The Holiday Gift Guide is full of great gift ideas for yourself or that special someone in your life. Click the BLUE hyper-links for more product information and/or to purchase. The products are categorized by price and have been recommended by one or more of the Salty Shores contributors.
Update: Some manufacturers have offered up discount codes and they are in bold in the descriptions.
$50 and Under
Frosty Towel starts with a premium 100-Percent cotton towel. We add our unique formula that includes high quality essential plant oils and extracts, purified water, natural alcohol, menthol, and bergamot extract to create the cooling effect. Pure glycerin is added to moisturize your skin. Lemon grass and citronella are added as a natural mosquito and insect repellant. There are no harmful manmade chemicals. We add a few other natural fruit oils to add a wonderful scent. Frosty Towel
These Swivels are made of high-grade stainless steel with a gun-metal black finish. They Offer Super Smooth Rotation And Unbelievable Strength And Durability. Tsunami Pro Strong Swivels are 1.5 X’s stronger than normal barrel swivels. With their reduced visibility and low water resistance they are great for trolling and finesse fishing scenarios. Tsunami Swivels
KVD Grip-Pin Hooks
Developed by legendary professional bass angler, Kevin VanDam, the Mustad KVD Grip Pin Soft Plastic Hook features Mustad’s Big Mouth Tube hook design with a new plastic keeper molded around the hook shank to firmly secure your soft plastic baits. Grip-Pin Hooks
Tsunami PRO GRADE 25 Yard Clear Fluorocarbon Leader 100 % Pure Fluorocarbon Leader Material Made in Japan from 100% Japanese Resins Low stretch Excellent knot strength High abrasion resistance Invisible under water 25 Yard tangle free wrist spool. Tsunami Leader
Tsunami Holographic Swim Baits lead the cutting edge of sport-fishing. Offering tough, life-like bodies, in multiple attention grabbing color patterns, reflective holographic foil and realistic swimming action add up to make these baits irresistible. Features: Natural fish attracting holographic colors. Rigged and ready with premium, extra sharp hooks and 3-D eyes. Natural swimming action and internally weighted for perfect depth control. Tsunami Holographic Shad
This headlamp is extremely bright at 1800 lumens on the high setting. It performs well in the rain, but would not submerge and expect it to work long. It has 3 settings: High, Low and SOS. GRDE Headlamp
TAILIN’ TOADS Fingerless Gloves protect hands from the sun and wind with UPF 50+ 4-Stretch Fabric. This unique design allows for full mobility and function, which allows more time for quality fishing. Tailin’ Toads
GILLZ Mask is patent pending super cooling mask with unsurpassed sun protection. GillzVents™ channel air to your neck and down your shirt to keep you cool while reducing sunglass fog. Our comfortable GillzTech™ fabric with its UPF50+ protection provides all of the fun, none of the sun. GILLZ Mask
The Flex Mount can be mounted on everything from glass, boat consoles, kayaks and even cars. The magnetic disc is extremely strong with military grade magnets. SP Flex Mount
These gloves are lightweight with short fingers. It`s designed with the long-range and braided-line fisherman in mind. Index and middle fingers, plus thumb are longer for added protection, and super tough Armortex reinforces the glove from fore finger to thumb for the safe handling of super lines. Tacky-Grip palms with vent holes add durability and help drain water, while vented foam-backed mesh keeps hands cool and protected. Great for paddling kayaks and fighting fish. AFTCO Gloves
The Trippler is the perfect compact tripod / grip / pole combo that compacts down small enough to carry with you every day. Included with each Trippler are mounts compatible with cell phones (Up to iPhone6 Plus w/case), GoPro cameras, and standard tripod mount cameras. This device allows you to capture the perfect picture every time! Triple Tripod
DryCASE is a flexible, crystal clear waterproof bag that allows complete use of your phone or camera while keeping it dry and clean. Simply pump out all the air with the easy to use hand pump and the bag will vacuum seal around the contents and become completely waterproof. Every DryCASE comes with our extreme activity arm ‘floatation’ band for water sports. DryCASE comes with the stereo headphone jack so you won’t miss a beat. Smartphone Case
The GO PUCK 3X is an ultra lightweight charger storing enough power to charge any mobile device and fits in the palm of your hand. With the 3X, you can charge small phones (e.g. iPhone 4s) about three times. GoPuck 3X
The 4½” SeaSucker vacuum cup is rated to pull up to 120 pounds. Two slotted holes for back-plating accessories or mounting hardware and one center stainless steel insert for mounting anything with a standard ¼-20 machine screw. SeaSucker
YETI Rambler Tumbler Kitchen-grade 18/8 stainless steel Double-wall vacuum insulation Keeps ice 2X longer than plastic tumblers and are designed for maximum ice retention and work just as well for hot beverages BPA free Crystal clear lid.
KRYTECK Clothing Durable Poly Knit in Kryptek Camo Moisture wicking to keep you dry. Mesh vent in the lower back to regulate temperature. COOL TOUCH technology keeps you comfortable in the sun. Stain release fabric to eliminate blood and stains. Spandex allows for stretch and mobility. Huk logo on the front, sleeve and back of shirt. SPF added for sun protection. HUK Clothing
Battery Tender Black Power Connect Trolling Motor D/C Connector is a onboard connector for DC to DC connections. Perfect for battery connections to trolling motors, navigational electronics or any DC accessory. The unique screw and lock device provides a positive connection that avoids vibration and water incursion. Trolling Motor Connector
$50 – $100
Braid/Mono/Wire Cutters Aluminum Alloy Construction with Dual cutting technology: Titanium Bonded Tungsten Carbide Wire Cutter & High-leverage mono, braid & fluorocarbon compound cutters includes ballistic nylon sheath and lanyard. Non-slip Cuda scale pattern grips facilitate water drainage and visible full-tang steel construction for increased durability. Corrosion resistant titanium bonded aluminum alloy construction with integrated tungsten carbide wire cutters. Cuda Pliers
Boomerang Tool: Fly Fishing Gift Set
This gift set is something that any Fly Fisherman would appreciate. It includes: Long Blade SNIP, 5″ Stainless forceps with retractable and fishing Zinger with Stainless Multi-Tool. Be sure to use the coupon code: SALTYSHORES for free shipping through Dec. 31st, 2015. Fly Fishing Gift Set
Hands free fish landing. Fish stay in the net and the large 29” diameter opening makes it easy to land fish. It floats on top of the water and coils & stows in a small 1″ diameter package when you are finished. The solid black band around the top, helps push the fish deeper into the net, so you can get ready for a ‘Hero Shot’ or just a simple release. Release Right Fish Net
HTC2 Blanks produce rods that are very sensitive and lightweight with great durability. The 24 ton graphite and high performance resin is perfect for the serious inshore angler demanding both high performance and value. Hellbent Rod
This gift set was designed for the serious saltwater fisherman in mind. It includes: The Big SNIP, designed specifically for salt water fishing. The larger size easily cuts through 150lb braid and 250lb mono/fluoro lines. The ProPliers with Retractable Gear Tether, provides lightweight handling and superior corrosion resistance with tungsten blades for cutting wire. The Fishing Zinger with Fox40 Safety Whistle meets current safety regulations for personal watercraft. Be sure to use the coupon code: SALTYSHORES for free shipping through Dec 31st, 2015. Saltwater Gift Set
Safely carry 5 fishing rods in 1 hand with unmatched comfort and maneuverability. Avoid tangled lines, broken guides, and costly repairs. Great for Trucks, SUVs, even compact cars. Angled stance design keeps rods & reels safely off the ground, allowing you to easily transport, wash down, or rig secured rods. Customize to your tackle needs with interchangeable rod holders for light or heavy rods. Lightweight and durable with removable legs for compact storage. Rod Runner Pro
Boca Bearings Fishing Reel Tuning Kit features some of our best and most popular items used to fully upgrade and tune your fishing reels. The Fishing Performance Tuning Kit contains: 1 – Spool Pin Pliers, 1 – High Speed Oil, 1 – 2 oz Grease Power, 1 – 100ml Clean Touch, 10 Spring Clips and a Plastic component storage box. For a 20% discount off your order, be sure to use the coupon code: 20JEFF15 Boca Bearing Tuning Kit
The Precision Tropic Plus Ghost Tip is the go-to line for fishing spooky saltwater fish in shallow water. Constructed on a monofilament core with our Tropic Plus coating and the choice of a 9 foot clear intermediate tip, the line presents your fly with minimum disturbance and visibility. The Ghost Tip is especially effective when fishing in very windy conditions because the clear tip allows you to cut back your leader for more accurate presentations without spooking the fish. Cortland Fly Line
Full-tang construction ensures strength, stability and balanced. Added safety guards provide protection from the blade and fish spines and a trigger grip with thumb and finger pads which offer better control. Hand-sharpened fixed, straight-edge blade.
CCA Bubba Blade
The RinseKit is a portable, pressurized shower. No pumping and No batteries. It fills in 20 seconds, storing the strength of a regular household spigot to deliver pressurized spray for up to four minutes. The system holds up to 2 gallons of water and features a spray nozzle that offers seven different settings from jet stream to soaking shower. RinseKit can be filled with hot or cold water. Includes a Hose Nozzle, 6′ Hose, Hose Bib Adapter, On/Off Valve, and Quick Connect. Rinse Kit
Weego Jump Starter Battery Pack+ Standard starts your engine, charges your phone, and fits in your pocket! They are recommended for use on gas engines up to 4.6 liters, and diesel engines up to 2.4 liters. The ultra slim and compact design weighs less than 8 ounces and is about the size of a cell phone. It is perfect for jump starting cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, ATVs, and more. Also charges smartphones, tablets and speakers. Each package includes a pre-charged battery pack, jumper cables, wall charger, car charger, a 3-in-1 USB charging cord with micro, 30-pin and lightning connectors.
Weego Battery Pack+
The backpack is 100% waterproof and one of a kind, because of its purge valve. The purge valve allows you to inflate or compress the backpack, and even use it as a draining tool if using the pack as a shower or cooler. The backpack includes a fully waterproof main compartment capable of holding 30 liters, an internal zippered waterproof pocket to store smaller items, a front mesh pocket so you can keep wet items out the waterproof area, side water bottle holder, bungee cords that can hold you other DryCASE items, and lots of padding on the shoulder straps and back support for a comfortable hold. DryCase Mansboro
The PowerGrip H20 is the most progressive GoPro accessory to date. It will power the GoPro for 12hours. The PolarPro team has spent over a year researching, designing, filming, and taking user feedback to create one of the most powerful GoPro pole systems to date. The Built-in 6700mAh rechargeable GoPro battery is waterproof to 99ft (33m). PowerGrip H2O
$100 and Up
The Big Kahuna is available in 3 sizes: 4.7, 8 and 13 gallons. Rugged design, it is perfect for using as a camp shower, on a remote job site, emergency preparedness and more. It has a self-contained 12 volt submersible pump so all you need is to add water for an instant shower anywhere! This portable shower is easy to operate with vented, integrated patented water tight lid. Some of the additional features include: 8’ coiled shower hose included, variable pressure controlled shower head, and a compact design. Assembled in the USA. Big Kahuna Shower
The Hobie H-Crate comes packed with numerous features; 4 integrated rod holders and a Bungee retainer systems that allows you to secure your rods safely and securely. Each wall of the H-Crate has a grid of recessed mounting points for easy accessory mounting. Hobie H-Crate
Fish Hunter is a completely portable Smartphone fish finder that measures water depth and surface water temperature as it works to pinpoint fish. Manufactured with military grade specifications, the downward facing sonar transducer is securely wrapped inside a sealed, waterproof rubber ball. Using a high frequency transducer the Fish Hunter fish finder provides superior resolution and accuracy in all marine weather conditions. FishHunter Portable Fish Finder
Waterproof to 33FT (10M), IP68 rated. The case is drop tested and survived 20ft (6m) It has a crush resistant unibody construction. The Photo Pro also comes with 4 aluminum and glass interchangeable lenses (Normal 0 Lens, 165 Degree Wide Angle, Macro, Telephoto 2x Zoom) The case is fully mountable and has other accessories available for purchase.
Optic Pro Kit iPhone 6/6s
The Nocqua Sport Edition, is an underwater light systems for paddlers. As a follow up to Nocqua’ s pioneering launch of the 2000 and Spectrum Pro Series flexible light systems, the Nocqua Sport is designed to make the experience even more accessible. The Nocqua Sport is constructed with the same flexibility as the Pro series – able to be used on SUP, kayak, and canoes – but is even more versatile due to its compact size and advanced LED and battery technology. Nocqua Sports Edition
No matter how fast the wind and water are moving, you won’t be. With Power-Pole’s signature strong hold, the MICRO gives you a smooth stop on the spot in less than 7 seconds flat. Whether you’re anchored in sand, rock or muck, it’s swift, it’s silent, it’s secure. And, yes, it’s small. Micro Anchor
Whether you are fishing the Everglades, offshore, or even hiking up in the mountains, the Delorme inReach Explorer is a gift that keeps your favorite explorer safe and connected is the gift that keeps on giving. The Explorer is a global satellite communication device that allows adventurers to send and receive text messages, post on social media and trigger an interactive SOS anywhere in the world. Users can plan and share (in real time) their routes and use the built-in navigation to keep them on track. It can also be paired wirelessly with iOS and Android devices to access topographic maps and U.S. NOAA charts, and make text messaging and posting updates to social media even more convenient. Delorme is offering a $75 mail-in-rebate through Dec 31st. Delorme inReach Explorer
Be sure to check back soon as things are still being reviewed and the best deals could be added in the coming weeks.
Jan S. Maizler
It was good to get back to my “second home” in Florida, Sanibel Island. I had timed this particular trip with Captain Mark Westra to coincide with the fall baitfish migration. Therefore, a hopefully calm Gulf would offer up mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore in addition to the cooler season-invigorated snook and redfish in the inside waters of San Carlos and Estero bays.
The drive from Miami was short and sweet since the trip began on a fair weather late Sunday. Check-in at Island Inn Sanibel was always a joy and my wife and I unpacked in a lovely Beachview Cottage.
Since the sun was sinking, I quickly got out to the beach to capture a sea and skyscape of the dusk highlighted by a cold front to the north. We had a fine seafood dinner at the Inn’s Traditions Restaurant and turned in.
I met Captain Mark at the Punta Rassa boat ramp next morning at 7:30 a.m. His vessel was an impressive 22-foot Shearwater powered by a 225 H.P. Yamaha ready for battle loaded with two livewells full of whitebait. In a half-day spanning San Carlos to Matlacha, we released about 15 snook to 12 pounds, 2 redfish, 1 big bluefish and loads of big jacks.
Our second day of angling featured some line storms preceding a cold front and we spent the next 6 hours fishing and dodging showers. Our first stop was in the open Gulf amidst a huge school of migratory predators consisting of mackerel, bluefish, and big ladyfish. We took countless gamesters casting topwater plugs and D.O.A. Baitbusters. The rest of the trip was spent back on inside waters where we took another 6 snook . Captain Mark lost a huge snook that blew up on a large whitebait and once hooked made a sizzling run along a mangrove wall and then a quick turn into the depths of the roots.
It was a wonderful trip !
Captain Mark Westra
Flat Top Charters
Island Inn Sanibel
3111 West Gulf Drive
After moving to Florida in 2013, I joined a group of kayakers called the WaterTribe. They compete in extreme adventure-style kayak races across various bodies of water in the United States. The WaterTribe has an extensive list of required gear and a SPOT tracking device as well as a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) are part of the required equipment. I completed my first Everglades Challenge event in 2014. That particular race runs ~300 miles from Tampa Bay to Key Largo. At the start of the Everglades Challenge 2015, due to several rescues made by the US Coast Guard and other municipalities, the race was cancelled.
While I was still on the beach waiting for a fellow competitor to load his kayak, I personally observed the frustration and stressful moments expressed by race management as the events unfolded. During the back and forth communication, between race management and the USCG, it was very obvious their was a problem that needed to be addressed. The USCG demanded the race be put on a, “weather hold” and competitors were to immediately get to shore and wait for further instructions. Unfortunately, communication between race management and the competitors was an issue, and this was not as easy as it sounds.
Competitors were out of VHF radio range, from the handheld units race management on the beach, which left race management with no way to communicate directly with competitors. The only thing that could be done, was to call their cell phone and/or leave a message.
It was close to 5pm in the evening when my fellow competitor decided that we would just travel on to Key Largo just cruising and camping. As I made my way across Tampa Bay I thought about the days events and started looking into options which would have made what happened, a non-issue. Currently, the SPOT tracking device which is required for each vessel, it has its limitations. It sends information to let race management track progress and allows for the competitor to call for help if needed and check in, sending an “Ok” message whenever the “Ok” button is pressed. As you can see the dilemma here, it only provides ONE-WAY communication and even at that, it only guarantees the tracking location of the vessel, not the location of the competitor, as the SPOT is only required to be attached to the vessel not the competitor.
After a little research on the internet, I came across the Delorme inReach unit. Their are 2 models, the SE and Explorer. These do everything the SPOT tracker does, and a lot more!
The main point I want to make here is that these units allow for 2-way communication through a better infrastructure using the Iridium Satellite system.
I contacted the company and have worked with them to get to this point. I used one of their Explorer demo units for over a month. It was tested in the wet environment of my Hobie Tandem Island and Paddle Board outings. I used it mounted on my mountain bike and even during road trips attached to a RAM mount on my windshield. I was very impressed with all of the extra functions that it provides over a SPOT, plus the way it allows for interaction on social media.
Using the Earthmate app and a smartdevice, it can be paired through bluetooth and it gives makes using this unit a piece of cake. I have created some hyperlinks if you’d like more information on these. However, my focus is on how this device could improve safety and tracking for the WaterTribe events. I thoroughly tested out the units communication ability, durability and battery life. The 2-way communication is a real bonus here. I learned it is possible that a mass message could be send to all competitors at once from race management and responses could be sent from competitors. Even the USCG could send messages to the competitors f they felt so compelled.
While you can not just change batteries like the SPOT, this unit is easily recharged using any simple external battery like the GoalZero Flip 10. The unit when set to 10 minute interval tracking mode has a 120hr. life.
Delorme is also looking to do some proof of concept testing and the ability to host a Map Share page with all the WaterTribe competitors for each event. If you currently have an inReach unit and would be interested in participating in a trial let me know and I will add you to the list. This would also solve and issue of the SPOT tracking page problems in recent past. The company is hopeful that this would be available and fully functional by EC2016.
Here are a couple of examples of situations where this unit would have benefited a WaterTriber:
Last year during the Black Beard Challenge in NC, I was the shore contact for Kayakman7. He was 10 miles from checkpoint 1, around 3am when his rudder was damaged, and made his way to an uninhabited island. He was lucky that he had cell phone service, and was able to call me. However, if he hadn’t he would have had to use his SPOT or PLB to call for help from the USCG. This would have been expensive, as the USCG would have rescued him, and he would have had to get a salvage company to get the boat at a later time.
Which brings me to the WaterTribe members that had to be rescued by the USCG around the tip of Florida. They had no other boat traffic to call out to help for and had no cell service. They were anchored 5 miles south of East Cape, west of Flamingo. After spending a few miserable hours in the boat in some very bad conditions, they had to call for help. They were rescued by the USCG and they left the boat anchored. Unfortunately, when they went back for the boat it was gone.
I truly believe that the inReach device would have allowed for these guys to request specific help and they would have been able to safely make their way back to Flamingo with their vessel.
As with any tracking device their are plans to choose from and you have the flexibility to choose the one that works best with your activity level. You will find links to all information below.
Delorme has graciously offered a priority code for the WaterTribe members to use and receive a 25% discount on the unit and select accessories when purchased from their website: Delorme When checking out, enter the priority code: WATERTRIBE
http://inreachdelorme.com/ *This code will only be active through Sunday August 30th.
I have ordered mine and was impressed with the process and timeliness it was delivered. I look forward to any comments you have or experiences regarding these units you would like to share.
*** One thing I need to mention is that the discount does not apply to the inReach Extreme Communication Kit bundles. This is because the bundles are already discounted and they aren’t able to do further reductions on those.***
Here are links to more information regarding the units, Earthmate App and service plans.
What is inReach?
Product Information, Explorer
Product Information, SE
Product Subscription Plans
Mounting Accessory: Amazon
Fishing in Florida during the summer months can be rewarding, but it is also extremely HOT. I’ve tried several different ways to beat the heat while fishing from my kayak, but nothing has really worked. Recently, I came across this product made by Sport-Brella. It is an umbrella with a universal clamp and multiple swivel points. For me, the clamp easily attaches the umbrella to the Hobie seat and stays completely out of the way when your casting. This is also going to be useful for videographers and photographers alike, providing shade to allow for easier viewing of display screens while out filming on the water. The best part about the Versa-Brella, is the price. It can be found on Amazon for less than $20.
Click this link for specific product info and current pricing: versa-brella
Hai Truong Fishing
Phone – 786 405 4146
Those keeping an eye on General Management Plan changes coming to Biscayne National Park have foreseen this coming. The current GMP reflects on enforcing areas like the Featherbeds and Jones Lagoon No Motor Zones (my only question is whether these are no entry with a motor on your transom or you may enter and pole as with pole/troll zones) as well as making many areas near the west side of the bay idle zones. There is a stretch of reef just offshore of Elliot Key that will be made Marine Reserve Zones (my take on this is no fishing, no access for fisherman).
I attended a conference call set up by the ASA (American Sportfishing Association) this afternoon to listen in on where some of the folks in our industry stand on the GMP closures proposed in Biscayne National Park. I especially noted the statements made by representatives from both Navionics and Florida Sportsman Magazine.
Points discussed I noted most:
1. Navionics made a statement asking the ASA to become more proactive rather then reactive.
2. Florida Sportsman Magazine representatives touched on the fact that there may be a commercial benefiting aspect to the closure biased to favor those in the diving/snorkeling industry. This closure would not benefit recreational anglers but the recreational divers (not spearfishers) could ultimately see this benefiting them. Was there somebody on that side lobbying to get the closure?
3. ASA pushes those imposing the new GMP to show us supporting science to prove how the closures will be effective (currently there is a lack of science to support this effort’s success).
Either argument you present, no matter which side you stand on and whether you are pro or against the imminent changes coming to our Biscayne Bay, it is happening. Several questions arise in my mind. I wonder if National park service has planned more stringent and more present enforcement for these new laws. Will this truly be beneficial? Is this the start of even more proposed closures to come? These are points we need to consider.
Pioneering Conservationist Aldo Leopold once stated “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.” I recently read this in a few brief excerpts of Leopold’s commentary and gave it some worthy thinking.
Simply stated, those that continually immerse/educate themselves on temperamental ecosystems better have strong will and thick skin as the changes, albeit nominal and often not easily seen by the general public, typically are unsettling. South Florida, like many beautiful habitats, is sadly riddled with significant issues relating to responsible usage and general preservation efforts of our natural resources. Resource management and subsequent funding for it typically falls by the wayside of many other politically driven profits centers. A sad cycle of corking holes in the dam until it warrants itself unrepairable, then 10X the capital has to be allocated to fix it, meanwhile ecosystems have suffered.
It’s without question as an avid outdoorsman and father trying to raise kids whom roughly spend 75% of their time in the confides of concrete, outdoor exposure and conservation are naturally of the utmost importance to me.
no matter what side of the fence you sit, prioritizing what’s best for the environment in your daily choices as a consumer/voter can be difficult. Yet shameless choices can be seen every day and exploration of our greatest natural treasures can often be a truly sad affair…….
Of course the current “system” never meets everyone’s needs and regulatory decisions are often made by those who rely on uneducated deliveries of “qualified” data. Yet as no surprise to anyone, both political and regulatory decisions are influenced by those with deep pockets. Yet our elected “peers” continually misuse funds, and cut funding to nearly all agencies in charge of managing our irreplaceable national parks. While my knowledge is local, this issue is vast. However many Corporations and Non-profits are making strides to help were they can, after all without the resource they too are dead in the water (no pun intended). From Costa Del Mar, to Hell’s Bay Boatworks, to Patagonia, to Simms etc. ………many are playing a larger role in conservation efforts, they frankly have no choice yet oddly many company’s do not participate in such philanthropy.
Project Permit hosted by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and sponsored mainly by Costa Del Mar and the March Merkin Permit Tournament provides a glimmer of faith that fishing oriented companies might follow suit and stand behind reputable conservation oriented causes.
I assume this view has given anglers weak knees since sight fishing on the flats began………….
It always amazes me how impressionable young kids are, so I make a decent effort to explain the reasoning behind choices made on the water. Now, I am not immune to mistakes and have made many, but any advice I can provide to others, particularly my children, to not repeat is a win. One of my most favored reggae prophets once preached “don’t let your mistakes be the mistakes of your children”. This is a strong suggestion that sometimes gets lost with all the white noise of the daily grind.
keeping an eye out for this fishery is a cause I can stand behind with ease……………
at the end of the day, anyone lucky enough to bring one of these fish boat side provides enough of the “hype” to keep you coming back…………
“The world lives within us, we live within the world. By damaging the living planet we have diminished our existence.” (George Monbiot)
Please follow me on Instagram @saltyperspectives for more fishing/hunting content
Sea, Sky, and Travel – Moments Etched in Image
Though photos got their start for me as support for content in articles and books, they’ve evolved into recording and journaling my passion for travel. Some of the destinations appearing here are St. Maarten, Miami, Alaska, Barbados, Belize, The Yucatan, Sanibel, Flamingo, Sarasota, Curacao, the Florida Keys, Israel, Greece, Louisiana, Italy, and Argentina. When photos are for my amusement instead of commercial requirements, I have no shame breaking all the rules. Focus and camera shake might be tossed to the wind, as will noise and graininess. Sometimes I saturate and boost to diabetic levels. My depth of field approaches are not consistent. I do think photos should be special units of emotions (both good and bad) and cherished memories as well as the traditional representational approach. Sometimes, it’s best not to just think out of the box- it’s best to leave that encumbrance entirely. More can be found at www.flatsfishingonline.com.
In Praise of Permit
Here are some images of the permit I’ve pursued, caught, and released in Florida, Mexico/Yucatan, Belize, Roatan, and Little Cayman Island. In my opinion, they are the planet’s cagiest flats fish when pursued on jigs and flies. Catching them on an artificial is something to be proud of. One of the highlights of my angling career is the release of nine- yes, nine !- permit in one day out of Belize River Lodge. This was documented by Guide Raul Navarette and Mike Heusner, who gave me the magic lure- a white 1/4 ounce Popeye skimmer jig. In balance, these were young eager, fiercely competitive fish in three schools of approximately one hundred fish. The other permit I am most proud of was the (now-EX) World record permit of 23 pounds 15 ounces on 4-pound test.
My first experience fishing with Captain Rick Grassett of Sarasota was in the fall of 2013. About six months prior, he and I consulted about specific dates. The two days that he chose for us to fish landed smack dab in the midst of a huge southerly baitfish migration graced by fair skies and light winds.
Our early predawn start rewarded us with lots of snook under the dock lights of Sarasota Bay. Once the sun rose, we headed out to the Long Bar and continued to catch snook supplemented by chunky seatrout. On this first day we used the balance of our hours to fish the shallow flats to catch a redfish. An hour before quitting time, I caught and released a nice redfish and completed my Sarasota Slam.
The first three hours of day two were a carbon copy of the fast snook and then, trout action as the day before. But Rick and I were determined to meet up with the parade of baitfish schools barely a football field off the beach of Sarasota’s famed Coastal Gulf. Once we entered these grounds from the north side of Longboat Key, we sped over to a wreck loaded with huge Spanish mackerel that exploded our silver topwater plugs. Within an hour of this insane action, the Gulf waters eupted in a froth of action as huge schools of mackerel and big bonito (A.K.A. albies) savaged the terrified baitfish.
And the beauty of these two marvelous days of sportfishing was that it was done casting only artificial lures. Besides the aforementioned topwater plugs, Rick had a veritable tackle shop of D.O.A. soft plastic lures aboard his Action Craft skiff- and they all worked marvelously.
A Year Later-
Almost twelve months later after this marvelous trip, my friend Alan Williams and I were headed back to fish with Captain Rick in the midst of this stupendous fall season. The logistics would be the same. Our lodgings was the Inn on Siesta Key, a wonderful Key West-style venue right across from one of the finest beaches in the world. Each of the next two mornings Alan and I would meet Rick around dawn at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, his base of operations and an astonishing multi-purpose retail, charter, and boat rental enterprise dedicated to the marine life of boating, fishing, and so much more. As Alan and I headed north along Siesta Key Beach towards the Inn, we noticed a cloud configuration that could a spectacular sunset. And it delivered beyond our expectations.
As Alan and I ate dinner, we both wondered whether this spectacular cloud display did not presage an impending weather system. We checked the weather back at our room at the Inn and the TV weatherman confirmed that a cold front was headed our way in Sarasota. We estimated that our first day of fishing with Rick would not be badly affected by the front, but day number two would indeed feature blowy frosty winds from the north.
By the time we met Rick at CB’s the first morning, he already had a game plan in place that would factor in the approaching front. When we first launched his skiff, The Snookfin-Addict, Rick headed straight for a pass to fish the open Gulf for mackerel and albies. Although the front had not yet arrived, the pass was too churned up to let us through. Rick turned the skiff and headed to a southwestern shore of Sarasota Bay. He slowly idled onto some shallow flats and when he spotted large schools of jumping mullet, he cut the engine. As he poled about a hundred yards towards our target area, he explained that there should be redfish and snook amongst the mullet.
Alan requested a topwater plug and Rick complied. My own feeling was that an approaching front might keep these fish lower in the water column, so I asked Rick to give me a light spinner rigged with a D.O.A. swimbait. While we did see a couple large schools of redfish, they were spooky and on the move. The snook, however were hungry and eagerly attacked my soft plastic lure.
We also caught a few nice trout on the flats but were now hunkering for some variety. So Rick headed for the deeper flats of central Sarasota Bay. The wind was increasing so he put out a sea anchor to give us a perfect drift. It was here that we hit a jackpot with our D.O.A. jigs and caught flounder, grouper, jacks, ladyfish, seatrout, and bluefish.
Day two dawned with 30 M.P.H. winds out of the north and air temperatures in the fifties. This caused Rick to launch in Little Sararsota Bay. This gentleman of a captain fished these conditions all the way down to Englewood to give us some satisfaction. Alan was top rod with a snook and a flounder for the day.
As always, fishing with Captain Rick was a pleasure, I hope to fish with him again soon.
Captain Rick Grassett