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Inshore

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

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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.

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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!

Miami Road trip for Peacock Bass

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!

Rail Blaza Selfie system, New Zealand based but now available in the US via Yak-Gear.com

Rail Blaza is a New Zealand based company that makes a universal mounting product. They are available on the US  now through Yak-Gear.com.

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The bottom of the camera mount is  a thumb screw so you won’t have to scrounging around for a screw driver or key everything you want to mounting your camera. As long as the camera is not too heavy you can move the swivel based to whatever angle you like for the best angles.

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In theory you can mount these things anywhere but for our purpose we will be talking about using them in fishing boats and kayaks.

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One of the problems with kayak fishing or fishing alone (amongst other things) is when you get a good catch you want a good photo to share with friends and social media.  If you’re like most people 90% of the photo is your crotch or ridiculously hunched over.

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With the advent of  Rail system they have a  camera mount kit with a universal tripod screw of 1/4-20. This means pretty much any camera  will work with it as log as it has a tripod mount. These  kits are versatile as they get with rails, bar and flat surface mount kits.

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The based is an 8 point star mount so it will not spin randomly on you. The lock mechanism allows for quick lock the unit as it will not fall out .

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Bellow are some examples of the photos that I used the camera mount on a boat and kayak to get  some selfies while fishing alone.

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Above is a I have it mounted on my grab rail with the camera at eye level.

 

Bellow I have it mounting on the deck with the camera pointing down a little.

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Besides the camera mounting kit they have a variety of options. Options like rod holders, gps, phone,  lights, etc.

They come with stainless steel hardware to minimize rust so you wont have to run all over town looking at Home Depot, Lowes, Ace looking for them.

I will be using the other accessories as I get it mounted but for now very happy with the camera selfie system.

If you have any interest you can check it out at Yak Gear.com .

 

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Fishing the 2014 Sticken Pigz tournament and catching a 28″ Florida Trout

This past weekend I had the chance to fish the 2014 Sticken Pigz redfish/trout tournament in Bradenton Florida with Capt. Andrew Purcell and his team.

The tournament is a friendly tournament that only cost $75 per boat. Most boats had 2 to 4 people on it and you can use bait if you wish. This year the 64 team roster was the largest ever for the tournament.

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I met up with Andrew and the team at the ramp at 6:30 to register and have the captain’s meeting. By 7am everyone was off and running to their favorite spot.

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The conditions were slick calm when we got to our first spot. A shallow flat with an incoming tide. We had two guys using top water one person using jigs and me with a mirror dine.

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With the favorable conditions I could see mullet all over. To me mullet is considered bait and my theory is that predators love to hang around bait.

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I did my best to work shallow but I was getting hung up on grass so I worked deeper and deeper to almost waist high. The bite was slow us guys using arties but I finally caught a jack and then a small trout at about 15″ which I threw back.

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From fishing the tournament last year I knew a 15″ trout would be a total waste of time. It is a live bait tournament so these guys were hauling in some giant trout at over 6lbs and measuring in the high 20′s.

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As the sun got a little higher the mullet started to become more active. This was a good sign and gave me a bit of confidence. Casting deeper my Mirrodine got inhaled with what I thought was a large jack. When the fish got closer I realized it was very nice trout. It made such a splash everyone turned to look. A couple seconds later what estimated to me a 23″ trout came off 10 feet from me. I was quite upset as that was very nice trout, or so I thought.

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Disappointed I continue to work the same angles and two cast later I got hammered by even a larger fish. This fish was strong fish and there was no head shake so immediately I thought it was a nice redfish.

When he start to zig and zig the redfish notion started to fade. When the fish came up to shake it’s head it was confirmed this was the largest trout of my life if I was to land her.

Now a bit shaken I lighten the drag as not to pull the hook. Without a net or Boga grip in hand I was a tad nervous but remained calm.

I remember to put my feet together so the fish could not run in between them. After what seemed like an eternity I grabbed her by the back of the head and landed my personal best sea trout.

At this point our team was ecstatic and we are now headed to find us a redfish.

At 28″ and the huge back we knew it was tough to upgrade. We wanted to get to a redfish flat to get the beast Redfish that was in the slot of 27″.

We caught the trout so fast we showed up too early to the new flat as the water was still quite low. We tried the same strategy of splitting up to cover more ground but all anyone could manage was jacks , rat Red and lady fish. We decided to make another move to a flat with more water.

This time everyone stayed in the boat as we slowly drifted in the almost dead calm waters. At this point my arm was getting fatigue from all the casting and decided to sit and take a break while the other three guys continued to fish.

It did not take long for a fish to get hooked and some one screamed “grab the net!”. I got up to get a net and immediately saw it was a redfish. It however, looks to be well over the slot of 27″. It was so tall a fish this wide normally would 29″. I netted the fish and we measured it and incredibly measured under 27″ the Florida max limit.

We were done and it was only 11am. The fishing was not the greatest but the fish we caught were pigs and exactly what we need to be in the runnings. We spent the rest of time taking photos, getting lunch and got back at the weigh in at about 2pm.

At the weight in, to make everyone on our team nervous another team came in with a longer trout and a longer redfish. We decided to weigh in last as that was our strategy.

The leading team weigh in at 15.58 a new tournament record so it was quite nerve racking. Their trout came in at 7.5 our trout was 7.17 talk about nervous. Our redfish was shorter but it looked fatter so it had to do it for us. Otherwise we would have to settle for 2nd place.

Our redfish fish weight in at 8.52lbs. This let us edge them out by only .11lb at 15.69lb a new tournament record, winning the largest redfish calcutta as well as the overall.

We took home the gold, set a new tournament record as well as me landing my personal best trout. It was a good weekend.

Mr. Tackle jighead an afternoon in the sun.

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After forgetting to take the drain plug out of my Ranger for a week I came home to a boat filled with rain water. Yup happen to the best of us. This by itself isn’t too bad but I had left the battery switch on the trolling motor and it quickly corroded the connectors to the point of uselessness.

Lucky for me it did not burn out the motor just the connector.(if you can call this lucky) One of the battery was toast as well, only putting out 3 volts.

Not so funday Sunday afternoon was spent running around buying and installing battery, electrical on the boat. Not to mention I had wait 30 minutes for the boat to completely drain as well.

Ugghh.. one more thing to deal with. Damn boats, you love them but at times you just do not want to be an owner.

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Mr. Tackle, a tackle company based out of Florida sent me some sample jig heads to try out. As usual I let it sit in the corner for a few  months(yeah I know, lazy).  I finally had a chance to give them an honest test a couple days ago.

I fished them in Orlando, Texas and recently right here in Tampa Bay.  Bass, Red fish, Black drum, trout, jacks, and snook were caught with them. I have used them on a popping corks, on regular plastic as well as gulps. So far they have proven to be very durable with a very sharp hook.

The hook at first glanced they look a bit awkward compare to your standard jig head.  After a few fish the hook design prove to work quite well. The point was sharp and despite the thin diameter was quite strong even after I used pliers to unhook a fish.  I went on to the website and  find out they were 4/0 Owner hooks that have a wide gap, XX strong shank with a triple-edge Cutting Point. High quality stuff indeed.

The barb to hold the plastic seems to work fine with plastic and gulp. The sloping shape of the jighead also make it semi weedless when skimming the bottom off the flats.

They come in 1/4 to 1/2 oz sizes and various colors. (I would like to see them available in 1/8th size for a slower sink rate in skinny waters)

I am not sure what stores they are in just yet but you can check them out at these links.

http://www.mrtackleinc.com

https://www.facebook.com/mrtackleinc.mfg
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