Friday, February 26, 2010

Indian River Lagoon Fishing Report 3-10

Hook Kids on Fishing Volunteers Needed

girl and dad with seatrout

Emily and Jeff Shapiro

Volunteers are needed to assist with the Hook Kids on Fishing event to be held in conjunction with the Mosquito Creek Outdoors Family Outdoor Day and the Apopka Foliage Festival held on April 24th and 25th in Apopka. The HKOF event will be on Saturday, April 24th, from 10 am to noon and is free to all kids. After completing the five learning stations, each child will receive a free rod, reel and tackle box. We are anticipating over 100 kids and their parents to attend, so you assistance would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to sign up, please contact me, Captain Tom Van Horn at (407) 416-1187 or send me a message at

Indian Lagoon Coast Fishing Outlook, March 2010

Up Coming Events

March 7th, Paddle Fishing the Banana River Lagoon No-Motor Zone, Central Florida Boat Show, 2 pm at the Orange County Convention Center.

March 27th, Free Cobia and Tripletail seminar from 10 am to noon at Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka Florida, 170 South Washington Avenue. For more details visit

April 24th, Free Hook Kids on Fishing seminar from 10 am to noon at the Apopka Foliage Festival. After completing the five learning stations, each child will receive a free fishing rod, reel and tackle box. To preregister your children, visit Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka Florida at 170 South Washington Avenue or contact them at (407) 464-2000.

April 25th, Free Certified Conservation Angler seminar from 10 am to noon at the Apopka Foliage Festival. Learn from the Coastal Angler Magazine Pro Tour and Anglers for Conservation how to lighted your footprint while enjoying the sport of fishing. Take the pledge to but the resource first. To preregister visit Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka Florida at 170 South Washington Avenue or contact them at (407) 464-2000.

March Fishing Outlook

Reflecting back on my past years here on the Space Coast, I can't remember a colder winter and as I sit here composing the forecast another cold front is passing through Central Florida. Although it's been a challenging winter for anglers, March is around the corner and with warmer weather comes improved fishing on all fronts along the Lagoon Coast.

As the days grow longer and the ocean begins its continuing warming phase, 68 to 72 degree range, the spring fishing bonanza on the Indian Lagoon Coast kicks in. As usual, weather will serve as the determining factor in establishing the magnitude and progression of the bite and the predator species we love to catch.


Mark Blyths Cobia

Water temperature increases will facilitate the progression of bait pods (menhaden or pogies) from the deeper water into the near-shore waters bringing the predators with them. Sea conditions will determine the number of fishable days we'll experience in March. This is especially true for those of us who target deep-water species in shallow water boats.Good reports of cobia are starting to come in from offshore of Stuart. These fish should be moving into our area shortly, and both the bait pods and cobia will be showing up soon on the near-shore wrecks and reefs outside Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet.


Tom Biffar's Respectable Tripletail

Other near-shore options in March consist of tripletail hanging on floating structure and weeds and large redfish and sharks shadowing bait pods along the beaches and inlets around mid month. When site fishing for cobia and tripletail, consider fishing in the latter part of the day when the sun is high as the water is warmer and visibility is better. Also, always keep a chartreuse colored buck tail in the ready position to cast at any brown clowns that wonder into range.

As the water warms up and the silver mullet returns to the inshore lagoon flats, look for redfish schools to continue to form up in the skinny water. For the slot redfish, 18 to 27 inches, focus on areas of flipping and jumping baitfish (mullet) in water depths of 12 to 18 inches. For the larger redfish, concentrate your efforts along deeper edges of the flats and sandbars in 2 to 3 feet of water. Also, sea trout will continue to hold in the skinny water potholes, and the top-water sea trout bite will improve as the warmer water draws finger mullet back onto the central IRL flats. Additionally, schools of black drum will continue to inhabit the shallow water flats of the Mosquito Lagoon, North IRL, and particularly the sandbars in the Banana River No-Motor-Zone.

Last but not least, the American shad run is developing on the upper St John's River between the areas of Lake Harney and the SR 50 Bridge, but this years run has been slow thus far. Also, March is the month to start targeting schooling large mouth bass in the deeper bends of the river at first light feeding on schools of baitfish (menhaden). The indicator I use to locate these schooling bass is to look for large numbers of white pelicans, herons, and egrets working the banks. Once you've located the schooling fish, try throwing a rattle-trap or other small subsurface swim bait. Water levels are higher this spring on the St. Johns River, so please be careful when navigating the river and creeks as the water is above the banks in some areas.

Spring is one of the best times to fish the Indian River Lagoon coast of Florida. So if you are planning to visit the area, make sure you book your hotel and fishing guide early. Also, when the bite is on, the ramps fill up quickly, so arrive early, be polite and considerate with other anglers, because we are all on the water for the same reasons, to have fun.

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
407-366-8085 office
407-416-1187 on the water

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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Panhandle Fishing Report 2-25-10

Report for 02/23/2010

Salt Water

The temperatures just aren’t dropping that much and the fish are still hanging out in the deeper water at the 120’-200’ range. Since live bait is so hard to come by, bring some Northern mackerel, Cigar minnows and squid as back up and also try jigging diamond jigs. The amberjack were still around the deeper wrecks hitting jigs such as the AJ glow jig or cigar minnows.

Although bits unusual for this time of year but some nice flounder caught this week in, the deeper holes out in the head of the bay. Live shrimp is what they are biting on. Many trout caught and released in the gulf canal this week along with some fair sized redfish. 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.

redfish from the surf

(Novice surf fisherman Ron Tenold, enjoys great success!)

Some nice sheepshead are being caught around the seawall and out around the marker buoys. Use a small shank Mustad live bait hook and fluorocarbon leader with just enough weight to keep your rig under control. The whiting bite slowed in the surf and the few that were caught were off Cape San Blas around the "Stump hole" area and lighthouse and Crooked Island beach. Use the custom pompano rig made of 100 percent fluorocarbon with mutu light circle hooks rigged up with some fresh shrimp.

Flounder are still being caught around the inshore wrecks. Since live bull minnows are hard to come by, use small frozen cigar minnows cut in half. Target the edges of the wrecks. The Amberjack bite has been steady over the bridge spans and any large structures. Glow jigs and Butterfly jigs work well and if you can manage to find some live bait works as well. Beeliners and white snapper (Porgy) have been steady in the 120 ft range on frozen squid. Grouper season will remain closed through March 31st.

Sheepshead are being caught more regularly around the jetties with live shrimp and fiddler crabs. The White Trout bite is still happening. They can be found in deep water under the Hathaway and Tyndall Bridges, but some searching to find the schools may be in order. Use live shrimp on a Carolina rig for best results. The Bull Reds are still being caught with live shrimp and pinfish around the jetties. Speckled Trout closes the month of February. For catch and release, concentrate on deep bayous, creeks, the intracoastal waterway and the hot water discharge canal.

Fresh Water
Sorry No Report this Week!

Half Hitch Tackle
2206 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

Fishing Report prepared by Half Hitch Tackle Staff.

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

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Florida Keys Mackerel And Amberjack

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
oh what a day...

Another lovely day out there. We had Kevin on the Gold Reserve have some hefty mackerels and we also had Bruce on the Capt. Easy bringing in a variety of huge keepers..If you are looking for a good time I know just the thing,,fishing with us here at Holiday Isle your charter now for some offshore good times at always tight lines...


mackerel and amberjack

Nikki Holiday Isle Offshore 800-327-7070 Etc 642

Holiday Isle Resort and Marina
84001 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, FL 33036
305-664-2321 ext. 642
Direct: 305-433-9942

Everglades Fishing Nice

February 3, 2010
just keep poling…

The conditions are nice but there are ominous stretches where marine life of all types is noticably absent. There are a few reds though, you have to stay dedicated but you might get a shot, here’s one John Crockett caught today (below,) we also hooked a snook, a nice one, John just played it lightly while we admired it through a couple of runs before giving it just enough slack to release itself. We’re also using intermediate lines and tips for casting into deeper places looking for other species, mackerel, trout, jacks, anything that wants to come out and play.

nice red on fly

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Redfish And Black Drum Alive And Well

Central Florida Fishing Report posted February 17, 2010

There is still much speculation going around about the effects of the big freeze we
experienced at the beginning of the year. While the full extent of the damage may not
be known for quite some time, I can say with confidence that the populations of adult
redfish and black drum are alive and well. We have been seeing hundreds of fish
each trip roaming the shallow flats. From big schools of redfish and drum to singles
and small groups, the fish have been active, feeding, and generally happy. The
weather has been the biggest foe with temperatures on many days 15-20 degrees
below average. Water temperatures during the past week have been staying around
50 and the fish do not seem to mind at all.

On a trip last week, Canadians Emile and Serge joined me on a blustery day. The
wind were topping 20 and the flats were dirty. With only one other boat in sight the
entire day we had the water to ourselves. Both guys caught several nice redfish
including an 11 and 22 pounder.

man with nice red


This past Sunday, I went out on a windy 33 degree morning with my Friend Capt.
Drew. We started spotting tailing redfish almost immediately and they were willing to
eat a three inch DOA CAL in Arkansas Glow. We visited four spots and found three of
them full of redfish catching multiple fish along the way.

Capt. Myers redfish

Monday brought some of the nicest weather we have had in quite some time. Sunny
skies and light winds made for some excellent sight fishing. Wilson and Tyler had
spent the previous day at the Daytona 500 and wanted to experience the Mosquito
Lagoon before returning to Pennsylvania. As soon as we started fishing, we found
ourselves surrounded by schools of fish. Tyler hooked up with a redfish on his first
cast. Wilson landed his first red a while later. They had steady shots at redfish
throughout the day including some schools of 20-30 pound fish.

Yesterday, 16 year old Cameron joined me on his first trip to Mosquito Lagoon. An
experienced offshore angler, he wanted to try some inshore sight fishing. The skies
were clear but the wind blew hard the whole day. Despite having to battle the wind,
Cam made some great casts to tailing fish and landed four redfish from 27-41 inches.

boy with nice redfish

young man, big redfish

Water levels in Mosquito Lagoon remain much higher than normal for this time of year.
Most of the redfish we have been finding have been in 12-18 inches of water with
plenty of grass. High winds have made casting light baits difficult but a 3 inch CAL tail
on a 1/4 ounce jig works well. The key when using a setup like this with an exposed
hook is to not let the bait settle down in the grass until it is near the fish. On days with
lighter winds, the DOA shrimp will be hard to beat.

Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sarasota Bay Fishing Report 2-22-10

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 2/8 through 2/21/2010

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had action with trout, ladyfish and redfish on deep grass flats of Little Sarasota Bay and Gasparilla Sound during the past couple of weeks. The bigger trout have been coming from the edges of bars, channels and troughs.

Mike Sprague and Kep Philips, both from NJ, fished Little Sarasota Bay near Midnight Pass with me on Monday, Feb. 8th. They caught and released a dozen or more trout to 18” and ladyfish on CAL jigs with shad tails. Keith McClintock and Hal D’Orazio, both from Lake Forest, IL, fished Gasparilla Sound with me on Tuesday, Feb. 9th with similar results. We caught and released about a dozen trout to more than 20”and a redfish also on CAL jigs with shad tails. A trip on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 14th, in Little Sarasota Bay produced several trout and ladyfish on the same lures.

On a couple of trips in Little Sarasota Bay last week, with water temperatures persisting in the low 50’s, we caught and released trout and ladyfish in the ICW channel, on channel edges or on deep grass flats close to channel edges. One of the best trips of the week was on Tuesday with Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, and John Freeman, Jr., from Venice, FL. They had good action catching and releasing about 10 trout and numerous ladyfish on deep grass near Spanish Point.

Next week’s tides will improve towards the end of the week as we head towards a full moon on Feb. 28th. With water temperatures still in the low to mid 50’s, afternoons should continue to fish better than mornings due to warmer water. Trout on deep flats or in channels and reds or sheepshead around docks should continue to be the best options. When the water warms a few degrees it should make a big difference. There are still some spots available for CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing school on March 6th. Contact CB’s at (941) 349-4400 to sign up.

Tight Lines,

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

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

Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, with a nice Charlotte Harbor trout caught on a CAL jig with a shad tail while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Keep Fishing Tackle Organized

Hello Everyone! I am so freaked.....OUT! SEE YOU IN MARCH

Our neighbors to the south, the children of devastation deserve a chance....donate now to the Red Cross.

MEMO: For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Dollahon,
Crystal Dollahon,
Toll free: (866) 907-1605

"Organize tackle now for the 2010 fishing season"

Whether a weekend angler or one who likes to tournament fish, make the most of any downtime during this winter's crazy weather to prepare for the season by learning from two of the most organized pros on the professional bass circuit - Kevin VanDam and Tim Horton. Both men say their gear is already in top-notch order for 2010 because: one, they learned long ago the value in keeping it that way, day in and day out; and two, doing so is a key to their success.

VanDam is coming off the 2009 season with his fifth BASS Angler of the Year title and will have many eyes on him as he fishes for another title at the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on Alabama's Lay Lake. Whether watching him fish in person or on television, one thing is perfectly clear - he never wastes any time fishing for something other than fish.

"I know exactly where everything is in my boat," VanDam explained, "and there's a reason for that. We have only so much time to fish on any given tournament day and the only way to catch fish is when the line's in the water. I can't waste even a few seconds digging for a particular bait ... I have a system for keeping things in the same place and in the same order so I can go right to it."

The Michigan-based angler credits Plano Molding Company for his tackle organization on and off the water, saying he's the "king" of the StowAway 3700 series utility boxes made by the company. "The 3700s, regardless of the specific models and configurations, fit my needs perfectly whether on the shelf in my tackle room, in the truck or in my boat's compartments."

VanDam says he categorizes all of his baits by type, by box. His Strike King crankbaits are separated by series designations, another will contain jerkbaits of the same model, and then there are boxes for heavy cover jigs, football jigs, finesse jigs, soft plastics, and the list goes on and on. For spinnerbaits, he says he uses a combination of Plano's spinnerbait boxes and pouches, again with each containing a particular size and/or blade combination. Of course, he has a box for spinnerbait skirts, too.

"I like Plano's ProLatch colors because they allowed me a color-code system adopted long ago that gives me a quick visual as to what's what. My jerkbaits will be in my blue latch boxes, my deep divers are in the gold and so on. Of course, the boxes are clear and that makes selections even easier."

He always puts his hardbait boxes in his boat's right compartment and his spinnerbaits on the left side. In the middle compartment are his swimbaits and some bulk plastics that he might go through several of during the day. His large assortment of soft plastics goes in a back compartment for better distribution of their heavier weight.

VanDam said he takes full advantage of the company's waterproof boxes as well. He explained that the first thing he does every time upon getting in his boat is to put his wallet and cell phone in a Plano waterproof box that then always goes in the boat's side storage area.

"Yes, I have to be in control of the things that I can, and tackle organization is one. Pay attention to the boat decks and compartments of tournament anglers, and you'll see many of the most successful ones are also the most organized."

BASS Elite Series angler Tim Horton fully agrees. "Organization is the key to everything I do," he said. "When our tournament season starts, we can be on the road for weeks at a time so I discovered years ago that I had to get and keep my gear in tip top order from one event to the next. Once you get it that way, it's easier to keep up with what baits need replenishing, as well as adding new items to the mix."

Horton, like VanDam, said the StowAway 3700s are a big part of his fishing life, but that he also relies heavily on the smaller 3450s for things like his Carolina rig components, jigging spoons, treble hooks, etc. He explained having many smaller boxes for certain specific items can be just as valuable in saving time as space.

He said he also likes the Plano spinnerbait storage because it hangs the baits for easy reference and separation. "I'll have half a dozen or so spinnerbait boxes along with me on every trip, and there will be three or four of them in the boat at any given time with the spinnerbaits and buzzbaits needed for the water I'm on that day."

"What I'm doing for tackle storage is exactly the same thing that any angler can do. At only $6 or $7 each, StowAways are one of the greatest values in fishing today. And we all know how good Plano tackleboxes are because we grew up with them," Horton added.

For more tackle storage tips from Kevin VanDam, Tim Horton and other well-known anglers across the country, visit

Captain Mike Locklear

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keep Moving To Find Fish

Fishing Report 02/04/2010 – Capt. Terry Frankford

Angler's aboard the Reelin & Chillin really worked for their catch with the cold January and February weather conditions. Normal for this time of year it's check out a spot and if nothing happens move on. Still redfish, black drum, and sea trout tightened lines for some good light tackle action.

Fish Tails aboard the Reelin & Chillin
On a couple trips this week Ray Ribaric and I braved the cool windy weather finding action mostly around structure. We fished docks and pilings in and around Sarasota Bay as well as Longboat Key. Moving from dock to dock we eventually got on some fish. Sheepshead, black drum, flounder and trout made it to the live well. One big red was caught and released after a photo that measured at 27.5 inches. Using light tackle and live shrimp for bait made for some great light tackle action.

Captain Talk
This time of year it's a good idea to keep moving to find the fish. That is, keep the boat moving from hole to hole, don't wast time staying in one spot to long. However, don't keep the bait moving to fast, this cold water slows the fish down a little so their not as aggressive. I believe it's a transition for the fish from the warmer weather to the cooler weather, almost like they have to get used to it. I expect the sheepshead and redfish to start picking up especially if we don't have freezing weather. We still have many beautiful sunny days here in Sarasota during the January and February months, so just keep an eye on the weather and get out there to enjoy a great day on the bay.

Tight Lines & Good Times, Capt. Terry Frankford

Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.


St. Johns River Shad Rally

St Johns River Shad Rally, Saturday February 20th

Saint John's Shad Rally - a one day outdoor event in conjunction with The Saint John's Shad Derby put on by Coastal Angler Magazine and Fishing Florida Radio and Mosquito Creek Outdoors.

Saturday February 20th

C.S. Lee Park in Geneva FL

Free Shad Seminar at 10AM by Capt. Tom Van Horn and Capt. Chris Myers

Free Raffle - drawing at noon for (3) $25 gift certificates to Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Apopka

Free door prizes!

If you have yet to enter this free catch-photo-release tournament, on-site registration will be available from 9 am till noon.

Learn about this unique fishery!

Meet other successful shad anglers!

Bring your boat, your gear and crew!

Let's Go Fishing!

Hook Kids on Fishing Volunteers Needed
Emily and Jeff Shapiro

Volunteers are needed to assist with the Hook Kids on Fishing event to be held in conjunction with the Mosquito Creek Outdoors Family Outdoor Day and the Apopka Foliage Festival held on April 24th and 25th in Apopka. The HKOF event will be on Saturday, April 24th, from 10 am to noon and is free to all kids. After completing the five learning stations, each child will receive a free rod, reel and tackle box. We are anticipating over 100 kids and their parents to attend, so you assistance would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to sign up, please contact me, Captain Tom Van Horn at (407) 416-1187 or send me a message at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Choosing A Trolling Motor And Battery

Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island Fishing Report, February 2010

Troll Motor and Battery Choice

After six weeks of doing with out a boat my new Pathfinder has arrived. It is beautiful cobalt blue, powered by a Yamaha 150 four-stroke. It came with a PowerPole installed. I have a few basic things to do before it’s like I want it for fishing, but not much. Today I will install a Minn Kota 80 pound thrust remote control troll motor. I have already installed two AGM Optima Deep cycle batteries for the motor and one Optima starting battery for the other electrical systems. All three batteries fit in the console and help balance the boat with weight in the middle instead of the back. It jumps out of the hole with ease.

OPTIMA battery

I am a believer in Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology. I have had them before and that is why I chose this technology again. OPTIMA® BlueTop® high-performance AGM batteries in your boat gives you more running time for your troll motor and up to 3 times more recharges than what you’d get out of a traditional battery.

Since all the electrolyte (acid) is contained in the glass mats, the Optima Batteries do not spill, even if broken. We don’t worry about it in Florida, but there is no liquid to freeze and expand, so there is no worry about freezing damage. Optima’s also provide weight savings and outstanding vibration resistance.

My last Pathfinder had AGM batteries and they were still in the boat when I sold it in 2009. They were working just like they were in 2004 when the boat was new. They are definitely worth the added cost. In fact, I think they are cheaper in the long-run.

With an on-board charger all I have to do is plug it in when I finish my fishing day and there is no more worry about the batteries. The picture below shows all three batteries under the center consol. Great weight distribution results in a great hole shot.

I am installing the Minn Kota troll motor with a quick release mount for easy removal when I don’t want it on the bow and for security when on the road. You can easily detach the motor and take in the motel room with you at night.

With the threadable backing plate that Pathfinder installs in the bow for mounting the troll motor, the installation is simple. You simply drill 4 holes and use a ¼ inch tap to cut threads in the backing plate. Then, fasten the quick release mount by inserting four bolts through the mount and into the tapped holes and tightened from the top. There is no need to reach up under the bow and get your back out of whack trying to hold a bolt on the underside. It’s a snap. The picture below shows the template in place for drilling the 4 holes.

trolling motor template

I choose the Minnkota with remote control and auto pilot because of the type of fishing I do. You can run it from anywhere in the boat using the remote control. When fishing the edge of a flat or a shoreline you can set the auto pilot to guide you in a straight line without having to steer it again. You just spend all your time fishing. This next picture shows the installed Minnkota.

bow mounted trolling motor

My next installation will be a Humminbird Side Image Sonar/GPS combo. The new version, which also gives you a picture under the boat, is scheduled to ship in March, so I will have to wait on that. In the meantime I will have to fish the old-fashion way, using personal history and intuition.

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


I will be in Ft. Walton Beach February 20 and 21 so come by and see me. I was in Ft. Myers at the Florida Sportsman Show last weekend and it was great. I hope it is a sign of an up-tick for the fishing industry.

March 5th, 6th and 7th are the dates for the annual Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo and Boat Show hosted by Frank Sargeant. I will be there in the FGA booth on Friday and Sunday so come on by if you are in the area.

Captain Ron Presley

Florida Keys King Mackerel 2-10

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Holy mackerel...

family with king mackerel

yes,,,we had a beautiful day out there, lots and lots and lots of king mackerel...our young angler, fishing off the Gold Reserve reeled in several of his own..but didn't like to touch the slimy fish...can't blame him... while on the Gotcha we had a lively family from Ohio who handled the day with a load of ..king mackerel.. some of our other vessels are out as we type so I don't have the lowdown on their as always if YOU are interested in booking one of our fine vessels you can contact Nicci-jean or Nikki-susan here at holiday isle marina...305-433-9942.

king mackerel

king mackerel


Nikki Holiday Isle Offshore 800-327-7070 Etc 642

Holiday Isle Resort and Marina
84001 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, FL 33036
305-664-2321 ext. 642
Direct: 305-433-9942

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cold- Weather Fish Kill Executive Orders

In response to the recent cold-weather fish kills that have occurred statewide, the FWC has issued executive orders to facilitate fish-kill cleanups and protect snook, bonefish and tarpon stocks while the impacts of these fish kills are evaluated. Effective Jan. 16, 2010:

* Bag, size limits, and some gear restrictions for saltwater fish that died as a result of the fish kills are suspended through February 28, 2010 or further notice for the purpose of disposal of these fish. See Executive Orders 10-02 PDF file and 10-4 for details.
* Harvest and possession of bonefish and tarpon from state and federal waters off Florida is prohibited through March 31, 2010 or further notice. Catch and release of these species is still permitted.
* Harvest and possession of snook from state and federal waters is prohibited through Aug. 31, 2010 or further notice. Catch and release of snook is still permitted.
To find out more about the 2010 Fish Kill orders, go to the FWC FAQ web page.

Sebastian Inlet Fishing Report 2-10

Whiteys Fishing Report
Febuary 2010

Put another log on the fire and sit back for this months fishing report. Due to all the recent freezing temperatures throughout most of Florida the fish are the ones hit the hardest. In early January several nights of freezing 30-degree weather, dropped the water temperature so low in the river that a large population of fish died. Many of the local species like tarpon, snook, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, ladyfish and catfish have washed up along the waters edge in the past weeks. With major fish kills of this proportion it will take some time for the numbers to rebound. The FWC has taken some action to eliminate some of the pressure off snook, tarpon and bonefish populations by banning the harvest for several months. With snook season set to open Feb 1, you will now have to hold off harvesting a snook till the fall season, Sept 1, 2010.

The fishing around Sebastian Inlet has been producing some good numbers of black drum, bluefish, pompano and whiting. The black drum are sucking up the live clams and ranging an average of 5-8 lbs, with a few fish over 15lbs. If the water cleans up along the beaches the pompano will make a run by the jetties. The whiting have been on the south side and in great numbers with the occasional pompano mixed in. Blues are everywhere and if you want to try your luck with them try casting silver spoons on outgoing tides. They are a fun fight and are great on the smoker.

Seatrout didn’t take a huge hit in the cold weather, so it might be a good time to break out the trout rods and sharpen the trebles on your Johnny Rattlers. Expect fish to be on the flats in the warmer afternoons around the potholes. A bonus redfish might pop up now and then since they are another species that took the cold well. Live baits like shrimp and mullet make a great choice for drifting over a productive flat.

Offshore has been good for king fishing when the seas allow. Most of the kings are scattered from the Bethel ledges north up to the Port. This time of year expect a few cobia to come over and take a look around the boat. Always keep a rod handy with a pitch jig or live bait to cast when they pop up. Recently a legal 33-inch cobia was caught inside Sebastian Inlet by the cleaning table on the south side. A few fish now and then come from the jetties, but inside the back of the inlet!!!! Who knows what to expect this month. Also keep a strong eye out for the manta rays swimming on the surface, they will usually have a cobia or two swimming below. There has been good reports of wahoo over the cones, try high speeding your favorite lead head lure and see if the striped fish makes it to your frying pan. You never know maybe a gaffer dolphin might make it to your skillet too.

Like always check in at Whitey’s for the latest reports and updates, until next time stay warm and tight lines!!!!!!!!!!

With the Grouper and Snapper closures starting this month it is going to be a tough couple of months for offshore bottom fisherman. Staring January 1st all shallow water species of Grouper will be closed until April 30th. Snapper closures will begin on the fourth of January till the second of June. More regulations will be coming during the 180 day closure while federal fishery managers come up with a long term management goal.

Whitey's Bait & Tackle
9030 S Highway A1a
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mosquito Lagoon Coast Fishing 2-15-10

Mosquito Creek Outdoor's Indian River Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, February 12, 2010 By Captain Tom Van Horn

As in my last report, foul weather has been our dominant concern this past week on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida, and the week ahead looks even colder. Although not freezing, back to back passing cold fronts have generated windy, cloudy and cold conditions, and as I sit here composing this report, snow flurries are predicted in north Florida. The good news is as each front passes, the closer we are to spring.

Even though the weather has been difficult, I still managed to fish on several occasion this past week with limited success. My first trip was on Monday where I was joined by Paul and Lee Faircloth as we ventured down to the St Johns River for some American Shad fishing. The American shad run has been slow for me thus far, and on Monday it still hadn't improved. The weather was actually very nice for us, but I wish I could say the same about the catching. At the end of five hours of fishing, Paul managed four hook ups on shad with one Palm Beach release boat side, and Lee and I each ended the day with only a few crappie. Hopefully, the shad run will pick up before the Shad Rally on the 20th at CS Lee Park east of Geneva.

Ben's 40-inch Redfish

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of fishing the Mosquito Lagoon as part of a four boat charter. As usual it was cold and very windy by Florida standards, but for our fine Canadian guest it was like a spring day. My plan was to avoid the wind and cold as much as I could by soaking blue crab in protected areas. This tactic paid off for us as we boated three redfish ranging from 36 to 40 inches. In addition to our catch, the three other boats returned with decent catches which just goes to show that the fish will bite notwithstanding the weather.

Terry's 36-inch Redfish

In closing, if you are in or would like to be in the Shad Derby, registrations are still ongoing at Mosquito Creek Outdoors in Apopka, and a free seminar on shad fishing will be conducted at the Shad Rally from 10 am to noon on Saturday February 20th at CS Lee Park in east of Geneva on Hwy 46, compliments of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, Coastal Angler Magazine Orlando and Fishing Florida Radio. For more details on the Shad Derby go to

Also, be sure to check out the new February addition of Coastal Angler Magazine Orlando in print and online for free at

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
407-366-8085 office
407-416-1187 on the water

For all you outdoor shopping needs, visit Mosquito Creek Outdoors at

Friday, February 12, 2010

Key West Fishing Report 2-10

Key West Fishing Report Updated fishing reports for the flats February 2, 2010

The Keys have had a bout of cold weather at the beginning of January that sent our fishing into hibernation. It was unfortunate circumstances but the latter half of the month proved to be terrific for barracuda, permit and shark fishing.

We spent a lot of the month just fishing for what was available and in January it can be plentiful. Our days on the water proved to be good for huge barracuda, jacks, bluefish and mackerel. There was even a 21- pound permit on fly caught by my good friend Lance Gleason of Missoula, Montana. You can check out his videos on YouTube by searching for 406Productions.

As for February, we've got a fresh start to a new month of fishing and as the days get warmer and the humidity starts to rise, it's just a matter of time before the first string of tarpon come across the flats.

February and March will be the best months for stalking permit on the flats. Some of our largest permit are here at this time and they are willing to eat.

So we keep our fingers crossed for no more cold fronts (or just the minimum) and get ready to welcome spring.

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

Capt. Justin Rea
Sugarloaf Key, FL 33042

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jensen Beach Fishing Report 2-11-10

FISHING 2/7/10

Off shore heated up even if the temperatures stayed cool. All week the forecast was four foot and higher, over cast, cool, just not polite. Most days they lied, well lets say it was not like that all day but a some point it was going to be. Boats running south found plenty of fish, lots of dolphin, small but there in numbers with a few gaffers and bally hoo caught their attention. Sails were there in numbers, throw in a King fish or two and you get the picture, nice fishing. Just north of the Loran tower in 130' on the color lines, the morning hours was the action hours and then the sea started to build buy early afternoon. Run south and troll north, that was easy, except I ran out and trolled north coming in the Ft. Pierce inlet, it was still nice to be there.
Cool surf and some days less than polite has kept the Blues up close, enough you could use chrome top water or spoons and take your limit(12" to the fork, 10 per day). Cut baits found more Mac's than Blues but there was plenty of both, no complaints from the anglers, not sure about the fish. Pompano showed after the sun warmed the edge and the Blues moved out, still no sand fleas but about the time you leave that rake at home I will catch all the blame. There was plenty just that they changed location and bite times every day, you need to be there, put in the time and you will get them. Few Flounder from the ft. Pierce Jetty on that surf side, up to six pounds.
Trout and more Trout for the river anglers, the power plant area was a good starting point, east or west side using jerk baits or live shrimp caught plenty. The wind decided for the angler the fish were on both sides, with more Reds mixed in on the west. Fish the docks, each pole gets three casts and pay attention to the plastic poles that is where they like to hang out. Excellent Trout and Reds from the North Bridge area south to the St. Lucie Inlet and yes there is plenty of Pompano. Big Drum at the bridges, Sheephead, Blues and Pompano to keep all anglers busy.
Please tell me it is going to warm up soon......................Henry

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

Everglades Fishing Report 2-10

February 3, 2010
just keep poling…
Filed under: Ship's Log — Captain Ned Small @ 4:56 pm

man with redfish

The conditions are nice but there are ominous stretches where marine life of all types is noticably absent. There are a few reds though, you have to stay dedicated but you might get a shot, here’s one John Crockett caught today (below,) we also hooked a snook, a nice one, John just played it lightly while we admired it through a couple of runs before giving it just enough slack to release itself. We’re also using intermediate lines and tips for casting into deeper places looking for other species, mackerel, trout, jacks, anything that wants to come out and play.

redfishing everglades

February 2, 2010
Filed under: Ship's Log — Captain Ned Small @ 5:59 pm

woman with redfish

Cindy McClure with a redfish she caught with an ultralight spinner and an eighth ounce “secret weapon.”

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tarpon Springs Fishing Report 2-10

Tarpon Springs Florida Fishing Report January 30, 2010

gator trout

Well, it’s been a wild winter… weather wise. It’s been tough to get out on the water due to the economy and record breaking cold weather but I finally had the chance to get out the last few days and the prognosis is good. Really good.

I’ve got 5 charters coming up this week and I needed to get out and do some scouting for fish. Two days ago I went out with 20 year professional Tampa Bay area guide veteran and good friend of mine, Capt. Jim Lemke. We never even had to get the boat on plane before he put me on 5 different schools of 100+ redfish. We were out having fun and as such we only brought fly rods with us. The third cast of the day produced a hookup with a nice upper slot redfish but I lost him halfway through the fight. Capt. Jim poled his Maverick HPX boat around for a few more hours showing me some remarkable schools of redfish. We did way more looking than fishing but it was a lot of fun and great to see the redfish schooled up as tight as they were.

Yesterday, I went out with Capt. Greg DeVault of Americana Outdoors TV fame in search of lunker sea trout. We weren’t disappointed. During the low tide we hit cuts and drop-offs in the Tarpon Springs area with great success. Though we did very well on the first of the incoming tide, Capt. Greg and I both knew the bite would be better on the last of the outgoing tide but we’ll have to prove that later this week as the tides become more ideal. Trout in the 17-22″ range all took a liking to the new Mirr-O-Lure offering in soft plastics. The bait is called the Lil’ John. For years, Capt. Greg has been biting the end off of Exude Darts and rigging them with Slayer Inc. jig heads. Now, Mirr-O-Lure has taken his advice and created a bait similar to the Dart but cut one and a half inches off the nose and made the bait flat on that end to fit a jog head more comfortably. One thing I have noticed fishing Mirr-O-Lure new baits is that they are soft but extremely tough. We caught about 20 fish yesterday and Capt. Greg and I only used one bait each all day. That’s awesome if you ask me as most soft plastics seem to only survive one or two fish before having to change baits.

The weather is on a warming trend. That’s good news as we had the coldest January since 1978 here in the Tampa Bay area. The snook have taking a beating because of the frigid temps but the redfish and trout are stronger and hungrier than ever.

Tampa Bay Fishing
Captain Clay Eavenson


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Clearwater Fishing Report 2-2010

Turning the Corner and Catching Fish!!!

man with sea trout


Hello friends. How is 2010 treating you? It has been a roller coaster ride for weather in Florida so far. As many of you know, we had a pretty substantial fish kill a few weeks ago with sustained temperatures in the 20's. That drops the water temps so low that Snook, Mullet and other shallow water species die. We have since turned the corner and have had a warming trend. Fish are starting to respond and it seems all is well out here again. Redfish have grouped up along the oyster bars and the big Trout have moved into the St. Joseph Sound area. Although some Snook died, many found warmer water to survive through the cold.
So, here is what we can expect out here for the next few weeks...

Those beautiful Trout are inhabiting the spoil islands around Dunedin. I tend to use live shrimp mostly, but they will definitely eat jerkworms and even the Gulp shrimp worked slowly along the bottom. I like to find a few Trout using the trolling motor, then circle around and set up on them. Larger shrimp either under a cork or freelined on the bottom can be very effective. Try not to handle these creatures too much if you are not going to keep them. De-hooking tools can help with releaing them unharmed. You may even hook some Sheepshead trying to nibble your shrimp right to the hook. They are very timid, but will get tricked occasionally. If you downsize your hooks to a #2 or #3 and bury it in part of a shrimp, you will have a blast catching these black and white convicts.

Redfish have started to move in and group up along many shorelines from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. They are warming in the morning sun atop oyster bars and over the darker bottoms around the residential canals and docks. They are also in some of the normal spring and summer pattern areas too. Looks like we are going to have a great season on the Reds. Again, I like to use the shrimp, laid out in the low tide potholes in front of some of these bars and docks. Gold spoons, jerkworms and the shrimp imitations all work well also, when presented correctly. As the tide rises, I will move in and work directly under the docks and right on the edge of the oyster bars. The fish are nice size, in the 4 to 7 lb range. Not typical for the winter months, where we will usually see smaller undersized fish more often.

I have been focusing my efforts mostly inshore, but there are still some opportunities on the nicer days to scoot out a couple miles for some Grouper and Snapper action. It won't be 'til late March into April before the Spanish and King Mackerel are out there too! Until then, we catch what is biting now!
If you didn't get to go Tarpon fishing last season, be sure to reserve your trip today. I have clients, who have already experienced the incredible power of these animals, filling dates quickly. Don't hesitate to call to book your trip! Let's get out there and have great day on the water!

Capt. Brian

Capt. Brian Caudill

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sarasota Bay Fishing Report 2-8-10

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 1/24 through 2/7/2010

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released mostly trout and ladyfish during the past couple of weeks. Action wasn’t too fast but was steady. However, there were a couple of great trips. In addition, we also caught a few ladyfish, a snook, flounder and redfish. The water has warmed to the low 60’s and fishing has been improving as a result.

Gary and Robbyn Hehe, from IN, fished Little Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, Jan. 25th. They caught and released several ladyfish and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails. My sister, Michelle Mumford and her boyfriend, Bill Walterhoefer, both from DE, fished the same area with me on Wednesday with similar results. Michelle and Bill also fished with me on Friday and caught and released about 20 trout to 18” in Zwick’s Channel and a red and a snook in Roberts Bay all on CAL jigs with shad tails.

Fly angler Josh Fine, from CT, fished a couple of days with me in Sarasota and Terra Ceia Bays. He caught and released trout and ladyfish on Clouser and a bend back style rattle fly. We found some reds cruising a shallow grass flat but couldn’t get them to eat our flies.

The action heated up last week as we headed away from the full moon. Harry Beaty and Paul Rotz, both from Ontario, Canada, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, Feb. 1st. They caught more than 20 trout, including 8 slot-size trout on CAL jigs with shad tails. We also released a 23” trout that weighed over 3-pounds. We fished the east side of the bay from Stephens Point to Long Bar. We found the biggest trout in skinny water.

Keith McClintock and Larry Stillman, both from IL, fished the same area with me the next day. The trout were smaller than the previous day but we had one slot size trout and a nice flounder on CAL jigs with shad tails. Fly anglers Ron Cordes, from ID, and Dusty Sprague, from North Port, FL fished Blackburn and Little Sarasota Bays with me on Wednesday afternoon. They caught and released a few trout and ladyfish on Clouser flies fished on an intermediate fly line. It was a pleasure to have a couple of great fly casters like Ron and Dusty on board.

Fly angler Jerry Poslusny, from Rochester, NY, fished the Terra Ceia Bay area with me on Thursday. Jerry is the new owner of my previous Action Craft, so we were on a fishing trip and a shakedown “cruise”. We caught a dozen or more trout to 17” on a Clouser fly and had a few shots at reds in Terra Ceia.

Jim Cox, from IL, and his sons, Mike and Jason, fished Little Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday morning. A front passed through on Friday evening and the forecast was for high winds on Saturday, but that didn’t materialize until late in the trip. They caught and released about 20 trout to 19”, including 7 or 8 nice slot size trout on CAL jigs with shad tails. We also worked some docks in Blackburn Bay and hooked a big red that couldn’t be turned

Sadly, I learned that my friend, Capt. Mel Berman, passed away at the age of 81 on Friday due to complications from heart surgery. He had a radio program on Saturday mornings in the Tampa Bay area for 25 years. He was friend to conservation and an advocate of fishing with artificial baits. I was fortunate to have been a guest on his radio program numerous times over the years. Mel and I fished many days on Sarasota Bay over the years and always ended it with a “shore lunch” at The Old Salty Dog Restaurant on New Pass. He always had a joke or a story to share. He was also an animal lover, so we always enjoyed catching up on our “furry kids”. There will be a big void on Saturday mornings now. He will be missed.

Tides will improve towards the end of next week as we head towards a new moon on Feb. 14th. Unless the water gets colder, fishing should improve. Reds may tail on shallow grass flats of Gasparilla Sound on negative low tides at the end of next week.

Tight Lines,

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

E-mail and

Bill Walterhoefer, from Dagsboro, DE, with a healthy and hungry 24" snook caught and released on a CAL jig with a shad tail while fishing Roberts Bay with Capt. Rick Grassett

Saturday, February 06, 2010

St Johns River Shad 2010

Indian River Lagoon Coast Fishing Report, February 5, 2010

Well folks, after reviewing our January weather, the average wind speeds for the month were 16 knots. Finding a nice day to fish last month was a chore and this past week wasn't any better. To make matters worse, this coming weekend will be blown out offshore with winds gusting up to 20 knots on Saturday and 15 knots on Sunday. Another event closing down the south end of the Mosquito Lagoon and the down range safety zones offshore is the Space Shuttle Launch scheduled for 4 am Sunday morning. On last check the weather was go for launch, so it might be worth getting up and watching the shuttle turn night into day. Additionally, both Monday and Tuesday look like good days to fish weather wise.

Tough weather kept me off of the Lagoon this past week, but I did hear some reports of both redfish and sea trout catches. Everyone I've talked to this week has located a good number of fish, but they still haven't started to eat well since the freeze. Most anglers are catching a few fish, mostly smaller ones, and the DOA Shrimp has been the bait of choice.

American shad on fly

John's first American Shad on fly this season.

While I didn't make a saltwater trip last week, I did manage to do some American shad fishing on the St Johns River. The water level on the river increased by 11 inches after last weeks rains, and it is a good 30 inches higher than it was at this time last year. With the higher water the shad haven't been rolling on the surface, so anglers have resorted to blind casting and trolling in the deeper bends and holes in the river with some success. Although the bite hasn't kicked in, we did see improvements over last week, and on one trip I managed three nice Americans on fly. Also, the crappie fishing has been good with a lot of limits being caught. So if the wind is too much for the lagoon this weekend, you might consider the St. Johns as an alternative.

St Johns River American Shad

My 18-inch American caught on an orange Crazy Charlie fly.

One last word of warning, it doesn't happen to me very often, but I did stumble across a rather large cotton mouth this week while walking the shoreline of the St. Johns. Luckily I spotted him sunning himself, and made sure to maintain a respectable distance as I passed. When wading and walking along our fresh water wetlands, it's prudent to mind your step and keep a sharp eye out for snakes. If you do encounter one, simple keep your distance, and what ever you do, don't mess with it.

Also, be sure to check out the new February addition of Coastal Angler Magazine Orlando in print and online for free at

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

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn
407-366-8085 office
407-416-1187 on the water

Friday, February 05, 2010

Jacksonville Fishing Report 2-5-10

Thursday, February 4, 2010
2/3 - Brrrrrrr......not for all of us

I got a call on Tuesday night from Lima, Peru. It was Kirk M. a long time customer who's a Navy officer stationed there. The call wasn't all that surprising, because Kirk calls me from time to time on "SKYPE", and we talk for an hour at least, each time.

Kirk said, "you open, so we can go out on Wednesday afternoon?" I was a bit surprised. Because I knew he was coming to J-ville for work business, but his day wasn't booked till the 13th. He then explained how he was packing and heading to Florida early, and that he could be at the Mayport boat ramp, by noon on Wednesday.

Reminiscent of James Bond, Kirk is a savvy traveller. And he's not a guy to mess around, or "himm 'n haww" about a charter. When he says, "I'll be there." YOU can count on it. It doesn't matter how cold it is. How windy it is. The water could have ICE on it, and he's ready to go! And he has a HUGE tolerance to COLD.
Being a "native son" of those super tough folk from the great white north of....North Dakota. Kirk never seems to be dressed the same, as I am.

He ran across the Mayport Boat Ramp parking lot, from dashing in with his rental car, to the dock where I had the Jettywolf tied off ready to go. And I was in Grunden wind stopper fleece pants, long sleeve T-shirt, heavy sweatshirt with a hood, and my Grundens Fisherman's Jacket. Plus, I had my hood up and over my "hat" wearin' head.

Kirk had a light jacket on. No hood, no hat. Just his lowered Navy ears out there in the wind. I said, "Dang Kirk, I have a hooded sweatshirt in my truck, ya want to wear it so ya have a hood?" "Naaww.... I'll be fine, let's go." He said.

What do I always say? "A sweatshirt is just a sweatshirt, but one with a HOOD is a friend!"

It was max high tide. The wind was blowing from the N.N.E. I had one game plan. Fish the creeks.....or at least what I call, creek fishing. So we started in Hannah Mills area. But good gawd the tide was so high with no sign of it falling any time soon. So we left out of there and went back to the Sisters Creek Bridge. The current was rippin' there. So we eased up into East Hannah Mills, I guess folks call it. There we found current and as the tide fell we caught some Trout. Small ones. But we at least got bit.

Kirk worked a float-rig and live shrimp. I worked a popping cork, with my hot new float/cork lure under it.


I knew it was gonna be a tough afternoon. Being we had high water, N.E. winds, cold, and sun shine at all. At least sun shine would have warmed our bones a bit and with it possibly sparked a decent bite of fish. But Kirk knows. He's a very experienced angler. He always says to me, "Dave I'm your easiest charter. No stress here."

So we just hopped from point to point up in the creeks. Finding areas where there was current running down the bank. Catching a few here and there. But I brought some ice. That meant a Sheepshead, Drum, or Redfish.....more like a little Redfish, is what I wanted to put in the box. (since Specks are closed now)

We always have a great time together, that's for sure. When I started in this business 14 years ago, Kirk is the kind of customer I always wanted to have aboard. Laughing and cutting up and yelling at the fish in the water, or bait stealers we couldn't even see. We just had plain "cold weather fishin" fun.

I was very surprised how well I did casting my "home made popping cork-clicker rig", with my hot lil' lure. If a Trout see's it, the fish is gonna eat it. Because every bite bite I had caught a Trout. There's no half hearted take down's of my cork. It's Pop-pop, fish on!! And I like that. In shallow water, 3-6 feet it's like fishing a lure, without all the casting. Because I still let it drift along with the current, and no re-baiting, and no pinner (pinfish) bites Interesting......huh? I also tossed a 3/8ths oz jig and a Bass Assassin "chicken on a chain" Sea Shad.

We worked our way out of the Sisters creek area and to the lil' Jetties. Fished around there, but the tide was still too high. Then, we ended up back into shallow water.......really shallow water! (for me, at least) We picked up a few more Trout and Kirk caught a nice one, that would have been in the box if we were able to keep Specks.


Does Kirk look cold? Well if the camera was turned around pointing at me you would have seen "hat plus hood, Dave". But as the day got closer to sun down, the wind faded off nicely to a mere puff. We fished awhile longer and moved about the area. Picked up another small Speck.

And even though Kirk and I have caught on a windy winter day as many as 28 Redfish from 16-28 inches on this exact same spot, a few years ago. Just goes to show ya how things change. Especially on a year when the water temp took such a dive, south. But heck, we caught fish. And as you can see in these photos it wasn't a Florida sunshine kinda day.

But, dang we had a good time. And no matter what, that's what it's all about. Especially, when your customer flies all the way from Lima, Peru to go fishing with you. (not really, but almost)

Saturday: 15-20 knots out of the Northwest

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY- 10 KNOTS OUT OF THE NORTHWEST. It's gonna be way more fishable Sunday.....withless people around?


Departure 8-8:30am

Captain Dave Sipler's Sport Fishing

Panhandle Fishing Report 2-5-10

Report for 01/29/2010

Salt Water

BAY FISHING In January, the trout and redfish are in the deeper holes and up into the canals. Live shrimp is the bait of choice with the lightest weight possible to keep your baits under control. For this time of year, the Gulf canal is a great place to fish. You can start past Raffield’s Fisheries continue to the “T”. The Port St Joe Marina is a favorite trout hole with the smaller trout far outnumbering large ones at the onset of January, but will increase in size by the end of the month. Big redfish can be caught trolling Mann’s Stretch 25’s in the bay or throwing big soft plastics. The key for the big reds is to look for any bird activity. Apalachicola Bay will be a hot bed of great large trout action with live shrimp off the edges of the shoals and in the deeper channels. Sheepshead bite will be good in the surf at the beginning of January and will pick up. Also, try the canal and around the oyster beds using fiddler crabs and small shrimp. NEAR SHORE/SURF Whiting will be along the surf in good numbers in January with a few pompano thrown in for good measure. The Stump Hole off Cape San Blas is a favorite among the locals, but along Mexico Beach is often overlooked. Use a 2-hook pompano rig with small circle hooks rigged with a headless shrimp. Use a pyramid weight just heavy enough to hold your rig in place. Big breeder redfish will also be along the shoreline at sunset. Use a 4/0 circle hook Carolina rigged on a 20lb class rod/reel. OFFSHORE Grouper will have moved to the shallower wrecks and reefs as the water temperature drops. The big hogs will be at 150’. Trolling with Mann’s stretch series lures works very well and you will want to use the 25+ series in 30’ or less and the 30+ series any deeper. Of course, using live bait works great, but is increasingly harder to find with the temperature dropping. Frozen cigar minnows/northern mackerel will work well Carolina rigged with 80lb fluorocarbon leader and 10/0 Mustad circle hooks. Triggerfish never leave us and are great table fare. Use a double drop rig with squid on #4 owner fly liner hooks. Amberjack will stick around wrecks and the Air Force Towers. A favorite lure is the Shimano Butterfly jig. Trolling gets a little slow with the temperature drops and your best bet will be Black Fin tuna out past the 20-mile mark. Troll skirted ballyhoo and have some tuna plugs ready when you find a school.

Flounder are still being caught around the inshore wrecks. Use live bull minnows, shrimp or pilchards on a Carolina rig and target the edges of the wrecks. The Amberjack bite has been strong over the bridge spans and any large structures. Grouper season closes February 1st through March 31st. They are still being found well offshore from 20 plus miles out; best bet is to use large live baits.

Sheepshead are being caught more regularly around the jetties with live shrimp and fiddler crabs. The White Trout bite is still very good. They can be found in deep water under the Hathaway and Tyndall Bridges. Use live shrimp on a Carolina rig for best results. Redfish are being caught in very shallow water on the flats in East and West Bays. The Bull Reds are still being caught with live shrimp and pinfish around the jetties. Speckled Trout closes the month of February. For catch and release, concentrate on deep bayous, creeks, the intercostals waterway and the hot water discharge canal.

Fresh Water

The crappie bite will be on this month. Use live minnows or small white/chartreuse jigs around structure for your best shot. The day following a good cold snap is the best time to hit the water. Depot Creek is a local favorite. The largemouth bass will be sluggish, so plastics worked very slow along the drop-offs and in the deeper holes will bring the bass to your boat.

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, February 04, 2010

Islamorada Fishing Rport 2-4-10

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
sunnydaze in Islamorada, Holiday Isle...

great day out on the water. perfect wind, perfect temperature, slight cloud cover made the day...We had Capt. Jr. out today with a lively bunch of gentlemen. They captured one sailfish and pulled in a plethora of fish...a dozen ....from yellowjacks to mackerels...and everything in between. Then we had the Yabba Dabba Do out today and they returned with four king mackerel and two sailfish...Nows the time to come down and fish,,,here in lovely Islamorada Florida...Holiday Isle..305-433-9942

Posted by Let's Fish at 3:49 PM

Nikki Holiday Isle Offshore 800-327-7070 Etc 642

Holiday Isle Resort and Marina
84001 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, FL 33036
305-664-2321 ext. 642
Direct: 305-433-9942

Jensen Beach Fishing Report 2-4-10

FISHING 1/31/10

Now I know why the fish have been biting, they knew it was going to get cold again. That north wind is just not Florida, what happened to my sun and warm temps?
Pompano more Pompano and did I tell you about the Pompano bite? From north of the turning basin to the St. Lucie inlet and north to the North Fork it has been Pompano. In the flats a small jig with a piece of shrimp worked slowly across the bottom has been the ticket. In the deeper water a little bigger jig and from the bridges it is the jigging spoon. Surf anglers are using sand fleas and clam strips to get their fish to the beach. Pompano and more Pomps, mornings is when most reports come in but we have just as many fishing all hours of the day with the same reports, " we got our limit in the first thirty minutes and do you have any more of those spoons". It is the season for the Pomps and weather you like the surf or the river try it you will like it.
In the river Trout and Reds, three feet of water, look for a grass edge and you find your target. Soft rubber baits worked slower than slow is the method and as long as it does not get to cold the fish are striking the baits. Now if those pesky Pompano are not jumping around the boat the Blues will keep you busy and SNOOK is not open. We are lucky to have the Snook population we have, lets give them a chance to recover. Still plenty of Black Drum and Sheephead at the bridges along with some real nice Sand Perch and those Pesky Pompano with a mix of Jacks, Blues plus the biggest Mac's to stay busy with.
Surf has been a mix up, some days polite and on our days off not so polite. Blue Fish early on Spoons and cut baits although if it stays cool we may have get back to one cast one fish Blues. This week in the later morning the Blues backed off and the Whiting and again those pesky Pompano moved in. Shrimp, clams and sand fleas are the baits and they all work but the clams will work for all of the above. Cut your clams in strips, very elastic, stays on the hook will not come off on those long casts. Pompano will eat a sand flea but whiting might not so they both like clam strips, why not.
Off shore was a hard week to call. Just when you thought it was right the seas were against you. Action zone was between 125' and 180' straight out the St. Lucie, Sails, Dolphin and Kings were all the catch list but it was hard fishing. Three to five then four to six foot seas with the wind changing directions just made it less than polite. The churned up seas will keep the fish around now all we have to do is get a bigger boat, really bigger boat to go play, I guess I will have to wait.
Till next week ...........SNOOK IS CLOSED TILL SEPTEMBER 1... I don't care what your neighbor heard......................HENRY

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

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fishing Is Good, Bad Or Ugly

Jan. 31, 2010 – Winter Fishing – The Good, Bad and
Fishing over the past several days reminds me of the title from an old Clint Eastwood western – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly- as we have had some great fishing charters, some not so great charters and some downright ugly weather were we dared not venture forth, discretion being the better part of valor. Let’s lead off with a really, really good report.

We start our fishing reports for the past week with a great charter to Titusville on Friday with Fred and his son Reid. The occasion was Reid’s 13th birthday and this skilled fishing duo wanted to celebrate by doing some shallow water, sight-fishing, Mosquito Lagoon-style redfish hunting. The day was picture perfect with calm, slick waters, bright blue Florida skies and downright balmy temperatures. The conditions were so favorable that we stripped down to short sleeves, short pants and bare feet in order jump into the river to stalk our prey while wading across the lush grass flats. We quickly spotted a large school of large black drum lollygagging and tailing in the shallows. Approaching the school on foot, we lobbed large, free-lined shrimp into their midst and it did not take long for the black drum to find our offerings. Reid caught several nice drum from the school while his dad did his best to keep the school intact by graciously missing hook-set after hook-set. After standing in the middle of several hundred thumping drums we decided to leave the premises to find a large redfish or two. Two hours later we wondered why we ever ‘left fish to find fish’ and marched back to the drum line to finish off the half-day charter. While herding the drum down the flat once again, Fred suddenly spotted an enormous red tail waving to us about 60 yards down range. Staking down with the stealthy Power Pole, we bombed a large finger mullet into beast’s general direction. Within minutes the hungry brute to found the silver mullet and the birthday boy got to spend the next twenty minutes hanging on for dear life. Pictured below is Reid with our best black drum and redfish of the day.

man & boy with black drum

boy with huge redfish

Now journeying back to the previous Saturday, we’ll continue the reports in a chronological manner. Capt. Peter gives us the following account of his charter on that day. ‘The fluctuating temperatures and strong winds this week have the redfish, trout, and black drum on both the flats and drop-offs. Lately we've been splitting the day between pitching shrimp under deep-water docks, and sight fishing the flats.
A great trip I had this week was with a trio of diehard angles. The weather conditions were less than favorable, but we worked hard and picked our way through the little-guys to some good fish. The "Illinois Deer Commander" bested the younger guys this trip, with a 25" trout and a 26.5" redfish on the flats. We also caught black drum and sheepshead around the deep water docks.’

sea trout

trout, redfish, sheepshead

A nasty-ugly cold front pushed through area on Sunday and Monday, churning the rivers and sending the fish fleeing for any kind of safe haven. Such starts the pattern during our winter months; a front blows out fishing for a day or two, recovery slowly begins the day after and continues to improve until a glorious climax is reached the day before the next front arrives. The cycle usually last five or six days before repeating itself until spring finally arrives in mid-February or early March.. We’ll demonstrate with the following accounts.

Fishing Tuesday, the day after the front arrived, Capt. Peter braved the elements with a charter on the Banana River. Battling a stiff, cold northwest wind and wigged-out, lock-jawed fish, Peter’s hail and hardy crew still managed a redfish and several trout along with a few small black drum and sheepshead. Sometimes, no matter how skilled the captain and crew, the fish will make catching tougher than a two dollar steak from IHOP. This was one of those times. And if there were metals awarded to pluck and grit over the water, Peter’s crew from Tuesday surely earned them.

On Wednesday I pre-fished the Banana River for charters the next days to try add to Peter’s information passed along from the day before. Even though the weather was a bit warmer than Tuesday, the bait was found still shivering at the far ends of the canals on Cocoa Beach. This gave me a clue as to how any success for the day would unfold – fish would be found, if any could be found, along the sandy shorelines and in the sandy potholes near the deeper troughs. Three redfish were landed with the largest being a 17 lb sow caught in the warmest part of the day and the warmest segment of the river. Interestingly, the usually super aggressive reds were slow and sluggish in chasing and chomping my live finger mullets.

The weather Thursday turned even warmer, actually hitting the low 70s, and the wind softened from the day before. We had the pleasure of fishing with Lee and Angie Harp from Wichita along with Lee’s Uncle Ken (aka Fred and Ralph). Since Capt. Roland had pre-fished the Grant area on the prior day and marked numerous redfish and large trout patrolling the clear shallows of the Indian River, we headed south. As in previous trips with Lee and Angie, it was the gal in the pink hat that had most of the luck. Angie caught the first two redfish and handed the third off to Uncle Fred to the finish the fight. We also landed a bewildered trout before the winds blew us back to the ramp. Angie’s pink hat was so crucial to our success on the day we are posting two pictures so readers will have a better understanding of which kind of pink hat works the best.

redhead, & redfish

pink hat for redfish

Friday was our aforementioned special trip to Titusville which brings us to yesterday and the arrival of our next cold front. Dodging the effects of the weather system, Capt. Roland and Capt. Peter combined on a two-boat charter with old friends from Colorado, the Rimkus clan. They fished the Indian River in the Grant area under grey, threatening skies and high northwest winds. Before the afternoon thunderstorms arrived, the Capt. Roland’s crew, in the larger 22 foot Pathfinder, caught a couple redfish, 18 inch black drum and sheepshead on shrimp on the flats north of Jorgensen Park. Capt. Peter’s crew, in his new 19 foot Hewes Bayfisher, sought protected shelter in the historic Honest John Canals and had a blast catching an assortment of fish in near-continuous action. Their tally for the day included 13 rat reds, a drum full of black drums, mangrove snapper, and several huge sheepsheads. Even though the winds created havoc on the more exposed open waters of the river, a great time was had by parties on both boats.

groups catch

nice red

Native Sons Fishing Guides
Captain Rocky Van Hoose

Captain Brad Jones

Posted by Rocky Van Hoose on January 30, 2010 at 03:51:47 PM