Obtaining a good lens flare either with Fish or People is best achieved with a medium zoom lens
I tried with my 50 mm and 85 mm ” prime ” lenses; but nothing fares out light as the 24-70 mm range lens
Here, I used a Nikon 24-70 mm F / 2.8 lens @ 42mm and a F – Stop of 4.5
Opening the lens to a big F-Stop such as 4.5 allows lots of light ( my shutter was at 250 )
Using the lens hood can help and sometimes I feather it with my hand, shielding some of the light I’m shooting into
I often shoot into light, I know; unorthodox, but hence the creativity
Rick De Paiva
TarponTown Anglers-Campeche, Mexico Reprise
Jan S. Maizler
“Every effective angling travel trip begins months before departure”-
I’d been hearing about the discovery and unfolding of a prolific baby tarpon fishery on the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula for about 2 years. I was anxious to experience what all the buzz was about and so I made arrangements to visit the epicenter of the fishery in Campeche, Mexico. Since tarpon behave consistently- be it in Florida, the Caribbean, or central America, I booked my dates in June, a month that would assure me water temperatures over 75 degrees, relatively calm weather, as well as a time of year when the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms was not at its’ peak.
The pre-trip research I always did revealed that most of the fishery involved grassflats as well as mangrove canals. Therefore, I was sure to time my visit during the quarter moon neap tides- this would insure that the low tides would not be so extreme as to drive the fish completely out of the mangrove forests and into the expansive Gulf of Mexico. Conversely, it would also insure that the high tides would not be so extreme as to flood the mangroves and give the tarpon and rest of the game fish an overabundance of water to spread out in.
Amongst the guides and operators in Campeche, I chose Raul Castaneda of Tarpon Town Anglers. I got a distinct impression from his web site (in contrast to one or two other operations) that his fully licensed charter service had a multi-species and multi-tackle orientation. This would be important for at least two reasons. Firstly, it would give me the widest opportunities to search out and experience the broadest possible facets of a new fishery that I’d be covering. Secondly, it might also predict how open-minded the operating philosophy of his charter service would be as to welcoming light tackle anglers and flyfishers alike as well as the species they could pursue.
When I spoke to him on the phone, his friendly efficient demeanor and response to my questions indicated his obvious broadmindedness as to scope of anglers and fish species alike. I was convinced that I’d chosen the right man. He made it clear to me that while he and his five guides generally targeted tarpon, they were also open to catching snook, jacks, snapper, grouper, barracuda, and seatrout (locally called corvina). In fact, Raul’s willingness to experiment with my friend Art and I would result not only in confirming the excellent light tackle tarpon fishing, but it aided in my discovery of the finest spotted seatrout fishing I had ever experienced! My thinking even went so far as to discuss with Raul the three species that could constitute a “Campeche Slam”, but the fishing was so good, I never got around to it.
Given that the primary target species were tarpon, it was no surprise that the fishery was a boat-based experience. With that feature in mind, I asked Raul about the vessels that comprised TarponTown’s charter fleet. His charter service offered four pangas with either center console or tiller layouts. Two of the engines were modern Honda four-stroke engines. The other two skiffs had dependable Yamaha two-stroke motors. All of the fishing to be done would be by motoring to the outskirts of our target area, and then by poling the pangas into and through the fished areas, which were either open grass flats, mangrove edges, or canals that ran through the “bush.”
All of his skiffs had VHF radios, cell phones, GPS units, loads of drinking water, ice chests full of sandwiches, cookies, and fruit, and notably, extra gas tanks, which gave the vessels additional running range needed for searching out baby silver kings in this huge habitat. In addition, for family group fishing and/or offshore operation, Raul had an excellent 28-foot center console vessel with a tee-top on hand.
The research I did about the city of Campeche itself indicated that it was a delightful destination for anglers and non-anglers alike. The city itself had about 250,000 residents, which gave it a “big enough, but not too big” quality.
Campeche city is the capital of the Mexican state of Campeche and it lies on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The city was founded around 1540 by Spanish conquistadors right on top of the pre-existing Mayan city of Canpech. The city nowadays is graced with a beautiful historic district that is replete with excellent restaurants, arts and crafts galleries, and entertainment complexes. In addition, the countryside- which lays in the Yucatan interior- features some breathtaking and splendid Mayan ruins. For the manicured sportsman, the city offers golf, while anglers and their friends and family looking to go “green” have a number of kayak operations to choose from.
Platformed on top of all these exciting prospects was Raul’s plan to have us stay at the beautiful Ocean View Hotel. As the name implies, it sits right across the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. I was informed that we would take an early yet sumptuous breakfast at the hotel before leaving for the close by marina where his pangas were moored. When we returned to the Ocean View, a dip in the pool would be a welcome prospect, as would a massage at the hotel’s modern state of the art spa. With all these wonderful features, Art and I decided this was definitely a “with-spouses” trip.
The Campeche Fishing Begins-
The first day of fishing began with Art and I fishing with our guide Juan, whose facial features and eyes gave him the nickname, “Chino.” Fernando followed us around in another panga for use as a camera boat. Though we were pleased to see it was a fair weather sky, the obvious brisk northeasterly winds were sure to give us a challenge in terms of spotting the tarpon as the grassflats off Campeche were carpeted with countless wavelets just past the mangrove “wind shadow” all the way out to the endless Gulf horizon. Also, it had been our experience that tarpon in the shallows are generally less reluctant to roll compared to their frolicking in bathtub-calm seas.
Nevertheless, with two great guides, two pangas, and Juan’s ever-present hand-held GPS, we were able to find tarpon- and lots of them! Our guides carefully scanned the “down-wave” seas with fair success by splitting up by 100 yards and double-teaming their spotting by talking on their VHF radios. We were able to get off about 20 casts to these outside fish, but managed only a few light strikes on our ¼ ounce white Spro bucktails and 3/8 -ounce red and white Backbone lures. Art employed 8-pound spinning tackle and I used 10-pound plug tackle.
We decided to move into the mangrove canals for more windless conditions. I pared down my fluorocarbon leader from 40-pound test to 30-pound test. We spotted a few fish deep in the forest, but they, too, seemed reluctant to strike. After 6 hours of fishing, we decided to pack it in and head south to Campeche. I have to confess I insisted that Juan stop the skiff a few miles from port so we could cast to a school of big jacks and some huge houndfish that were savaging a massive school of sardines. The jacks were locally called “corel” and ran to 5 pounds- they were great fighters! The houndfish ran to an incredible 7 pounds and fought like baby sailfish. Juan found these fish amusing, but his expression went to careful caution when he had to unhook these writhing monsters. We then headed in with some of our hunger for action sated.
Day #2- Success Both Early and Late-
Raul joined us this day in the second skiff. We were pleased to see that the conditions were overcast and flat calm. We ran north for over an hour to one of Raul’s secret spots. As soon as the two skiffs came off plane in unison, both guides pointed to a huge area that seemed coated with rolling tarpon- the fish were so numerous I felt like I was in a dream!
My first cast was about 10 feet in front of and past a slow moving school of small tarpon. After the second sweep of my rod, I had a solid strike and drove my hook hard as I struck back. Seconds later, a 15-pound specimen went flying into the air. I made short work of this fish on my plug tackle. It felt good that my first tarpon release came on my first cast. We spent that magic morning jumping lots of fish and releasing a few more.
But midday meant a change of venue, as our plans called for us to experience as many species and methods as possible in Campeche. Juan and Raul discussed our next move and they decided to run south-southwest to a reefy area in 6 feet of water that they said was ideal for casting lures on light tackle. After a 1-hour run to the spot, we had a few hours left to fish. Juan told me to cast my white Spro bucktail to the light areas on the bottom. As long as we kept our casts accurate and started our jigging on the bottom, we were rewarded with grouper, small cubera snappers, and barracuda topping 15 pounds. As the sun began setting, we got underway to head back to the city after an excellent day of fishing.
Day #3- A Seatrout Extravaganza
Since we had reached an agreement that we would devote one morning to seatrout, and this morning’s flat cloudy conditions replicated yesterday’s weather, today would be the day. Raul agreed to an even earlier start this day so we had the maximized low light hours seatrout often like.
Today, Raul, Juan and Fernando would be joining Art and I as fellow anglers: it was clear that they were looking forward to doing some fishing themselves. We all hopped into Raul’s big center console vessel and got underway. The total time from the marina to the grass beds was 5 minutes and right off downtown.
While the other anglers started out casting bucktails, Juan gave me a wink and rigged my plug rod with a ¼-ounce jighead rigged with a yellow and orange soft plastic grub. Almost immediately, everyone hooked up with seatrout, yet I observed that the biggest fish-, which almost ran to 5-pounds-, were caught on my colorful grub. In three hours we had released over 65 trout and had kept another half-dozen for the table.
After we’d caught our fill of trout with a frequency and size I’d never experienced in my home waters of Florida, we called it quits even though we were deep in the middle of an ongoing trout bite. My afternoon was to be taken up with Raul’s driver, Nacho, taking my wife and I inland to visit the spectacular Mayan ruins at Edzna.
Day #4- Fishing, Then Farewell-
The last morning was arranged for Art and I to sample the tarpon fishing south of Campeche along the rocky beaches. We were in 1 panga that day, as Juan ran south from downtown for about a half hour. Juan slowed down and cut the engine as we could see some gulls working a sardine school close to a shoreline. As he poled closer, we could see tarpon rolling in the midst of the bait school.
I hooked up a small tarpon on my second cast and released it. Art and I jumped a few more baby silver kings in the next hour. When we saw another melee down the beach, I asked Juan to take us there. All that action turned out to be a big jack attack and those wonderful fish hit practically anything we threw at them!
Since we had an afternoon plane to catch, we reluctantly headed back to port. During our farewell with Raul at the airport, I was quick to make it clear this was not “goodbye”- it was only “until next time.”
Web site: http://www.tarpontown.com/
Lately I just wanted to fish. I leave all the fancy camera gears at home and just concentrate on fishing. Sorry for the poor quality pics with the Iphone but I just wanted to Just fish.
My local waters of Tampa Bay has been fishing well lately. With fall passing and the fronts starting to come in our snook are starting to head into the rivers and the bait is thinning out.
This usually means low tide, the big trout are coming and the water clears up. This opening up room for sight fishing for reds and fly fishing opportunities. With all the bait gone fish are more apt to feed on the artificial as well.
The first day I took Jeremy and Todd out fishing in the Ranger Ghost. Jeremy was working as captain in Little Cayman for 8 years and he is back in his home town to fish a bit. His waters just so happen to be the Ruskin area.
We manage a few fish but the bite was a bit off but it was a good time on the waters. We caught reds, and black drum out on the flats. Little trout and jacks were also around to keep us busy.
This next trip I took the Hobie out to fish JD and Cameron. This was an early start for the half day fishing trip.
The bite the first two hours were dismal as nothing was feeding at all. By 10am though things started to turn on for us. We got into trout, lots of small snooks and towards the end redfish in the 22-24″ range.
What started off as a very poor start turned to be a good day. Some times it pays to stick it out.
Hilary is a girl from the running club. She started to follow me in instagram and wanted to try some fishing. You heard it, lives in Florida and has NEVER tried fishing.
Well she picked the right day to give a shot as it was chamber of commerce day. Seas were calm and winds were light.
It did not take long to get her fish fish ever. A little dink trout in the canal on the way out. As we tried for more trout we got a nice pompano out of it as well. This guy ended up going home for dinner I might add.
It being so calm we decided to make a run to a nearby reef. We got into Spanish Mackerel , baby mangrove snapper and I caught my largest Grouper this year.
I was drifting a shrimp on a 1/16th oz jig head and he came up on ate it. The fight was surprising brief considering I only had 15braid. By the time it was all said and one I had landed a 28.5″ Gag grouper.
After a few more spanish we called it day and headed in for some lunch. Hillary is now officially addicted to fishing.
This morning I took the kayak out for a spin. I only had a couple hours but with the tide so low and the sun forecasted to come out I wanted to see what is out there after the cold front.
I tell you it wasn’t much. I did hook a small redfish on a jig but before that eat it was tons of casting with out a hit or seeing any fish and bait.
Before heading in I decided to give up the my favorite winter jig and go with a mirrordine. After about 6 cast I hooked his 27.5″ redfish. After a few photo I released him and headed in. I made it my last cast.
There are places in life that present unrivaled settings. Some of these sceneries are strictly seasonal while others continue to visually enchant year round. While it’s hard to articulate what others mental image might be of this mystical place, it is likely that each person’s perception varies immensely.
Yet in examination of historical literature or discussions with those that claimed to have seen the “light”, there is no proof of what this spiritual place looks like………………..however I know what is looks like to me
A place where fading sunsets and ebbing tides breed golden tails…………..
A place where even the toughest palates cut a guy a break every once in a while……………………
A place where creatures that evolution has long since avoided are bountiful all months of the year……………..
A place where fair weather, clean water and swimming fish are the norm………………..
A place where tackle has no choice but to be tested………..
A place where leaving a scared friend by himself is not an option………….
A place where late afternoon showers sometimes are not what you envisioned…………
A place where beaches are barren of development and left for their natural intentions……
A place where showing up unannounced is not often welcomed…………
A place where mother nature whispers to all generations……..
A place where teaching your deepest respect for what has been provided is easily passed to the next generation…….
And while the hustle and bustle of everyday life leaves you often deflated……………………when I close my eyes I am here. There is a lot to be Thankful for.
Wintertime Jigging Strategies in Biscayne Bay
Jan S. Maizler
PRELUDE- ALTHOUGH THE SETTING FOR THIS ARTICLE WAS BISCAYNE BAY, THE CONCEPTS DISCUSSED ARE OFTEN APPLICABLE IN MANY MARINE SETTINGS.
There are some basic ideas about temperature drops and inshore fishing that bear discussing. Firstly, local air masses are far more reactive to cold front temperatures than water. In effect, it will take at least a couple days for the water temperature to reflect the frigid character of a cold air mass overhead that could have gotten that way in mere hours. Conversely, cold inshore waters will warm more slowly than the (warming) air mass above it. Simply put, air temperatures change more quickly than water.
All life forms react to changes in temperature whether they are air or water breathing. And the presence of persisting cold not only slows down activity, but also generates adjustment behaviors ranging from comfort to survival. These vast laws may manifest themselves in species-specific ways. Warm-blooded creatures like people may simply put on more clothes, turn on the heat cycle of their air conditioner or spend more time inside. Cold-blooded creatures like fish lack protective coverings or warm personal structural shelter. Generally all they can do, particularly if the water temperature drop threatens their survival is to move to thermocline-layered deeper water, or position themselves near heat retaining structure like afternoon muddy shallows or alongside heat retaining concrete residential canals. Fish will also seek out the hot water generated by power plant discharges.
Certain habitats may provide warmer (water) survival opportunities or they may not. The Mosquito Lagoon has the kinds of vast but enclosed shallows that prevent a rapid gamefish migration out to the ocean. However, there are deeper cuts and creeks along the flats that not only offer depth, but also offer warm shell bars with some heat retention as well as food by way of crabs. Captains like Nathaniel Lemmon have become expert in locating these cold water “havens”, which may wind up holding huge aggregated numbers of seatrout and redfish. Vast enclosed shallows are high risk habitats in very cold weather, but the resident gamefish that “live there” will rapidly aggregate to the deeper cuts and pools alongside bars and such.
Another huge sweep of shallows is exemplified by the Everglades in Florida’s southwest quadrant. Cold water refuges include muddy deeper creeks and cuts that may feature oyster bars as well as muddy shallows that are warmed in the afternoon sun. These dark bottoms may attract snook and redfish that are sunning themselves. Again, these areas can be counted on to provide predictable action in the winters characterized by robust cold fronts.
South Biscayne Bay, on the other hand, offers fish rapid ocean access through seemingly infinite numbers of channels and shallows along its’ eastern flank. South Bay- as it’s called- has no oyster bars or large wads of heat retaining seawall that abut the flats along the east side of the bay. Come a severe cold front, and it’s quite easy for large amounts of gamefish to swim out to deeper waters made even warmer by the presence of the Gulf Stream. In so many words, finding fish-filled channels and dropoffs in Biscayne Bay during the winter is probably more difficult than the two aforementioned areas.
Biscayne Bay Background-
The stretch of (South) Biscayne Bay that gets the most winter attention are the large series of flats and channels that stretch from the tip of Cape Florida through the Ragged Keys. Conventional knowledge about predicting cold water fish havens in certain very deep channels leads us nowhere, as Cape Florida Channel as well as Biscayne Channel have never really “delivered” historically. Rather, most of the guides here have utilized exploration and trail-and-error fishing to give them the best results.
Over the years, the guides that do offer wintertime jig fishing in Biscayne Bay have discovered that certain channels do offer larger wintertime fish aggregations. Yet no one knows why, as all these channels are relatively indistinguishable from each other. Guides ask, “Why this channel over the next one? “ Yet no one has come up with an answer: some channels are simply better than others during the cold front temperature drops of winter. This means that self-guided neophytes will simply have to rely on trial-and-error fishing each channel one by one.
More on Tactics-
We know that all life forms slow down in the cold- but cold-blooded species like fish slow down even more. It has been my theory that large specimens of a particular species like seatrout or redfish have more heat-retaining body mass than their smaller brethren and can stay in the shallows longer- this is also the case with bonefish. This helps explain why often, the large aggregated bunches of fish “huddling” in cuts between the flats are generally the smaller individuals of a certain fish species.
We always make our presentations in keeping with the mood and behavior of our fish. Cold fish are slowed-down life forms often hugging the bottom for rising warmth as well as seeking a warmer thermocline layer than can be attained up at the surface, which is closer to such cold air. Therefore, very slow bottom bouncing of single-hooked lures such as plastic swim-baits or bucktails tipped with the seasonal food-shrimp- is the key to success. The slow motion of the bouncing jig is in keeping with the ambient pace of the surrounding marine life as well as feeding the fish literally in their face.
Tipping the bucktail with shrimp should also be done with the same precision that one rigs a soft plastic onto a small jig head. I’ve found that a fresh-dead, neatly cut tail section rigged and threaded with the telson on the aft end has the best action. Some guides rig an entire shrimp with the head hanging down as their favorite rig, though I’ve had less experience with this variation. Whichever way you prefer to rig your shrimp, be sure to have it placed on the hook shank and bend in the manner that allows the lure to “track” straight without spinning on the hop and the retrieve. I’ve seen bonefish ignore a spinning bucktail. Although observers might be tempted to assume any feeding game fish will interpret the spin on the retrieve as injury, it appears they do not.
I also use the smallest lure that gets me to the bottom during cold weather jigging trips. In this case, I am not “matching the hatch.” I am simply making a presentation profile and size that makes swallowing my offering an easier and less effortful experience for a cold-stunned game fish whose major impulse might be one of survival.
A thoughtful studious approach to jigging inshore marine contours- whether with tipped bucktail jigs or their soft plastic cousins-increases your chances of a successful trip.
A pack of wild dolphin came join the fun during our shoot. Chystal and Wes got the swim with them for a bit. A totally cool scene.
btw: the Calendar is available at Walmart right next to Justin Beiber and other stores(waiting for a list.)
Sweetwater Sanctuary with Captain Alan Zaremba
My trip this morning with Alan was perfectly-timed. Besides offering a refuge from the recent high winds, the trip was still during a time of moderate temperature- which in my opinion was more peacock-friendly. Alan reported that his recent freshwater canal fishing offered a chance of gamesters with an Everglades backdrop. Since Alan only fishes lures and flies, I looked forward to an added dimension of fun and challenge. I was disappointed with the poor lighting that the day afforded for photos but equally grateful that there was only a little drizzling under threatening skies.
Almost minutes after Alan launched his Gheenoe until four hours later, we had reliable action. Our tally was a mixture of about thirty fish comprised of largemouth bass, peacock bass, and mayan cichlids.
All of our fish were taken on either topwater or lipped swimming plugs.
Captain Alan Zaremba
Typical of our spooky Tampa Bay redfish these guys would not eat anything I would throw at them. I am referring the fishing I did last week when I got back in town all spoiled from fishing non spooky Texas fish.
I took out the Hobie Proangler on low tide and started poling the area. I started to see tailing reds but they will not eat anything. I even got desperate and tried dead sticking gulps to no avail. These guy know that there is a splash nearby they will refuse to eat and slowly move on.
Since I was suppose to testing out the Reddington Vapen Red Fly I had it with me. I tied on the weedless Meade’s Gutless crab fly. Since they was refusing pretty much everything(yes even live shrimp my friend was throwing at them) I figure I could not loose.
The first fish I saw that was in range here was the result.