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December; Notes; The Fishing Charter

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December arrives.     Winter weather arrives.    The schedule, kind of light compared to years past.   Where is everyone who wants to catch fish?   As the owner of this web site, I keep up with things.   The site is being nominated for different awards.   No question, there is great content here.    This edition, I’m going to talk about fishing charters.    Ahead of the last front:  The best trout fishing of the year.    Per the usual, big trout for the start of winter.

The fishing charter, not always utilized by people.   The ones who do can tell you about the benefit.    I am a guide, in my 13th year doing this.    When you go with a guide you learn a great deal.   You learn about the location you go that day.    What else you learn has everything to do with what you express to your guide.     I specialize in kayak fishing.     Kayak fishing guides seem to come and go.    I’ve been around longer than anyone else.    With the way I do it there is no “live bait.”    If you want to use live bait you can.    That’s your choice.    To me, kayak fishing should be about using artificial lures.   Eliminating live bait eliminates headaches.

Learning lures:   You get to be more skilled.    More skilled you will end up catching more fish.    I give those lessons.     A big lesson is:  I have now taught you how to do it.  When you go on your own can you be as successful as the day you went with me?      That has everything to do with going to the right locations.    When you are with me you are going to be in the right locations.   I know them.    It is automatic.      When you go you have 1000 choices for every location you go.    Are you getting to the right spots for success.   That too, I teach.    What to look for.    The right terrain.

Express your desires.   What do you want to do out there?     A charter is an investment.   If you choose the right thing, your future in fishing should be much better because of what you do on the day of a fishing charter.    What I teach has great value.    What you take from it IS the value.   My niche is Kayak Fishing.    If you want to learn and be best at kayak fishing, I am a good one to hire.     Not bragging, that’s just the way it is.

The action has been good but likely to explode with this change in weather.   Water temperatures will reach an ideal level.     The bump up in action for big trout was significant ahead of the last front.

Off the water:   Books.     The first two of three will publish early in 2018.     The first, “Kayak Fishing” will be the most complete book on the sport ever published.     The second will be an amusing one.   Funny fishing stories and other tidbits.   I want them to be right.   These have been major editing projects.    I have gone cross-eyed looking at these files.

Getting my life back, I am house hunting again.    A stint in Lakeland, I am ready to be back on the coast permanently.    Once done, I may even get a dog.   My hope:  This is my final move.

Still out there:  Pompano teasers.   I actually ran out of hooks but I have over 12,000 of these.     I need more buyers.     With 5000 more hooks coming, people need to be buying these.     It is actually kind of funny:  Companies that should be buying them are getting them from China at a price that I can’t match.   But apples to oranges, they would be better off buying a quality product from me.     The holiday season, these could be bought as a gift.     $1 each, you get 20 of these for someone they would be set for six months.    Pompano are a huge target with these.    But they catch almost everything.

Another gift idea, the gift of a kayak fishing charter.     I’ve had people coming to me for these on their own.     I am a teacher.    Someone goes on a trip with me they are a better fisherman the rest of their lives.

Strike Three Kayak Fishing needs an overhaul.    You wouldn’t believe the obstacles I’ve hit trying to move this site.     These companies don’t speak on peoples’ level.     I am a major web site owner and I can’t figure out what they are talking about most of the time.    Be assured, that site will move and it will be restored to how it is supposed to be.

Capmel.com has been upgraded.     If you haven’t visited the site in a while, take a look.  I am very proud of the site.     The upgrade makes it work like it did years ago.   With growth, the site slowed.    In the future:  New contributors.

Kayak fishing Skool resumes in January.   The 8th Avenue Pub in Safety Harbor has been well taken and we will continue to hold it there.

In development, the resurrection of the Kayak Fishing Academy.     The new host location will be Osprey Bay Outdoors in Clearwater.   A $30 seminar, three and a half hours long, this is the most complete seminar I do.   We have talked about having this quarterly.   With promotion in the store, that is feasible.

Strike Three Kayak fishing will continue the same into 2018.     Things should actually get even more interesting.

Neil Taylor

Owner, capmel.com;  owner and guide Strike Three Kayak Fishing
727-692-6345
Livelybaits@aol.com

The Meatheads of the Week

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NORTHWEST REGION

 

CASES

 

JACKSON COUNTY

 

During muzzle loading gun season, Lieutenant Allen and Officer Forehand received a complaint from a landowner who stated that earlier in the morning a hunter came to his residence to ask for permission to track a wounded deer that he had shot on the adjacent property and run onto the landowner’s property. The landowner denied the request and told the officers that he heard the shot and that it did not sound like a muzzleloader. The officers located the hunter at his residence and conducted an interview. The hunter admitted to shooting the deer with a .270 rifle. He produced the rifle and the officers located a spent .270 shell casing. The officers also located fresh deer blood where the hunter shot the deer. The hunter was charged with taking deer by an illegal method.

 

 

NORTH CENTRAL REGION

 

CASES

 

CITRUS COUNTY

 

Officer Crane got a complaint of people hunting “monkey squirrels.” Officer Crane located two subjects who were hunting and had killed a fox squirrel. The subject was cited appropriately.

 

Officer Cheshire inspected a vessel for boating safety violations and attempted to issue a boating citation when the subject became combative and had to be taken to the ground. The subject was taken to jail for refusal to sign the citation and resisting arrest without violence.

 

Officers Creel and Wells were on water patrol when they received a complaint of a subject on a vessel using a net to catch mullet. The officers located the vessel and two seine nets that were tied together. The subjects were charged with several felonies and the net and fish were seized.

 

NASSAU COUNTY

 

Officer Sweat observed a suspicious vehicle on Crawford Road and watched as the vehicle drove down the dirt road a couple hundred feet, stop and then move on a few more feet. The emergency flashers would also come on for few seconds and then turn off. When asked if he needed assistance, the operator advised that he was looking for his deer dogs that had run onto other hunt club property. The passenger stated he was just riding along and was not hunting. After checking the driver’s hunting license, an inspection of his cooler produced several cans of beer. Both young men were under twenty-one years of age. The two subjects were issued warnings for possession of alcoholic beverages underage. The passenger was issued a citation for litter less than fifteen pounds and the driver was issued a notice to appear for not being in possession of deer dog registration papers.

 

 

NORTHEAST REGION

 

CASES

 

VOLUSIA COUNTY

 

Officer Bertolami inspected a subject in the Holly Hill area and discovered that the man had been using a cast net to harvest and possess tarpon, snook and mangrove snapper. Snook and tarpon may never be harvested with a cast net, and the snook were not within the required slot size limit. The fish were seized and the man was issued a criminal notice to appear for the violations.

 

Officer North was on night patrol when he observed a truck stopped in the middle of the road in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Officer North maintained visual contact and followed the truck through the refuge into Brevard County. The driver and passenger were both observed shining a spotlight out of the vehicle into the woods. The truck stopped as the driver held the light out of his window and the passenger fired a rifle out of the driver’s window at a wild hog. Officer North stopped the vehicle and secured both the passenger and driver. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed two .22 caliber rifles, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of cannabis. Both subjects were charged with taking wildlife with a gun and light, taking wildlife from a state maintained roadway, possession of cannabis and possession of paraphernalia, as well as federal violations by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

Officer Thornton was on patrol off Highbanks Road in Debary when he observed a vehicle on Duke Energy Property. He conducted a traffic stop for trespassing. From initial contact, the driver of the vehicle was suspected of driving under the influence (DUI). The passenger also appeared to be impaired. During the DUI investigation, the passenger became non-compliant and interfered with Officer Thornton’s investigation. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for DUI, open container, and issued a trespass warning. The passenger was arrested for interfering with the investigation and charged with open container. A trespass warning was also issued to the passenger.

 

 

SOUTHWEST REGION

 

CASES

 

HERNANDO COUNTY

 

Officer Balfour located a suspicious vehicle parked alongside Croom Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Further investigation revealed hunting equipment in the vehicle. During surveillance, Officer Balfour contacted two individuals wearing hunter orange. An inspection was conducted which revealed several violations. Officer Pulaski and Officer Sehl arrived to assist. Several citations were issued for violations including hunting out of season. The hunting equipment was seized as evidence.

 

LEE COUNTY

 

Officer Price observed men fishing near a secluded area at night and stopped to see what was happening. After a brief time, he observed one man catch a snook. A few moments later, the man left the area and came back with a bag of ice. He grabbed the snook and placed it against the ice and began walking to a nearby neighborhood. Officer Price followed the man and stopped him around the corner. The fish was measured and found to be 24 inches long. The man was issued a misdemeanor for possession of snook out of season. He was also issued warnings for the undersized snook and for not possessing a valid fishing license.

 

Officers Furbay and Stapleton responded to assist Officer Price at Bunche Beach. Officer Price noticed several resource violations while fishing with individuals on the beach. Officers Furbay and Stapleton made contact when the fishermen were leaving at sunset. The resource inspection revealed seven undersized sheepshead, two undersized mangrove snapper, multiple oysters taken from unclassified waters and fishing without a saltwater license. Appropriate citations were issued.

 

MANATEE COUNTY

 

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around Coquina Boat Ramp on Anna Maria Island and performed a fisheries inspection on a subject fishing from a jetty that extends off the beach into the Gulf. Upon completion of his inspection, he found that the subject was in possession of one undersized snook out of season. The subject was given two criminal citations for possession of undersized snook and possession of snook out of season. The subject will have to appear in court for his violations.

 

PINELLAS COUNTY

 

While on land patrol near the Walshingham Bridge, Officer Martinez observed a man fishing from a vessel underneath the bridge. Officer Martinez approached the water’s edge and asked the man if he had any fish. The subject advised the officer he only had sheepshead. Officer Martinez asked the subject if he could check the fish, and again the subject insisted all he had was sheepshead. After being told where to find the sheepshead on the vessel, Officer Martinez found numerous undersized fish and no sheepshead. In the subject’s live well there were three gag grouper all under 12 inches, two undersized black drum and one undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was cited for numerous violations to include undersized gag grouper, possession of over the daily bag limit of gag grouper and warned on numerous other violations.

 

Officer Bibler was at the Maximo Boat Ramp when he observed a vessel that had just returned from fishing. Officer Bibler discovered it was a paid charter and that the customers let the captain of the charter keep the fish. He found the captain at the fish fillet table and witnessed him starting to fillet a snook. Before the snook could be completely filleted, Officer Bibler measured the snook which was under the minimum size of 28 inches. Officer Bibler cited the captain for possession of undersized snook and educated him on charter crews keeping bag limits of snook.

 

While on patrol near the Dick Meisner Bridge, Officer Martinez observed two men fishing and approached so he could perform a resource inspection. After talking to the men and inspecting their catch, it was discovered both men had each caught an undersized gag grouper. Both gag groupers were approximately 12 inches, well under the 24-inch minimum. Both men were cited accordingly for their violations.

 

SARASOTA COUNTY

 

Officer Davidson was on land patrol in Myakka State Park and received a call from the park rangers that there was an individual harassing the patrons. When Officer Davidson arrived on scene, he located the subject driving around inside the park. After speaking with the man, it became quite clear that the subject was intoxicated. After performing an investigation into possible DUI, the subject was arrested and taken to the county jail.

 

Lieutenant Hinds IV was on land patrol around Bayfront Park on Longboat Key and performed a fisheries inspection on a kayaker that had just returned from fishing. During the inspection, Lieutenant Hinds found that the man had caught and kept two spotted seatrout over 20 inches. The fish measured 26 inches and 22 inches. The subject was cited criminally for possession of more than one spotted seatrout over 20 inches and will have to appear in court.

 

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

 

LEE COUNTY

 

Officers Maldonado and Collazo performed an outreach event in Lovers Key State Park. The name of the event was Great Outdoor Adventure Day. Approximately 150 people attended the event. Officer Collazo brought one 10-inch hatchling alligator for the presentation. Officer Maldonado brought fishing and hunting regulation pamphlets, as well as coloring books. The officers spoke about the importance of not feeding alligators and discussed fishing and hunting opportunities.

 

 

SOUTH REGION A

 

CASES

 

MARTIN COUNTY

 

Officers Brevik and Carroll were conducting land patrol at night around Allapattah Flats Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA) and observed a suspicious vehicle parked along the fence line of the WEA. Moments later, officers observed two subjects illegally exiting the WEA. After investigation, Officer Brevik charged both subjects with misdemeanors for illegally entering/exiting a WEA.

 

Officers Carroll, Rogers and Brevik were conducting land patrol in the Dupuis WEA, approached two subjects and, through investigation, discovered a bag of corn placed in the woods next to the vehicle. The officers interviewed the subjects and discovered that they had placed the corn to bait hogs. The subjects were cited accordingly for the violations.

 

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

 

Officer Brodbeck was conducting boating safety and resource inspections along the Kissimmee River due to the substantial number of fish that were being caught. While conducting surveillance at the Scott Driver Boat Ramp, the officer observed a vessel with three occupants and fishing equipment consistent with fishing for black crappie approaching the dock. Officer Brodbeck identified himself and asked the captain of the vessel for consent to inspect their catch. The captain agreed and, upon inspection, multiple black crappie were located that were well short of the 10-inch size limit. Officer Brodbeck also observed a measuring device used specifically for back crappie in plain view aboard the vessel. Each occupant was issued a citation for the violations and a total of 12 black crappie were seized as evidence.

 

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

 

GLADES COUNTY

 

Officer Brodbeck was dispatched to a complaint regarding an aggressive alligator located at the Fisheating Creek Campground. Upon the officer’s arrival, several alligators were observed, but none matched the description provided. Officer Brodbeck informed the campers that he would wait to see if the alligator would return. Approximately an hour later, while one of the campers was fishing, a large alligator appeared near the shoreline. Officer Brodbeck estimated the alligator at over 8 feet, and it did not display any fear of humans. A licensed nuisance alligator trapper was called and agreed that the alligator needed to be removed. With the assistance of Officer Brodbeck, the trapper captured the alligator, which measured 10 feet in length. Many of the occupants of nearby campsites came over and expressed thanks to the trapper and for responding and removing a potentially dangerous animal.

 

 

SOUTH REGION B

 

CASES

 

BROWARD COUNTY

 

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera concluded an investigation in response to complaints of an escaped silver fox that had been seen roaming a residential neighborhood. He identified the owner, who confirmed it was his fox and that it had escaped. Further investigation revealed the fox had been kept in an improper enclosure, which led to three escapes within a week. The caging has been brought into compliance. Two criminal citations were issued for the escape and for the improper enclosure. Three warnings were also issued for related violations. The fox was returned to his owner. Officer Banks assisted on this incident.

 

COLLIER COUNTY

 

Officer Arbogast was on water patrol with an Everglades National Park Ranger in a park service vessel. The officers were pulling away from the dock when they observed a 14’ jon boat idling towards the boat ramp with several fishing rods hanging out the sides. During a resource inspection, several indicators of impairment were observed. When asked how much he had to drink. He replied “a few, 3 to 4.” The operator consented to Seated Field Sobriety Tests which he performed poorly. Officer Arbogast placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was booked into the county jail.

 

MIAMI DADE COUNTY

 

Two officers were on water patrol together, concentrating their efforts inside of Key Biscayne Special Management Zone. The officers stopped one commercial vessel that had the captain, first mate and five paying customers onboard. After completing safety and fisheries inspections, the captain was cited for possession of undersized yellowtail snapper, operating a vessel for commercial purposes that was not registered for commercial use and two other equipment safety violations.

 

Officers on water patrol encountered and stopped an inbound vessel in Biscayne Channel. A fisheries inspection was conducted and three oversized barracuda were found amongst the catch. The captain of the vessel was cited for the violation.

 

RESCUES

 

COLLIER COUNTY

 

Officers Oldsen, Amuso, Araujo and Kleis responded to Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) call regarding two missing boaters in a remote part of the Ten Thousand Islands. The local Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit and a National Park Service Vessel also responded to the call. The missing boaters were found by Officers Kleis and Amuso, and aside from being scared and lost, they were unharmed. The officers escorted them back to the boat ramp.

Sarasota, Rick Grassett

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 12/9/2017
Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail in the coastal gulf on flies and trout and pompano in Sarasota Bay on CAL jigs with shad tails during the past week.
Michael Robb, from Buffalo, fished the coastal gulf with me on Monday and had good action catching and releasing several albies on a fly. In addition he also caught and released his first tripletail on a fly. Michael’s dad, Larry, joined him on Wednesday but despite a stable weather pattern, the action with albies in the coastal gulf ended as baitfish moved on.
Walter Poxon, from MN, and Bill Poxon, from Sarasota, celebrated Bill’s birthday with their annual fishing trip with me on Tuesday in Sarasota Bay. They had steady action catching and releasing numerous trout and a nice pompano on the west side of the bay on CAL jigs with shad tails.
With the passing of this weekend’s front, water temperatures will plummet and fish will move. Migratory species could reappear following the front depending on conditions. After the weather stabilizes, there should also be good action with trout, blues and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for catch and release snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option.
Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
(941) 923-7799

The Skyway, Paul Bristow

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As the strongest cold front in many months arrived in the Tampa Bay region, anglers fishing the best methods & most appropriate species for weather conditions continued to have good success at the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers.  King mackerel angling at the piers remains a hot topic as yet another monster king was taken this week and kings will often be triggered to feed aggressively during passing cold fronts.  Gag grouper were on the chew with the front approaching and gags are yet another species that can be energized by cooler water temperatures.  Spanish mackerel went nuts on Friday as the front approached and many anglers reported easy limits of fish within only a short time frame.  Jack crevalle were prevalent this past week and many folks visiting for just sightseeing were amazed at the raw aggression of this species.  Finally, lots of anglers reported spotting cobia surfing the waves as winds began to pick-up, a common occurrence at the mouth of Tampa Bay during passing cold fronts.

 

A new week saw yet another monstrous king mackerel hitting the pavement at the South Pier.  Many nearby anglers reported the fish to be almost 5 feet in length with a healthy girth, likely placing it near (or even exceeding) the 50 lb. size class.  The presence of these huge solitary kingfish entering the bay somewhat late in a typical run is not uncommon, and a later run (like this season) could see some big kings around all month long.  Your author would never claim to be a kingfish expert, but instead simply has the advantage of collecting data through reports of catches & conditions over a long period of time.  Almost every fall, the largest kings are taken as singles and very near the end of the time when folks are still targeting these fish.  The same data holds true late in the spring run, but the largest fish at the piers each season seem to be fall fish.  Kingfish will feed on nearly any larger baitfish, so do not assume you need a blue runner or large herring to be in the game.  Pinfish have taken plenty of large kings at the piers and were the baits reportedly used on the last few very big fish taken.  As these late fall monsters are almost always cruising alone, position baits at various parts of the water column using a trolley-rod system to increase the odds of one of these rogues coming into contact with your bait.

 

Gag grouper were also feeding with reckless abandon and many keeper gags have been taken over the past several weeks.  Pier staffer and avid grouper angler Tony Silapheth was using multiple methods to target gags this past week.  Silapheth does not tie himself to one tactic and uses everything from diving plugs to anchored live baits.  The multi-tiered approach makes plenty of sense because both fish aggression levels and their location on a piece of structure can be varied not only day-to-day, but even hour-to-hour with changing tidal & water conditions.  Perhaps a plug will take the most aggressive fish, a free-lined bait trigger a neutral fish and an anchored bait entice a fish in a negative feeding mode.  The fact remains that a change-up can often mean producing a keeper gag versus only catching several shorts.  The nice thing this season is that Skyway Pier anglers have the entire month of December to target gags at one of the finest land-based grouper fisheries in America.

Spanish mackerel caught fire just ahead of the passing cold front and many anglers took limits of fish by casting Gotcha lures, spoons and jigs to these aggressively feeding fish.  The wind and waves of the approaching front were already creating some areas where stained water met clear water, and anglers finding the clearest water had the most success.  Clear versus stained water lines can occur on many sections of the piers because tidal flushes from various parts of the bay can vary greatly in the sediments they might carry.  Mackerel do not prefer highly stained water, but they certainly will hunt the lines that these situations often create.  Another tip to keep in mind when pursuing Spanish mackerel during frontal and post-frontal conditions is that baitfish will sometimes be driven to deeper water and hold near the bottom for several days.  The mackerel are often right there with them, but slower methods of jigging or slow-rolling other artificial lures will far out produce the more traditional speedy retrieves.

Visitors to the Skyway Piers got a great glimpse of the food chain in operation as jack crevalle boiled the waters at the mouth of Tampa Bay.  Jacks in the 3 lb. to 8 lb. range ripped through schools of baitfish and even handed anglers some broken lines & tackle.  Fish were most prevalent along the approach sections of the piers, but some were reported along the entire span.  Anglers used a variety of methods, ranging all the way from rapid jigging to slowly pulling live baits through the water column.  Live bait was unnecessary when the most ravenous schools came through, but it did seem to provide anglers with a few extra fish from time to time that might have gotten separated from their schooling brethren.  Jacks have a darker flesh and a pronounced lateral line, but are just fine for many methods of fish cookery, especially if bled upon catching and pending the removal of the lateral line.  Indeed, many folks prefer these fish for soups & chowders that involve a wide variety of very flavorful seasonings and ingredients.

Mosquito Lagoon, Tom Van Horn

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Fall Fishing Bonanza, December 8, 2017

POSTED ON DECEMBER 8, 2017 IN FISHING REPORTS

Let me begin this fishing report with a brief announcement:  As of December 4th, 2017 Captain Tom Van Horn is now a full-time fishing guide.  Many of you know me as a fishing captain, but few know I also served as a professional fire fighter for a total combined 43-years including a hitch as a fire fighter in the USAF.  Well on December 4th, I placed my fire helmet on the mantel and retired from the FD.  Now in the next chapter in my life, I will be focusing my full attention on my fishing charter business and other related kids fishing organizations and events.  Life has been good to me, and now it will be even better.

This report covers a span of almost two weeks and began with a two-day paddle fishing adventure with father and son team Mike and Mike Hammes.  Since it was a paddle fishing fly charter, Captain John Kumiski served as the second boat commander and our first day was to the No-Motor Zone.  As usual with fly anglers, the wind did not corporate averaging 15 MPH for both days, so very little fly fishing was done.  In the NMZ I typically look for fish up on the sandy shoals, but due to high & dirty water conditions and a brisk wind, we could not even find the shoals and sight fishing was out of the question.  We than regressed and began blind casting jigs on spinning rods and managed a good number of sea trout and one very respectable snook.  On our second day we fish the backwaters our of River Breeze in the north Mosquito Lagoon, and only managed one slot redfish and a few sea trout.  Lucky for us, Mike and Mike traveled across America for the adventure of fishing the back waters of east Florida, and on both days combined we had the water to ourselves for the most part.  We also added an elevated level of adventure when we got caught up in a sever thunderstorm that pushed up from the south for which we unsuccessfully alluded.

On November 29th I again fished with a father and son team named Mike and Mike and our target was sea trout on the Mosquito Lagoon, and again high and dirty water made sight fishing challenging.  I polled Three Quarter Time for at least five miles, and we managed to catch a few very respectable sea trout blind casting 4” night glow DOA Shad Tails.

From there it was off to the Cataloochee Ranch near Maggie Valley North Carolina with my bride Sandi for a very enjoyable three-day bluegrass event called the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival. The Cataloochee Ranch was amazing and next year I’m bringing the fly rod.

November 4th was my last fire department shift, and I started my FD retirement with a very memorable two-day charter with another father and son team, Tom and Max Anater from Lancaster Pennsylvania.  On both days the weather was excellent on the Mosquito Lagoon, and I managed locate some very nice schools of black drum in deeper water. On our first day, Max and his dad managed 14 black drum in the 20 to 40-pound range and Tom caught a 42-inch redfish as a bonus.  I assured them it was one of those exceptional fishing adventures, and not the norm and both anglers could hardly raise the arms at the end of the day.  On our second day we were joined by Tom’s nephew Louie and we only managed three black drum again in the 20 to 40 pound range.  All fish were caught on live jumbo shrimp, white Gulp Shrimp and Cheetos.

All in all, it’s been a great two weeks for me, and I’m kind of liking this retirement gig.

As always, if you need more information or have any questions, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn

IRL, John Kumiski

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I am really hoping this is an improving Mosquito Lagoon fishing report.

This one is short and sweet- going out of town in the morning. May not have a report next week- oh the humanity!

Monday Brian and Robin were out with me on the lagoon. The water was dirty, all the fish were small. It was a gorgeous day and they were pretty happy, but I was not pleased with the catching. Maybe I’m spoiled?

Wednesday Canadian George joined me for some fishing and some Mosquito Lagoon instruction. We circumnavigated the lagoon, from Haulover down to Max Hoeck Creek, up to Georges Bar, and back to Haulover. There was a lot of clean water. There were LOTS of manatees.

There were not lots of fish (other than dinker trout), or much seagrass, but the fact the water is clearing is great. It must have cooled off enough to kill the stuff growing in it. All the bare bottom is heartbreaking, though.

Friday Chris Olsen and his buddy joined me for the same kind of day I’d had on Wednesday. We did more fishing, less running. The first place we went was a spot I hadn’t visited in a while. Exposed to the east wind, it wasn’t a place to visit during the months of easterlies.

There was seagrass there.

Using DOA CAL shad the fishermen caught and released five redfish, all slot fish, in a little over an hour. There were fish tailing!!! We saw some jumbo trout!!!

We did not see much anywhere else, one here, one there, a few dinker trout, but the thing is, we could see in many of the places we looked. So the water clarity is definitely improving. I have a wait-and see attitude to see if the fishing gets better, but this trip was the most encouraging one since September. Good stuff.

mosquito lagoon fishing report

Another file photo, this one of Steve Baker, also on Mosquito Lagoon.

And that, dear reader, is the improving (?) Mosquito Lagoon fishing report. Thanks for reading!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com

Panhandle, Daniel Snapp

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ya!

I would like to thank all of the new clients that entrusted Grassy Flats Charters to provide you and your family with time on the water and of course to everyone that I see from year to year, it is always a pleasure to continue to take you, your friends and family out fishing! Your repeat business is greatly appreciated! For those that I have never met and have only talked with on the phone, hopefully our paths will cross one day out on the water.

As we move into December and January and with each passing cold front our trout and reds will continue moving up into the creeks and deeper holes throughout the bay systems making it a little easier to find and stay on the fish. This time of year can always be a little challenging while we wait for the colder temps to set in and concentrate the fish into their winter hangouts. Fishing has been good. Anglers out on the flats have been keeping busy with good catches of reds, trout, flounder, and sheepshead.

This time of year, the trout and reds can be caught on a variety of soft plastics and jigs along with live shrimp. Crank baits as well as suspending twitch-baits work great also.

Fly fishermen, don’t forget the sight fishing this time of year is still going strong. We have to deal with some strong northerly winds from time to time but there’s always places to tuck into and take advantage of the crystal clear water and hungry reds.

If you call and have trouble reaching me over the next couple of months, please leave a message and I will get back with you ASAP. I will be bouncing back and forth between the woods chasing deer and hogs, fishing and scouting my local waters, as well as chasing monster reds on fly in Louisiana.

If you know your schedule for the upcoming year, it is never to early to begin calling to make your reservations. I have already began booking charters, especially for Cobia in April and Tarpon in the summer months.

Merry Christmas to everyone and have a safe and Happy New Year!

I encourage you to give me a call if you have questions about fishing in the Panhandle at (850) 832-4952 or for additional information about Grassy Flats Charters, please visit

http://grassyflatscharters.com/.

In addition, checkout “Grassy Flats Charters” on Facebook for the most recent pictures and video’s along with “Grassy Flats Charters” on Youtube and Instagram.

Direct Links:

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Grassy-Flats-Charters/163603619161

Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Grassyflatscharters?feature=watch

Captain Daniel Snapp

Grassy Flats Charters

“Sight Fishing the Emerald Coast”

(850) 832-4952

Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

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http://www.tampabay.com/sports/outdoors/Captain-s-Corner-Strong-results-for-redfish-speckled-trout_163313591

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reels, light leader line and even light lures. The choices in lures: longer jerkbait plastic tails for trout and 3-inch paddle tail plastic tails for redfish. Rig these tails on ?-ounce jigheads. The time of day doesn’t matter as much as it did when it was still “summer.” The location will dictate success. You will catch the biggest trout in the same location as the redfish. The redfish will be located in depths of less than 2 feet. “Numbers” of trout will be in 3-foot depths or more with thick seagrass on the bottom. Getting strikes from trout are easy. They are very cooperative but for the best results, keep the lure right near the bottom. With redfish in shallower water you need to be more aggressive with the lure, but the same rule applies: Success has everything to do with swimming that paddle tail down near the bottom. Speckled trout will set the hook on their own. With redfish you want to do a hook-set on the strike to drive the hook point home.

Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at strikethreekayakfishing.com and (727) 692-6345.

FWC appoints Eric Sutton as executive director

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to appoint Eric Sutton, assistant executive director, to the position of executive director, effective Dec. 8. Nick Wiley, current executive director, retires later this month.

Commissioners touted Sutton’s extensive experience with challenging conservation issues and his positive relationships with fellow FWC staff.

 “We have received many accolades for the agency under the leadership of Chairman Brian Yablonski and Executive Director Nick Wiley. They have been at the tip of the spear, but it’s the whole family who supports the conservation efforts,” said Commissioner Bo Rivard. “As we continue to face changes and new challenges, it is important to have continuity. Eric has been filling roles lately due to Nick’s national leadership positions and has proven himself capable of this important role.”

Sutton has been the FWC assistant executive director since May 2013. He has worked in government and the private sector since the early 1990s in areas including acquisition and management of public lands, land use regulations, listed species policy, invasive species management and coastal management. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in zoology from the University of South Florida. The emphasis of his work was on endangered species population biology.

“Eric does a great job. I see that he’s got the confidence of his FWC family members, and how dedicated and concerned he is about the agency and people of Florida,” said Commissioner Robert Spottswood.

 “As a sportsman and ecologist, it is a tremendous honor to be able to accept this challenge and represent such a talented and dedicated team managing the tremendous fish and wildlife resources of Florida,” said Eric Sutton.

Sutton’s appointment as executive director will now go to the Florida Senate for confirmation.

FWC approves changes to Gulf greater amberjack season

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At its December meeting in Gainesville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the greater amberjack recreational season in Gulf state waters to open May 1-31 and Aug. 1-Oct. 31. This change is similar to pending changes in Gulf federal waters.

Greater amberjack is overfished and undergoing overfishing, and the season has closed increasingly early in recent years due to federal quotas being met or exceeded. This new season structure will optimize recreational fishing opportunities in both the spring and fall while minimizing harvest during the spawning season, helping to rebuild the stock.

Greater amberjack is currently closed to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters. State waters will remain closed through April 30, 2018.

For more information or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”