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.
If you every used a truck bed extender then you are familiar with scrapping up your driveway and hitting speed bumps. Due to the design of the extenders under load the metal is sure to hit the asphalt sooner or later.
The guys at BooneDox Saw a need for a better bed extender so they came up with the T-bone. Again I say to myself “why didn’t I think of this!?”.
The concept is quite simple. Instead of heaving it squared off it curves upwards leaving plenty of clearance. It’s lightweight, compact and looks much better than the run of the mill bed extender.
Here’s some pics from my recent redfish outings. Thought I’d post them in black and white. Seems like a lot of us (myself included) get caught up trying to enhance our photos with crazy amounts of color and generally over-editing them to death. There’s something a little more honest about a black and white photo, so here ya go. Thanks for checking them out.
As you guys might have known I had the pre production model of the Power Pole Micro a few months back before it was released. The original prototype was a quick production model so it was not made to be sturdy and since then I had to return the unit to Power Pole.
The debut at ICAST 2013 could not have gone better and the Power Pole Micro ended up winning best of show.
Last week I got my hands on the production model and have been fishing it almost daily. The improvements over the protype unit that I have noticed have been quite impressive.
It now has a full functioning power control allowing you to adjust power level so you can use on a Kayak to boats up to 1500lbs.
The battery meter tells you how much juice you have left. I used mine for 3 days straight and only lost one bar. It is very efficient.
The unit is waterproof, I have dunk mine several times launching it off the dock and each time the unit gets submerged(saltwater) for a few seconds and its working like a champ.
It now senses the end of the pole on the way up. This allows for it to click down to hold the stake out pole in a more stable manner.
The remote is now just like the Power Pole unit. 2 clicks down it deploys until you are stopped, 2 clicks up it comes up until it its fully stowed.
I now can fish my Hobie Pro Angler 14 just a small skiff. Pole the flats until I see a fish and stop or drift the flats until I hook up and stop the boat to fight the fish. I also can drift near a structure and can stop and fish it a lot longer than just drifting by.
The unit can be removed and stowed in your car, hotel room in under 2 minutes. With just a 12 volt source you can move the anchor system from boat to boat. One anchor system for you kayak, Gheenoe, Jon Boat, Small skiff is awesome.
It retails for $599.00 and they say it will be available in January 2014.
At $599 it does come with remote but not a stake out pole. However JL. Marine made the pole a popular size so many of the available manual anchors will work just fine in it like the Wanganchor. (yes I tested it)
Haven’t posted in a while, but wanted to share a South Carolina Tarpon report and try to raise awareness for a tournament we have coming up. This year’s Lowcountry Tarpon Tournament will be held September 13th & 14th out of Georgetown, South Carolina. The tournament is an annual event that benefits tarpon research conducted by the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. Virtually all of the tournament proceeds go to BTT for the study of migratory tarpon along our coastline. It’s a 2 day format with a really fun awards ceremony at the end of the second fishing day. Members of BTT will be on-site for presentations and Q&A. If you are interested in learning more about South Carolina’s tarpon fishery, then please consider fishing or just joining us for the awards ceremony on Saturday evening. We will have some great auction items this year including some of Sam’s lifeproof cases, local artwork, fishing gear, and more. More info can be found at www.lowcountrytarpon.com . We are really stoked to have Paul Puckett from Charleston, South Carolina as this year’s tournament artist. Paul is a very talented dude and if you haven’t checked out is stuff then do yourself a favor and click on www.paulpuckettart.com . Here’s the official print from Paul, which will be featured on this year’s tournament shirts donated by Patagonia.
Here’s some tarpon photos from a couple of fish that Douglas Miller, Brit Rodgers, and I caught this past weekend in Georgetown. One of them was Brit’s first tarpon ever…and a South Carolina one at that…a pretty dang exciting moment for all of us. I’d say they are here in pretty good numbers leading up to the tournament. I also included some pics from this past flood tide because I thought they were pretty cool. It almost feels like fall outside and the fishing is really starting to get right. Hope to see y’all at the tournament.
SaltyShores Close-Up: Gold Coast Bonito
Jan S. Maizler
I’ve always loved bonito. Not only are they one of the strongest fish in the sea, but they are not hunted very often because many anglers find them un-glamorous. Even better, since it keeps their numbers up for anglers like me. But maybe folks that don’t like bonito are fishing for something else. Perhaps if they pursued them as a primary game fish, their perspective would change.
Bonito (or false albacore) are easy to catch and can be taken by trolling, drifting, and jigging- almost all methods can take them. For some anglers, this is less of a challenge and for others, it’s a boon- particularly practitioners of light tackle. And without doubt, the most exiting way to encounter them is when they are feeding on the ocean surface. This happens in response to live chumming on Florida’s Gold Coast or feeding on migratory minnow schools off Florida’s west coast. This latter scenario is when bonito really show off their stuff.
Light Tackle Challenge-
When the gamesters erupt on the surface, they are especially vulnerable to lures, and jigs that “match the hatch”. All of these offerings are the stuff that is fished with light tackle. While bonito are strong enough to put a strain on heavy boat gear, on light tackle they feel like freight trains. Light tackling for them with lures is an apex moment in the marine game fish lexicon. Despite their strength, they can be leader shy if they are feeding on small baits like minnows or small whitebaits. If they are hitting large live baits like greenies or herring that are thrown as live chum, they will hit large artificials like topwater plugs with abandon- and they’ll tolerate a heavier mono leader better as well.
If you’re on your own vessel, be aware that surface feeding bonito gobbling minnows and other “non-chum” migratory baits pop up and down quite often. Rather than running down the predator schools, either ease over to the school on electric motor(s), a slow RPM outboard, or cut the engine in their projected path- if you can determine that. Above all, do not scare them with your outboard or inboard engine(s).
Get Started the Easy Way-
The best way to get anointed in the Bonito Game is to go with a guide that’s experienced with light tackling for these species. And that’s exactly what I did in arranging a trip with Captain Dave Kostyo, and enlisting Captain Ken Collette for photo support. Though I spoke to Dave in the early spring, I was not surprised to hear we’d have to wait for the placid days of summer to encounter the schools of bonito that mass off Florida’s Gold Coast.
When the time arrived, Ken and I assembled at T.N.T. Marina in North Miami, where Captain Dave keeps his center console vessel, Knot Nancy. I’d brought two eight-pound plug rods onboard as back-up to Dave’s huge tackle arsenal, since it’s become evident that revolving-spool casting equipment is less common in marine “cast-angling” than spin or fly gear. The only other items I brought were two-dozen ½ ounce white Spro bucktails.
As we idled out of the canal to the open bay, Dave said we’d have to get bait before going through Haulover Cut into the ocean. Since it was summer, Dave told us that while the pilchards had departed, we should be able to catch a bunch of herring on the sabiki rigs and possibly even net some small assorted whitebaits along the island shorelines. As it turned out, we got live bait using both methods. We filled up the livewell in an hours’ time. And, soon we were passing through the mouth of the cut into the open ocean.
The Fishing Begins-
Since we were off Miami, we’d be having none of the bonito blitz of Florida’s west coast in twenty feet of water. Indeed, Dave took us right out to the “edge” in depths of around 150 feet. He deployed live baits on a “free” line, a weighted line, and one on a downrigger. In a half hour we only had a couple strikes so Dave took us shallower to around ninety feet. Almost immediately after re-deployment, all three rigs “went off.” The rods bent deeply and the drags screamed like a Star Wars trio. All of us were sure these were bonito by the long runs and rapid changes in trajectory paths. It was a perfect match of Man versus Fish- three on three- and we landed our gamesters in short order.
I was personally satisfied that we were into the fish but needed some really light tackle action. I pulled out one of my light plug rods from the rod holder and had it “at the ready” when I asked Dave to throw some live bait off the stern. As soon as the herring landed, bonito exploded under them. Some of the baits disappeared, some went airborne, and a bunch shot under Dave’s twin engines for shelter. I cast into the fray and after two sweeps of the rod hooked up with a mean bonito machine. This time the fight was much longer than with the “heavier” twelve-pound tackle. It took about ten minutes, but eventually we saw color as a big bonito pushing over twelve pounds came to the top. Dave leaned over and tailed the fish for photos.
Now it was time for Ken and Dave to get into the act. Both of them grabbed light spinners and rigged up with tiny whitebaits. As soon as their baits landed, both anglers were hooked up and smiling like Cheshire cats. As Ken got his fish within “seeing color” distance, he shouted that there were other fish alongside it. I quickly free-spooled my bucktail to the right level and jigged the rod barely twice before it heeled over. Once again, we had three-way pandemonium onboard. We repeated this action a few more times until we got the right photos as well getting ourselves to the point of exhaustion.
It’s rare to get a successful fishing trip in such short order, but with some good planning and a great captain like Dave, such things are possible.
SaltyShores Close-up: Mosquito Lagoon
Jan S. Maizler
I’d met Captain Justin Price as the guide who would spearhead the hunt for redfish and seatrout as part of a photo shoot for an article on ultralight spinfishing in Sport Fishing Magazine. From dawn to dusk, Justin and his East Cape 18-foot Lostmen took us through the “bays” and flats of the “Goon” with finesse and stability as we caught and released stud-sized bruisers of both species on line barely testing over four pounds. When our mission was over for that day, we were determined to fish together again.
Our plan was to fish in early summer of the following year, but a tropical storm plus other prior – committed travels on my schedule postponed our two days of fishing until late July. The conditions of our revised time featured flat calm warm water and a slew of vacation-liberated skiffs all over the inside waters of the Space Coast. The water was also slightly more turbid than two months prior and due to the annual growth of algae. This stood in stark contrast to the stronger algae blooms of the past year as well as the present toxic dumps of fresh water through the inlets of Stuart and Jupiter to the south.
I told Justin that I’d be bringing friend and photographer Alan Williams to New Smyrna Beach to join us on our two day adventure. As our target dates arrived, it turned out that we were blessed with fair weather and sunny skies. It appeared there would be few if any thunderstorms or showers to drive us off the flats.
On the day of our drive from Fort Lauderdale, we spoke to Justin for a last minute status report. He told us that although there was a huge push of fish in the shallows two weeks ago, the fish had now predictably settled into the flats drop-offs and potholes. As we discussed the most effective techniques for these conditions, Justin did not hesitate to recommend using live pigfish for the best results if we wanted rod-bending action and ample “photo-ops.” Local knowledge placed a great deal of trust on the gamefish – calling grunts of live piggies.
I had mixed feelings about using live bait- as did Justin. While I prefer to cast a lure to a sighted fish, I also want a backup if any shallow water gamester is unresponsive to lures or flies, especially on a story trip. Live bait would give us some old school action, just like a plate of Mac N’ Cheese. It would get us quick satisfaction, but we’d have to moderate our efforts lest we grow fat and bored with much too much.
And that’s exactly what those two days brought us: seemingly endless action on piggies with a first day tally of over forty trout to five pounds and a few redfish. We started the second day poling the flats. While most of the fish spooked way ahead of us, I did hook one golden-colored stud of a redfish which picked up a raft of grass on the line and then the hook on the soft plastic twitch bait popped out so disappointingly.
The day grew hotter and the skiffs seemed to materialize all around us in the shimmering light of mid-morning. We went back to fishing the drop-offs with live bait and easily caught another twenty trout-including some gators-and a few nice redfish.
Alan, Justin and I had a wonderful time. As we headed in to JB’s for lunch, we were already planning our next trip targeting the cooler waters of fall and bigger bunches of fish.
Captain Justin Price
Web Site: www.rightinsightcharters.com
Last week I had an opportunity to work with Bass2Billfish TV show with Peter Miller. B2B is a nationally televised TV show based on a very cool concept. They take people from out of the state, bring them to Florida get them to enjoy cool things and of course fishing.
This special episode was coordinated by the Jose Wejebe foundation. Peter takes brothers Ryan and Ross fishing in the glades then offshore in the keys.
The first day we ran into the everglades and tried for what ever variety the glades has to offer. The boys ended up catching jacks, sharks, Goliath grouper, and snooks. It was quite a long day running the boat out of Hawk’s Cay to the glades but it was well worth it.
The next day we fished offshore. Though run out was calm but once we go to the fishing grounds where the currents were it was 4 to 6′. It wasn’t pretty and even one of camera guy got sicks looking through the peep hole through out the day.
We followed birds and got into some mahi mahi and a very nice gaffer size one as well. The day ended on a near shore reef where they got broken off a few times on groupers and brought in some small sharks.
Krissy Wejebe, daughter of the late Jose Wejebe who currently is heading the foundation was there to give the kids some cool goodies from the sponsors.
Since the Calendar shoot I have fallen sick with a flu, so it’s been a slow annoying recovery this last week.
That did not stop me from heading out on the water last week during the tropical storm Andrea. Not to fish by to test some products and get some on the water photos with guys from Power Pole.
It wasn’t pretty as you can imaging with sustain winds of 25mph and gust of 40. Of course the rain and squalls coming by wasn’t pretty either.
I shot some stills while Dan shot this video of the nasty conditions that day. The video was shot with Sony Nex-5 using an Aqua pac waterproof camera bag.