Fishing the Louisiana Marsh with Captain Greg Moon
My friend Paul Raffety and I just completed two days of fishing with Captain Greg Moon of New Orleans. This adventure-booked almost a year in advance- included some challenging conditions: line storms, thunderstorms, rain, and high dirty water.
Captain Greg led us through those challenges and we emerged with five giant bull reds and a trophy forty-pound gator gar on 10-pound spin and a jig. The trip was wildly successful.
Captain Greg’s phone number is 702-497-1673
His web address is http://www.louisianaflyfishingcharters.com/guides-captains/capt-greg-moon
Here is a tasty photo recap of the experience.
We got out for a few hours with a couple of friends down in Boca. We ran Adam’s boat with Capt.Cameron and got on a nice Tarpon bite.
Tested out the Spooltek Lure, 13fishing Concept C low profile reel and the Envy Rod combo.
Here is a quick video clip of one of the double hook up we had.
Disclaimer: I am by no means a tarpon expert. I am just writing about my experience and what works for me.
We had 19 eats one day and the 2nd day we had 16 eats. All the fish were in the 60 to 120lb fish. What makes it even better it was all sight casting on lures.
Most people assume when we fish for big tarpon it’s either on bait or a fly rod. Well at least that is what is shown on most TV shows and magazines anyways. I do not blame you at all for thinking so, I know I did.
Not until about 5 years ago did I even know you had a good chance of catching big tarpon on spinning or heavy casting gear using lures. This was when I found out via the forums(pre facebook) that the DOA bait buster was the lure of choice when it comes to targeting big tarpon. Not just any bait buster but the 5/8oz trolling model with the beefed up hook.
side note: I kind of miss the forums in a way. You actually get to learn stuff. On facebook it just seems people just shows off their catches.
Now I am sure, when they are hungry tarpon is not picky about eating many lures. If you want to land a big tarpon though this lure has all the right ingredient.
At 5/8oz it cast well on large spinning gear. At 4″ it was a perfect size to not attract many trash fish (ladyfish) and big enough for the tarpon to eat.
Since we are fishing 6 to 20′ of water the trolling model sank well and a has very strong hook. Some people slightly mash the barb and sharpen the hook on the trolling model for optimal penetration. They also swim amazingly well with the little tiny wiggly tail.
The color that worked the best that day was silver with a black back.
Now that we got the lure of choice down let us talk about the gear aka the rod/reel/line/leader. The rod I used that day was a heavy Shimano Terez Cameron was using the XXH 8′ Shimano Teramar. The longer the better when it comes to casting to tarpon. Indeed it is heavy but you are not blind casting the entire time you are only casting to rolling fish.
If you have a rod that is at least 7′ Medium heavy to extra heavy you are all set. All you need now is a spinning reel that is a 5000 series or better that can hold 40 to 60 lb braid. You do not want much heavier than 60lb test as it will get too hard to cast the desired distance.
Connect your braid direct to the leader with a uni uni know or something you have confidence in. I like the slim beauty and I double the braid via Bimini twist. I then have 4′ to 6′ of 60lb fluorocarbon leader(best abrasion resistance but not necessary) and tie the bait buster on with a loop knot for the best action.
For the most part for this method of fishing to work we must be fishing 6 to 20’f of water. The passes and bridges are not the best place to try this but it can work at times. the ideal conditions are moving water but not very fast moving.
In the video bellow Cameron and I are fishing in abotut 17′ of water. You see me cast to the roller, I then wait a few seconds (wait time varies depending on depth of water) for the lure to sink then reel in at a slow steady pace. The eat will come 90% of the time during the retrieve not the the fall. In the video the eat happens to be right at the boat and caught me by surprise.
Once the fish eats, and starts to run hold on and get ready for the first jump. If you feel confident enough it is probably a good idea to set the hook a few times so the hook goes into the jaw.
The tarpon’s mouth is very tough and many times the lure gets thrown out at the first or 2nd jump of the fight like you see in the video.
If you are not getting eats try changing the colors. I find the gold body with black back works really nice as well. Next is to change up the leader. If you are using 80lb try going down to 50lb test. Also try slowing down your retrieve. I find the slower the retrieve without bumping bottom the better.
Note: since these tarpon are around bait you will also catch, ladyfish, cathfish and cobia. Don’t be discourage, life and activity is always a good sign.
Hope this helps and happy Tarpon fishing!
One more thing, if your fish is over 40″ it is a law(unless you have a harvest tag) that they stay in the water for the photo.
Today the winds were down to less than 5 mph. With slick calm conditions today, my friend Lee and I decided to fish the Tampa Bay bridges for some pompano. Usually this time of year we could catch one here and there. Pompano, if you don’t knot it, makes for pretty good table fair.
Armed with the typical pompano jig it was slim pickings for what seemed like hours. This year the bridge fishing for pompano has been quite slow Lee tells me. He did add that the Mangrove snapper bite has been outstanding however.
Sadly, this little guy called a burr fish was the only fish worthy of a photo for the first couple hours.
We kept running from bridge to bridge to no avail. It was so calm out there we were expecting to see black drum tailing on the piling but instead we saw juvenile tarpon rolling.
These guys can be quite picky so we paid them no attention and continue our pompano hunt. Of course this lead us to hooking two of them which made for an exciting event on 10lb test gear.
Speaking of gear here was my set up today:
|Dan James Custom Rod with HMX blank and Microwave guides|
|New 10lb test braid by Mustad|
|Daiwa 2500 Ballistic with mag sealed|
We manage to land one of the juvi tarpon and got some nice photos. He guy was under 20lbs and in the legal limits to take out of water for a photo.
Those of you that do not know, if you catch a tarpon you “CAN NOT” take them out of the water if they are over 40″. A Large tarpon are very tough to control and will end up hurting themselves beyond recovery.
“People will be allowed to temporarily possess a tarpon for photography, measurement of length and girth and scientific sampling, with the stipulation that tarpon more than 40 inches must remain in the water.”
Once the tide started to turn we decided to give up the pompano hunt and go after the more reliable mangrove snapper.
Our basic rig a Carolina rig consisting of, #1 hook, 30lb leader and a 1oz lead to get to the bottom of the swift current.
We would cast it out near the piling then let it sit at the bottom. Keeping the line tight so you can detect movement, the key is not not set the hook when you feel the nibble. Let them eat and when you feel it move deliberately then set the hook. Reel very quickly or the big ones will break you off in the pilings. Mangrove snappers are very strong for their size, you need to get them away from the structure as soon as you can.
You can use an anchor to hang out at the pilings you are fishing but we were lucky enough to have a Rhodan GPS trolling motor which allows us to anchor using the gps while we fished. This was a back saver not having to pull anchor and redeploy when we were looking for a more concentrated group of fish.
Using medium shrimp it did not take much to pull them out of the bridges pilings. We had our limit of 5 per person in about an hour of fishing.
The biggest fish was probably 13″ but I hear they get much bigger this time of year even inshore. Now it is time to go clean some fish and eat some fresh snapper dinner.
Mangrove snapper rules for the gulf coast:
|Gray/Mangrove Snapper||10″||5 per harvester per day||Included within 10 per harvester per day snapper aggregate bag limit|
Last week I woke up at 2am to make the drive over to the east coast to do some snook fishing. It took almost 4 hours so that puts me at about 6am.
The place is to fish with Ryan and Colter, some new friends that I recently me through Instagram. They had been on some big snook and said today it was a good chance to get one.
The first couple hours was spent casting a fly at tailing giant snook to no avail. These big girls were coming in with tide and was not very hungry.
We were frustrated but moved on get some bait on the beach. Bait was not an problem. One throw of the net even 1/3rd open we had plenty.
Offshore we go, where chumming up the water brought in immediately lots of bonito. I manage to get my first bonito on fly. The 2nd one however was bitten in half by the sharks that joined the party. We got some great video how the ravenous the sharks were but soon got bored and decided to head in for a rest.
After a couple hours of staying out of the heat and a bite to eat we were ready for round two.
We manage to get some big mullet for bait this time around. This did the trick. We had 4 hits but only manage to land one fish but it was a damn good one.
This giant snook is largest snook since 2007! Thanks Ryan and Colter , will have have to come back with a bigger fly rod to get those bull sharks on fly!
Looking back I didn’t realize it has been a year since I’ve written anything about any fishing trips. Long gone are the many trips offshore seeking out snappers and groupers. Same can be said about another cobia season up in Destin. However semi-annual trips to Venice, LA still get my heart going. I won’t bore you with the little details of the trip but I have to extend a big thanks to my friend Todd for allowing us to stay at his house and take us out fishing on an overnight trip, my first overnight trip to the rigs. Also to my friend David Sun who put it all together and invited me on yet another amazing trip.
Day 1, we rode out with Capt Hunter Cabellero from Paradise Outfitters. After a quick stop to load up the live well with runners we were off to the first and only rig. Upon arrival the best way to describe the action for the next two and a half hours would be Elegant Violence. A combination of slow rolling backs and sickles slicing through the slick calm water, skyrocketing tunas, and large boils 360 degrees around the boat painted a picture of beauty. Top water poppers and live blue runners didn’t stand a chance against these fish. Almost as soon as they were in the water they were getting crushed. Hunter kept pitching out live runners as chum to keep the tunas near the boat. As the dust settled and the live well was empty we caught 16 tunas in short amount of time and decided to call it a day at 10am.
Day 2 we left the marina about noon to go catch bait and fish the afternoon, overnight, and morning bite. Different day but same results. Poppers and live runners were getting crushed. We mixed it up a little and decided to do a little chunking and added a few more tuna to the boat. Right about dark the blackfin tunas made an appearance, almost like they were trying to tempt us not to run out deeper to the big floaters. We blew them off and ran out deeper and were greeted by more yellowfins. By about 2am we were all pretty tired so we took a little nap while the boat drifted around in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. About daybreak we ran to the nearest rig and picked up right where we left off at sunset. Tunas, tunas, and more tunas. We caught a few more and decided to call it a trip before it got too hot and we ran out of ice, 17 tunas and 8 jumbo blackfins burn a lot of ice.
Overall it was without a doubt the best trip I’ve had out of Venice. Had the pleasure of fishing again with old friends, Todd, David Sun, Jimmy Bennett and Dudley Adams and got to make a new one in Timmy Rattinger. Thanks again Timmy for introducing us to those M Fischer poppers, you made me a believer!
The past two weeks I have been getting things ready to attend ICAST in Orlando. This leaves very little time to get out fishing.
While cruising my Facebook feed I saw Spencer Goodwin posted a clip of some very cool group of tailing redfish. Spencer kayak guides out of Tampa Bay so he is out quite often. He tells me the next time he gets on them he would give me shout.
A few days goes by my phone rang. It is Spencer, he tells me the storm is about to hit us but they are tailing really well right now. I had my gear in the truck already so I said “Ok, let me load the kayak and I will be right there!”.
It was a tailing scenario and I had to drag the kayak over dry land at a few points so I decided to load the Hobie Revolution vs the Pro Angler. This was a wise choice as it was bone dry out on the flats.
Forty five minutes later and I was on the water and hustling to get the spot before it got too dark. Spencer had already caught a couple and was satisfied with just keeping an eye on them until I got there with the camera.
With the low tide, once I got there it did not take too long to find them. I got a few shots with them tailing as Spencer cast to them. At this point even though I brought a rod I was satisfied with just taking photos of these guys digging in the grass and feeding as their tail wave in the air.
As the sun starts to sets we slowly headed to the ramp. The activity of the redfish escalated to something I have always wanted to see. They started to tail along side the sting rays. I sat there and took photos until there was zero light left.
I got home and downloaded the card and it turned out to be my best tailing redfish photos in Tampa Bay.
Thanks to Spencer Goodwin of Tampa Bay Kayak Charters, I get to share these videos and photos with you guys.
With the summer months beginning to reach their peek, the fishing is just getting better, and the only thing that can come to mind is getting on the water. With the weather not acting up as much, South Florida is finally beginning to see the proper weather conditions to get out and do what we love. Being that Im a kayak fisherman, theres only so many miles I can cover before I run out of water with the low tides in what I like to call my backyard, Everglades National Park, AKA Flamingo. Very short paddles from the launch can very much so lead to some pretty good successful fishing trips.
As I begin to look for the future forecasts for the upcoming days, I see that the weather conditions were just right. It was a slow week at work for me so I had many opportunities to fish. It was the holiday weekend of the 4th of July so my girlfriend Yissel Gonzalez was off as well and joined me for the adventure. I woke up to a dark, clear, star filled sky with the palm trees as still as can be. The lake in front of my house was like a glass with the lights of the houses reflecting off the surface of the water. “Now thats what Im talking about” is what ran through my mind when I stepped outside. We load up and now we’re on our way. We arrive at the launch, quickly unload and take off as the mosquitos attacked us in swarms. Mother Nature had a beautiful sight awaiting us as we arrived to Christian Point, a breath taking sunrise.
We started to make our way out towards Snakebight and we quickly saw some action. My girlfriend Yissel has never caught a Redfish and we were determined to get her one today as her last trip on the kayaks to Flamingo wasn’t a successful one. We were rigged with up with 3″ shrimp from DOA Fishing Lures, hers in the 426 Rootbeer Holographic Glitter and mines in the 368 Clear Red Glitter. It wasn’t long before I turn around and look over to see her G Loomis Greenwater bent over and her 3000 Stradic FJ screaming drag. Her first Redfish ever. Sight casted and all. She lands it and its a sweet one. 25 1/2 inches 6lb Red. Not bad for a first.
The sun began to get higher in the sky so I switched her over to something more clear like the 382 Clear Holographic Glitter DOA Shrimp. Moments later, she beats her first Redfish with a 26 1/2 8lb chunky Redfish. This one was a fatty!
If I say that she was excited, I think that would actually be an understatement with the amount of joy that was running through her body. I can say say that we succeeded in our trip. She also had a few with a sour tooth that just didn’t want to hold on to the bait. It was also very much an accomplishment due to the fact that these tailing Redfish were spooky as can be to the point that they will literally dart towards your bait to eat it and turn right before and spook off. Yes, we know, very frustrating. I managed to pick off a couple fish myself but I was really focused on getting some pretty cool pics of some tailing Reds. I didn’t get any that particular day because I was trying to catch fish but I managed to get these shots a couple days before when I linked up with my teammate SuperDuper Jason. That day was a little slow for the both of us as we didn’t catch too many fish. I think he went home with dinner for the night and I picked off one or two fish. Fishing with him is always a plus as him and I have the same mentality, get out there and get on em! He’s been doing really good prior trips as he gets multiple slams on multiple days wearing his lucky Snook Medallion. AWE SON!!!!!
Over all, the trip was as great as can be. We got to see a lot of cool things and my girlfriend got to witness a little more of what goes on in Everglades National Park. From tailing Reds scattered all over the place, to paddling way into Snakebight to see massive schools of moving Reds. To witnessing her get on her first Redfish and watching it swim away to be caught another day! I say it was a good day for sure. It was pretty dam hot out there but we were ok as we wearing our matching Breathe Like a Fish performance apparel shirts and our Tailin Toads Gloves. These gloves are one of a kind and have so many advantages to fisherman from protection from the sun to having full functions of your hands with no individual fingers, fully accessible! Check it out! I hope you enjoyed it as much as her and I did. Sorry for the lengthiness, had to get it off my chest on how great it was! Tight lines….Oh yea can’t leave without showing off a pic with one of catches lololol
Adventures in the Glide
By Captain Justin Price with Jan Maizler
By Captain Justin Price
Recently I was presented with the opportunity to run and fish East Cape Skiffs’ new super shallow draft model, the Glide, in the Mosquito Lagoon. Needless to say I jumped at the chance and was fortunate enough to have a few days off to put this vessel to the rigors of full-on flats and shallow water fishing.
Keeping it Simple-
Fishing Day One-
My 9yr old daughter Kailey joined me on the first day of fishing in the northern Mosquito Lagoon. Our strategy of staying up shallow in the islands would no doubt be easy in the Glide. We set out just as the sun came up, working our way through shoal water trying our best not to encounter any manatees along the way.
The first spot had some nice redfish working shorelines feeding on mullet and other small baitfish. Kailey was on the bow casting soft plastics with hopes of a strike on any given cast. With no success there we made a move which gave me another opportunity to drive this sweet little skiff.
The water in the northern Mosquito Lagoon has been pretty low on the low tides keeping the fish concentrated in the sand holes and shallow sloughs. After a three minute run, our next spot revealed redfish and big trout tailing in the grass. I continued to push forward through the shallows to some nice sand holes where we were welcomed by a school of 75-100 mid to upper slot “happy” redfish rolling and flashing on the surface. Once Kailey saw them, she made the perfect cast, swimming a D.O.A. soft plastic on the surface right in their midst. A wad of fish charged the lure in a competitive frenzy. One “lucky” fish won the fight resulting in a bent rod and screaming drag for Kailey. After releasing the first fish, we continued to work the school and brought a few more fish to the Glide, including myself fishing from the poling tower.
We decided to finish the morning cruising around the lagoon and taking a stop on an island which is our ritual when on the water. Our Glide was a tiller model with no bells and whistles. It was super light, powered by a 20hp Suzuki and a perfect match for the speed and weight ratio of this design. The hole shot was remarkable, leveling the skiff out in seconds.
Fishing Day Two-
Fellow guide and good friend Captain Joe Roberts joined me for the second day on the Glide. He was quite interested in experiencing this little skiff’s performance. We launched early around 5:30am from Beacon 42 in Mosquito Lagoon with just enough color in the sky to see and cross the open lagoon that was already rolling with a solid northwest wind. Surprisingly enough, crossing in the chop in “quartering” fashion, the Glide handled smoothly and we stayed completely dry.
We were only going to be out for just a few hours so we went right to where the redfish were hanging out recently. Joe took the bow first and we started our search for some large redfish that had been tailing lately on the edges of the flat. I kept the bow into the chop as I poled looking for giant tails. Joe and I were impressed at how quiet the Glide was and how well it tracked. After searching for a bit we had only managed to catch and release a few trout with the largest at five pounds, but there was no sign of the giant redfish.
We decided to give it a few more minutes and switched positions with me on the bow and Joe on the pole. I grabbed my 8-weight and started to blindly work the edge in anticipation of a trout to take the fly. Joe pushed us up shallow to look for some slot size redfish while also keeping our eyes peeled on the edge for the giants.
Without success, as we started to push off the flat, Joe called out, “there they are!” Tails and backs were breaking the surface as the fish hovered in only two feet of water. While Joe gets me in position for the cast he joked that “they’re not going to eat that fly. If you get one to eat not even land him, I’ll buy you a six- pack of your favorite beer!”
I laughed, knowing very well how hard it is to feed a fly to our big Mosquito Lagoon redfish. What happened next surprised both of us and I’m not talking about my perfect cast. Even though I was shaking I managed to lay the fly just out in front softly and only stripped the fly twice before one of the fish ate. It pulled the line very hard from my finger tips and before I knew I was into my backing.
This is something I had not seen in a long time. We both thought for sure this battle was going to go on for a while as the fish took us off the flat and into some deeper water. Between fighting the fish and screaming with joy I turned to Joe and told him what brand of beer I wanted and how cold I would like it to be when he delivered it. We finally got our first look at the fish near the Glide, anticipating a few more runs. Surprisingly, it came up on the surface rolling over exhausted from the battle in just under ten minutes.
We were both overwhelmed with excitement while getting photographs and then, a quick but thorough release. That redfish is my biggest to date measuring 40” and around twenty pounds. My day was complete so I finished the morning on the poling tower pushing Joe to some shallow water tailing redfish with no success. We made our way back to the ramp just cruising and enjoying the ride in the Glide.
A Look at the Glide-
The East Cape Glide is an excellent micro skiff with an overall length of 17ft and a width of 58”. The model featured in the images was built with simplicity in mind with a 20hp Suzuki that sips fuel. There is a storage hatch in the front that is completely dry for personal belongings or PFD’s. The rear hatch it is divided into two buckets- one for tackle or other items to be stored and the other can be a livewell.
Underneath the deck just in front of the back hatch there is open storage for easy access to tackle or a camera case. The under gunnel storage allows for six rods total with plenty of room for fly rods.
As far as performance, the Glide handles quite well in the turns. It is very dry for a skiff this size in a decent chop. The Glide planes out super quick, allowing it to jump up shallow without chewing up the bottom. I never measured the draft but it was very impressive in just mere inches. This skiff poles really easy, quiet with the bow in the chop, and tracks great.
Most people would be concerned about how tippy the skiff may be but in my opinion its not bad at all considering the size of the skiff. I guide and fish from a canoe as well as my East Cape Lostmen. I stand and pole my canoe around without a problem so making the adjustment to the Glide was not an issue for me at all.
All in all it’s a great skiff and priced well too, with endless options available. Where I fish in the Mosquito Lagoon located in East Central Florida this is a perfect two man skiff for our area or others areas in the country where a shallow drafting micro skiff is needed. Whether you’re a recreational angler who likes to fish solo or with a second angler or if you’re a guide in need of a second boat for those days you have a single client you need to check out this sweet little skiff. You will be impressed!
East Cape Skiffs
Captain Justin Price
This weekend I was down in the keys and Everglades shooting video for Spooltek Lures.
This is the lure with built in hidden steel leader that deploy once the fish eats. The concept besides having a stronger lure it allows for a lighter leader usage as well is not allow the fish to throw the hook so easily.
This is a dream come true for the trophy hunters.
The will have smaller and different buoyancy of this lure starting at 4″ in the near future.
This is a phone video I did a few months ago when a friend first showed it to me. They have a bunch more videos on their website and youtube channels.