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Florida Keys Report


January 5, 2016

Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 1/4/16
Provided by:
(this report may be reproduced in any media format as long as credit is given to:www.islamoradasportfishing.com)
Reminder: The Ask the Captain and fishing forums are open for new members once again at
The hard wind from last week did subside and weather and sea state are much more comfortable. Unfortunately the report from the bluewater is that it is slow. Captain Paul on the Reef Runner reports the Tuna on the hump were on the small side. Probably the best bet for those who want Dolphin is to troll or live bait the inshore area in depths of 150 to 200 or 300 feet of water and be on the look out for debris and birds working.
The short ride to the reef is nice and the fishing is good also. First and foremost the Sailfish action is not good, it is great. Charters are raising multiple release flags after a day live baiting the Sails. King mackerel are in good supply too and are ranging is size from 10 to 15 pounds. And a reminder that Grouper season is closed until May. Captain Butch Green on his Sassy Lady fished December 31st and boated 6 Black Grouper before the closure on January 1st. Skiff guides have been fishing inside the reef on the live bottom patches and doing a bang up job on a variety of species. Captain Freddie out of Whale Harbor Marina had a ball catching Hogfish, Snapper and small Grouper for his fare last week.
Gulf and Bay:
The Spanish mackerel action is red hot and there are lots of Snapper in the mix when chumming for the Mackerel. Anchoring and chumming the 8 to 10 foot grassy bottom or live reef bottom and casting jigs tipped with Shrimp is the ticket. One real nice thing is that there are lots of big Lane Snapper all over the gulf. The Lanes have to be 8 inches to keep, which is not big thing, but there are lots of Lane Snapper coming to the boat that are over a foot long and they are great eating. It is not out of the question to have Lane, Mangrove, Yellowtail and Mutton Snapper in the cooler on a day’s mackerel trip.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
Many skiffs have been roaming the Flamingo area fishing this past week. Reports have the conditions as not great. The water remained a little muddy and grassy after the hard wind we had last week. Savvy guides know that finding the clean water will provide good results with Snook and Redfish. Captain Freddie reported loads of Trout in the main channel past Buoy key and said he got Snook and Reds there too. There have been reports of a good tarpon bite in the backcountry this past week probably because of the warm water temperatures. 


Panhandle Report – The Sunjammers Watersports Kayak


Posted 4.30.2012

Inshore/ Bayside  –
May is one of my favorite months to fish! The dog days of summer arent upon us yet but the water is steadily warming which gets those reds & trout in feeding mode! This month pull out your topwater plugs and hit your favorite inshore spot . Live finger mullet, suspending lures and jerk baits all work. I normally have 3 rods rigged and ready –  a topwater, a spoon and a 1/16 hook rigged weedless with a plastic bait. If I’m fishing on the flats I use a long piece of 15lb floro carbon leader and if I’m fishing near docks or structure I will tie on 20lb. I like 10lb braided line for most inshore applications. Dont forget a long stakeout pole, that is one of the most important things I own. I use it to keep from drifting over a school of reds and spooking them, getting pulled into a dock and broke off by a fish and also instead of paddeling a long stakeout pole with some flex doubles while standing and poling from your yak, which is an effective yet quiet way to move through shallow water.
The kings spanish & pompano are here! The only fish that didnt seem to get the memo were  the Cobia. I believe a combination of a very mild winter, fishing pressure & also contamination of their spawning grounds(BP oil spill) all contributed to a terrible Cobia season for the panhandle. I would still have a rod rigged with a Cobia jig for the rest of this month on any adventure into the Gulf. You never know when one could pop up. The kings will hit freelined cigar minnows, frozen cigars with a red & white skirt work well, and deep diving lipped lures. There have been reports of quite a few dolphin fish (mahi) caught and even a sailfish this week while king fishing . Red snapper & gag grouper are still catch & release this month.

The PCKFA (Panama City Kayak Fishing Assoc) website to get info on their next meeting. www.pckfa.com

About Captain Linda Cavitt:


Linda grew up fishing in Northern California. She moved to the Panhandle in her mid twenties and fell in love with Florida’s emerald waters, extensive bayous and beautiful grass flats. She now calls Panama City Beach her home where she offers guided kayak fishing trips both inshore & offshore. Linda holds a USCG OUPV/Captains license, is the founder/president of PCKFA, the local kayak club in Panama City Beach, is on Team Hobie & Sunjammers. She has caught everything from redfish to sailfish from her kayak.

When not fishing, Linda stays busy reading and writing kayak fishing reports for the panhandle area on fishing forums and sites. www.captlinda.com

Panhandle Report – Capt. John Rivers


February 17, 2016

It’s only four more weeks away and Spring Break will be here and that’s when the annual sheepshead bite will be in full swing.

Last year we broke the 9 lb record with a 9.2 lb sheepshead. On light tackle spinning rods, it is a blast to catch these fun fighting fish. This year I hope we can break the 10lb record.

For the moment, let’s talk about the Pensacola Fishing Charter Inshore Report.

The weather was pretty chilly for a few days, but now it’s somewhat warm, but that’s ok. The trout are still staged up in the bayous and deep holes, but don’t overlook the flats in 2-3 ft of water from 2-4pm if it’s a somewhat warm day, as these fish will move up into these areas to warm themselves up. I’m catching plenty of redfish, but I can’t tell you much about it, as it will give away my honey hole. Let’s just say that when the winds calm down I can fish this area and if the tides are moving well, the bite has been excellent. I can tell you that the bait I’m using is the new MATRIX SHAD. This bait has been just awesome for reds and flounder, and trout like it, too. Another great bait for trout is the MirrOlure 17MR, 18MR and other lures from MirrOlure.

I booked a few trips the past couple of days for March already. Some are repeats and some are new clients wanting to experience the fun of the March Madness in Pensacola Pass for Sheepshead and Redfish.

These trips are a ton of fun for vacationers who want to have a fun day of fishing without the stress of a long run to the fishing grounds.

I run two to three trips a day, so if I’m booked in the morning, no worries, we’ll fish the mid afternoon or late afternoon all day. As long as the tide’s moving, the fish usually bite well during the spring sheepshead and redfish run. If you’re heading down this way and are looking for the finest inshore light tackle fun family / professional fishing trip, then you’ve come to the right place.

Check out my boat; the 240 LS Triton, it’s one of the finest inshore boats built. I keep it in topnotch shape, spotless and organized just like I kept my equipment when I was in the MARINES!

The old saying, take care of your tools and they’ll take care of you is one of my credos, and it has served me well in life and on my trips.
When you book me as your guide, expect to be greeted by a professional that looks and acts the part. No dirty boat or torn up t-shirts here.

I’ll post again at the end of the week with a report and some pics of the trips.

Tight Lines.




Panhandle Report – Capt. Daniel Snapp


Captain Daniel Snapp
February 11, 2016

Not much to report this month. The fish are in their usual cold weather patterns and to get a decent day on the water you will have to deal with the ever changing weather systems: cold, hot, windy, etc….it’s any body’s guess but when you do catch a nice day, fishing has been pretty good! However, with all of the rain we have had lately combined with the high winds the water in the bays is not as clear as usual making sight fishing difficult.


The speckeled trout are still holding to the deeper holes in the bay and warmer water up in the creeks. Like I stressed last month, a slow presentation will be key in order to get the bite. The reds are schooled up and have been hit or miss, you just have to put in the time searching the banks. There have been some good reports from both West and East bay but remember you will have to be in stealth mode if you even hope to get those fish to eat. Sheephead are also a great fish to target this time of the year. Shrimp or fiddler crabs make great baits. Working docks, bridges, and the jetties should provide more than enough action for you.


Cobia season is right around the corner usually beginning the last of March or the first of April depending on the water temp. If you are interested in catching a great fighting, excellent tasting fish give me a call and I’ll be happy to explain how I target them. I have been seeing an increased number of anglers wanting to tackle cobia on fly. Cobia are a great fish to target with a fly rod, they are usually just under the surface of the water just off the beach making sight fishing a blast! (Warning: Cobia fishing can become very addictive and I can’t be held responsible for your repeat trips year after year back to Panama City to feed your Cobia addiction!)


As always, I encourge 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



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:









Captain Daniel Snapp

Grassy Flats Charters

“Sight Fishing the Emerald Coast”



Tampa Bay Report – Brent Gaskill


Captain’s Corner

Capt. Brent Gaskill


What’s hot; Mangrove snapper fishing has turned on inside the bay.  The
fish are holding on a
variety of high profile structures including rocky edges of the shipping
channel, artificial reefs, range
towers, bridge pilings and fenders, as well as rock lined sea walls.

    Bait choice; Almost any small offering will draw a strike.  Baits that are
too large will be ignored or
dissected bite by bite without getting the hook.  Scaled sardines, pinfish,
and live shrimp are top
choices.  Tiny hatchling Spanish sardines are a snapper favorite when they
can be found.  Fresh cut bait
also works. 

    Rig right; Snapper have keen eyesight requiring the use of light leaders
and small hooks.  Using
the smallest amount of lead to get to the strike zone also reduces
visibility while increasing feel to
detect the delicate bite.

Tampa Bay Report: Capt Bill Miller



Go Fish for 2/7/16 by Capt. Bill Miller

The breaks in the windy weather allowed me to get in some flats fishing this week. Using jigs I worked the Pinellas Point and Ft. Desoto areas with good success.

Recently, I have started throwing 1/8 ounce chartreuse jig head with a root beer colored MirrOlure ‘Lil John” tail and having really good luck. I have always been a red or white jig head guy but the change to chartreuse seems to be getting more bites.

I found the nice keeper speckled trout hanging in the deeper grass. There are also plenty of undersized ones as well. In addition to the trout, ladyfish, bluefish, jacks and flounder have also been cooperative.

Pompano have been pretty active around John’s Pass on the incoming tide. Capt. Billy Miller has been catching good limits using free lined live shrimp and yellow and white pompano jigs.

Capt. Rick Grasset reports redfish and big trout mixed in with mullet schools on the shallow flats and sand bar edges in Sarasota Bay. The deeper grass flats are producing speckled trout and bluefish on CAL jigs and Clouser flies.

Homosassa inshore fishing is right on schedule says Capt. William Toney. Redfish are congregating on the western rocky points on the incoming tide and will readily bite a live shrimp or gold spoons. Trout are on the edges of flats next to deep water. Throw jerk baits or MirrOdines into the shallow water and bring them out to the deep water for best action.

All About Captain Bill:  

Capt. Bill Miller is the reel deal. He’s authentic, sincere and firmly rooted in the tactics and traditions of
the sport-fishing world. His credentials include:
· Grand Master Angler (Capt. Bill holds one of only two awards ever earned.)
· 40 Years of recreational and commercial fishing
· Tournament-winning angler
· Book author (FISH SMART – CATCH MORE!)
· TV host (16 years hosting “Hooked on Fishing”)
· Weekly columnist (Tampa Tribune and TBO.com)
Through his show, “Fishing with Bill Miller,” Capt. Bill proudly brings his angling expertise to World
Fishing Network – a multi-platform brand that shares in every angler’s passion and adventure for
fishing. As the leading entertainment destination and resource for anglers throughout North America,
WFN distributes diverse, engaging content to fishing and outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts.
WFN is the only fishing network solely dedicated to the angling lifestyle with more fishing
programs than any other TV channel. WFN’s diverse programming includes instruction, tips,
travel, tournaments, food, boating and outdoor lifestyle. A great fit for this lineup, Capt. Bill Miller
enhances an impressive list comprising some of the most recognized personalities in the
angling community.

Getting It Right: Umpire to Kayak Fishing Guide


By Steve Gibson, www.capmel.com site contributor and Nativewatercraft.com pro staff guide


Getting it right

Last Modified: Sunday, August 19, 2007 at 4:33 a.m.


If you have two strikes on you, you had better swing if the next pitch is close.

Jose Canseco, biceps bulging, didn’t adhere to that age-old advice. So, when a pitch grazed the outside corner, Canseco stood with his bat on his shoulder.

Umpire Neil Taylor calmly and cooly called Canseco out.

Canseco turned, looked at Taylor and said, “Was that really a strike?”

Taylor, without hesitation, said, “Yes, but I probably couldn’t have hit it, either.”

That said, Canseco turned to the dugout and walked away.

Taylor, who resides in Palm Harbor, was a professional umpire for 10 seasons. He began in the Gulf Coast League in 1995 and worked his way up to Triple A, where he was a crew chief and umpired the championship series in 2004.

Even though he was one of the most-respected umpires in the minor leagues, Taylor could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Timing is everything in life, but particularly in baseball when you’re an umpire,” said Taylor. “Back then, there were very few opportunities for a Triple-A umpire to rise to the major leagues.

“I believe there have been five major-league jobs given out in the last eight years. That’s tough odds when there are about 45 Triple-A umpires hoping to get the call.”

Fishing fancy

Neil Taylor is on the water as often as possible.

He was seemingly born with a rod and reel in his hand.

“I was able to cast a fishing rod pretty much at the same age that I was able to walk,” Taylor said. “With Dad and three older brothers, it was how we’d spend out vacations and weekends.”

Taylor used to have a powerboat, but now fishes from a Native Watercraft kayak. Well, it’s sort of a kayak. It looks like a cross between a kayak and a canoe.

“It’s my everyday boat now,” he said while paddling toward Tarpon Key in Tampa Bay. “It’s easy to paddle and real comfortable.”

Definition of a powerboat: A hole in the water surrounded by wood or fiberglass into which one pours money.

“I always had issues with wiring, batteries, trolling motors,” said Taylor. “There was always something I had to worry about prior to a trip.

“Going by kayak, you never have a trip that’s canceled because of equipment failure.”

Steady rise 

Neil Taylor began his umpiring career while attending the University of Arizona. After receiving his BS in finance and accounting, he packed his belongings and drove to Daytona Beach to attend Harry Wendelstedt’s School for Umpires.

“My experiences working games while in college made me realize that I had the ability to walk onto a professional baseball field, perform the job well and progress toward a chance at becoming a major-league umpire,” he said. “I made that my goal very early on in my time learning how to umpire.”

He was good. He advanced every year. After the GCL in 1995, Taylor moved up the the Appalachian League (advance rookie) in 1996, South Atlantic (Class A) in 1997, Carolina (advance A) in the middle of the 1997 season and the Eastern League (Double A), where he began in 1998 and stayed until 2001.

He was promoted to the Triple-A International League in 2001.

“I was crew chief seven of my 10 years,” he said. “I worked the playoffs six of those years, two all-star games and I worked 90 major-league spring training games.”

Finding the fish

When his career in baseball came to an end, Neil Taylor moved to Dunedin.

“I’d spend five to seven days a week on the water,” he said.

He learned the waters thoroughly. So well, in fact, that it was a natural move for him to become a fishing guide. Dave Loger, founder of Adventure Kayak Fishing, recognized Taylor’s talent and asked him aboard.

“He asked me about joining up with his business,” said Taylor. “That enabled him to concentrate on other areas of Florida while I worked on establishing my own segment of the business in the Tampa Bay area.”

Taylor specializes in fishing the shallow backcountry waters for snook, redfish, spotted seatrout and other species.

“Fishing is an exercise in patience and skill, but it’s also something that’s just a great way to pass some time,” he said. “Through many a tough time in my life, I’ve used fishing as a way to relax.

“Rarely does a day go by where I’m not in awe of something I see out there.”

Respected, but out

Neil Taylor was among the most respected umpires in the game. But a promotion wasn’t imminent.

“I spent three full years at Triple A, hoping for the big break,” he said. “That break never came. And when that season ended in 2004 and the major leagues didn’t express an interest, I was let go by the retention policy.

“Ironically, that was after being named crew chief of the championship series and rated one of the best umpires of the International League.”

He knew it was a game of politics, a game of being in the right place at the right time.

“I was personally satisfied that I gave it a great effort, ” said Taylor. “I was very happy and looked forward to being in Florida year-round.”

He was comfortable at training young professional umpires. So it was natural for him as a fishing guide, helping new anglers achieve success.

“While it’s a great deal about the clients catching fish,” Taylor said, “it’s also a lot about the experience.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from being a successful instructor.”

Stay Cool: Fish at Night



FISH FRIDAY: Hot stuff! Stay Cool and Catch More Fish with Neil Taylor
Written by Paul Lebowitz   
Friday, 30 July 2010 13:04

It’s hot and humid out, especially in Florida. Neil Taylor of Strike Three Kayak Fishing tells us how to cool off and catch more fish during the height of summer.

The Kayak Wade Fisherman, Keeping It Cool
A summer of record heat puts kayak anglers’ skills at adapting to the test. Incredible fish have been hooked and caught during this period of intensely hot,  humid weather. The kayak has great appeal this time of year. At the most basic level: comfort. In the winter the theme is stay dry, stay warm, but right now the trick is to stay cool by staying wet. Our counterparts in fishing boats don’t have the ease of slipping in and out of their craft to achieve this, often feeling cooked and ready to head in early. A kayak angler can work in wade fishing and last much longer as the day heats up.

Know Your Situation
The dismount poses some avoidable pitfalls. Stingrays, oysters, muddy bottoms and water can be avoided with one simple tool. I’ll give you a hint: it’s in your hands. Utilitze the paddle to figure out if it is a safe place to dismount your kayak. It can be used to gauge the depth, the consistency of the bottom (hard packed sand is best, mud or oysters are perilous) and will frighten away a stingray that may be laying on the bottom next to your kayak.

Hooking Up
The fish are eating but often for shorter periods and in the superheated water, the tactics resemble what anglers much do during the coldest times of the year. Slow everything down. Running lures at the minimum speed but with a realistic swimming motion is the finesse necessary to connect with the sulking fish of summertime. Be assured, they have to eat to survive but put your time in to be there when they are feeding. Times with good tidal movement when the sun is low in the sky, sunrise or sunset or even nighttime fishing trips maximize the chances of finding the fish when they are happy. Find locations that contain their food sources and this should translate to great opportunities in the heat of summer!

Neil Taylor’s Strike Three Kayak Fishing is headquartered in the Tampa Bay area. Taylor, a pro staffer for Native Watercraft, contributes to several publications including the Tampa Bay Times. 

Manatee Fishing Reports


Captain Ray Markham Reports

Manatee County Reports – Capt. Cato


By Capt. Rachel Nobbe Cato

November 30, 2013

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving, on or off the water.  I spent Black Friday on the water with back to back charters catching Snook, Reds, Seatrout, and lots of Flounder. Started off the day with buying 18 dozen shrimp and netted some whitebait.  Slow short tides made for some tough morning fishing but finished with some hardcore snook catching. Picked off a few flounder in the am but the bigger fish were caught on the stronger afternoon incoming tide.  Strong winds kept us from fishing deeper water edges for Seatrout, so mostly fished behind cover. Cut pinfish fished along mangroves produces redfish, whitebait was the best and most productive bait yesterday for snook and flounder.  Best technique for winter fishing is casting in sand holes and slowly working weighted #1 circle hooks and white bait.  Switch up to shrimp when the water temp drops into the 50’s, I find the pinfish to less likely to eat your shrimp when it gets this cold.  Sheepshead will start to flood bottom structure and reefs so venture out when the winds are light, look for bridges and canals for cover on windy days.  Easiest bait is small shrimp and cut shrimp but live sand fleas are their preferred food.  Don’t let the cold keep you off the water and when the sun shines bright try to get out and enjoy the Florida winter.

Captain Rachel Cato

(941) 524-9664

Captain Rachel is a full time fishing guide located in Palmetto.  Specialties include Inshore live bait fishing for snook and reds, as well as large groups up to 6 anglers.  You can contact her at (941) 524-9664 or check her out on the web at www.captainrachel.com   or on Facebook for the latest fishing reports.