Friday, April 11, 2014

Secrets to the ' long cast '

I haven't been able to do much fishing the last few weeks but when I did fish , it was very apparent that the Redfish were amongst the mullet schools and to keep from spooking the mullet, I had to anchor up a considerable distance away, (approximately 40 yards).  Therefore a long accurate cast was in order, if I wanted to catch those Redfish. Here are my thoughts on what it takes to make long casts.
It helps considerably if you are a pretty good caster. Especially if you can consistently cast over 100 feet.
Always keep the wind at your back !!
When casting long distances it really helps to load up your rod. Leave 4' - 5' of leader off the end of your rod tip. Bring your lure or bait all the way behind you to get maximum rod speed and a smoother cast. Then load your rod, really let it go, ( a hard cast forward ) and release the line off your finger at about 45 degrees . If it is windy, keep the wind behind you and release the line from your finger @ 50 - 60 degrees, for an even longer cast. 
If you are using jigs and soft plastics, up the size of your jighead ( go from an 1/8th oz to a 1/4 oz or a 3/8th oz ). You have to move the heavier jighead a bit faster to keep it out of the grass.
If you are using live bait, freelining, add a split shot , just above the line to hook knot. I carry size # 7 (small),# 5, # 4, # 3, # 2, and # 1 (large). I use whatever size it takes to get my lure or bait in the right area.
I use only 10# Braid, which gives me the best chance to not only cast far but I have a very good chance of landing even very large fish. Keep your drag set @ 3 - 4 lbs.
For the past 2 years I have been using Spinning rods that are 8 feet long and with medium light action. There  are 3 rods that I have been using:  Ohero 4# - 12# @ $64.20, Shimano Teramar 8# -17# @ $120.00 and a Daiwa Saltiga 8# - 17# @ $160.00. They are very light and with a 2500 or 3000 series Spinning reel you cast allot , cover more water, catch more fish and not wear yourself out in the process. If you convert to 8 foot rods , you will have a blast when you do catch those really big Redfish Trout and Snook.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Inshore and Offshore Possibilities

Spring and fall are great times to be a fisherman in West Central Florida.  Inshore waters, which have been providing great action on large seatrout all winter, begin to offer additional species.  Redfish numbers increase as spring arrives and, as soon as water temperatures pass the 70 degree mark, snook become a real possibility as well. Trout and snook respond to the moving tides and are therefore best fished when water movement is strongest.  Redfish will follow the tide in and work their way towards their favorite feeding stations, where they’ll dine on the higher phases of the tide. On the outside, Spanish mackerel, bonita and kingfish are closing in on the beach to feed on the large bait schools that reside their.  These fish will post up just a few miles off the beach…well within the range of near shore fishermen.

A typical day would start with a trip to these near shore waters with a live well full of whitebait.  Anchoring and chumming with chum blocks and whitebait is usually an effective way to get the ball rolling as any self respecting predator should find its way into this buffet. If, within 20 – 30 minutes, there are no signs of life, it’s time to start slow trolling a few live baits.  This approach allows more water to be covered and seems to trigger strikes that otherwise might not come…a result of the bait being in constant motion.  After several hours on the outside, which have hopefully resulted in a nice kingfish or two, it’s time to head back inshore to search out a few redfish on the higher tide. Throwing baits up in tight against mangrove shorelines is a “sure fire” approach once tides have pushed up high.  After pulling on a few of these hard battling fish, it’s back to the home of seatrout and snook…likely out along the beach…to see if the outgoing tide has once again put them in feeding mode.  There’s no better way to end a day of fishing than to watch a freshly hooked snook bolt down the beach.

Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters

Capt. Brian report

What's Hot: Warming temperatures this week has turned on the inshore fishing. Trout have been eating anything moving at the beginning of the incoming tides. The fish are ranging in size from 15 inches to 25 inches. The bigger fish are chasing the large sardines and even threadfin herring. Small to medium pinfish are getting hit also. Redfish have been schooling together along the mangrove shorelines on the high tides. Fish into the space between mangrove limbs with cut baits or live shrimp. Sometimes one overhang of a mangrove bush can be shelter to dozens of redfish lurking in the shadows. On falling tides, turn away from the treeline, focusing on mullet schools moving out with the tide. Redfish have been falling out with these large schools of mullet to remain hidden from dolphin and sharks, feeding on the flats.
Tip: When looking for a school of redfish, it's best to have the sun behind you. Redfish will roll and flash they're bellies when comfortable. Mullet will do the same, however, the flash from a redfish will appear three times larger, allowing you to locate the school from a distance. Once the school is located, cast a pinfish in their direction, leading the fish by a few yards.

Capt. Brian Caudill

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fishing report from Capt Jason Prieto

March winds are blowing but this has not slowed the fishing as of late inside Tampa Bay. Snook fishing has taken center stage as fish start to make the push from the rivers and creeks to the flats and back country. Greenbacks are whats on the menu when talking Snook fishing in March. Most fish are hungry and ready to eat. You will find fish on just about every pothole and creek on the lower part of Tampa Bay. Bait can be a bit of a chore to catch this time of year as it starts to make the push from offshore into the bay but with a heavy cast net and a little chum it make make for a great day on memories. If you would like to get out on the water in Tampa Bay for some great fishing just drop us a call. 813-727-9890

Capt. Jason Prieto
 Owner: Steady Action Fishing Charters

Regional Director
 Florida Guides Association

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Captain Brian Caudill Fishing Report

What's Hot: Snook are starting to look westward, moving out of the backcountry haunts they occupy for the colder winter months. Although it will be a while before returning to the beaches for spawning, they will be staging along the flats in front of the canals and creeks as they test the water temperatures. Snook are very wary of cold water, unable to survive in drastically low temps, as proven three years ago, resulting in widespread fish kills. As we approach late March and consistent warmer weather, they will forage more, looking for easy meals while inching towards the passes. Cuts and ditches are perfect terrain to find them, as well as oyster bars on peak high tides. Seawalls and docks lining the entrances to residential canals will often hold numbers of snook.
Tackle: Snook have rough lips and very sharp, rigid gill plates. Using 10 - 15lb braid and 30 - 40lb leader will help reduce break offs from the fish as well as pilings and other structure they will seek out during a fight.
Tip: A favorite bait for snook are live sardines, also referred to as "whitebait" or "greenbacks". They are slower than most other baits such as pinfish and have no defense like sharp dorsal fins, making them an easier target. Spend time learning where and how to net them and you will have much more success in early spring catching snook.

Capt. Brian Caudill

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hot Bottom Bite

Our Bottom Fishing trips to hard bottom and ledges in the 30 - 40 foot areas have been producing strong action, including good catches of Hogfish and Sheepshead.  With the weather changing for the better, and water temps rising, the action is only going to get better. There is more and more bait showing up everyday, which is making the Bottom Bite hotter. Soon, Mackerel, Kingfish, Cobia, Sharks and Tarpon will add to the action.

Heavy chumming is an asset to bringing the action to you.  We've have also been using frozen crab chum dropped to the bottom in a cage along with shrimp and/or fiddler crabs for bait. This has helped add Hogfish and Sheepshead to our catch on every trip.  We have found that using lighter tackle gives more possibilities and more action. We may have not brought every fish up, but its a good trade off to get more chances by using 20lbs for our mainline and 20 - 40lbs for leader, a 3/0 circle hook with 1 2 oz. of lead. Tying this tackle combination into “chicken” or “knocker” rigs has gotten the job done.

Remember while fishing these same areas they will hold a lot of other possibilities.  Always have a flat line out and rods rigged and ready for fish that may show up in your chum slick.

Catch Em Up!!!!

Capt Dave Blanchard
All Good Charters

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Near Shore Bite is Just about ON

Seventy degrees seems to be a magic number.  When temperatures reach and hold at this level in the spring, good things happen.  Yes, there is a positive affect on inshore fishing but something dramatic also happens just miles off the beach.  As near shore waters warm, local beaches flood with bait.  Typical of most marine environments, when a lot of bait shows up, there is usually something right behind it to eat it.  Waters within a few miles of the beach that have been largely un-fished during the winter months will come alive with Spanish mackerel, bonita, kingfish and shark and the feed will be on.  Traveling to near shore rock piles, in 20 to 25 feet of water, with a couple of chum blocks and a live well full of bait is almost guaranteed to result in a lot of bent rods.  It’s usually the mackerel that show first…sometimes immediately but almost always within 15 to 20 minutes.  If they are in the area, they’ll usually respond quickly to a free feeding of frozen chum and live white bait.  The speedy predators will often times get frenzied and every bait in the water will be eaten.  Using 7.5 foot, medium action spinning rods loaded with 10 – 15 lbs test can result in great sport as these mackerel typically average three to four pounds and will consistently pull drag.  To keep these toothy fish on the line, 20 – 30 lbs fluorocarbon leader tipped with a 6 inch steel leader is the best approach.  Typically, all of the commotion created by the mackerel will bring in larger fish such as kingfish, bonita and shark, along with the occasional great barracuda.  With the exception of the bonita, these other predators are just as happy, if not more so, to eat the mackerel instead of the whitebait.  This usually calls for a slight upgrade in tackle so it’s important to have some 7 foot, heavy action, spinning rods spooled with 20 – 30 lbs test to handle these bigger game fish.  It never hurts to drop back a ballooned mackerel or blue runner on one of these larger outfits just to see what’s patrolling the edges of your chum slick.  When the drag starts screaming on this bigger rod, it is always a more sizable fish.  So as the end of March nears, look for great action close to shore.  Along with beautiful weather, the fishing can be spectacular and non stop.

Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Capt. Brian

                Welcome to my latest report! It's been an up and down winter season here, cold fronts blowing in every 7 days or so. I
know, I know, nothing like what those of you in the north are experiencing. Just remember, our fish like a tropical climate
too! They get a little funky with cold weather. Through it all, we've had some great days catching redfish and trout mostly.
Here are the details...
                Redfishing started slow this year but they have come on strong. In late February we were catching a lot of the smaller
"rat" reds on shrimp, basically on every oyster bar around. They were inhabiting a lot of docks and even the potholes on the
flats. Now the bigger, upper slot and oversized fish have started to cooperate. They are schooling a bit and on the higher
tides are eating pinfish, sardines and large shrimp. I have been focusing on the usual mangrove overhangs, and creek mouths
that usually hold them this time of year. Mullet are schooling by the thousands still, so I follow the majority of mullet to
locate the redfish, commonly grouping with them. Gold spoons are a great way to scout for redfish, fan-casting on the
perimeters of mullet. Also jerkworms on a 1/8 jig can also be very effective.
                Our trout fishery is outstanding right now. Many fish over the 20 inch mark. On a recent trip with a close friend Bill
Rapp and his family, his 8 year old son Gannon got a 27 inch trout on a large sardine! It took off like a snook, even leaving
the water at first! Of course not all are in that range, but we have had many days with fish ranging 18 - 24 consistently. All
of the spoils islands in St. Joseph Sound and many of the surrounding flats are holding the big trout.
                Snook are starting to poke their noses out a little bit. Still more on the eastern shorelines near the residential
canals and creeks where they have survived the winter. I'm not picking on them much yet. They are still trying to recover from
the kill the sustained three years ago. Although we aren't far away from seeing them in transitional areas on their way to the
beaches to spawn. Their season closes again on May 1st, allowing them a reprieve to spawn with out being harvested at all.
                We are seeing spanish mackerel busting glass minnows inshore. A few warm weeks in a row and they will be a couple miles
offshore in droves. We are expecting a banner kingfish season also! There are reports from commercial boats near the Keys of
millions of pounds of kingfish passing through the Florida Straits on their way into the Gulf! More than they've seen in recent
years! I'm looking forward to getting some of my clients hooked up to these smokers! Guaranteed fun!
                Ok, back to the boat for the next few days. Please call or email me to book your day out on the water. I have had a ton
of trips booked lately by folks tired of the snow and cold up north, getting out of town for even a few days for some Florida
sunshine and fishing! I'm here, ready to work hard for you! So call now and let's go fishing!

Capt. Brian Caudill

Offshore Magic

The old guys went offshore Tuesday. Beautiful day with flat seas. Offshore wrecks are offering a real mix of fish. Amber Jack are on all wrecks we went to on 90’-100’. Monster ARS are getting ready for June 1st, catch and release right now. Gags are everywhere laughing at us right now until July 1 as we released no less than 10 – 15 keepers. Searching hard bottom areas with sardines and live bait brought of some nice red grouper. Nice size Mango were caught also. Mostly on dead bait.

Bite should be on again after this front.

From the deck of “the Gulf Cart”

Cold Front Trout

Normally, 'Cold Fronts' spell the end of Trout fishing for a few days, after the 'Cold Front' moves through. But, if you can manage to get out there and fish as the 'Cold Front' approaches, you might have the same luck as I did last week. The 'Cold Front' was approaching last  Wednesday, 3-5-14, and was supposed to blow through in the afternoon. I took the opportunity to go out fishing @ 1:30 pm, which was almost 1 hour before high tide. I went to one of my spots, on the flats, where there was a spoil island with mangroves, oyster bars surrounded by turtle grass and sandy bottom and had a nice moving tide. My first 7 consecutive casts produced 7 large Trout, the biggest being 24-1/2". I stayed there for a little over an hour, until the wind picked up, and managed to catch a total of 16 large trout, which ranged in size from 19" to 24-1/2", all of which I released so they could get larger. Big Trout are such a blast!! 
 I used only artificials and my 2 favorite lures were the SoftDine, color #15 and a Rip and Slash, color olive. The Trout obviously loved them!  As the next 'Cold Front ' approaches , get your favorite spots lined up and chose, if you can a favorable incoming tide and get out there and try your luck. Tight Lines !     Kayak Bob