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Doulbed up on Tarpon with Cameron and Adam

9.9.2014

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.

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How to fish for Tarpon using the DOA bait busters

Disclaimer: I am by no means a tarpon expert. I am just writing about my experience and what works for me.

 

If you guys follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know last week I had an couple days of awesome tarpon fishing with Capt Cameron down in the Boca Grande area.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/tarpon/

 

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Tampa Bay Snapper and Pompano fishing August 2014

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.

 

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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.

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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
Ohero Fluorocarbon

 

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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.

http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/tarpon/

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/fish/saltwater/snapper/gray-snapper/

http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/snappers/

Biggest Snook in a long long time 40 Plus inches.

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!

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Redfish Tailing with Sting Rays Low Tide Tampa Bay

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.

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Another Summer Adventure in Flamingo!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!!!!!

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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

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Albino Tarpon or Piebald (albino with some pigmentation) caught in Tampa bay with Captain Clark Wright

6.4.2014

This Albino Tarpon was posted on facebook today by Captain Robert McCue it was caught by 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

 

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Mangrove fishing using the Wasp Cam

Here is a little clip of me fishing the mangrove this week. I am using the Wasp Cam to film with.

Wasp cam is a gopro competitor that seem to offer the same if not better feature for a much better price.

The coolest feature is the wrist watch RF remote that lets to preview what you are filming as well as control up to SIX camera with one remote!
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So far I have noticed a much better battery life as well using the standard battery.

If you are a current GoPro user they have an adapters that will let you use all your gopro mount accessories as well.

Lots of features I have yet to try out like 120 fps and the free phone app. As I try them out I will how they perform.

This clip is 1080 60fps rendered to 720 for youtube,.

Spring high tide fishing, Jerkbait saves the day, Shiner PlastiX

I have to tell you that I feel the fishing for me at least has been a tad off this spring in my area. Not that there isn’t fish around they are just hard to get at.

When the tide rises the fish tend to get waaaaaaaaaay back inside the mangroves. Using bait would work but since I’m mainly a artificial kind of fisherman it has been tough on these tides.

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Using jigs has worked great for me on low tides but when they are in the bushes the jig can only work but so well. I have been casting near the mangroves and pulling fish here and there with jig but for the most part they have been small reds and the bite minimal. Trying to get the jig deep in the mangroves would get stuck or it just does not skip very well due to the head heavy weight distribution.

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The other day I went fishing with my friend Rick and he caught a nice redfish using a jerk bait skipping it way back in the mangroves.  Rigged with a weightless weedless worm hook it wasn’t getting stuck in the branches. This reminded me I actually use to do that but have gotten away from it in recent years.

I gave it a go one afternoon on high tides and  it actually worked with decent fish caught. I fished for 2 hours alone and mange 3 snook and 2 redfish which is not too shabby for artificial lures.

Essentially I would find hang overs where there is room to skip under and try to get it deep. Then using a slow pauses I make the lure look like a dying bait. If it was  snook the strike was almost immediate. When it was redfish it took a bit after the skip then the strike. It is quite exciting as you can see most of the attack.

Just a simple change in tactic resulted in better catches. Figuring it out is what keeps me coming back for more.

———————Stuff I used———————-

I used the Logic Lure Plastix in shiner color pattern but any jerkbait will work weedless.

 

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The best weedless worm hook I’ve found so far has been the Owner twist lock hooks. These things are super sharp, strong and keeps the jerk bait on the hook.

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If you only have just a regular worm hook they work just fine. Here is a video I did with Mark Nichols of DOA lures on how to rig jerk baits.

Miami Peacock road trip April 2014

One of the cool thing about living in Florida is the variety of fishing we have pretty much year round. Not only our native species but also species found only in south America like the Peacock bass which now lives in the south Florida canals. These guys are aggressive and fight very hard for their size. They grow upwards of 20lb plus but in these canals the state record remains about 10lbs which is quite solid. Mos fish however probably average 1 to 2 lb with a good fish being about 5lbs.

Last week Hank and made the long 4 hour drive to Miami to fish for Peacock Bass. We left the house about 6am. Since These fish like warm weather being there at first light is not essential.

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The lure of choice from my experience is crank baits. Though the are more than willing to hit top water you will get more eats subsurface. Crank baits that dive 2 to 4’s optimal I find.

 

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We met Gus at the ramp at the ponds literally connected to the Miami airport and pretty much started casting. In these waters not only will find Peacock but also large mouth bass, jacks, tarpon and other exoctic speacies as well.

 

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The canals though clear and looks clean there were plenty of garbage around. I am pretty sure peacocks though edible probably don’t get harvested much in these airport canal waters.

 

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The first first that came aboard with small large mouth bass and not too long later we had an average pea at about 1.5lbs . After this the bite I must say slowed dramatically.

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It was quite slow, three rods constantly casting and very little bite. By noon we only had a couple more smaller fish.

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Since we drove 4 hours we stuck it out.We had a fish here and a fish there but over all it was very slow only averaging 1 fish every 30 minutes which was quite unexpected for this time of year.

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We fished non stop from 10:30am to about 3pm. We did not stay much longer as to not get caught up in Miami rush hour traffic. We got a few fish with the crank baits but the overall bite was definitely much slower than expected. We will have to return as the temp gets a bit hotter and hopefully the bite will as well. Now I need to ice my elbow and shoulders from cast so darn much!

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