Finally, I’ve been able to get out and do a little more fishing. The tide was perfect last night for reds and with a last minute decision we set out. After getting to the bait grounds it took about a good 20 minutes of chumming and a few more throws of the cast net than I wanted to but we ended up with some beautiful shiners. With the high tide we were able to get back into a nice creek with good water flow. We did end with our two reds, some trout and for some reason the catfish were hungry too. Here’s a few pics from the last month-
As of late life has thrown some challenging curve balls which have been putting a damper on my photography, fishing and hunting! This past month has been better and I have been able to get out and do those things we all love to do. I was able to harvest a nice Florida 8pt that weighed about 140lbs. He was only about a 2-3 yr old deer. I have been tracking his big brother whom will hardly show himself. Like they say though, “big bucks don’t get big by being stupid”. I did see him during archery and gun but he is just too sneaky. He is a 10pt and goes probably 170lbs. I know people say the deer are like dogs in Florida but I have a place north of Ocala that produces big doe and pretty decent bucks! I have also gotten into stone crabbing. Per recreational license you are allowed to have up to 5 stone crab traps per person. My good friend Jon and I have eight that we check once a week. Thus far our biggest yeild is 32 claws in one haul which came out to around 6lbs worth. We have been baiting with hogs feet and ham hocks which seem to work really well. The crabs enjoy them and they are very durable. And since I am a big hunter I can’t go with out hunting down triple tail this time of year either. After we are done plucking traps we make our usual run after the trips. The one in the picture put up an awesome fight and made for excellent table fair. This same day we came across another triple tail that was larger than the one we caught but he would not take any of our offerings. I dropped a shrimp on him several times but no such luck. Till next time and a happy new year to all!
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
This morning I picked up Capt. Rich Osgood at his home front with high hopes of putting us on trolled grouper. Unfortunitly our dreams of big gags went down the crapper in a hurry. We started out the moring searching for AA batteries for the handheld GPS. On the way to Bokeelia we hit 3 or 4 places to no avail. At this point Rich was getting a little nervous. I had one last place in mind to check which was a little marina out of Bokeelia and they ended up having one 4 pack of AA’s. We were in luck. Next stop, shiners. After loading up on shiners or “white bait” we made our ardous trek to the trolling grounds. (7 miles off shore) This was a terrible decision as we were fighting rollers and breakers in the 5 foot range. Not to bad but in an 18′ boat it’s no bueno. We decided to stroll back in and try for some Reds, and Reds we did. We were hooking the shiners in the back and and the tail so they would swim on the surface. We tried belly hooking them and nose hooking them but it was driving them to the bottom where the pinfish were waiting to attack with vengance. With the shiners on top we were able to watch the big reds smack our baits and take off runnen. For such a crappy morning it turned out to be a fun day with great freindship and fish in the cooler!
*grouper photos from last week
The other day I was browsing WalMart fishing supplies while I was waiting for my oil to be changed. Some how I managed to blow a bunch of money on fishing gear in the process. One of the items I picked up was 3 crab traps at $25 each. I remember reading that the recreational fisherman was allowed 5 personal blue crab traps. On impulse I snagged these damn traps and figured as much as I am on the water why not take advantage and fish my own crabs. For a trial run until I get out Saturday I dropped the traps off of my mom’s sea wall to get some practice. Low and behold today I had two male blue crabs, awesome. If any of you are interested in blue crabbing (and why not take advantage of it) here is the link. Scroll down to page 10. http://myfwc.com/media/1068044/FINAL.pdf
Also, the month of March was killer if you like sheepshead fishing. I enjoy it because I love eating them. Basically what I would do is jump up on the poling platform and pole a bunch of docks until I would see a few sheepshead. Once I find a few sheepies I would take a few handfulls of cut up shrimp and toss them all around the dock and start casting my freelined shirmp (with 1/0 hook) and then get ready. Another method we were using which is a blast is using what is called a Spec Rig. You can buy them at WalMart. It is basically two jigs hanging off of a leader. We would tip them with shrimp and jig them through the docks. This method is fun to use while trout fishing too.
Yesterday I went fishing with some friends in search of the gag grouper. Our plan was to troll some deep diving MANNS lures. We trolled over the spot marked X about 6 times and came up empty. As a plan B I brought a whole bunch of shrimp to drop down with 2/0 circle hooks and an egg sinker attached about 1 foot up the leader. On our first drift over spot X Dave’s rod bent in half and the drag went screaming. I ran over and tightened his spool down a bit as I wanted to get this fish at least of the bottom to give us a fighthing chance. I was thinking grouper all the way but as the fish came to the surface I couldn’t beleive what I saw; it was a hogfish and a big one at that. I personally have never caught a hogfish on a shrimp, we usually just get them by spearing. After 10 minutes of my excitement we strolled back to the spot and picked up a few nice sheepshead and a flounder. Unfortunitley no grouper for the day but I am pleased with the results otherwise. After the day of fising we made the run to Cabbage Key to enjoy a meal and a few cold beverages. I met some really cool people there and also had a very interesting encounter. I gotta say, I am so lucky to live in a place where the fishery is stellar with cool people to meet, and doing it during the week days makes it that much better! Also, the picture of the two small reds were caught the other day. In four hours we burned up 100 shrimp catching these little guys along with a whole ton of sheepshead.
I got a text from my buddy Troy this morning saying he was on vacation and ready to fish. He drove over to my place and we headed out to Matlacha this afternoon for a few hours of hunting reds. We poled a creek and sight casted a beautiful red. He was hideing inside a large pile of ladyfish and mullet. As we continued poling we came around a corner and spooked about 30 big boy reds just sitting there. I couldn’t believe it, by the time I switched from fly to spin they were gone. It was pretty awesome though! Here is a couple shots from the day
Haven’t had any posts in a while, it has been a really busy month for me. I have been doing some fishing but have been failing behind the lens. This past week I was in Islamorada but the weather was very poor, luckily it cleared up on Wednesday for us. My buddy Alex and I started out the morning snorkeling for Lobsters. We scored 6 with in the first couple hours. With this catch we were happy and because the weather was calm we decided to head off shore and try some trolling. While much didn’t happen trolling we did spot a couple of birds diving. As we approached the birds we saw some bait and some bigger fish crashing them. All I had available was a light tackle rod with a 2/0 circle hook on it. I quickly put on a berkley gulp shrimp and tossed it to the fish. I ended up catching a nice mahi. We actually got a double hook up which I understand isn’t uncommon with these fish. This was a first for both of us. I am over excited about it because I am always on the flats here in SW Florida and it’s really cool to tackle something else. I didn’t get any good pictures of the fish as I didn’t want to put down my rod, I was way too pumped. It was also my first try at lobstering. Even with the bad weather it still proved to be a productive trip and one I will never forget.
I’ve been fishing and hunting this past week like crazy, I just can’t get enough. I have seen plenty of deer this week but not able to get close enough to make a great shot. O’well, this is the way it goes. I came across a little spot that is holding a bunch of tarpon, baby tarpon. We hooked into 3 yesterday but couldn’t close the deal. I tried with my fly rod but they had me beat. We were hooking into them with top water lures and suspending twitch baits. I did however catch a little snook on the fly, I am loving fly fishing more and more. Yesterday I found a nice pod of reds that were so kind to give us a taste of their fighting ability. The outgoing tide did us right! Check out the last photo, this is some serious back country fishing but very very close to civilization and no one ever goes there. Now that is bad ass!
This past Sunday my buddy Alex and I were in search of the wild hog. Alex has never shot a hog before so I desperately wanted to get him one and also get it on video. Right off the bat I saw two deer, big deer at that. Those guys have to wait until archery season. Any how, we walked for about 1.5 hours before seeing our first hogs which were way to big to take. They were easily 200lbs and I am not draging something that big, not to mention draging it a mile. As we continued we finally found two that we were able to take, we stalked these guys for about 30 minutes before we decided there was a shot opportunity. Unfortunitly this day Alex forgot the “dead sled” so we had to drag this thing by her legs and it was a real pain. The heat index had to be a 100 degrees and humid as can be. I am pretty sure I don’t want to do that again. DISCLAIMER: turn up the volume, there may be some curse words, and the video is shakey as my heart was pounding and I was trying to watch where I was walking in an effort to not spook the animals.
So yesterday Capt. Rich Osgood and I got out for an attempt at fishing the falling tide. The wind and storms put a big damper on us but all was not lost. We landed a decent snook and trout before we had to call it quits and make a run for Rich’s buddy’s house. The lightning was everywhere and approaching fast; there was no way we were going to make the ramp. We stopped off and took shelter for about an hour where Rich cleaned his friend’s pool for him. (thought that was a nice gesture) So after this storm cooled off we were headed for home until we noticed some baby tarpon rolling around. I grabbed Rich’s fly rod and made a few casts. I had one eat by tarpon and ended up catching two lady fish. The fish were still rolling heavy and I told Rich, “hey if I was to end up hooking one of these tarpon I would like to get it on my fly rod”. Rich was more than happy to hook me up with a gurgler on the end of my line and away I went. I saw two fish roll next to each other. I made two false casts and dropped my fly about 5 feet from the rolls, I stripped about 3 times and BAMN! Fish on. I could not believe this was happening, what a high I got from this. To top it off we landed this bad boy. I have caught tarpon on rod and reel before but never on fly. In fact this was my first time ever casting to a tarpon with a fly. Thanks to Capt. Rich for setting me up in the right spot with the right fly and good instructions. Also, Rich gave me the fly which I will place in the frame with one of the photos taken of my fish.
Photo Note: Earlier in the day I was playing around with my new 8mm fish eye lens, Rich was taking photos with it and it’s all manual. We were to engrossed in the fish and didn’t want to risk changing the lens for losing the fish by me doing something dumb. Sorry some of the pics are not the best but I had to post them any how. Fish taken on furled leader with 20lb test on the end.