Feb/March/April/May 2017

Geeze,  I have been so busy I have gotten away from one of my favorite things… blogging about all my adventures!  Hopefully with summer upon us, I will have a little more free time with school out and can fill in the gaps and stories that I have been blessed to experience with clients and friends.

Here are most recent pictures to catch up a bit on whats been going on

nice snook

to reds

to sharks

to trout

to a mixed bag of tasty critters

It is tarpon and snook season now and that means early morning early mornings on beach and lots more adventures!

See you on the hunt!

Fish On!!


Jan 2017/Dec 2016

Jan. 2017/Dec. 2016

So far the warm winter gave me a chance to target one of my favorite species, the kingfish off the beach.  Slow troweling spanish mackerel and blue runners was the bait of choice for the big smokers and got good action on whitebait when anchored up. The great fall run of kings off our beach continued all the way into Christmas, with a nice Christmas Eve king…


The inshore slam species have been cooperative too, with best bite coming on strongest tides around new and full moon action.  The snook are finally starting to stack up in the winter residential canals and along with nice slot and a few over size slot reds.  Mix that in with drum and sheepies and hopping residential docks working shrimp and pinfish can be a very rewarding day.


The trout bite has  been very good as well with soft plastic artificials and live pinfish under a cork.  This bite should only continue to get better as the cold weather pushes in.


Fish On!!

November 2016

November 2016

I have only one thing on my mind when the water temps fall into the 70’s off our beaches… the sleek, powerful and toothy kingfish.  This fish roams the gulf beaches chasing schools of spanish mackerel, blue runners and white bait every fall and spring up our coast.  It is a short window of 4- 6 weeks in the fall for the kings off our beaches, but if the wind, bait and water temps stack up right it can make for some of the most exhilarating kayak fishing you can do in our area


To me, these fish are only second to the tarpon in pure adrenaline rush for gulf kayak fisherman.  In fact, in my opinion, their strike is more violont/intense then the real king of the beach, the tarpon, especially when they skyrocket out of the water on a live spanish mackerel slow trolled behind the kayak.

I had a trip this fall during which I had two of my most epic bites ever for kings, and they happen within 15 minutes of each other.  The first came after trolling a 10 inch blue runner for two hours.  I had almost given up hope on the big blue(my favorite bait is a 12 in mackerel) and was bringing it in to check it out.  All of the sudden  I felt a huge explosion on my bait.  I looked back and saw the king make a second pass on the blue runner.  Then seconds later he came back, coming completely out of the water to inhale my bait.  He then  he splashed down and reached full speed instantaneously.  I was speechless and frozen with my heart pounding out of my chest, not just from the bite, but by the shear size and girth of this fish.  From my estimates it  was easily 40lbs if not more.  The problem that I ran into was that I had tightened the drag to much when I was retrieving the bait,   With all the furry of the strike had forgotten to back it down.  This is helped dislodge the stinger from the kings mouth after about 5 seconds of his run.  All I got back was the head with a fowled up stinger rig and one amazing adrenaline rushes.

I mulled over loosing this fish and how I had lost him for a few moments.  I decided I could only shake it off by getting back to catching some more bait and maybe get another chance.  I became more optimistic when I got my favorite bait, a perfect size mackerel.  Fifteen minutes later got my second chance under eerily similar circumstances.  I was bringing the mackerel in to check the bait and just like before, a king come up and inhaled it, but this time i had learned my lesson and had kept a loose drag. This king was nowhere near the size of the one I had lost but still in the 25-30lbs class and a trophy fish.  This bite happened about 10 yds from me and as the king launched out of the water, I could see his mouth was clamped shut on my wire leader and could vividly see bloody water slowly dripping from his razor sharp white teeth.  After he splashed down, there was a moment of silence which seemed like an eternity.  This agonizing silence was shattered by the screaming drag.  He gave me an awesome initial long run and then finished with a tough battle around crab bouyes. I was able to coax the fish all the way to the beach and land it from shore.  A crowd  had gathered to see this formidable fish.  I got them to take some pictures, revived her and sent her on her way.  The king is not the most beautiful fish, but i love their toothy grin, their lateral line and their holographic skin tone which lights up greenish yellow when the sun light hits it just right.


When I wasn’t storming the beach for kings, I had some nice redfish action back on my usual fall and winter grass flats and docks.  Most of the snook action came from “peanuts” and not the slot or over slot fish, but they are fun non the less.


As more cold fronts come in, I will put away my beach gear for a few months and focus exclusively on the back water species of snook, reds, drum, sheepies and jouvie tarpon, but with each passing front, in the back of my mind I will be looking forward to the upcoming spring kingfish run and more epic bites.


Fish On,



Sept/Oct. 2016

With the help of shorter days, fall is slowly working its way in and pushing out the summer heat as water temps are dropping to the low 80’s upper 70’s.  I love this time of year because if the wind cooperates, you can target a variety of species from beach kingfish, cobia, mackerel, grouper, flounders, reds and mackerel as well as the usual suspects of backwater species: snook, reds and trout, drum and sheepshead.

This mixed bag can make for tough decisions as to what to target.  My first love is big game species on the beach, especially kingfish this time of year.  I usually let the wind decide on what I will target.  If the beaches are calm I am hitting the beach and slow troll a small Spanish mackerel.  If the beach is blown up, then I look to the tides to figure out where I want to spend my time on the water.

Inshore fishing, and off shore for that matter, is very tide dependent.  Certain spots are best at certain tides.  Keep a journal, my wife calls it my fishing diary, of when and where you catch fish and on what tides.  If you want to get even more detailed log in the so-lunar and water temps as well.  Fishing your favorite spot on the wrong tide or at the wrong time of year does not add up to success.  Its about hitting the spot at the right tide and at the right time of year.  For example one of my best redfish spots is explosive on a flood high tide from April through October, but try it on a low or an in between tide and expect to catch nothing but catfish and sting rays.  Put a few years in logging trips and success and you will see noticeable patterns that will make your time on the water that much more productive.



Fish On!!

July/August 2016

Hot summer months can be tough on fishing, but if you pick the right tide and or get our early or late, the fishing can be as hot as the temperature.

This was the case targeting reds all July and August.  I focused my attack on hitting the high tides along mangrove lines when the weather cooperated.  Utilizing cut bait and live pins and grunts under corks made for steady action with lots of upper slot fish and some nice over slots too.

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The snook fishing has been good to around the passes.  Any strong moving tide is good.   My favorite tide is a full or new moon outgoing tide and live grunts and pins have been my go to bait with soft plastic artificals and cut bait my second choice.

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The beach fishing has been fun, with grunts and sharks providing plenty.  The tarpon were plentiful in July, but moved off the second week of august.  They will return to our beaches early October for a couple weeks and then we will not see them back till May.  The bait has shown up on the beaches and the action should just get better with mackerel, cobia and other fall species show up in better numbers with cooler temps and plenty of bait.

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Fish On!!


June 2016

June 2016

I love everything about fishing from the planning, staying up late prepping the gear, getting up early catching bait, stalking the fish with friends, getting the strike, the fight, the landing, the photos, the filleting, the cooking and eating, sharing the fish tales, but what I love the most about fishing are the God moments, the witnessing of the amazingness, beauty, order and power of the Creator through his creation.

I have had plenty of God moments this month with with some epic snook and red fish , and tarpon fights….IMG_2902




….., but the one that is etched in my mind most recently is a sick tarpon bite that happened just before sunrise with my client and good friend, Kevin.   Kevin was down from New York staying on the beach with some family and friends and I meet them at their condo early to target tarpon and reef fish.  We had a good trip catching grunts, flounder and sea bass, but the fish Kevin wanted most remained elusive, the tarpon.  The tarpon were stacked up thick that morning but had no interest in touching our bait.

I suggested to Kevin that based on the tides we should reload for later that week and see if the odds would swing in our favor.  The winds and weather held up and Kevin and I launched before sun up on calm slick waters to intercept the tarpon off Indian Shores armed with just a few pins and a lot of excitement.  As soon as we got out the tarpon where holding the exact same pattern they had been in three days ago.  We found out quickly that this morning they were ready to eat as our first bait got whacked when we tossed it near a pod of 20-30 fish daisy chaining.   To our frustration the tarpon spit it immediately.  The same thing happened to our second bait.

I had just szabikied up a fresh pinner and gave it to Kevin.  The pod had resurfaced a few feet off our stern and I told Kevin to u turn and put some space between us and the pod before recasting.   Once Kevin had re positioned he launched the pin suspended on a cork into the pod.  This time a tarpon hit it immediately and went air born.

I will remember the image the rest of my life as it is etched into my minds eye.  This tarpon rocketed out of the water like the “King of the beasts”.  He began an vertical climb lifting his colossal frame majestically  4 feet off the water. He looked every bit of 180 pounds and easily 6ft long.  As he hovered almost defying gravity, every color of the first light of sunrise lit up his sliver armor plated scales: the purples, oranges, light blues, yellows and pinks all captured on each individual scale and reflected back to us.  The moment for me developed in slow motion with the tarpon hanging almost weightlessly.  As the tarpon reached the peak of his ascent, he thrashed his head back and forth then came crashing back into the water snapping the leader as if to say, “you messed with the wrong fish”.  Then all went silent.  It was one of the most serial moments in my 40 years of fishing.

I know it was probably 10 seconds of my life but it will be a memory I will have for a long time, and one that gives me more awe and wonder for our God and reminds me how blessed we are being a part of his cosmos!!

The morning was not over for us.  Minutes later were locked up with another tarpon from a second pod 5o yards away.  This fish was in the 100lb class and Kevin battled him hard for over an hour.  We were able to land, get pictures and release the fish.IMG_2751-1


Fish On!!



May 2016

May has been HOT, from cobia on the beaches to snook in the passes and it is going to get even HOTTER with the invasion of large number of tarpon on the beaches.


The beach mitigation reefs have been on fire with good numbers of grunts, mangos, and cobia.  The tarpon have arrived, but not until the first full/new moon of June will the season be in full swing.  When hitting these reefs utilize an assortment of baits from shrimp, squid, cut bait and live pinners and white bait.  Varying your bait will increase your species caught.  On a recent trip I pulled up a nice trigger fish and even some lane and porgies.  You never know what is lurking on the reefs which makes fishing them so fun, not to mention the great fillets you can bring home.


The inshore fishing has been awesome to as the snook, trout and reds are in their summer month patterns.  I have been utilizing more artificial baits this May in search of the big three.  My best luck has been with soft plastics and evening trips help beat the heat, especially if it coincides a strong moving tide around sunset.

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Fish On!!


March/April 2016

This spring has been good so far.  The only downer was a week or two stint of red tide in late March, early April that pushed away the pods of bait and resulted in minor fish kills of our county beaches.  Luckily this didn’t last long and things are in full swing as we enter may.

In early March I was hitting the docks stalking snook and reds following my typical winter months/early spring pattern, but by mid to late April a large amount of snook had migrated to the passes and that is where I targeted my efforts.


The snook bite has been good and is getting even better, artificals have out produced live bait, but having nice white bait or grunts and pins is hard to beat.  The key is targeting strong moving tides and fishing for me always more consistent if you can plan your trips around the new and full moon tides.


The rock piles off our beaches has been producing really well when the winds are allowing us to get out.  Even on a slow day, grunts, nice mangos, trout, reds, grouper, black sea bass, flounder, mackerel and sharks are all strong possibilities on any given day fishing these piles.  On a really good day you can catch all of the above and also run into big grouper, cobia, kingfish and tarpon.  Speaking of tarpon, there are small pods of fish moving up and down the beaches already and these numbers will increase as we get into the first full/new moon phase of May and run all the way through mid July.



If fishing isn’t you thing, there are still plenty of fun stuff to do on the water.  One of my favorite is paddling to a spoil island for some sun, fun, picnic and sunset paddle back.   Another great exploration is heading out to nearby sand bars to hunt for sand dollars and other cool sea life such as urchins, conchs and fish that hang out in the sea grasses near the sand bars.




Fish On!!


February 2016

February 2016

February can be one of the most challenging months of the year with temps bouncing up and down with fronts passing through weekly. This makes it hard to rely on a dependable bite.

The snook have been very tight lipped this winter, but recent trips I finally had some success around residential docks with artificial lures.  The biggest snook I had was 35 in plus beast that jumped twice like a tarpon once he realized he was hooked and then destroyed me on a dock pylon.  Hands down, snook are my favorite inshore species because of their epic strike, runs and in this case acrobats.  I am hoping as the water warms the snook action will become more steady.


The redfish have been hit and miss, with most fish being underslot and a few slot fish.  The ones I have gotten are hanging tight to residential docks or on the beach rock piles.  I have been using shrimp, cut bait and artificials for the reds.

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Drum and sheepies and trout have been the most consistent bite this month.   If you put your time in on residential docks using live or frozen shrimp you will be able to run into a good number of the sheepshead and drum.  The trout have been in good numbers on the grass flat pot holes and drop offs.  I have been using soft plastic artificials for the trout.

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As the temperatures are climbing, lots of people have been wanting to just get out kayaking.  There is nothing better on a spring day then to paddle out to a nearby spoil island and have lunch with family and friends.  This is an awesome thing to do with kids.  They love exploring the island and the marine life around it.


As the gulf water temps continue to climb I will shift gears and spend less time around residential docks and the majority of my time on the beaches chasing down the king fish.


Fish ON!!


Dec/Jan 2016

January 2016 has brought some chilly weather after a super warm December.  In December and into early January I was out on the beaches hammering big grunts, snapper,  few flounder and getting slammed by big grouper bites, but this bite tends to shut down for me once the temps dip below 65.

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With the gulf temp dipping well below 60 degrees, my trips are restricted to residential docks and intracoastal grass flats.  This definitely doesn’t mean any less action.

On windy cold days, the best option is to find shelter in the residential canals chasing sheepies, drum, reds and snook.  The sheepshead and drum have been chewing hard on all trips, making up for the slow red and snook action.



This most recent cold snap has put the snook into their winter hiatas.  My best luck with bigger fish is working artificial lures that mimic the bait fish that roam the canals.

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Using the kayak to stalk the docks is by far superior to boat fishing.  Boats can’t get the angle on the docks and castability that kayaks offer.  When approaching a dock, the kayak is by far quieter than boats with trolling motors and the kayak pushes far less water then even the lightest flats boat.  This is a big game changer for holding the fish on the docks and being able to make tight casts up under the docks where the fish are holding.

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I love getting out on a cold winter day hoping from dock to dock pitching shrimp under the shadows.  Usually a good cast will get rewarded with steady bites.

As the cold weather continues, the trout action should heat up to, with hitting grass flats and drop offs using artificials.  Usually trout is not a fish I target outside of the cold winter months in hunt of the big gator trout that push into our area.  Trout are called weakfish for a reason, not putting up much of a fight, but fish that push over 20 inches will definitely pull some drag and seeking out that coveted 30 plus inch trophy is always a winter goal of mine.



Fish On!!