This week I had International fishing celeb and friend Patrick Sebile call me up and wanted to do some fishing. He was going to be in town for the day and wanted to fish Tampa Bay for the first time.
Patrick has always been cool with me and it’s always good to fish with a friend. Usually when we are on the same boat before I was the camera person for the day but today I was to be the captain.
We met up at sunrise 7am. Patrick having to drive from Ft. Pieced was there on time like a true fisherman should.
Not too long after we launch were greeted with a “full double rainbow all the way.”
Being that Patrick Sebile founder of of Sebile lure was on my boat I wanted to catch fish with his new lure this year the Flat Belly Walker top water lure. The concept of this lure is the ability to have less effort when walking the dog due to it’s flat surface on the bottom.
The lure walked the dog nicely and have nice rattle to it. And at only $6.99 for a Sebile lure it is priced very nice.
Thought I thought it was a bit big, Patrick stuck with the 115mm stick shad the entire morning. He had plenty of sticks and follows but most of them came off.
My first game fish on the Flat Belly Walker was this beautiful 37″ snook.
This day the bite was consistent but the fish was not aggressive due the slow flowing out going tide we had to fish in.
About lunch time we called it a good day of catching up and of course fishing. I will do my best to try to fish the east coast soon and hopefully catch a little bit of the mullet run before it’s all over.
South Carolina, commonly known to us sportsman as the “lowcountry”; is a part of the world rich in history, good food, great fishing, and that good ole’ southern hospitality of the true south. I had an opportunity to make my first visit to the lowcountry this early Fall. This was a great opportunity to live all the great things I had always read and heard about via old writings, bayside discussions, and social media. I spent a couple days in Beaufort and then in Charleston, taking part in some flood tide and lowtide fishing, cast and blasting, and without a doubt the best southern food this foodie has ever tasted.
The floodtide was a completely new experience itself. I witnessed the giant tides flush into the spartina marsh and fill in the once dry fields of spartina grass teaming with fiddler crabs and snails.
As the water rose, redfish began to snake their way into the grass, subtlety pushing over blades of grass like ninjas, sneaking into clearings and tailing on fiddler crabs.
And as the tide rose up and covered up the tails of redfish, it marked time to stow away the fly rods and replace it with a shotgun in hand. Shooting birds out of a flats skiff was a definite first and definitely won’t be the last. Rather then be stealthy, the name to this game is to make your presence known, flushing marsh hens (clapper rails for those curious about what they actually are) out of the grass, allowing us to take the shot. This is a practice rich in history to itself.
The cast and blast experience in the lowcountry was greatly complimented with some of the most beautiful coastal scenes I had ever witnessed.
Special thanks to my hosts for making my first visit really special:
Capt. Owen Plair (http://www.redfishbeaufort.com/)
Will Abbot (http://www.floodtideco.com/)
Andy and Connie Villacres
Len and Jeannie Villacres
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!
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
Albino Tarpon or Piebald (albino with some pigmentation) caught in Tampa bay with Captain Clark Wright
Captain Clark hooked him from the tower with a live crab. Clark estimated the fish to be between 130 to 150lbs.
The fish was released and DNA samples were taken.
For more information call 941.809.8160 Clark Wright.
“Colleague & fill in deckhand, Clark Wright, caught this piebald ( albino with some pigmentation) tarpon this AM off Tampa Bay.
Looks like a turkey hunter to me” -Robert McCue