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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.












Tampa fishing with Lace, Brie and Capt Hagaman

I have been so busy with the Salty Fly 2014 this year I have not had much time to fish and worst of all much time to talk about fishing here on Saltyshores.

My fishing has been limited to 2 hours here and 2 hours there and less time to even write about it much.

Now that all that is over it’s time get it all going again for 2014 with fishing good old Tampa Bay.

Capt Jeff Hagaman
Called me up yesterday asking me if I was busy. Thought of not going did cross my mind. Since I would not have to tow a boat and he was cool with me being out only for a half a day I decided to get on the water.


The weather was the best it’s been in a week this morning. A little chill in the air but a light jacket made for a very comfortable ride.

One board today was writer Lace Allenius and Co-host of the Chevy Florida Fishing report Brie Gabrielle. Lace was doing an article with onshore offshore mag. Brie was here fishing and getting footage for the TV show. The weather could not have been better today for both of these task to be done.  With the great lighting I was hoping to get some good images to share with you guys.DSC_5830-Edit

After a very short run, we got on the trolling motor.  Once we moved into position the fish was already biting. Using available white bait Jeff had gotten earlier this morning the girls caught snook and trout using the free lined style.


After things slowed we moved to find us a redfish to complete the Tampa bay inshore Slam. FYI snook, redfish, trout is our Slam.


Once we got to the redfish spot Jeff got in his tower and trolling motor. This tactic did not take long to find the pod of redfish. I must say getting them to eat was quite a different story. Jeff switch to using cut bait and Brie did get an eat but it was quickly lost.


An hour goes by with out an eat but the school of fish was quite happy and  hanging around. They were belly rolling and flashing in the shallow grass flats. Jeff explain that’s the problem. It is too shallow they need more water to get comfortable and start to feed.


It took a while of following the school around on the trolling motor but finally they started to feed as the water level slowly rises.


The fish was plentiful the bite was slow but before I had to leave we got a really nice redfish. Probably the largest one I’ve seen caught on the flats this year. Brie got the eat and reeled it in as I get my camera gear ready. For the most part the fight was captured with the go pro to use on the TV show. After they were done I got some cool shots of the red fish before leaving.

Glad I got out today now it’s time to pack and head out to to do some more fishing.

Thanks Jeff!

Visit to Mosquito Lagoon & New Smyrna Outfitters

Was fortunate enough to slip down to New Smyrna Beach last weekend to visit my bud Eddie and fish the Mosquito Lagoon for a couple of days. In between changing diapers and peeling shrimp at JB’s, Eddie operates New Smyrna Outfitters, a kick-ass fly shop on Canal St. Lucky for me, Eddie’s back was hurting from standing behind the counter in the shop and hanging fly tying materials all day, so he agreed to pole me around the Goon for a couple of sessions. I was reminded how challenging a pressured Mosquito Lagoon redfish can be…or how bad I suck at casting. We had plenty of shots…made some work…and tucked our tails after others. Won’t even go into the baby manatee of a trout that followed my fly briefly. Here’s a few pics from the trip. Thanks to Eddie for the hospitality. Make sure to check out New Smyrna Outfitters if you are in town to fish the Lagoon.

goon sunrise 3 DCIM264GOPRO DCIM264GOPRO goon redfish poling the lagoon eddie RCI goon heron jay goon redfish DCIM264GOPRO DCIM264GOPRO eddie running GA river sunet

Punta Gorda, Florida Winter Fishery




Punta Gorda, Florida Winter Fishery


Jan Maizler

Though our first angling day was besotted by frontal winds and rain this past Friday, Saturday dawned calm, clear, and with a bit of fog. Thanks to Captain Ralph Allen of King Fisher Fleet for some great guiding. As always, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, Florida came through for our efforts with superb support. Here’s a few images of our adventure.













Fishing with the Paul Brown’s Soft-Dine with Krista Tucker

soft dine

I got my hands on the Paul Brown’s Soft-Dine a couple weeks ago but really have not had a chance to use it much. Not that I have not been on the water but just have not been in the right situation to use it much or there was not fish around to even see it.

With falling tides and the air temperature about 40-45 by the time the sun came up the boat run was not very comfy. We eventually came to an area with some depressions that allowed me to cast down wind. With the 15-20mph winds we were not casting up wind today for sure.

Not knowing what that will eat I used the softdine and I got Krista to use a jig. At first there was no life as we drifted slowly down wind. We started to spook small bait fish and this was when I decided to power pole down. With limited work able flats once I find a good area the last thing I wanted to do was run over it.

After 2nd cast I hooked up to a redfish on the soft dine. He hits on the pause. This tells me the love the pause in the jerk jerk pause as I work its way back to me. Still staked out on the same spot I catch another redfish. This prompted me to witch Krista’s lure up to a softdine as well.

Two cast later she had an eat but lost it. Four cast later she brings another redfish boat side. After about 6 fish between us I started to hear the noise of another boat. This normally don’t bother until I saw what type of boat it was. It was a mullet fisherman’s boat crisscrossing the grass flats on full plane in the idle only zone.

After he was done the bite was over. It sucks but what are you gonna do?

After one more spot on the way in we called it a day.

Conclusion, the softdine works great. It casted very well, excellent action and for a soft plastic lure very durable.
The one I caught 3 red fish on looks to be in very good shape still. Now to try to get a big trout on one of these guys.

Yesterday was one of the coldest day in Tampa at 35 degrees lows. Since I already had plans to fish with friend Krista Tucker






Boca Paila Lodge, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico




Boca Paila Lodge, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico


Jan Maizler


Boca Lodge remains one of the flagship flats fishing and shallow water destinations of the Yucatan. All it takes is one quick flight from any American hub to Cancun and you’ll be picked up by their personal van. The drive -which lasts a couple hours- will take you through the historic ruins of Tulum and along the trendy posadas to the south of the city. About a half hour’s drive down the road to Punta Allen and the lodge appears out of the palm tree and beach vista with the vast Caribbean on your left and the endless lagunas on your right. This destination has been under the ownership of the Gonzalez family from the start and continues to please anglers and non-anglers alike after decades of operation. And the best news is that the highly-publicized crime to the north is basically a non-issue in the Yucatan. Here’s a collection of images from this wonderful place.

Boca paila Lodge #4- Caribbean grouping - skiffs

Boca Paila Image 1 - caribbean grouping

Boca paila Lodge #3- caribbean grouping -Eduardo bonefish


Boca paila Lodge Image #2- Caribbean groupiing























CONTACT DATA:   www.bocapaila.com


Belize River Lodge’s Long Caye Outpost






Belize River Lodge’s Long Caye Outpost


Jan Maizler


Belize River Lodge has long been a mainstay of flats and inshore fly and light tackle fishing in this marvelous country. One can almost call it a venerable institution with a history of having served some of the world’s best anglers. A couple of years ago, the lodge (BRL) acquired an excellent offshore property on Long Caye, which lies offshore smack dab in the heart of incredible flats fishing.  While I was there with friend Captain Ken Collette, we caught bonefish only steps away from our breeze-swept second story room. But let me not get ahead of myself. When Long Caye opened, Barry and Cathy Beck covered the new operation from a fly fishing perspective. Very soon thereafter, I was on my way to the very same venue on behalf of the light tackle and lure community. The pictures that follow suggest- as they should- this tropic island and surrounding flats is the stuff of angling dreams.




Long Cayejackone

Long Caye frontproperty


Long Cayepermitone

Long Cayebarracudaone


Long Cayetarponrelease



longcayedirktarpon3OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




CONTACT DATA: www.belizeriverlodge.com

Yesterday in the Everglades National Park




Yesterday in the Everglades National Park


Jan Maizler


My friend Paul Raffety and I fished with Captain Steven Tejera on Friday, December 20.  We launched in Flamingo and fished as far north as the Shark River. Though the winds were honking, Steven kept us on the fish. Here’s few images of our trip.









Mosquito Lagoon Guides Day Off

I get a lot of people that ask me “what do you like to do when your not guiding?”. Most people think that since I am a full time fishing guide, the last thing I want to do is fish.

For some guides/captains yes, but for me and a handful of others, all we can think about is going fishing on our days off. It’s a great way for us to get in on the action on the pointy end of the boat. It’s also a great way to stay on top of the fish and know how they are acting for upcoming charters.

I made a short video of a day off with fellow Mosquito Lagoon guide Capt. Billy Rotne….enjoy!

- Capt. Willy Le