Everglades Reds

Watching the stars out of the indigo sky while sleeping on the platform around WilyWily in Everglades National Park. I had lost count and could not believe how crisp and beautiful the stars shined bright. Winter had just passed and springs was on its way the only real transition of weather patterns this far south in Florida. Basically it’s ether hot or nice and the nice last for about two months before it turns back into hot. The guided trip was a adventure in its self with a cold front blasting through the region of the state a day before and the tidal effects of a new moon the landscape looked as foreign as I’ve ever seen it. A whole other world only accessible by the shallowest of skiffs.

 

The bugs were tolerable and for most part it was quite comfortable. Any uncomfortable-ness was ignored or over shadowed by the fishing. As I drifted a sleep the wind was dry and crisp as it whispered out of the north trying to go north east . The smell of coffee and fried ham woke me up it was five in the morning and chilly. The horizon to the east casted the beautiful grey and off in the distance you could just make out the silhouettes of three ducks heading further south. With a belly full of fried ham eggs and toasted Cuban bread we loaded our gear. Seven and five weights the five weight was up lined to a six. The assortment of fly ranged from poppers, gurglers,and live bait patterns.

 

With our yeti thermos filled with grainy coffee and the skiff loaded down with lunch we were ready for a all day adventure exploring the interior waters of E.N.P on a falling tide. The water way was composed of little tidal tributaries that branched off and poured into and out of bays. The water was clear and cool. The summer months are usually the opposite the water is not as clear and luke warm. Running the skiff up to one of the bay’s the waters were still and the sun was warming the southerly side of the bay up. We decided to pole into the bay which was only two feet deep in the deepest parts. I’d never seen a crawling RedFish or even eight Crawling Redfish .

 

These fish were foraging on what I believe to be crabs or some type of crustaceans. There back’s were glistening in the rising morning sun. They would every so often charge and push at food towards shallows of the mangrove flat. Green and yellow leaves littered the bay floor and the sediment on the bottom was a rich black color. After twenty minutes of watching this awesome display of nature we could not contain our selfs any more. Six weight with brown and tan gurgler, a long shot at the most . A nice thirty foot cast two strips and the fly started to spit and bubble. Two of the eight Redfish started to race and it was on . They pushed the fly out of the water with the bridges of their noses. A light copper color that stood out in the shallow water and mangrove green wall as a back drop. Finally the more dominant Redfish smashed the gurgler with a explosion of water. A health strip set and the fight had just be gun .

 

I watched as the fish raced at speeds I’d never seen it cut a cross one end of the bay and then doubled back heading for the entrance. Six weight” screaming” a foreign noise in this jungle paradise . Poling as fast as I could I closed the gap and the fish settled down . The reality was that this fish had never been caught or even had a hook in its mouth. After releasing the twenty one inch Redfish we watched and caught three more. The biggest being thirty four inches . Watching these great fish in one of the thousand bays we could fine was in itself worth the trip. Latter that night we celebrated with home made chocolate chip cookies and some “Makers Mark” . Discussing our adventures and listening to each other’s perceptions on the beauty’s of E.N.P hoping to learn something we hadn’t seen . Battered fly’s and used six weights lay in the skiff as the stars fall once again out of the indigo sky. Experience this here: http://gladesflyfishing.com/

Sea Trout

The bay as been rejuvenated since my dad fished it forty years ago. The presence of healthy mangroves are proof that the conservation efforts are paving way . Tampa bay is a beautiful estuary with rich turtle grass and a abundance of marine organisms that were not present in the last forty years. This is evident in the trout fisheries . Sea trout are a great fish to catch as well as a great table fish for anglers that like to eat their catch. Sea trout also called “ specks” are a aggressive fish they can be found on and around grass beds . Sea trout are also found around structure such as rocks and snags.

 

Sea trout like ledges, drop offs and breaks. Sea trout are aggressive eaters and enjoy eating all types of different live bait. Trout fishing is a great family activity and can be appreciated by any skill set of angler. When locating the trout it’s important to keep them interested in what you have to offer them in ways of bait . My favorite choice is scaled sardines . Shrimp work well as do pinfish. I like anchoring up to fish for Sea Trout ideally I like fishing grass beds. Keeping the Sea Trout interested requires a lot of bait. The point is to chum or introduce a “ ecosystem “ of bait fish.

 

By doing so you will entice the trout into a feeding frenzy given the Trout are there and the tides are conducive to there feeding schedule. The chumming is done by injuring or stunning the bait fish and then throwing them behind the boat . The Trout will smell and see these injured bait fish and eat them . Keeping the fish chummed up you present the Trout with a bait although this bait has a hook within in it. Trout can be tricky when it comes it catching them . The term “ less is more “ rings true when targeting Trout. Tackle is important as bait . It’s important to match your tackle to your size of fish. I prefer a spinning rod of medium to soft action. The length is between six and half to seven and half feet. The size of reel is in the 1500 – 2000 series a smooth drag is important. I’m bias on line choice I guess it’s habit , but I prefer mono filament over braid . Although they both work just fine. Ten pound to twenty pound line works fine in ether mono or braid. Leaders are not necessary if using a long shank hook. If using a circle hook a piece of ten pound fluorocarbon leader is fine.

 

I really like a long shank wire hook when targeting Sea Trout ,but any kind of hook will do as long as the hook matches the bait size. Attaching the leader it line by knot is important . A floating cork can be used as well. Trout will feed in the upper water column and the surface. Whether using live fish or shrimp for bait when Trout fishing hook placement is important so that the bait can swim naturally . The action of the fishing rod is a misunderstood point for anglers new to SeaTrout fishing. Trout have what’s called a “soft mouth” so a really stiff rod will pull the hook out of this fishes mouth . Where’s a soft or flexible rod will give when catching this toothy fish. This type of action prevents pulled hooks and will increases you odds of catching a Trout. Trout like tide so depending on your location in Tampa use that to your advantage when targeting Trout.

 

When fishing for SeaTrout make sure to always keep a bait in the water so that the Trout stay interested. Trout are soft skinned and should be handled properly to prevent injuries . Remember to practice ethical and respectable fishing practices.

Tampa Tarpon

Tarpon fishing in Tampa Florida is a great way to enjoy some great action being so close to a full fledged city . Bridge fishing certain times of the year is a great way to capture the Silver King of your dreams . Large spinning rods with large reels are the choice for when fishing near bridges. A eight foot spinning rod in the twenty to thirty pound class rod will do just fine. A four thousand series reel or even a five thousand series with a very smooth drag is important . Braid line is a popular choice for these out fits because the braid is stronger than the mono filament and you don’t need as much on the reel. Also braid cuts the water faster which means less resistance when fishing around a lot of current such as the many bridges found in Tampa Florida.

 

The leader choice is usually of two choices mono filament or fluorocarbon . Both of these leaders will work just find. Fluorocarbon is made of different properties, and I favor it due to its abrasion resistance and transparency in the water column. These two lines braid and fluorocarbon can be connected by ether knot or swivel . The hook that you choose is as just as important . The size must match the bait size not the fish size . Bait for bridge fishing can depend on what type of fishing your doing. I like to anchor up the boat up tide of the bridge and fish down tide towards the bridge. Tarpon like current and water movement they also enjoy eating what’s in season. You’ve the slogan “ match the hatch “ well that’s true for all fishing application’s . If there’s abundant amount of bait within and around the bridge at the time of fishing . The chances of Tarpon eating that particular bait are good. I personally like using lady fish,mullet and thread fins. All three types of these baits can be caught and even purchased if desirable.

 

Most fish opportunistic and feed out of instinct . It’s important that when presenting these baits to the targeted species that they all look natural in their appearance. Where you cast these baits and how they are hooked is just as important as having the proper sized tackle . This is the first intersection point between you and your desired prey. The term “first impressions” fits nicely in trying to explain the presentation of bait to prey. Bait fish come in different sizes and shapes. The key is to hook these live baits so that they are able to swim naturally and look natural. You also must take in factor the tide. How fast is the tide going , which direction is the tide going and where are the fish your targeting in relation to the tide. If your bait is spinning out of control with not a natural appearance your wasting your time when trying to catch fish such as Tarpon. With any fish that your targeting you will be competing with not just other anglers, but more importantly “hook free bait” .

 

This is over looked most of time. Your concern expressed should be about your tackle and bait and not the angler next you. Everybody has to compete with bait that swims the way it should that’s very important when Tarpon fishing. The Tarpon is a great sport fish and is built to notice detail. This is explained in the comparison of eye size to body size . Tarpon have large eyes and they use these eyes very well when capturing their bait of choice. The position of their eyes is important as well. How a fishes eyes are positioned will give you a good indication of how that particular fish will usually feed. “What you can’t see you can’t eat.” Hook placement plays a key factor in catching these fish. When bridge fishing you must prepare for the fish when it’s hooked and being able to catch this wonderful sport fish.

 

Using a “ breakaway anchor” or the motor to control the boat is important when bridge fishing in Tampa. Casting down tide and letting the the bait swim naturally back towards the bridge were the tarpon are feeding is my preferred method of bridge fishing. When the fish is caught be ready to release your anchor or move your boat. Thus safely and ethically fighting your Tarpon. Tampa Tarpon Trips: HERE

Summer Offshore Fishing

Summer time is a special time in southwest Florida when to go offshore fishing . There’s not as much traffic on the water and the tranquil weather patterns make for great fishing expeditions offshore. Long hot days and cooling rains in the afternoon are typical in this subtropic paradise. Sarasota offers some of the best bottom fishing found along southwest Florida coast.

A offshore fishing trip is a great way to enjoy the aqua blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Teaming with all sorts of wildlife besides fish such as sea turtles,dolphins, and magnificent frigate birds. No matter your skill set there’s a challenge for you waiting offshore. Trolling for King fish or bottom fishing for groupers. The coast actually runs northeast to southwest in Sarasota . This coast line is recognized by its white sands that glow. The sea floor is composed of healthy marine life and established reef ecosystem’s. This makes offshore fishing great.

 
Under nine miles is considered a half day trip consisting usually of four hours. For a longer day which is possible such as a seven hour trip you could venture off fifteen to twenty miles in your quest for the bountiful treasures of southwest Florida .

 
With dozens of species to harvest for food offshore fishing is a great choice for “cooking your catch”. There’s exciting sport fishing options as well if table fair isn’t in your plans. Groupers red and gag make great table fair. Snappers and other reef fish species are found as well when fishing for your dinner. As for sport fishing there’s the King fish which is also a great tasting fish. Permit, amber jacks,and sharks are all real fun to catch and defiantly can put up a great fight.

 
The easiness of choosing a guided charter is by far the best choice when enjoy the spoils of offshore fishing. Quite simply you don’t have to worry about fishing spots, licenses ,tackle, and boat up keep. Relaxing in the back of the boat heading offshore with no worries. Captain and crew taking care of all the catch and busy work. Nothing to do, but fish and enjoy your self.

 
Fishing offshore usually begins with a early morning start the hardest part is showing up. The captain and mate will have all the ice and tackle you will need and the experience and know how to make your trip pleasurable. The run to the fishing grounds is beautiful with the pink and purple back drop in the easterly sky. The gulf alive with sea birds and rafts of bait on the surface of the blue green gulf waters.

 
Anchoring up on a great spot and within no time the” rods start bending over” lots of action is typical with offshore fishing. From giant Amber jacks that pull and run like a train to the very soft bite of the Hogfish you never no what your gonna catch while fishing offshore. The variety of fish is endless to catch as the bait that’s used to capture theses tasty fish. Live bait such as shrimp,sardines and pinfish make great choices for live bait. Fresh frozen dead bait is a great choice as well if live bait is not a option. A good example of these baits would be squid,mullet,and Spanish sardines. All the seasons in southwest Florida are great to fish offshore not just summer time. Winter time brings in the Red grouper and snappers. Fall is full of Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel,and tuna. The spring is cobia,sheepshead and triple tail.

 

Get a charter: http://naplesfishingboat.com/charters/
Offshore fishing is a great relaxing way to enjoy some action packed fishing. It’s extremely easy and not intimidating at all. No matter your skill set every one can enjoy offshore fishing and catch fish. Climb aboard the vessel of your choice. With iced down drinks and fresh cold cut fruit. Sit back in the cockpit of the boat and relax as you cruise out to the fishing grounds. Sea breeze and plenty of sunshine with views of the white sand beach’s of Sarasota . Your embarking on a awesome day of offshore fishing.