I appologize about not having a video out in the last month or so, but with the demands of tarpon season from the guides and local anglers it’s kept me tying none stop for the last couple of months. It always amazes me the number of different patterns and styles of flies you get to tie during tarpon season.
“put in tapon photos”
After tying over a thousand tarpon flies it’s nice to change gears and get ready for 2 of my farovite types of fly-fishing. Sight casting to cruising snook on the beach and afternoon tailing bonefish. Here’s a video of one of my favorite beach snook flies. I’ll be updating these video post with fishing video and pictures as soon as possible.
hook: Mustad 9175UPBLN #2/0 or Gamakatsu SC15 #2/0
Tail: white polar fiber, icelandic sheep, finn raccoon, or llama
Body: Varying colors or SF Fibers starting with white and mixing in darker back colors, finish with white cross cut rabbit
head: 3D epoxy eyes finished with epoxy or UV cure product
I thought I would share this report by a fellow Hardcore Kayak Anglers Club member. His name is Robert and is known as “Scrumpy” and he hails from the United Kingdom. He always posts some interesting reports with great scenic photography and some interesting species of fish that is caught. It’s nice to see how people from around the world spend there time fishing. This is one to check out:
I’d managed to book a pound of fresh lworm from the tackle shop. High water was 5pm and I was running a little late… Nigel Mansell has nothing on me
I was on the beach ready to launch shortly after 1pm. The tides had off the neaps and the forecast movement was 10.1m
Conditions were just about ideal, not too far from millpond conditions, though these were actually achieved later in the day. I paddled straight out into deeper water until I found a good run of tide before turning and paddling eastwards for almost two miles. I was anchored up about a mile offshore with baits in the water by 2pm. Baits for the day were either lugworm and squid or mackerel and squid, both mounted on a 6/0 pennel rig.
I’d taken two 1lb boxes of squid out with me, the first one thawing in the footwell during the paddle out. It was still solid 30 minutes later, nothing to do with the air temperature being zero!. As I often do I dipped the box into the water for a second to aid the thawing process. The end of the box opened up and a cube of squid floated off downtide . I slipped anchor and made chase, it was almost in my grasp a couple of minutes later, though it slipped into the depths before I could make the final grab. I’m questioned my choice to take two boxes of squid… you see, there’s always method in my madness
The first 20-30 minutes were fairly quiet with only the odd knock here and there. The codling finally started to appear, all a reasonable size, and with a running tide it was good sport.
The sport continued through the flood and the action was pretty much non-stop. At times there were bites on both rods which made for pretty exciting fishing !
The mackeral/squid combo was working well and resulted in four thornback rays coming being picked up during the flood tide. They were a decent size, the best fishing pushing double figures. They fought well in the running tide, at one point I was convinced I was into a double figure cod, though this hope was quashed when the fish surfaced
It was pretty chilly despite the sun making a show from time to time. The prevailing wind eased off completely at times giving an oil slick appearance to the water surface. When I launched the air temperature was 1˚C and it never got above that throughout the session. In fact it dropped well below zero as the sun dropped behind the hills.
As high water neared the sport eased off, no real surprises there. I was still picking up the odd fish even at slack water which was a little surprising, though I was hardly complaining.
As the sun set the tide turned, it was a time to enjoy the best that mother nature has to offer. I do love a good sunset.. it was also time to light up as dusk approached rapidly.
Once the tide tuned onto the ebb the fishing picked up once more, though the codling were taking a back seat as the whiting were hitting the baits hard. I took five fish within ten minutes, though as soon as they’d appeared they were gone.
I poured myself a steaming cup of coffee and chilled. Once finished I dipped my mug into the water to rinse it and the tide pulled it from my hand… it’d served me well, there’ll never be another like it. Have you ever tried drinking hot coffee from one of those button operating flasks that allow you to pour it?…. well don’t, trust me.
The tide was ebbing hard, for a time there was standing waves next to the kayak. On the flood I was using 8oz of weight to hold bottom, though the ebb saw me going to 12oz, though I was soon onto a 1lb of lead. The tide was quite fierce, debris on the surface of the water was taking roughly two seconds to pass by the length of the kayak. The anchor was holding and I was happy to stay put !.
The fishing didn’t amount to much on the ebb. I was getting the odd hard bite, though it rarely developed into anything. I did manage three codling post the whiting fest, though they was smaller fish than what I picked up on the flood tide.
I fished three hours of the ebb tide, finally raising anchor at 8pm, paddled back with the tide. Despite a very leisurely paddle I was still averaging over 5mph. I hit the beach around 8:30pm and cleaned my catch. The codling contained small edible crab which seems to be the norm for these parts, though one codling was stuffed with whitebait. When I reached the car it was showing –3˚C… and it felt it !. I’d forgoteen my military issue artic socks and made do with some thick’ish wooly socks. My feet had chilled of within three hours and were positively frozen solid when I reached shore. It was halfway through de-rigging when the heat returned… did it hurt?, you betcha. I drove barefoot for the first 30 mins with the heater max’d out, it was like put your feet into a scalding bath, though I gritted my teeth and pressed on. I’ll not forgot my socks next time
It really was a cracking session, one of the most enjoyable in a long time. The fishing was excellent, I managed around twenty codling from 2-5lb, four rays and a few whiting. Though it wasn’t the fishing, it was the weather, the time of day and the atmosphere out there that made the session so enjoyable. I’d like to hit the water again tomorrow, perhaps I will, though the weather is due to pick up.. I’ll have to wait and see what the morning brings.
South Carolina Coastal Waterfowl
The water temp in the South Carolina marsh dropped to an icy 39 degrees last week. Redfish don’t have a lot of spunk to them when the water gets that cold. We decided to take the weekend off from fishing to do a little duck hunting before the season closes. South Carolina has an abundant population of wood ducks (aka summer ducks) so we decided to go capitalize. Not only are these ducks beautiful, but they make excellent table fare as well. We had a great weekend and took home a good number of birds from the local freshwater marshes. After a killer meal, I used some of the flank feathers from one of the birds to tie a new redfish fly called the “summer duck” – can’t wait to get it wet!
By: Jay Nelson
I would have written this up a bit earlier but I came down with some flu symptoms that has put me out of commission for that last few days. Headaches, coughing, mucus, body aches, cold sweat, hyper sensitive nerves, loss of appetite, dehydration.. you name it. It has been a very trying last 48 hours mainly spent in bed.
I tried the 3,000 mg of vitamin c every couple hours and that did not work. Nyquil help me fall asleep with out coughing and the only thing that made me feel any better was forcing myself to drink lots of orange juice. So far I’ve down almost 3 gallons of orange juice. The worst is over and I think I can finally function again. If you have been trying to get a hold of me lately and gotten no response I’ve been recovering.
I kept thinking what I came across or what I ate. The only thing I can think of was this last trip to Louisiana.
This past week Wanganchor Tom and I decided to get out and fish with Captain Greg Dini. Our goal was big fish on fly and Greg has been on them all season. Catching fish in Louisiana is not a problem. But staying on the “big big” fish can be a big problem is you are not on the water everyday like Greg is. Tom and I wanted big fish, I mean after all we can catch smaller fish right here in Tampa Bay.
We had a power trip planned. No messing around, our schedule was literally, land, eat, sleep, wakeup, eat breakfast, fish, eat dinner, sleep, wake up eat breakfast, fish, from boat ramp straight to the airport.
Unfortunately for us the day we were suppose to fish was to be the coldest day of 2011 at 26 degrees at the boat ramp. This is not, it feels like.. this is ice on the ground 26 degrees. On the run out I can see ice on the shore line. Tom and I was quadruple layered up from head to toe. Though we were warm, the fishing that day was ice cold. We saw perhaps 20 fish the whole day and only gotten one small fish to eat. Unlike Louisiana they were refusing our fly that day. I can only assume that since the water temperature was probably near freezing they were just trying to stay alive.
The air temperature that day never got above 40 degrees. We fished hard but there was no winning today. We left the ramp that day shaking our heads. Since we were fisherman though, we totally understand that weather plays a major role in fishing and Louisiana, no matter how dumb the fish are, was no exception.
A quick stop at the local Fly shop UPtown Angler and we were off to dinner. Uptown had the new “Polar” Buff which is a god send for cold weather. Tom picked up one and loved it. If you’re ever in the area and want to kill some time UA is small shop but got all kinds of cool fly gear.
Looking up the weather on the drive back to hotels we had high hopes. The weather was getting 10 degrees warmer, lower winds and bright sunny skies. All we had to do was find the fish and with the change in temperature should be a change in attitude. 10 degrees don’t sound like much but it’s the difference between the fish eating or a refusal.
We ran around to find good clean water which took a bit, but once we did, the fishing was on. Tom and I probably caught a dozen redfish on fly that was over 20lbs with a couple teetering in the 30 lb range. We even have a couple doubles on fly and nearly a triple as we gave Greg a rod as well. We got tired of catching them this day.
At last it was time to run back to the ramp as we had to catch the plane back to Tampa. I will have to nick named this trip “Zero to Hero, Louisiana ” Thanks again Greg you pulled it off brother!
Food Destination of note: Commander’s Palace
I don’t eat at many fancy places, but this place is a must try if you got the extra dollars on the trip. The service is 2nd to none and the food is excellent.
Here are the dishes I ate and do highly recommend. This is best food I’ve had in New Orleans so far. Drago’s is a close 2nd.
Gumbo – very rich, hardly, bottom line best gumbo I’ve ever had.
Turtle soup – was not impressed with this soup.
Steak – aged steak, the best cut of meat I’ve ever had. Yes, better than the expensive stuff I’ve had in Tampa, Orlando, Vegas, Colorado(sorry Lane) or Miami.
Pecan Pie and Ice cream: Ice cream was ordinary but the Pecan Pie was a 5 star.
Fred’s Southern Kitchen by Mike Torregrossa
Let me start this off by saying that I’m not an expert on food nor do I pretend to be. I smoke, dip, and drink often so my palate might not be in top shape or agree with some. Also I will not be reviewing restaurants by any means. This will be more like a restaurant recommendation blog, who wants to hear about crappy restaurants; it’s a waste of time and I don’t want to affiliate Saltyshores or myself with any negative vibes. My goal is to help people experience some unique dinning that they would not have normally had a chance to try. Also I am not and will not have any association to the restaurants I recommend. If you have a restaurant that you would like to share or you have questions or comments you can email me @ Mike.Torregrossa@gmail.com
Typically I am not a big fan of buffet food but don’t let that keep you away from trying “Fred’s Southern Kitchen” located in Lakeland Florida. This family owned and operated restaurant has all the southern favorites and more served up in a buffet style that will satisfy anyone’s craving for some good ole soul food. Bottom line is that its Southern homemade cooking at its best!
The food is laid out like you would expect from any buffet style restaurant and right off the bat you will notice that the food is fresh and constantly being rotated off the buffet line. Fred’s is located on site of the State Farmer’s Market, so you are guaranteed to get the best fruits and veggies available. Being a fat guy I had to try most of the dishes from the fried chicken to the corn bread I enjoyed every dish I tried. You’ll also find fried catfish, homemade soups, fresh salads, casseroles, desserts, and Ribs all made from scratch.
“Fred’s Southern Kitchen” made me feel like I was eating at Grandma’s house again. The wait staff and the environment are top notch. Only word of advice is to wear stretchy pants and bring your appetite!
ADDRESS: 2120 Harden Boulevard, Lakeland, FL 33803-5917 (863) 603-7080
Hours: Early Bird Mon.-Fri. 2 P.M.-4 P.M. includes complimentary drink
Lunch 11 A.M. – 4 P.M.
Dinner 4 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
South Carolina redfish have officially shifted into winter mode. We had several days with sub-freezing temperatures last week and the water has transitioned from stained to gin-clear. The redfish have ganged-up in large winter schools and most of the baitfish have either left the creeks or gone deep to avoid the cold. The fish are really predictable this time of year and won’t turn down an easy meal in most cases. Huge schools of redfish mixed with near-perfect visibility make winter fishing in South Carolina’s Lowcountry a unique experience. Yesterday’s fish were caught on bright clousers, redfish sliders, and Gulp baits in natural colors.
Gulf Sails by Jay Riordan
With a small window of opportunity we left Oneill’s marina in Tampa bay and headed out into the gulf about 70 miles. The seas were slick as glass so it was easy to see birds working small patches of bait from quite a distance. While running we noticed some commotion on the surface so decided to slow down and pitch out a live cigar minnow. Almost instantly we had a nice sized sailfish hooked up and putting on a aerial show. After a few pics we quickly released it to fight another day.
Next stop was only about a mile away and the intended target was the prized red snapper. First bait on the way to the bottom got stopped short about half the way down. The line came tight and started angling towards the surface. Initially we were thinking king mackerel until the second sailfish started tail walking. Luckily this one was a small fish since it was hooked on some very light undersized tackle. A quick fight of about 15 minutes and we had our second Gulf of Mexico sailfish release.
I recently was invited to visit the factory of Chittum Skiffs in St Augustine, Florida and wet test the much-hyped performance and specs of this new boat from a “new” company. Hal Chittum received me at the shipyard entrance and rolled this beauty out of a garage where as he described it was still undergoing sea trials before delivery to the customer. Being a newcomer to skiff fishing and everything associated with the sport, I still had heard of Hal’s reputation and a brief history of his involvement with Hell’s Bay Boatworks and their designs. I won’t digress into that discussion, but in his new endeavour Hal seems to be blending old with new. From first glance, the “Islamorada 18” as it’s called, looks like the marriage of a Maverick HPX hull and Hell’s Bay spray rail and console. That’s where the similarities end however, as the next 6 hours in the presence of this builder shed light on how much I didn’t know about boat design.
I snapped a few pics of it as we hooked it up to the suv to tow to the nearby ramp. One thing about this boat is, the harder you look, the more details are revealed. Take the photo above for example… it takes twice the time to create this console simply because of the recessed toe kick at the base making it a 2 part mold. The cushions on this boat are made from a proprietary thermoformed foam material that is extremely dense and resistant to weather, memory and punctures.
The center livewell/crustacean well has 3 drain ports at varying heights with valves for the desired water depths (pogies, shrimp/crabs, etc) and raw water pickup as well as an air diffuser and led lighting.
The hatches are super light and open effortlessly with gas shocks supporting them. The entire deck surface has a gradual radius slope from side to side for water run off just like an asphalt road.
OK, so we get to the ramp and dry launch the skiff off a fairly low incline. An aluminum Ram-Lin trailer is barely touching the water’s edge and the light weight of the skiff is managed by Gregg, rep for Hal. Notice I’m not quoting numbers on weight, draft, etc – you can ask Hal for that info. Needless to say, it is very light and when stepping on the deck from the dock, felt a surprising bounce and tippyness that I sort of expected from what Hal had eluded to along the ride. I’m not saying the boat is tippy, but it isn’t a barge either.
We rode out of the channel after a few choice words for the new Merc running double oil giving us grief. The boat was comfortable with super wide gunnels and just enough cockpit space for a couple big guys to stretch our legs behind the wheel. Hal gave it a bump to my surprise while getting my camera ready and the boat responded immediately. Of everything I observed, I was most impressed with how quickly this boat accelerated. There are lots of fast boats, shallow boats, etc etc… but I’ve never felt what I can compare to being strapped in a Carrera GT on the water, this boat hauls ass! It airs out well and is nice and steady when put on a rail at speed. Like any skiff, it needs to be driven and Hal was like a 1950’s switchboard operator on the tabs. The floor felt very rigid I’m sure due to the high tech layup and materials used and less chop noise as in some other boats. It was rough out of the inlet and we ran all over the place, with occasional spray coming over the rail due to the 15-20 mph winds that day, very few people on the water much less in the inlet.
I didn’t get to pole it in normal conditions but using Hal’s one-of-a-kind pushpole (stiffest “stiffy” ever made, as he puts it) we got to a rocky channel edge and I did my best keeping the brand new gel coat from contacting the myriad of oyster bars. The boat spins effortlessly and with 3 guys on the boat was very responsive and tracked well.
Back to the ramp and on the trailer using the dry method again.
We grab lunch and I get to know of Hal’s crazy fishing adventures abroad. He invites me back to the factory for a closer look at the build process… I was 2 hours away from home, what the heck… off we go.
What’s special about the build? Everybody has an inkling on what it takes to build a boat right? Gelcoat, glass, resin, a little carbon, a little Kevlar, voila! It took Hal about 2 hours to explain the build on this boat to me! From hiring specialists and engineers about every insignificant detail on this boat, he spoke like a man possessed. Special laminate schedules, precise reinforcement using aramids, different types of foam cores for different areas, “pre-preg” layup, vacuum bagging, etc etc… I must confess he appealed to the guy that secretly desires to finish his aerospace engineering degree. His description is that this is not a boat you buy, use and abuse til it’s old or copied a dozen times and sell for a new one… it’s a lifetime investment, a boat you can pass on to your children… never thought of that in a skiff?! Is he crazy… we’ll see.
The shop isn’t large, but in every corner was someone busy sanding, gluing, rigging or welding. It’s in the middle of a bustling shipyard and about every tool to work on watercraft is at their disposal.
I’ll highlight some items on this boat that are unique …
One is, for lack of a better description, the forward mini-chine. After reading the interesting threads on this boat in Tribenwater forum (http://www.tribenwater.com/forums/chittum-skiffs/2129-chittum-18-a.html) and seeing the design evolve, I got to hear it from the man himself. It’s supposed to channel water up the side of the hull at that point. I think that the hull slap issue may have to do with it as well, but just my opinion.
Even more interesting, is what most people probably didn’t notice. Right about the point where the forward mini-chine transitions to the hard chine running the length of the boat, there is a slight “dish” or bowl shape to the hull side. This depression comes from extensive testing in Germany of models of the hull shape in a water tank rigged with sensors to determine the pressure wakes of the boat in static and dynamic scenarios. Initially, the boat was a total failure in this regard. You can compare it to “stealth” technology on a fighter jet, whereby the boat’s presence is sending less signals to a happily tailing permit or tarpon, whatever. The dish redirects the wake outwards , instead of toward the fish (although what happens when you spin the boat when fly fishing, I thought afterwards?) The transom has a horizontal radius to it as well, meant to minimize hull slap when fishing in a chop taking waves from the stern.
Notice how deep the spray rails are compared to Hal’s hand.
And lastly, is the new model they are launching soon, the “SS” or Super Shallow. This boat has little deadrise to draft less but still incorporates almost all the same features as its sibling.
What is unique about this boat is the “bat wing” running strakes along the hard chines of the hull sides. Hal describes this as more rudder when cornering and poling, without sacrificing draft as the slight degree of deadrise it does have, keeps it from sacrificing draft.
The man has big plans, a high end bay boat coming, and ultimately high-tech yachts. That makes sense considering you have to make some loot to afford one of his skiffs, but it’s not all hype if you took the time to read this. Whether it’s worth it is up to the buyer to decide, but in simple economics it is safe to say that the time and effort to produce this skiff will never make Hal a rich man, this is a guy with passion.
This is a report from my buddy Eddie Oliveras in Orlando about his recent trip to Georgetown, SC…
Short clip of my trip, still learning d-slr and software…
What an age we live in… I recently had the good fortune of linking up with a facebook buddy near Georgetown, SC for some fishing while on a business trip to the Carolinas and Virginia. Capt Jay Nelson with Winyah Guide Service greeted me at the Big Tuna Restaurant on Front St downtown Georgetown late Tuesday evening.
We both share a passion for fishing including throwing feathers and I grew up in Greenville, SC as a child… it was the first place we lived when I immigrated to the US from Puerto Rico. The joke being our plane must’ve made an emergency landing en route to New York, because to this day I have no idea why we moved there. I had never been to the SC coast but Jay also has a passion for photography and video to give me a vision of what was in store. We shared Facebook messages and emails and finally the time had come.
Dinner was excellent, pan fried local flounder, done a way I had never eaten before… scored, seasoned and fried whole. The guys reserved their comments as they watched me try to peel the flesh off the skin and I quickly figured out I wasn’t eating the best part! I didn’t leave not a crumb for the ants on my plate after that instruction. What impressed me most however was the camaraderie and respect in that community from everyone. They would stand when they were approached by older folks and hand shakes were firm with direct eye contact and a “marine-like” posture… something I hadn’t seen in a long time. Word must travel fast in such a tight community.
We head back to Jay’s place in Pawley’s Island. Ranch style homes surrounded by tall pines I walk into Jay’s place and see a piece of fishing tackle on every wall in the garage… from fly to spin to gigging to hunting, a true outdoorsman. Without a spoken word the fly box comes out eventually… an interesting assortment, some that seem more like a stolen secret pattern from a Keys guide. Redfish here have holiday spirit too so Halloween colors are the pattern of choice.
To my amazement, the tarpon bite had been very good the past couple of weeks, and so a couple big rods went by the wall just for good measure.
Perry’s tarpon images
Jay’s good buddy Perry picked us up early. We put in not far from downtown Georgetown and made our way out of the historic seaport passing shrimp trawlers towards a secret spot to find tailers at high tide. The Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw and Sampit rivers converge to this inlet and the resulting marsh delta is well fed with nutrients.
Sunrise at the ramp
Discussing where to go first
Georgetown Lighthouse at Dawn
Ready to pole
We didn’t find tailers but I did hook up on a nice fat overslot red (slot is 15-23 inches) busting shrimp in the grass. We made a quick run thru some backcountry creeks to North Inlet and found an abundance of trout, flounder, redfish and… gar?? What the heck is gar doing here? It’s precarious if you don’t know the area as razor sharp oyster bays can leave you high and dry, so we quickly worked areas according to the tide. Jay and Perry were both prefishing for an IFA tournament so we hit all their spots. It was cool to run into a creek barely wide enough to fit the boat and sightfish reds cruising on top of oyster banks.
My red (Perry’s image)
Well, alas the day was over, we ran back to the ramp with more redfish than I could recollect to the boat. Jay dreams of fishing Mosquito Lagoon for the giant redfish with me, I hope I don’t let him down now, haha!
Oh, they placed 3rd out of 41 boats at the IFA tourney too!
Jay’s YouTube video:
The Top-Shelf menu item of Your Favorite Inshore Gamefish
Shrimp is one of the highest items of interest for most shallow saltwater gamefish including Redfish, Speckled Seatrout, Flounder, Snook, Permit and Tarpon. Depending upon your home fishing waters, there’s a period of time when there’s a “shrimp-run” or a higher-than-normal shrimp population & it’s always a great gameplan to focus on what the gamefish focus on during those special times. Whether you covering an area that has a history behind it, or are hunting down, then sight-fishing fish, it’s important to be rigged correctly to maximize your chances of catching.
When trying to cover as much water as possible, I typically weight the soft plastic toward the head with a jig-head or a weed-less, wide gap hook with it weighted either in front of the bait or actually attached to the shank of the hook, just behind the eye.
This method allows one to make a maximum length cast and work the bait back to the boat in a up-and-down or jigging motion. This setup gives the EXUDE Fantail Shrimp proper action to work various levels of the water column. It is very important that the action of the bait is felt right down to your fingers holding the rod.
EXUDE Fantail Shrimp as a sight-fishing tool
Covering water is of no importance once you have your prey in sight. I rig the Fantail Shrimp with the weight toward the rear of the soft plastic. This method allows the bait to flutter with very little action imparted and fall slowly through the water column.
The weight needed is just enough to cast the distance needed, but not to make the bait fall too quickly. This is something that will vary from area to area, and might take some “on-the-water” testing to find the right combination.
This is the method I use predominately when targeting Redfish that I can physically see before I cast to them. Since these fish are usually in less than 2 feet of water, they are very aware of their surroundings and can be spooked by the slightest things. This means finesse is a high priority. Quickly ascertain the situation and make the right cast, typically just past the fish and bring it back toward it subtly, letting the soft plastic fall right into the strike zone. Sometimes the Fantail Shrimp just needs to stay motionless. Other times, the fish might need some coaxing. Don’t twitch or jig the rod. That could be too much movement and might spook the fish. I will simply make a nervous shake of the rod, which imparts just enough movement through the line to make the Shrimp quiver. You see everything happen before your eyes, the result is known very quickly.
Whether the fish makes a water signature, v-wake or you see the direction the fish is facing, making the right cast promptly and accurately provides the highest percentage of success. As you gain more experience and time sight-fishing, you will be able to read the fish’s “personality” and make the proper bait presentation. The EXUDE Fantail Shrimp is a great “go-to” soft plastic for these methods of targeting your favorite gamefish.
EXUDE Pro Staff