jetties. Live Shrimp is the best bait. Spanish Mackerel have slowed down in the bay but can be caught trolling or casting. Some small schools of Redfish have been found on the flats in West Bay; while Bull Reds are still being caught with live shrimp and Pinfish around the jetties. Trout are being caught on the flats with topwater lures early and live shrimp under a cork later.

It has been a good week of Cobia fishing if you were in the right place at the right time. Sunday, on the Pensacola Beach Pier, reports of 15 Cobia were caught and well over 50 Cobia were spotted that day. Earlier in the week, when the wind was terrible, the Cobia bite was good early each day; but if you did not get out to fish before 10am your chances were slim. Early Tuesday morning 5 Cobia were caught from the Okaloosa Pier. Wednesday many boats reported having a good day and I heard through the grapevine that Thomas Norvell was 6 for 7 by mid afternoon.

As for Pompano, reports have been good on both piers and the surf. Spanish were out again on Wednesday and some Kings were also caught.

Bottom fishing for Grouper on the east beach was good this week. Many reports of sharks on both sides of the pass from 1-10 miles offshore. Several anglers reported catching sharks on Wednesday.

There were reports of bait near the pass during mid-week. Most were Thread-fin Herring and a few Cigar Minnows. Reds and a few Trout were reported in the bay. We also heard of Jack Cravelle along the beaches and at both piers this week.

Bluefish, Ladyfish, Hardtails and a few Kings were caught at both piers this week.


Area fisherman can expect to find plenty of Pompano, Blue Fish, Spanish Mackerel and Redfish in the surf. The Reds and Pompano are hitting on live and fresh frozen sand fleas. A few reds will be in the slot. Fresh dead shrimp is working real well too. The Spanish and Bluefish can’t resist a silver spoon, Got-Cha lures or bubble rigs. The faster the retrieve, the better the results.

Rat Redfish and Speckled Trout are available at the three foot drop offs near most flats in the sound. Also, look for Redfish around the deeper docks and in the canals. Redfish, Trout, Sheepshead and the occasional Spanish Mackerel are all being caught at the causeway and near the bridges. Live shrimp is the bait of choice for the Redfish, Trout and Sheepshead. But Gulp! shrimp has been working on the Redfish.

The fronts keep coming and the surf stays up! While we have had some beautiful spring days here and there it has continued to be blustery most days. The good news is the fish have moved in close with all this weather. Kings are leading the way this week with many being caught by Cobia fisherman trolling stretch 25’s and 30’s as they sight fish near the beach. The Cobia bite has remained strong all week and should remain strong as the water begins to clear. The average fish right now is in the 40# range with jigs taking most of the fish. Live eels are still the go to bait for the finicky fish that won’t eat anything else. Large schools of Jack Crevalle have invaded the beach this week too. They are fun to catch on light tackle. They are not finicky and will readily take just about anything offered live or artificial.

Red Snapper are so thick right now it is hard to get bait past them to the Grouper. I believe if the current regulations stay in place we will see the average Red Snapper in our area increase to double digits. Look for the larger Grouper to be in 100 plus feet of water. Live Pinfish, Ruby Redlips and large Sand Perch are the go to live baits. Grouper are also being caught on bucktail jigs tipped with cigar minnows or squid. If you are looking to fill up a cooler quickly downsize your tackle and cut up some squid and target the Triggers, Vermillion and Red Porgies that have moved in over the shallow reefs in 60 to 80 feet of water. Further offshore the Black fin tuna bite has been strong at the rigs, especially at night after the moon comes up. The Yellowfin tuna on the other hand has been a little slow with most fish being caught at sundown near the deeper rigs on live bait.

Fresh Water
Great Shellcracker/Bluegill action happening as floodwaters subsides. Live crickets or wigglers fished outside of structure is working great.

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, April 23, 2009

Jensen Beach Fishing Report 4-20-09

FISHING 4/20/09

The river is flat, not a puff of wind, the surf and it must be Monday. Lets hope that was it for the winter season and summer is here.

After too many days of five foot seas Sunday slowed to three foot with some five’s mixed in and yes a few strong anglers had to go. Dolphin in the twenty pound class were waiting. Anglers that did go went to 200’ that is where the wave pattern opened up. Bally hoo was the bait and a slow troll was the method. The Bonita are jumping up close, maybe a thousand feet from the beach and I am more than sure there is a mix of Kings along with them. Bonita, that is a sure sign of summer, now let’s hope the seas stay flat so we can all complain about the Bonita taking all baits. If you come on a school of these hungry fish put your baits deep there just may be a few Tuna hanging under this school.

Finally you can go the surf and cast a spoon or top water, this is the last of the Blue fish run and these are the bigger Blues. We do have a good resident population of Blues but this the last few days of the migrating schools, come on down they are still there in numbers. Have not heard of any Pompano, conditions and weeds kept most anglers away but this is anew week and things are looking real good for that long cast. I know, we just need a rise in the water temps and the Snook will be there. Plenty of Whiting for the afternoon angler, just pitch your bait a cast will put you to far out these fish are at your toes.

The worst the weather, the better the Snook fishing and that held true, pick a bridge and you were in the fish, not slot size (over) but fun to catch. Hold your breath, get your picture, when you need to breathe so does that fish, release them as quickly as possible. Still plenty of Pompano from the bridges using yellow Jigging Spoons and some five pound Mac’s to keep you busy. The river is flat, turbity has cleared and the Trout bite is on find a grass edge and fish it, sand holes on the flat put a shrimp or your favored plastic bait in the middle and slowly move it they will find you. Reds have been north from Walton road north to Midway, these fish have spread out, but if I were looking this area would be my go to location.

Lets hope that was it for the wind………………….HENRY

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Indian River Fishing Adventures

Fishing Report Fort Pierce - Port St Lucie - Vero Beach - Jensen Beach April 16, 2009

Wonderful spring weather has provided us with some great adventures on the water this week and many more to come as the winds finally begin to slow down. We had some fun fishing on the Indian River and caught a variety of species. I had the pleasure to have some friends back on the boat and some new anglers to share the fishing experience. Tom, Josh and Kyle Lukat were back for a fishing adventure. Chris, Tina, Kristina and Garrett Helseth came out for their first trip with me this week. Tom Hull was back down from Melbourne for some action as well. It was a fun week on the water!

Trout have continued to bite on the flats. We caught our share on both live shrimp and DOA Deadly Combos. Five year old Kristina caught her very first fish, which was a 20" trout, all by herself. There has been lots of bait around the river and if you fish around the bait schools, you should find some fish there. The water has been very clear in spite of the windy weather lately. Fish the sand holes around the grass flats and you should find some action.

Snook fishing has been good around the jetties, docks and bridges this week. Live bait has worked quite well. Both Kyle and Josh caught snook early in the morning around some of the docks. Tom found a big ocean jack while fishing for snook around the sea walls. Redfish had been slower, but we managed two slots around the docks. Look for things to keep improving as the reds begin to school up this month.

The inlet has been teaming with ladyfish, mackerel and blue runners. Live bait or shiny lures will get you in on some of the action. There have been some nice size macs this week. The catwalks have held sheephead, black drum and some snapper. The beaches were pretty quiet most of the week, but you can still find some whiting, pompano and bluefish around the surf.

Tip of the Week: Many of the fish that have been feeding around the river this week have lots of teeth. It's easy to get bit off and you should be checking your leader each time you get a fish or get a bite. I tie on about a three foot leader to start each day and usually tie on another at some point as we fish. Making sure your leader is fresh can make the difference between catching and losing a fish.

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boca Grande Fishing Report 4-09


Tarpon are here but the wind has kept them out of sight most of the time. A few fish are showing and many are being caught in the deep channels to the south.
Snook have lost their minds and are all over the grass flats, but still are difficult to
fool with a fly, but some are receptive . Redfishing is goood in the backcountry. Poling and sight fishing them has had decent results with the largest being a 12lb slob. Trout are just off the flats in a little deeper water. Estaz Maribou fly has worked well along with some Puglisi patterns. Night snook is good and consistent for fly fishermen using floating lines and minnow patterns.
When the wind stops, Tarpon will show in numbers and should be willing to take a fly or a plug.

Once in a while, stop and look where you are.
Put your rod down, take a deep breath and relax.
Fishing is taking everything in and having fun.
Put a smile on your face and pick up your rod and thank God you are where you are.

Tight lines, and screaming reels

Capt. Al White

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

Monday, April 20, 2009

Adapt Fishing Tactics For Success

The Wind Keeps Blowing but the Fish Keep Biting
Monday, April 20th, 2009

It’s been a really windy spring thus far. It seems as though the wind just won’t quit. Windy days are usually bad fishing days and we’ve had to adapt to make sure that we succeed. Luckily for us, the fish haven’t been phased. We’ve been able to find fish in protected areas from the wind and on occasion, we’ve thumbed our nose at the wind and caught fish while battling the chop on the water.


Right now, redfish are schooled up big time in the St. Petersburg area. Finding them has not been hard at all. The hard part is finding fish that are willing to eat. To do that we’ve had to find fish in deeper water. The fish that are in less than two feet of water are skittish and just wont eat. That’s tough for us because they are the most visible fish. Some of these schools hold 500 or more fish in them. But you can waste a lot of time looking at them if you are disciplined enough to go after smaller groups of fish that are more comfortable in deeper water. Which is what we did last week. Clients were treated to days of over 30 over slot redfish by going after fish that we couldn’t see but we could get to eat.


Trout on the other hand have been biting well in really shallow water. The bigger fish have been in the New Port Richey area in less than two feet of water. To get the bite going well you need to chum them up a lot with free sardines. We’ve been getting trout from 18-25″ regularly.


Snook are starting to make a show of themselves but they still aren’t a main target. We did get a few keepers in the Tarpon springs area but look for it to be a few more weeks of warm weather before we can target them successfully.


Tarpon season is right around the corner. If you’ve wanted to catch a tarpon this is your chance. I’ll be running tarpon charters from the St. Pete area all the way down to “World Famous Boca Grande” in Charlotte Harbor. Book your trip today for a chance at the “Silver King”.


I hope you guys like the new fishing report. I’ll be using my blog for reports from here on out for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s easier for me to post reports and the other is that you can subscribe to my blog and you’ll get email notifications when I post a new report.


See you soon! Let’s go fishing!

Tampa Bay Fishing
Captain Clay Eavenson

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Windy Fishing Tactics

Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

High winds have continued to dominate our weather pattern here in central Florida. It has made fishing difficult on many days. Redfish, trout, and black drum are still around, if you can find them. Clouds and wind are not the desired conditions for sight fishing the flats.

Last week, Josh and Carrie were down from North Dakota and wanted to give the fishing a try despite a forecast of 20-25 mph winds. We did our best to stay out of the wind but it was nearly impossible. The only tactic we could use was to get as close to the shore as possible. Winds were sustained at 25 with gusts over 35. They did managed to catch some nice redfish in horrible conditions.

woman with redfish

man with redfish

The following morning, the temperature had dropped into the low 40's and it was still quite breezy. Jason and Blake didn't care about the cold and they were hoping the fish felt the same. We encountered plenty of black drum and a good number of tailing redfish. Jason wound up with a red, trout, drum slam with a few extras to spare.

man in sunglasses with red

man with black drum

Jerry and Alex joined me this week for another breezy day on Mosquito Lagoon. Jerry hooked a redfish early on and Adam followed up with its twin only to have his shake the hook right at the boat.

two guys with a nice redfish

Using DOA CAL jigs and the DOA DEADLY COMBO , they caught numerous trout of varying size along the edges of the flats. On a couple solo trips recently, I spent time in some areas I do not normally fish. The fish were not as numerous as I had hoped but they did respond well to a variety of flies and soft plastics. The 3 inch DOA shrimp in rootbeer holographic was eaten by several redfish and large trout. DOA shrimp in FiGi Chix, Glow/Gold Rush, and Morning Glory, also worked well. A small black crab fly was effective on the redfish as well.

Coastal Angler Magazine Fishing and Boating Expo
This weekend is the Coastal Angler Magazine fishing show in Melbourne, FL. I will be giving a seminar at 12pm on Saturday on "Sight Fishing the Flats". Other Speakers include Capt. mark Nichols, Capt. Keith Kalbfleisch, Capt. Tom Van Horn, Capt. Blair Wiggins, and more.
Fishing Outlook
A lot of people have been asking about the tarpon fishing. It is still too early to find tarpon in the Mosquito Lagoon, especially with our late season cold fronts. Redfish, trout, and black drum will continue to be our dominant species for the next couple months. The trout fishing is getting better each day and soon it will not be easy to catch dozens per trip. Have a dehooker like and ARC on board for some fast and furious catch and release action. The DOA Deadly Combo is almost a sure bet for the rest of the summer. Redfish schools are starting to break up but that means you will encounter singles and small groups more frequently. The DOA shrimp or a CAL jerkbait will be effective on the redfish.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

Friday, April 17, 2009

No Motor Zone Fishing Tough In Wind

Mosquito Creek Outdoors Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, April 16, 2009

By Captain Tom Van Horn

Events and Seminar Schedule:
April 17th, 18th, 19th Coastal Angler Magazine Fishing and Boating Expo in Melbourne Florida. 12pm Sunday seminar: "Paddle Fishing the Banana River No-Motor Zone". Call me for more details at 407-416-1187.

May 16th "Free Fishing Classes" Introduction to Saltwater Flats Fishing Series, Class 2 of 8, "Lines Leaders and Practical Fishing Knots" 10am-12 noon at Mosquito Creek Outdoors, 170 S Washington Avenue in Apopka. Instructors are Captains Chris Myers and Tom Van Horn. For more details or directions, contact Mosquito Creek Outdoors at (407) 464-2000 or visit their website

With the Easter holidays behind us it is once again time to focus on fishing and fishing events. That is, if the wind will ever settle down enough to allow us to venture out on the water. This past week I tried to squeeze in a few trips in between the squall lines and the gusty days, with very limited results.

On one trip I ventured out on the St Johns River with my good friend Larry Carter. We launched at Mullet Lake Park in the late afternoon and covered the River from Lake Jessup to Lake Harney is search of schooling bass. Between the recent cold front and the full moon, we only found a few locations with schooling shad and a few busting bass, and I managed to catch a nice three pound bass on my first and only cast. The bass was busting shad on the surface and I flipped a Rapala Skitter Prop into the mix and I hooked up immediately.

On my second trip I attempted to fish in the No-Motor Zone with my good friend Paul Macinnis and Glen Austin from Rapala. Our plan was to catch, photograph and release some trophy redfish on the new Trigger X Saltwater baits, but again the wind and overcast skies were a major deterrent. We did manages to see a good number of both redfish and black drum, but we either blow them out by running over them or we couldn't hold the boat against a 15 to 20 knot south wind. After struggling for about four hours, we called the day with only a handful of nice sea trout caught on the 4-inch Trigger X Shrimp.

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
407-416-1187 0n the water
407-366-8085 Landline

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