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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fishing the Pass…My First Boca Battle

It’s been a long time since I posted up on Salty Shores. Sure, I’ve been doing a little fishing here and there, but not as much as I would have liked. Content went up on my site but it was not all fishing related-the Tampa Tattoofest, a review of an e-cig, short stories and the progress of my daughter as an angler, but I definitely slowed down. At least I had some help from Nick.

Life throws us all curve balls, and I swung at way too many this year so far. It could be much worse, and I’m not trying to sit here and complain, rather explain. Sam does like to get the “human” aspect portrayed on Salty Shores, so there it is. I fell off. Now, after finally learning how to deal with life’s trials and tribulations, I think things will be different. Hopefully.

Anyways, not many Boca reports were up this year, at least not on SS. Here is mine…

“The Night Time is the Right Time”

It had been a long week at work and home. No play, as usual. I’m sure most of you can relate. Life of the average angler so to say. What I really needed was to get out of town and do some fishing. Well, this was the weekend. Boca Grande was penciled in the planner.

All the essentials were ready to go, packed in the car on Saturday morning; Coolers, ice, beer, a little water and food, more beer, clothes, and money for beer. Priorities are always important.

Down I-75 was the route, Boca only being a short drive from the house. Usually fishing Boca is not an option for me. Busy weekends are the norm, and there is no choice but to stay in Tampa. Luckily I scored a weekend off to fish with Nathan Austin, Nick and Rainey, Nathans friends Jason, Ingrid and Sean, along with others.

Being only the second time fishing at the renowned pass, deemed the “Tarpon Capitol of the World”, I was pretty stoked. Plus, Nathan knows that pass like the back of his hand. He has been fishing Boca Grande for thirty plus years and received a wealth of knowledge handed down from his father and family, and will be handing this knowledge down to his sons I’m sure. Nathan puts up big numbers with the tarpon and on a very consistent basis. I was lucky to hop aboard his boat for a crab flush.

Now, Nathan does most of his fishing in the evening and at night. There is much less boat traffic and the fish seem to be pretty active because of reduced fishing pressure. Plus it’s just flat out peaceful in the pass at night

Arriving in Boca, everyone hitting the pass met up at our rooms at the beautiful Grove City Motel. After eating and then taking the edge off, we loaded up and headed to our respective launching points. There were two other boats fishing with Nathan and we all planned to stick together for the most part.

On the way...

Nathan and Justin

Sean, Ingrid and crew...

After launching all three boats and getting to the pass, seeing all the orderly (sometimes) chaos was a nice sight. I have only fished Boca once before with little luck, so the anticipation of hooking my first pass tarpon was pretty evident.

The start...

We ready...

Armed with pass crabs we started pulling our drifts with a little action here and there. Some boats were hooking up, most were not; the Sea Chaser hung one fish and Rainey sealed the deal on another before sunset, but there was the whole night ahead of us and nothing but tarpon showing on the sonar. One way or another, a fight would take place with my first Boca tarpon.

Looking for crabs, the flush wasn't too great.

Ready for the leader grab...

Happy fish...

This small storm didn't stop anyone.

Time for the game...

Like stated above, Nathan has an extreme amount of pass fishing experience. He pulls drifts away from the masses of vessels and locates fish far from the others. Nathan tells you what he is doing and why, explains various points in the area to mark, will clarify how the wind and tide affect the drift, and then some. Too much for me to keep up. What I definitely learned is there is more to fishing Boca Grande Pass than just showing up in a boat with a fishing rod. Plus, as Nathan would say, “the night time is the right time”.

Nathan putting on a clinic, this dude can catch tarpon.

Rainey was on fire all weekend...

I guess the clinic works.

The sun set and the boats thinned in the pass. We would get bit or hook up every few drifts, but we weren’t on fire, until “The Drift”. Fish were showing all over the sonar. Everyone with a line in the water got ready, as per instruction from Nathan. Each line was hit hard, either a pulled crab or crush, but Nick was able to get a good hook in his fish and brought the rod to me after a nice jump from the silver king.

Finally! A fight with a Boca tarpon-on conventional, which is not the norm for me. Being stoked, we motored around chasing this fish for a while and the scrap seemed much different than a Tampa tarpon battle. This fish was a rowdy fighter, jumping all over the place and making crazy runs. Finally, after about a short ten minute fight the fish runs right to the bow of the boat, jumps up parallel to the side of the gunnel a foot from me, flings blood over me, Nick, and Rainey, while almost smacking me in the water. The silver king won as the hook was thrown, but all of us laughed and knew we had a cool story to tell of the fight. After a couple more drifts we packed up and left, it was time to head back to the motel, but Nathan and the Sea Chaser put us on the fish.

What a crazy fight, and drift for that matter, a memorable experience. Thanks Nathan!

The crew had a blast; all of us, all night. Fun times; stories, hootin’ and hollerin’, drinking a couple of beers (insert number here), and catching fish. That’s what it’s all about. Enjoying the water and friends. What we have. This trip taught me it’s not all about the glamour of Boca Grande or the nice money shot of the fish, how many you catch, or fishing in general. It’s the camaraderie and plain old fashioned fun.

Arriving back at the hotel, all of us drank beer for hours, just taking it easy and talking, being happy with the night’s efforts, while watching people get pulled over on Placida Road at three in the morning. Good times. At least for us…

By the way, I have Salty Fly pictures I dug up if anyone wants to take a look, and please read my article in GAFF magazine in memory of my buddy Dave Hall. Until next time…


These past two weeks have been extremely busy with a new baby boy, a jealous 2 1/2 yr old, an anxious wife and a yard that needs attention to detail; welcome to the American dream 101! My passion is fishing, hunting and the outdoors but my love is here at home which takes presedence over the other. Oh, and not to mention my Godlen Doodle Dog “Maggie” who wants to play frisbe every 3 hours. I keep ending up with a sore shoulder and it is not from casting to laid up fish. Damn dog… I was able to get out this week and it was very productive. I had Bud(grandfather of Chris and Michael) on board for 3 days this week. Chris (11 yrs old) was able to get his first grand slam and slam while Michael was fortunite enough to get his first and biggest Red, many snapper, flounder, and some trout for dinner. Bud, well he struck out all over the place. He hooked into some nice fish but was unable to close the deal. This is fishing and this is how it goes. He was one frustrated man, kinda funny at times but one hell of a guy and an awesome grandfather. It was a pleasure to have these kids on board and wittness the smiles and excitement that evolve from saltwater fishing. Chris also ended up with 3 monster trout over 20″ in a 5 minute period. To top it off he sight casted and landed his first Tarpon which came in at about 20lbs. I didn’t get any pics with my camera as the adrenalene was running and the focus was to take care of the fish and get her back in the water with a healthy release. The boys did get a few pics and a small video on their piont and shoot. Also this week I went to sniff around a juvi Tarpon spot that I have this time of year. First, there was nothing as the tide was dead. While waiting for the tide to kick in gear my buddy Paul Strong and I poled around some remote Cape Coral, Fl canals for Snook (that’s right, canals!). We were able to steal two Snook and 1 nice Redfish (in picture). Once the tide kicked in gear we were in the middle of a load of Tarpon. Unfortunitely for us lightning came crashing down only to run us back to safety and head for home. We were able to get about 5 casts at these fish and that was it. I’ll be back to em’ next week for try #2. -Ryan Eaton




Full moon army of fiddler crabs video


A couple weeks ago I posted up some really interesting shots of fiddler crabs. Surprisingly It very well received so I decided to put a video together of that day. I had to get on my hands and a knee a bunch to get these footage of fiddler crabs. These things live pretty darn close to the mud and muck near the shore line. Needless to say I was a mess by the time I was done shooting.

Hope you guys like it.

Just when you thought it was over…

With all the strange weather systems that moved through early in June, it made for many days when fishing conditions were tough. We had lots of wind, cloudy days, and now very rainy days here in South FL. There were lots of days when conditions were just not right but when things were as they should be the poons still swim with vigor and chew on flies with much enthusiasm…

All the classic June fishing for big tarpon on fly, though was spotty at times, still went off this month. We found days with very few fish swimming, but other days when fishing was nothing short of spectacular.

Define Text book tarpon fishing: One Gold Cup late afternoon of fishing… 1 shot, 1 fish, 5 minutes of pulling, and past Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament champion Tim Mahaffey has this 110lb tarpon on its side and ready for fly extraction.

During days when cloudy or rainy conditions did not allow us to tarpon fish, Capt. Jeremy Alderman and I spent afternoons poling our Maverick Flats skiffs in the shallowest flats chucking flies at tailing sheepshead and redfish near Key Largo.

Thanks to Nautilus Fly Reels and G Loomis Fly Rods for providing the tackle to make it all happen. The new FWX and NV series Nautilus Fly reels have realy raised the bar of what a fly reel should be. They are the lightest reels in their class and offer the smoothest sealed drags. With all the extremely light weight rods on the market, it should only be right to balance them with lighter fly reels.

I just got back from the west coast of FL. Capt. Rick De Paiva and I recently fished the A.W. Dimock Tarpon on fly tournament in Fort Myers. Being a tarpon fisherman in the Keys, it is fun to see something different during the season. Fishing against local guides and tarpon fisherman, we missed the 1st place spot by a mere 4 minutes but had some pretty good fishing. I managed to drive the hook into 5 Tarpon before finally catching one. Had we leadered any of the previous 4, the tournament would have been ours. But that’s how it goes. It was a fun time being one of the top boats to put tarpon in the air amongst other fellow tarpon fly rodders around us. Gosh, I love tarpon fishing. Congrats to Captains Chris Rush and Randall Marsh for winning the tournament again. You guys squeaked by us this year but we are coming for you next year with a stronger resolve.

July is right around the corner and I leave to spend a few days at the DOA Lures writers event tomorrow in Stuart. It looks like we may possibly have some rainy weather but the company will always be great, food will be amazing, and fish will chew on DOA plastic.

Stay tuned…

Hard Core Kayak Angler’s Club Two Man Tournament Event 3

Last weekend I fished the third HCKAC two man tournament with my partner Nicholas Felts.

My morning started at 3:45 am when I loaded up my Revo in the back of my truck.


The revo, locked and loaded





The new steel tip Wang

By 4:15 I on my way to the captains meeting.  After signing in and collecting our captains bag, we made the short drive to the launch.  I had a good time chatting with other participants while we waited a couple minutes for the launch time.

Chatting with friends at the launch

Fishing was a little slow, thankfully we managed a decent redfish and trout.  Nick and I both lost 2 snook which would have completed our slam, but thankfully it was enough to take home first place because there were no slams caught.

1st place

2nd Place

2nd Place

3rd place






Canoe Country gift certificate


Dogfish Tackle gift certificate


Once again, it was a great time with good people and the abundance of prizes didn’t hurt either.  The next event is on August 27th at fort DeSoto park.  To sign up and for more details check here


Kayak Tarpon Fishing, Tampa Florida 2011


This morning I was up bright and early to do some Tarpon fishing. What makes this morning different was that we were going to try to catch them in a Kayak. I caught one back in 2006 in a 14′ Kayak and it was quite interesting to say the least. Lots of drama with the fish rapping me up against the crab buoy.

Josh, Russ and I was the only guys that actually showed up to the launch location this calm morning. It was quite a chore carrying all our gear to the beach. A beach kayak trolley is definitely a wise investment when it comes to transporting your gear to the beach launch location.

There was actually quite a bit of activity this morning with bait flipping and small mackerels jumping about. The activity unquestionably built our confidence up. This time the premonition came true, as it did not take long for Russ to get an eat and the fight was on. Josh and I followed to try to capture some images. After a 10 minute battle the 50 lb line Russ had on failed and the fish was lost. We were bummed out and deflated.

What makes it worst was for what ever reason, after we lost that fish, the bite seem to just have died down and the activity started to subside. I looked to the distance and saw a guy hooked up in a kayak and started to paddle over to take some photos. I must have came at the perfect time because he was just about to land the 100lb tarpon. This was great timing on my end, as I got the chance to get close enough for some interesting photos.

He was cool about me taking shots and I told him to come by Saltyshores later to check out the photos I got of him with his 2nd tarpon out of Kayak.

After that it was all over by 930am and we packed it in and called it a day… that’s tarpon fishing out of kayaks for ya.

A little bridge fishing and networking


So this past father’s day I was invited out to fish with Jon Chapman and his brother in law Geoff. Geoff happens to live close to me and I’ve actually met him a couple couple times. Since I have never fished with either of these guys, I figure it was a great way to kill a couple hours and network a bit.

Jon runs the Facebook fan page for Dupont Registry and it as master at growing the fan base. I believe he told me he grew the page from a couple thousand to over 40,000 fans in about a year. That is quite impressive in my book. He also writes for, which printed the article about the sword fish on the beach.

We decided to fish the bridges for pompano to make it an easy day. With a 24′ boat and a tower it definitely was not as easy to maneuver as the 17′ Ranger. But besides dodging a few low bridge sections the boat did surprisingly quite well.

The bite was slow and steady with lots of pin fish and grunts on the end of our line. Occasionally one of us would hook a black drum that gave a tug. Sea trout, silver trout, and even a small cobia. We ended up catching tons of fish but absolutely zero pompano go figure.

By lunch time we packed it in to have lunch and called it and easy day on the water. These guys were fun to fish with and we excellent fisherman. I will definitely have to get out again.

All photos shot on the Sony NEX-5 and besides the gold rush for the cobia all the fish were caught on the pompano jigs.
[amazon_link id=”B003MPWBB6″ target=”_blank” ]Sony Alpha NEX NEX5K/B Digital Camera with Interchangeable Lens (Black)[/amazon_link]

Flats Junkie BBQ sauce by Rich Osgood

Flats Junkie BBQ Sauce

Well….It has been a long time coming on this one! BBQ is and has been a great topic here on Salty Shores. Many of us have tried a ton of different sauces through the years and believe the ones we use on our Ribs, Chicken and Pork to be the best you have ever tried. This may be so in our own opinions, but is your sauce really better than the next guy’s sauce? I have to believe NO! Until you have been to some of these local BBQ challenges and competitions or even a respectful BBQ joint, you probably have not really had even a glimpse of GREAT BBQ!

Barbeque can be defined in many different ways. The way I see it is in the cooking process and not the just the sauce. We can all lather up our meats with our favorite sauces and mask a poorly cooked piece of with a great sauce, but can we cook a perfect piece of meat? I am not great nor am I bad. I have strengths in different ways on the grill or smoker. So, what I am getting at is you can take an average sauce and still have great BBQ if the meat is cooked the proper way. This is only an opinion folks, so don’t get angry if you think your store bought buy one get one free is the best sauce out there! is a flats apparel/equipment/forum company run by a couple of down to earth Florida boys. These two guys are trying to offer up industry products for a lesser price than your traditional cookie cutter store does. The product they offer ranges from custom casting platforms to flats wraps all the way to a homemade BBQ sauce. These guys have a great passion for what they do.

One day Ryan Eaton of Flats Junkie called me to see if I would be willing to sample and review his homemade BBQ sauce. I was skeptical because I am very lazy about getting around to writing reviews. He talked me into it knowing that I would be very critical and honest about the outcome. Well, he gave me his sauce six months ago and I am just now wrapping this up. I have not avoided this because of his product. Life happens and I have been swamped. Ryan has even asked me if I am avoiding the review due to a crappy sauce. Not the case at all! Is the sauce great? Does it burn easy? Does it taste like store bought? Is it to sweet or spicy?

The sauce really does stink! I will go on record saying it was no different than my 5 year old daughter’s bedroom creations. O.k. I am just kidding folks! The sauce has a lot of good qualities.

I went to Ryan’s house for my samples and he walked me through the making of his sauce. I was able to pick out most of the ingredients by taste and common sense. He would not give me the lowdown completely. The whole deal from beginning to end is rather neat. These boys are rather comical in the kitchen. Back to the sauce! At first it tasted similar to others I had tried. I was convinced it would be no different than any other good sauce I could purchase over the counter. Onto the grill I would go. My meat of choice would be a boneless chicken thigh. Thighs are pretty easy to cook with a ton of flavor even if overcooked.

The final minutes came when it was time to apply the sauce. Evenly coating and turning when necessary, this sauce was appearing to adhere very nicely. Burn potential is always there if you’re not paying attention. I was ready to taste the finished product. My chicken was cooked just right this day and the sauce on it tasted……..Great! Just right! Why would I buy this over a store bought sauce you ask? I will continue to purchase Flats Junkies BBQ sauce because they have a great work ethic and passion to provide all of us Flats Junkies a great product. Oh and because the sauce is HOMEMADE and tastes excellent.

More Free Wall Paper from Kenny Smith


A couple weeks ago I hook you guys up with some cool free wall paper. I must say, it went over very very well. As promised here is the 2nd in the series of Saltyshores Wall paper by contributor Kenny Smith. Thanks Kenny the are awesome.

Kenny has been a long time SS contributor and has some really awesome scenic photos. I’m very happy he decided to share many of his images here. You can also see more of his images at this blog.

Terms and conditions

Kenny Smith Series


sunset beach hummingbird