Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fishing Fort Myers

So I had a great Christmas this year and decided for my vacation I would be fishing fort myers Florida, because that is where my family stays. On top of that nobody knows how to fish Fort Myers better than my cousin and my uncle. The great thing about fishing Fort Myers with them is that they own their own marina, the name of the place is Marina Mikes, it is a great place to go if you are looking for a used carolina skiff, a pontoon boat, or a nice Yamaha motor. They also have a wide selection of other boats for sale to, for further information you can visit their website.

With that being said they can catch some fish, and I would rather be fishing Fort Myers with them than any other local charter captain that may be around in the area. So we took two boats out, nothing special just a little 17 foot carolina skiff and another small carolina skiff. My uncle was in one boat navigating and my cousin was in the other boat. We were out to catch some redfish, trout, snook, whatever we could get that would be edible. So first it was me, my old lady and my uncle, we decided to go for some trout out in estero bay, the water was about 6 feet deep, so we rigged up a couple of fishing rods come corks and used live shrimp as bait.

After about 10 minutes of popping the corks with three lines in the water, we caught a couple of saltwater catfish, which to me I consider trash fish and I always throw them back. They put up a pretty good fight but besides that they are worthless to me. Then we got a good hit, of course it was on my uncles line, but we seen the fish jump out of the water, which means that it was not a catfish, but it was a trout, which is what we were trying to catch in the first place. The trout was a couple of pounds and had some good size to him, here is a picture of the fish below.

After that fishing Fort Myers got kind of slow, and we could not get any more good fish for the next hour or so. My cousin had pulled up next to us in his used carolina skiff, and I had hopped on board with him. We were going after some red fish, so we keep the same fishing tackle set up that we were using to catch the trout. About 15 pound test line with a 30 pound test leader, along with a cork and a split shot. We pulled up by some mangroves in a secret fishing hole that my cousin new about. Right off the bat I had hooked up with two nice size saltwater red fish. So within about 10 minutes our boat had the limit for redfish, which we kept and ate later that night. Then after we landed those two redfish things got really slow, so we packed up the tackle and bait and headed back to the dock.

The next day of fishing Fort Myers would be just as productive of the previous day, we were going out for the same thing except we were not really trying for trout. We headed to a bridge in estero bay to get some bait, we used a 12 foot cast net, and with just one cast we got about 200 decent sized green backs, which would be more bait than we would actually need. We hit up the same spot by the mangroves that we did the previous day of fishing fort myers, and my girlfriend had hooked up with a nice sized snook. We actually got a couple of them that day, below are some of the pictures.

So because it is December we couldn’t keep any of the snook because the season closed this year December 1st on the gulf coast, but at least we got to take a couple of pictures then released the snook. We were seeing mullet running around all day, so we decided we might as well get a couple of mullet just for the heck of it, well they make an excellent dinner so that is another reason why we wanted to do some mullet fishing. We had a 12 foot mullet net, killed the engine and used the trolling motor on the used carolina skiff to sneak up on them, in just two throws we managed to catch about 10 mullet in the cast net.

So overall I had a great Christmas and a great vacation. We wanted to do some night fishing but the only night fishing that I did was off the dock, again hooked up with a couple of snook just for the fun of it. Well that’s all for my getaway while fishing fort myers Florida.

Add to

Stumble This

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shark Fishing Florida

These are the in almost all cases the hunters of the seas, shark fishing Florida is highly recognized by anglers because of the fight that they put up, and the sizes that some of these sharks will get to. Small sharks can be caught off of piers, bridges and canals, they are everywhere that you can think of. When shark fishing Florida, a lot of times you will hook up with one when you arent even trying to catch one. If you are after big sharks, you will more than likely have to bring them in with a rope, as many of them are way to big to bring on board. Below I will outline the types of sharks and their records in the state of Florida, if any of these records need to be updated please leave me a comment along with some kind of proof.

Bull Shark – 490 pounds
Blacktip Shark – 270 pounds
Blacknose Shark – 41 pounds
Mako Shark – 1,115 pounds
Tiger Shark – 1,780 pounds
Sand Tiger Shark – 350 pounds
Spinner Shark – 190 pounds
Lemon Shark – 405 pounds
Brown Shark – 260 pounds
Hammerhead Shark – 991 pounds

As you can see if you are serious and want to get into shark fishing Florida you can see that there is great potential for catching some monsters. Some other types you may come across while shark fishing Florida, that the Internal Game Fish Association does not hold any records for are as follows.

The nurse shark, silky shark, bonnethead shark. Though sharks are sought out by many anglers they are rarely eaten in Florida, although nurse, hammerhead and mako sharks can make a good meal or can be excellent for soup. One of the main reasons why not many people eat sharks in my opinion, is that you literally need a chainsaw to fillet them (the big ones). You are not going to be able to fillet a 500 pound hammerhead with any old knife, their skin is very tough and filleting them can and will take hours.

If you are shark fishing Florida for large sharks and happen to land one, and you intend on keeping it, you should not by any circumstances bring the shark into the boat. No matter how dead you think the shark is, large sharks are capable of tearing your bones to shreds with one bite, if you must bring the shark back drag it back to shore with a rope.

Shark fishing Florida can be done all year round in all parts of Florida, no matter where you are there will be some type of shark that is swimming around looking for some food. There is no need to try and fool a shark, they will bite on just about anything, shrimp live or dead, pinfish, lures, flies, frozen squid, stingrays, etc. Just think the largest hammerhead that was caught in Florida was caught by using a 3 foot stingray as bait, sharks are predators of the seas and are not picky when it comes down to meal time.

The best way to attract sharks to your boat, dock, pier, or wherever you are fishing, is bloody chum. The more blood that is in the water the better chance you have of getting one when shark fishing Florida, or better yet fishing for them anywhere in the world. Sharks can smell blood from a mile away. I remember when I was fishing the Fort Desoto piers, and I wasn’t shark fishing Florida, but was actually snapper fishing and landed a bunch of them. I brought the snapper to the clean up table, and after 15 minutes of cleaning the fish, there was about an 7 foot hammerhead sitting by the pier eating the remains of the snapper I was throwing into the water. They love blood, they love dead fish, they love whatever they can get.

One last thing to remember when shark fishing Florida, make sure that you are using a wire leader line. Sharks have many rows of razor sharp teeth and will bite through a regular leader in a heartbeat. If you do land one while shark fishing Florida, take extreme caution when removing the hook from the shark no matter what the size is, as a matter of fact just cut the line. Do not try and get the hook free, cut the line and be done with it for your own safety. That is the basics you need to know when shark fishing Florida.

Add to

Stumble This

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snapper Fishing

One of the most prized types of saltwater fishing in Florida is snapper fishing. This is because there are so many types of snapper out there to catch, and almost all of them are edible. Almost anywhere around Florida where there is saltwater there can be snapper swimming around. This includes docks, piers, bridges, deep sea, or the open flats. Although they do tend to hang around rocky surfaces or anywhere that there might be some obstruction, such as ship wrecks. The Internal Game Fish Association holds all tackle records for the following types of snapper fish.

Yellowtail Snapper – 8 pounds 9 ounces, they can be found primarily off shore all around Florida, especially in the south, and they will hang out in almost any depth of water down to 300 feet. In my opinion these are one of the best tasting snappers there are. They are easy to tell apart from other species of snapper because of their yellow tail, they love to feed on shrimp.

Mangrove Snapper – 17 pounds, they can be found inshore almost anywhere, especially around mangroves, hence the name. They can also be found offshore, to about 300 feet of water. You can use light tackle to hook up with them when snapper fishing.

Cubera Snapper – The largest of the snapper family, the all time record in Florida is 121 pounds 8 ounces. They love to hang around rocks and obstructions from about 40 feet to 300 or so. You will definitely want some heavy duty bottom rigs to catch these monsters.

Red Snapper – These types of snapper can get huge, and they are commonly found fishing offshore, although time to time you can get them fishing from piers and bridges, such as the skyway fishing pier. The world record for the red snapper is 50 pounds 4 ounces. The minimum size for red snapper fishing must be 16 inches on the gulf side, and 20 inches on the Atlantic coast.

Lane Snapper – All time record for the lane snapper is 7 pounds. They can be found around coral reefs and also inshore. They do not get that big so using some light tackle to hook up with them is a must. The minimum size for lane snapper is 8 inches. They are excellent to eat.

Silk Snapper - 18 pounds 5 ounces is the all tackle record for the silk snapper. They can be found all around Florida in very deep waters, I have never caught one of these, so I cannot tell you if they taste good or not.

Mutton Snapper – Biggest one caught weighs in at 28 pounds 5 ounces. If you are snapper fishing for the Muttons, a good place to do so would be in the Florida Keys around reefs that permit fishing. They are also very commonly found inshore around mangroves, canals and flats that have grass beds.

The bag limits for all snapper in Florida are 10 per fisherman per day, except for the Lane and vermilion snappers. This means that you can only get to keep 10 when snapper fishing, mixing the species of snapper that are caught. There is no closed season for snapper fishing except the Red snapper, and that is from November 1st through April 14th, on the Gulf side only.

Due to the bag limit regulations changing all the time, and records being broken some of the information may be a bit out of date. If you notice something wrong please leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I will update the page with the correct information.

Add to

Stumble This

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

About The Saltwater Florida Fishing License

A question I here go around a lot is do you need a fishing license to fish from a boat in Florida ? Well that depends on several factors, but in most cases the answer is yes. Some exceptions to this rule are as follows. If you are under the age of 16 you do not need a license to fish from a boat, although some type of identification might be needed to prove that you are under the age of 16. They do however have to follow all of the regulations such as bag limits and size limits. Senior residents over the age of 65 are another exception, and also any active duty military personnel do not need a Florida license to fish from a boat. If you fall in any of these categories, you still have the option to purchase a Florida fishing license, doing so will benefit the conservation of saltwater game fish that are over fished.

If you happen to be on a boat and other people are fishing you do not need a fishing license in Florida, although you should not contribute by helping out the ones that are fishing on the boat. Like netting the fish or taking the hook out of them. If you are fishing from a dock, beach, or a pier you do not need a Florida fishing license, unless, you plan on keeping the fish for wither food or bait. In other words if you plan on taking or killing the fish you need to have a saltwater Florida fishing license.

If you are on a commercial fishing vessel such as a certified fishing charter, you do not need a license to fish from a boat in Florida. Make sure to clarify this with the agency or fishing captain first to make sure that they have the permit.

Every time somebody purchases a license in Florida, most of the money goes to the FWC, which is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. I know we all want to get greedy and keep all 20 snook we catch in one day, but if everyone did this snook would be extinct within a couple of years. When a species of fish dies out, what do you think that does? It does not just affect that species of fish, it really screws up the food chain bad. All of the bait fish that were eaten by snook would multiply like crazy, causing more chaos in the food chain in the land of Florida fishing, guess what else it would screw up. Florida fishing in general, as tourism and fishing charters and captains that make a living off of taking people out snook fishing, it would not help the economy at all by breaking any of the florida fishing regulations. I just used snook as an example, which you will need a 2 dollar permit stamp on your fishing license to keep one, but this is the same case with all species of fish.

When you pay money to fish legally, not only do you save some money from the game warden when you get caught fishing without a license, but that money goes into research so the fish cycle in Florida doesn’t get all screwed up. Florida fishing licenses can be purchased at your local tax collection office, online or at some bait and tackle stores, although the cheapest way is the tax collectors as they do not charge any service fees as everywhere else will. You can also get one over the phone. If you are a Florida resident its about 17 bucks for one year, 79 for 5 year. If you want to get it cheaper, go to your tax collectors office, if you are lazy like me then order one on the phone or search around on the internet, although it may confuse you some. Please do not ask me questions about freshwater fishing or hunting licenses, I don’t do either and I really don’t know too much about them. If you do it all there are many types of plans and deals you can get for Florida fishing and hunting licenses.

Add to

Stumble This

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wahoo Fishing In Florida

If you want to change up your offshore saltwater fishing in Florida up a little bit, why not try and do some wahoo fishing. Wahoo can be found in tropical and sub tropical waters all over the world, and they are highly fished for in the Florida Keys. So if you are getting tired of catching dolphin fish and tuna, why not give some wahoo a shot. Be warned these fish are not cheap to go after, you will be spending lots of money on gas, while you may hook up with a wahoo or two while trolling for dolphin or sailfish, turn up the speed on your motors a little bit and target the wahoo fish.

In Florida, wahoo can be found on the Atlantic coast from the middle of the state down to the Florida Keys. You may need to go out about 40-50 miles, and you and you want the water to be at least 100 feet deep. The all tackle record for the biggest wahoo caught is 158 pounds, 8 ounces.

While you can troll at speeds like 12, 14, 16 knots and effectively catch wahoo, you might as well be saltwater fishing for dolphin. Crank the speed up to 20 plus knots, then you will be wahoo fishing, and you will cover a lot more ground than you would if you were trolling for dolphin. Some captains are skeptical about trolling at such a high speed, but wahoo love to snack on bonito and tuna, which are some of the fastest saltwater bait fish there are in oceans and seas, so for a torpedo shaped fish that can max out over 60 miles per hour, trolling over 20 knots will not phase them at all. They are even more likely to strike at high speeds like these, and when you are trolling at such a high speed, you can almost be sure that the hook will set when these torpedos come crashing at the lure.

Wahoo can be found in mostly all of the places that dolphin fish can be found, such as big drop offs, floating debris, big temperature changes, and diving birds will make a good selection for some wahoo fish to be hanging out. Unlike dolphin fish though, wahoo tend to travel alone, and not in schools, although you may find a couple of giant wahoo fish swimming around each other if there are a lot of bait fish nearby. I have read and found out from many captains that you want to be in at least 100 feet of water for these warp speed fish though.

Bait and Tackle You Will Need For Wahoo

Do not go light on the tackle when you are fishing for wahoo. You will want to use a heavy duty trolling reel and rod, and unlike fishing for dolphin, I recommend only have about 4-6 fishing rods out at one time. Make sure that the fishing reel can hold about 500 yards of 50-80 pound test monofilament line. The reason you want to use monofilament line is because it stretches when hit hard, and when trolling 20 plus knots when you get a hit you will need the extra stretch. Now when it comes to terminal tackle, you will have to take this pretty serious, this is no time to short yourself. You wont want to be tying any fishing knots when rigging your leaders together, instead use some heavy duty ball bearing snap swivels. Use a 3 foot cable wire as a leader, nad have a 300 pound test shock leader before the cable leader, about 20-30 feet. In between the shock leader and the monoline you will need a good sized trolling weight.

There are many types of fishing lures out there that are specifically designed for wahoo fishing, but before you make your selection of what kind of fishing lure you will use, you must take into consideration on how fast you are going to be trolling. Not many people troll 20 knots or more when fishing for wahoo, and not all wahoo lures can handle such speeds. Captain Mike Genoun recommends that you use a 32 0r 48 ounce banchee when you are trolling at 20 plus knots. Now once you get a wahoo on line, you will need great maneuvering skills with the boat, you don’t want to reel a fish in 400 plus yards, you will have to go to the fish in most cases. Once you get the wahoo up to the boat you will need to land the fish, this can be done by gaffing the fish.

Add to

Stumble This

Friday, November 28, 2008

Trash Fish

Now I will do a lot of talking about what kind of fish to catch when saltwater fishing in Florida, but what about the kind that you don’t want to catch, these types of fish are considered to me as trash fish. Not because they do not play an important role in Mother Nature, keeping the balance of saltwater fishing and all, I just call them trash fish because to me they just put up a fight, and I catch them when I am fishing for something totally different. When I happen to accidentally catch one of these trash fish while saltwater fishing in Florida, I simply de-hook them and throw them back.

Lots of fisherman that you see on the television practice the catch and release tactic, and they all claim that they do it just for the sport. When it comes to saltwater fishing, 95% of the time those anglers just don’t do it for sport. They target a fish such as a bill fish or a tarpon, they catch it and then they release it. They do this mostly because they are on camera, they get paid to show people how to fish. If you are just some average starving Joe like I have been all of my life, you are not going to go snook fishing, catch a snook that is within the legal limits, look at it and throw it back just for the fight. People act different when there are cameras and television shows pointing at them, not to mention a quick shot at their local fishing charter business they are trying to run and get more business too.

Bottom line is that I love to saltwater fish Florida, I fish for the sport but I also fish for food for my belly and my family. I do not fish for the cameras or local TV shows, although if I were to get the opportunity I would probably take them up on their offer. My family and I got to eat. So getting back to the point at hand, I will be talking about trash fish, no some types of fish I will go over might not be considered trash fish to some people, but if I call them trash fish that’s what they are considered to me, it is my blog and everything that is documented here is my point of view, love it or leave it.

The first type of trash fish I am going to mention is the saltwater catfish. These fish are everywhere, especially inshore, and no matter what I seem to be fishing for when saltwater fishing inshore I always seem to hook up with a couple of saltwater catfish. Now there are some people that like to eat these disgusting fish, I have no idea why, they are not protected by any kind of Floridian law, there is no bag or size limit on them, and there is no illegal way to catch them. To me and 95% of the Florida saltwater fishermen out there these are considered to be trash fish. If you happen to hook up with a saltwater catfish, please take caution when trying to de-hook on, they have barbs on their face that will cut and sting the hell out of you if you are careful. The sting can be compared to some of the fish in the stingray family but just not as deadly. So to me saltwater catfish are nothing but bait thieves, shark food, and a fish that actually puts up a decent fight on some very light tackle.

The second kind of trash fish I am going to go over is the barracuda. These fish will eat almost anything, and nothing will get you more pissed than landing on a good snapper hole about 40 plus feet deep, reeling the snapper up to the surface just to find half of its body is missing due to a barracuda strike. Barracuda are found all throughout the tropical waters of Florida, and they will rob you for the fish that you want to catch and they will also take the bait you are using for the saltwater fish that you want to catch. They are overall just a huge nuisance.

So basically the barracuda is the kind of fish that you catch when you are fishing for something else. The smaller barracuda can be edible, to some people, to me personally they taste disgusting. The larger barracuda I would not recommend eating at all, as they could contain ciguatera poisoning, which is not good, it can cause severe food poisoning. Barracuda can grow big, and no one really fishes for them, the biggest barracuda as of today is 85 pounds. Barracuda put up a great fight on light and medium tackle, I have yet to find anyone that will go out on a boat trying to catch barracuda.

As I said before, just try and catch something edible in tropical waters, and you will be sure to hook up with a couple of barracuda. This is why this species of fish to me is considered to be a trash fish when fishing in Florida. A few other types of fish that I consider to be trash fish are Jack, Ladyfish, and Bonito. Although the ladyfish and bonito are not edible to my liking, they do make some great bait for deep sea fishing, so I may have to take that comment back, great bait equals great fish, which means bonito and ladyfish to me are not trash fish, stick around if you want to see what I use them for.

Add to

Stumble This

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flounder Fishing

Being from the Tampa Bay area and mostly fishing down south I don’t have a lot of information on fish that reside to colder waters, one of the fish I do know a thing or two about are flounder fish. Flounder fishing is mostly done in cold waters, they like the temperature to be about 50 degrees all the way up to about 80 is what they can stand, the colder the better. So if you are looking for flounder in south Florida, you may have a hard time finding them as they are very scarce in those warm waters.

There are two types of flounders that Florida keeps records of, and those are the Summer Flounder, which the record is 22 pounds 7 ounces, and they are commonly found in northeast Florida in the summer and spring season. The other common type of Florida flounder that they hold records for are the Southern flounder, also referred to as the mud flounder. They can be found almost anywhere in Florida saltwater except the south, as I said they prefer the colder waters.

I have found in my years of saltwater fishing Tampa Bay, that flounder to get picked up and caught a lot, I have landed more than a few in my day. Now flounder fishing is not my area of expertise but I will share with you how I catch flounder in the Tampa Bay area.

Let’ start with the saltwater fishing tackle, I use a 7 foot spinning rod and reel, with 12 pound test. Some anglers may choose to use a heavier fishing line but this is what I use, and it makes the fight of the fish that much more fun. I fish from bridges with big pilings that have a good strong current, so the ideal sinker weight and type would be an egg sinker from 1 to 2 ounces, also using a black barrel swivel along with a 50# test leader line. When it comes to hooks, I almost always use circle hooks, especially if I am inshore fishing. Circle hooks may be a bit more expensive but I find that I land a lot more fish when I use them, especially when I am flounder fishing.

The next step to flounder fishing is choosing the right kind of bait. I use live bait, preferably 6-9 inch finger mullet. I will usually go to a different bridge and try to net some finger mullet with a cast net, then I will keep them alive with a bait bucket, or at least try to. Once I get to the spot where I think the flounder are at I will tie the bait bucket off and drop it in the water to keep them alive. I hook the finger mullet through the top lip and then I drop the line down in the current and let the tide take it. Now once I get a hit I will let the flounder run a little bit, since I use circle hooks the hook usually will set itself.

One very big mistake that fishermen will make when flounder fishing is setting the hook to early, they do not swallow the bait immediately, some might wait up to a minute to set the hook while others will wait a couple of seconds. This is why I choose to use circle hooks when flounder fishing, circle hooks are self setting and you will greatly increase the percentage of fish you will land.

If you can’t get a hold of any finger mullet, my next choice of live bait would be some jumbo live shrimp. Hook them through the head and use them the same way that you would use the finger mullet. I have read and heard of flounder being caught using artificial bait, but I have never tried it so I can’t tell you how well it will work. Everywhere I’ve read and heard, live bait works much better, the choice is up to you with what you want to use as bait to catch flounder.

The Florida fishing regulations for flounder are as follows. There is no closed season for flounder fishing, they must be at least 12 inches in length, and there is no maximum size for flounder. The daily bag limit for flounder is 10. If anyone else has any suggestions or input about flounder fishing please feel free to share it here, I am no expert at Florida flounder fishing and I wish to get some more information on catching these types of fish myself. Some other types of fish that you may hook up with when flounder fishing are snook, redfish, seatrout, and small sharks.

Add to

Stumble This

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mullet Fishing Fort Desoto Park

So last weekend I had off, a very much needed rest from my full time job, so I decided that I would head on down to Fort Desoto to some saltwater fishing. This time though I wasn’t going to the Fort Desoto piers like a normally do, I was going there to try and get some mullet. See the good thing about mullet is there is no bag limit for them, and there is no size limit for them in Florida as far as I know, and even if there was, I would never get a chance to catch that many. The thing about mullet is that they like to travel in schools, and if you can guess where the mullet might be and where the mullet might be, you have a far better chance of catching them by quantity.

So I got a couple of fishing rods and my tackle box, along with a small cooler and a 7 foot cast net. Lit up a cigarette and I was on my way to Fort Desoto Park. I only live about 45 minutes away from there so I try and fish it as often as I can. I stopped at the 7-11 and got a bag of ice just in case I did happen to catch some mullet fish. Now when you first enter that long road to Fort Desoto, you will pass through a toll, then I believe there are a couple of bridges on the way to the park, you will always see people fishing from the bridges there. The bridge that I decided I was going to go after was the one right before you hit the beach, it’s a very small bridge and there are rarely people fishing there. There is a small boat ramp there and that’s the main purpose of the bridge, as there is also a small parking lot there also.

Anyways I pulled the car up there, got my cast net and my beer, and headed over to the right side of the bridge. Now if you are fishing here with a cast net you must be extremely careful on where you throw the net, if you have an expensive cast net I would not recommend you throwing it unless you are a 100 percent sure that you are going to catch something. There are rocks every at the bottom, which is only about 6 feet deep. I have really torn up some good cast nets fishing for mullet there, so you can decide at your own risk. This may not be the best spot at Fort Desoto to try and catch some mullet fish, but if you know what to look for you can walk away with plenty of dinner for you and your family and friends.

The thing you have to look for when fishing for mullet, is, mullet. Look for little ripples in the water, and also look for mullet that are jumping, mullet love to jump. Have the cast net ready in hand to throw because when they swim by you will only get one shot. This particular morning I had spotted a couple of them, and made a couple of casts, I had brought up some small shiners and a couple of very small mullet, not even big enough to keep, not to me anyway. After patiently waiting for about 20 minutes or so I had a great cast, and when I brought up the cast net inside was about 10 mullet, some of them were really good size too. So I immediately ran and got the cooler full of ice, cut the mullet at the head to bleed them, and hastily put them on ice.

Now if you happen to catch a couple of small mullet and you don’t think that they are big enough to eat, there is another thing that you can do to make great use of them. Snook fishing, if you have been following along with me, I had said in the “how to fish for snook” post that snook love to eat live mullet. You could put the mullet in a bait bucket and then head down to one of the piers, having a live mullet you will have an advantage of catching snook over the other people that are fishing for the same thing.

Add to

Stumble This

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Deep Sea Fishing Florida

So if you want to do some deep sea fishing in Florida, you will need the appropriate tackle to use. Not only will you need the right kind of tackle, you will also need a lot of money. Fishing the deep sea is not cheap these days, and you will have access to a fishing boat to get out there. If you do not have a boat nor do you know anybody that has a boat, you can always get a couple of buddies, and find a captain to take you out. I live in Clearwater, Florida, and here there are a handful of charters that are willing to take you out deep sea fishing Clearwater Florida for the right price. It will be expensive, but that is where you can your friends divide the cost up to make it a little easier on your pockets.

Now if you do have a boat, make sure that it is suitable for going offshore, some examples of fishing boats that are not suitable for going offshore are pontoon boats and deck boats, these are made to stay inland, and if you have one I highly recommend that you use them for what they are made for, staying inshore.

So let’s say that you have a nice fishing boat, like a 20 foot Hydra Sport, some of the things you might want to have on the boat before you go out fishing are, a cooler full of ice. Nothing spoils fresh fish than them not being frozen, as soon as you catch something that you plan to keep, the fish should immediately be placed on ice, after you take a couple pictures with it of course. You should also have a live well, everyone knows that live bait works best for almost every kind of fishing, and if you are bottom fishing in the deep sea, then you will pull up a lot of small potential bait for sharks and other big game fish. Another option you could have on your boat for deep sea fishing in Florida would be some outriggers. These will allow you to put out some more fishing lines if you are planning to troll for fish. Always have plenty of fishing rods, every rod holder on your boat should have a fishing rod in it, you never know what you might run into, and if you have a school of fish around the boat and one of the lines break, you want to have quick access to a fishing pole that is already rigged up and ready to go.

Next thing you want to bring out on the boat with you when deep sea fishing Florida are some chum blocks, these are great when doing some bottom saltwater fishing less than 100 feet deep. Another useful little tool to have on deck when deep sea fishing Florida is a GPS/Fish Finder system. These little devices can show you if there are fish below you, they also show you rocks and obstructions, you might even get lucky and find a ship wreck that nobody knows about, this is the key to deep sea fishing Florida, to find those rare saltwater fishing spots that nobody knows about, if other fishermen don’t know about the spot, then that means it’s not over fished, which means you are guaranteed to catch some fish every time you tie anchor there and drop a fishing line. If you do happen to find one of these gold mine fishing spots, do not tell anyone, don’t tell your family, your friends, no one. You can take them to the spot, but just don’t share the coordinates with them. Besides finding fish and great saltwater fishing spots with a fish finder, they also tell you how deep the water is, it’s a great tool to have when deep sea fishing Florida.
Next you will need something to land the fish with, since it is very difficult to get a 40 pound dolphin in the fishing boat by hand. This is where the gaff comes in handy, I use one for any fish that’s over 15 pounds or so, when you are using a gaff, you want to bring the fish close up to the boat, and then place the gaff under the fish and lift up with force. Gaffing takes a little bit of practice to get it down right but once you master it you find it second nature. As I said earlier, have plenty of fishing rods on deck, have some conventional trolling rods, and have some spinning reel set ups also, you never know what kind of fish you might stumble upon. You will also need a good supply of egg sinkers if you are deep sea bottom fishing, but unless you have an electric reel set up, I would not fish no deeper than a 100 feet.

Now last but definitely not least, the most important things to have when deep sea fishing Florida, matter of fact anytime you go offshore, make sure that you have a radio. If you were to get in trouble it might be the only way for you to contact the U.S. Coast Guard, or anyone else that can help. Going offshore without a radio is retarded, don’t do it. Make sure that your boat has plenty of fuel, it sucks running out of gas 10 miles off shore, better have a radio. The last item I am going to mention is preferably for me, but make sure that you have plenty of beer on board, always bring twice as much as you think you will drink, and if you do this, make sure that you have a designated boat driver. That’s really all you need for deep sea fishing Florida, if you can think of anything that I might have left out please feel free to leave me a comment.

Add to

Stumble This

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fort Desoto Pier Fishing

As you know, I am a local in the Saint Petersburg area, and though most of my saltwater fishing trips are further down south, but every once in awhile I will make a trip to the Fort Desoto fishing piers. In case you don’t know, Fort Desoto is one the best parks in the United States, there is a whole bunch of stuff that you can do there, there’s a beach, there’s canoe rentals, canals to fish, bridges to fish, and also a couple of fishing piers. The first pier is the long one, aka the Gulf Pier, I would say it is about a quarter mile from the beach to the end, which provides a lot of saltwater fishing ground. You will see that the pier is almost always full of anglers, and all the locals have their own ways of catching fish there. Unlike the rest of Fort Desoto park, both of the piers are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and they both provide good lighting up and down the piers.

The pier is free to fish, there are no charges or entry fees like a lot of the other fishing piers that are in the area, and with the right bait and tackle, you can get hooked up with some nice fish. Some of the fish you can expect to catch there are snapper, snook, sheepshead, and many other types of good edible fish. Me personally I am always going for the snook, but if I happen to get some nice snapper then they will be just as good. At night I usually will fish the other pier that they have, it is a lot shorter than the first one, and personally I like it better, but I always wind up going back and forth until I start to get some consistent fish biting.

The bait that you use is very important, you will see a lot of pier fisherman throwing their cast nets and getting a bunch of small shiners, then they will hook them and fish a couple feet down from where they got the shiners, do you see a problem with this? Now I am not saying you won’t catch any fish by doing this, but understand that your are lessening the chances of landing a good snook by doing this, I mean what do you think a snook will choose if he had the choice over shiners that he feeds on all day, or a nice big live shrimp that he may only eat seldom. So with that being said, I always bring with me a couple dozen live shrimp with me. When you first enter the park you will see that in a little plaza there is a bait and tackle shop there, and if you get there early enough in the morning you can get some nice size shrimp. The gulf pier of Fort Desoto park also has a bait shop, but I know that it used to open up late like around 10ish, so I always want to get a jump on everyone and get out there early, right about sunrise while the fish are still hungry. So if you are in the Tampa Bay area and want to try something different than saltwater fishing the sunshine skyway pier, head on over to Fort Desoto park and try some pier fishing over there, you might see me out there.

Add to

Stumble This

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Florida Keys Fishing - Mahi Mahi

Now I am no expert when it comes to fishing in the Florida keys for mahi mahi, I am sure that there are a lot of anglers out there that could kick my butt up and down every day. But as I have preached, I have learned from a couple of the best fishermen (captains) in Florida, especially my uncle. He has been fishing the Florida keys for many years, and he has went through many types of trial and error when it comes to try catching some yummy dolphin fish. Before I get into some techniques on how to catch dolphin, let me give you a little bit of information about them, the more you know about them the more of them you can catch, which means the better you will be eating, their meat is very nutritious, and on top of that very delicious, with 1,000’s of mahi mahi recipes out there it’s hard to go wrong when eating dolphin.

Facts About Dolphin

We are not talking about flipper when it comes to saltwater fishing, we are talking about mahi mahi, also known as Dorado (Coryphaena hippurus). They are highly colorful, and they love to jump when you have one hooked and running, they are mostly found traveling in schools, from a few pairs to a dozen or more. The larger dolphin fish are often found swimming singly or in a pair, but they can also be found swimming under school. The smaller dolphin have a nickname of “schoolies”, and the larger ones are called “bull dolphin”. The water temperature where you will find them will be between 78 degrees and 85 degrees, so yes they are a tropical fish that love to swim around in warm waters. There is no closed season when fishing for dolphin, and there is no minimum or maximum regulation size limits. The maximum daily bag limit for them is 10. Now that we got a little bit of facts straight about these highly sought out saltwater Florida game fish, let me tell you about a fishing trip that I had with my uncle, where we caught a couple of nice keepers and maxed out on the daily bag limit.

Dolphin fishing in Florida is very big in the Gulf of Mexico, and even more in the Florida keys. My uncle has a nice sized fishing boat at his vacation house in Marathon Key, and he goes down there to fish all of the time, this particular trip it was my uncle, my sister and her friend. We got up early in the morning, about 5:30 am, right before sunset. Loaded up the boat with some trolling rods and reels, along with about 5 or 6 spinning fishing rods, we wanted to have every kind of fishing rod available, you never know what kind of spot you will find in the Florida Keys. We had about 6 trolling rods, and we put all of them out at once, this is possible because of the outriggers that were equipped on the boat. What we used for bait, was some frozen ballyhoo on a medium sized hook, on top of just the ballyhoo we have had some colorful feathers attached to the hook and ballyhoo, rigged with a 60# test metal leader line, about 3’. Now we used the trolling reels and rods because that is the easiest way to cover a lot of ground (or ocean), when fishing for dolphin, and the more ground that you cover the better chances you have of landing one.

Fishing For Dolphin

Now some anglers will go out miles to catch some dolphin, when you are fishing in the Florida Keys this is still necessary, but not so much as to having to go out 40 or 50 miles, as you would have to do if you were fishing for dolphin a little more up the Florida coast. In our case we went out about 8 miles before we decided to drop the lines back and start trolling, we troll at a speed from 8-12 knots, this is a good speed, as it will be no problem for a gamefish such as a dolphin fish to hit the bait, seeing that they swim at about 40 miles per hour. We had 6 lines out at once, and then just headed out further as we were trolling. There are a couple of things that will help you out, without help and no direction, your chances are very slim in landing some dolphin, even though you may covers many many miles. The things that will help you are birds, especially birds that are circling and diving, when they do this it means that there are some bait fish that are nervous as hell being chased by some big game fish, and in a lot of cases this is mahi mahi fish that are very hungry. So if you see some diving birds troll right towards them, there is a very good chance that you will have a fish hooked if you do. The next thing that you need to be looking for are weed lines, big thick long streams of weed lines, this provides shade for the dolphin fish, and they will usually be hanging out about 30 yards from them, they provide great shade from the sunlight, and with the brightness of the ballyhoo feather they will quickly see the bait and come running after it. The next thing that you will be looking for are big boards floating in the water, this is another thing that gives the fish a great place to hide from the sunlight.

So we were trolling for about an hour, and then one of the trolling reels went off, and it went off fast. We immediately stopped the boat, just in about 15 seconds the dolphin had probably ran off about 50-100 yards already, then the fight begins. After about 15 minutes of fighting the fish was starting to get close, just had to keep repeating the fight procedure, which is lift the rod up, slowly lift down and reel, keep repeating this, if the fish runs then let him run he will get tired sooner or later. Anyways back to my fight with this feisty saltwater game fish, once the fish got close he started to jump. Then after about 30 minutes of fighting we finally got the dolphin up to the boat, and it was huge, the biggest one that I have ever seen. My buddy John had got the gaff ready to get the beast into the boat, then after a couple of tries of swinging the fish towards the boat he got the fish, gaffed him right under the gill and lifted it into the boat. There’s no official weight, but the rough guess from my uncle was it weighed about 50 pounds or more, by far the biggest I have ever caught, we quickly bled him and through him on some ice. In future posts I will go into further detail about fishing the Florida Keys for dolphin, as to tackle size and exact instructions on how to properly rig a ballyhoo to make it efficient. I am just too tired now, need to get ready for my upcoming vacation, and yes, I will be going back to some saltwater fishing in the Florida Keys, until next time my friends.

I was just about to post this and thought that I left out a good chunk of information on how to catch schoolies. After I landed the big one, we were trolling for about 3 hours with not even a single strike, and then finally I was up on the tower and I had seen some birds diving. This was a very good sign and we headed right for them, remember, where there are birds, there are fish. So sure enough right after we passed the birds we had a hit on the line, so we immediately stopped the boat and my buddy John grabbed the rod, he reeled it all the way up to the boat and there was a little schooly on the line, about 5 pounds or so, we left him in the water and set the rod in a fish holder, this will keep the fish alive in the water swimming around like crazy, which will attract many more of the dolphin in the school. We made haste to throw some chum in the water to keep the school near, and tossed in a couple of spinning rods, this is what we have been waiting for. We used some chopped up squid on some medium sized hooks, and then we were reeling up dolphin left and right. We quickly filled up the cooler and we got are daily bag limit :) Though none of these dolphin were even close to the bullhead we got earlier in the day, still a lot little dolphin add up and make a great meal for several people, altogether we had about 100 pounds of dolphin at the end of the day, plus we got lots of snapper and some grunts too, gotta take a break from trolling and do some bottom fishing for a bit. :) Just remember if you hook a small dolphin, leave it in the water because there are several more around, remember what I said in the beginning of the post, small dolphin travel in schools, throw some bait in the water along with some chum, and the school will follow especially when they see one of their little buddies panicking.

Add to

Stumble This

Monday, November 17, 2008

Florida Keys Fishing - Lobster

Now I have been fishing in the Florida Keys for many years, catching many types of fish, from coolers full of snapper, to coolers full of mahi mahi. That’s all good, and it will make the day really fun, but what are you to do when the day is over ? Maybe go to a bar and get drunk, cook up all of the fish that you caught, drink some more, think about what you are going to do the next day? No, I want to fish some more, there are a couple good places to do some night fishing, my uncle and I have done a lot of night fishing, but he had found another way to catch some fish, one of the best tasting seafood in the world, Florida Keys lobster. The lobster in the Florida Keys are kind of small compared to other lobster around the world, but they fill up the small canals and passages inland, and if you have a small boat with a night light on it, you might as well give it a try, Florida Keys fishing for lobster at night time.

Before you go out and try to catch some lobster, please be aware that in Florida you will need a permit to catch them, and I am not completely sure that this method my uncle and I used is completely legal so please take caution in doing this. You can acquire a license from the link in my side bar titled Florida Fishing License, its only about 2 dollars and they will mail it to you, I think they only charge a couple dollars for the convenience fee, but check the website to be sure.

So my uncle has a little ol Jon boat, it’s about 10 foot long with a little 15 horsepower motor on it, we attached a spotlight on front of the boat. The way that we were catching the lobster was by net, not a cast net, but a regular fishing net, the technique is to scoop the lobster out of the water. It is very difficult and challenging, but once you get the hang of it, it’s all second nature. You are not going to get tons of lobster fishing for them using the scoop technique, but if you are lucky you will get about 6-7 legal sized lobster, which is about how many we got after going up and down the canals for about 2 hours. The thing that makes it challenging is standing on the bow of the boat looking into the water, now this would be really easy for the sober person, but when you have been deep sea fishing all day, like me, I was also drinking all day too. So I had a really good buzz going on, and my sea legs were really wanting to give in. I don’t get to do some Florida Keys fishing every day, I don’t even get to fish in the Florida Keys every month, so when I am there, I make sure that I am having fun. If you don’t condone drinking and fishing all well, I do, and I love it, when I am on vacation I have fun dammit.

Back to the rocking of the boat and trying to catch some lobster drunk, luckily I did not fall in the water but somebody else on the boat did, I tell you it was hilarious, and it was close to winter time so the water in the Florida Keys was a bit chilly, but the girl that fell in was highly intoxicated so that helped with handling the cold a lot. The bad thing is when she fell in she scared a lot of the lobster away (lol). Below are some of the pictures of the lobster that we had caught.

Add to

Stumble This

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How To Throw A Cast Net

Throwing A Cast Net

When you try to throw a cast net for the first time, you might find it quite difficult, the key is the more you practice the easier it will get, and eventually throwing a cast net will be second nature to you. For the beginner it is recommended to start off with a small cast net, in the range between 3’ to 5’, anything bigger will just make it that much more difficult to do. You may want to start off practicing in your backyard, or any open space, it isn’t wise to start off on a boat, you could lose your balance and fall in the water. The following tutorial will be for people that are right handed, and will be followed up with some videos covering how to throw a cast net.

As a precaution, before throwing a cast net, take off any watches or rings if you have them on, you don’t want the net to get caught up in them, injury could occur and you could mess up your cast missing a school of bait or fish. With the cast net rope, create a loop around your left hand, this is so when you release the cast net you won’t lose it in the water. Wrap the rope up in a loop from your left elbow to your hand, once you have the rope in a coil go ahead and let it hang. With your right hand grab the top of the cast net, if the net is over 5’ you may have to bend the net and hold it in the middle. Grab a piece of the net and put it in your mouth, don’t hold the net with your teeth, just use your lips, being careful not to bite down on the sinkers. Twist your body back about ¾ of the way, and then swing your arms using your right hand to aim the net, the cast net should make a full spread when it’s in the air. Let the net sink to the bottom, once it hits bottom you can pull the net up, empty bait fish into bucket. Below are some great videos that will do you much more justice on learning how to throw a cast net then a bunch of words will do, feel free to watch them and learn.

Using A Cast Net

Cast nets are great for catching bait fish, and they come in sizes from 3' radius to 12' radius (citation needed). They are basically fishing line constructed into a net, and they have sinkers at the end to sink down to the bottom and trap the fish or bait. Not only are cast nets great for catching bait like minnows, pinfish, shiners, but they can also be used to catch mullet. The more you throw a cast net the better you will get, they you can slowly move up to bigger nets to increase your percentage and amount of bait and fish that you bring in.

Add to

Stumble This

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Florida Snook Fishing

*Update* - Snook season closes December 1st in the Gulf waters of Florida.

Florida snook fishing is very popular among saltwater fishermen, there are many reasons for this, they put up a great fight and they are very difficult to catch for the beginning angler. They also taste delicious, if you ever want to eat a snook fish, you have to catch one, seeing that it is illegal to sell them in restaurants due to the population of them shrinking. Other common names for snook are Robalo, Saltwater Pike, and the technical term for the geeks is Centopomus undecimalis. There are four different kinds of snook, they are the common snook, tarpon snook, fat snook and swordspine snook. The most chased though is the common snook, due to the fact that they get bigger than all the other types, and they are a bit more “common”, and are a favorite by many when saltwater fishing Florida.

Snook season is closed from December 15th through January 31st, snook season is also closed in the months of June, July and August, and basically you shouldn’t be fishing for snook in the summer time if you live in Florida.

It’s been awhile since I have been bridge fishing for snook in Pinellas county, but they are still very common in the Tampa Bay area. The more you go up the northern coast of Florida the more scarce the snook become. Snook like the water temperature from about 70 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The best times to fish for them is when there is a full moon, early in the morning or right before dusk. The all time world record for the largest snook is 53 pounds, 10 ounces, the Florida state record is 44 pounds and 3 ounces, I am hoping to break this record some day . Florida saltwater fishermen (and women) are allowed 2 snook a person, per day, they must be in the range of 24 to 34 inch range, anything below 24 inches must be released unharmed. You are allowed to keep 1 snook if it is 34 inches or larger, just one. To be able to snook fish you must purchase a license to do so, the permit will cost you 2 dollars.

How To Catch Snook

Snook will bite lots of different kinds of bait, both live and artificial, it would be better though to go with live bait. Shrimp, Pinfish, mullet and shiners will work well, try different kinds because they tend to go into feeding frenzies a lot. Spin casting reels work great when snook fishing, if you are out on a boat you want to have about 8#-10# line, with a nice clear leader line of about 30#, you will want the leader line to be about 2-3 feet. Make sure that your drag is set correctly, you should be able to pull the line with your hand from the fishing reel, if your drag is too tight, the snook will snap your line in the matter of seconds. If you are fishing from a pier or a bridge, or even surf fishing you will want to use some heavier line, if you can always use live bait, dead bait will not work well, snook are very smart and they are very picky about what they will eat. You will find that when you are fishing for them, many will get away, they are tremendous fighters and they really know how to cut a line quick, especially if you are fishing from a bridge or a pier. Another great time to do some snook fishing is at night by a dock, if the dock has a light that is shining in the water, there is a very good chance that there are some snook swimming around, especially if you are in south Florida in a canal. My cousin has a house in Fort Meyers, Florida, and he has a light shining in the water, when the water temperature is right, there are usually about 10 or more snook swimming around his dock.

Add to

Stumble This

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saltwater Fishing Florida Introduction

Hello everyone, my name is Dave an I love saltwater fishing, I don't care where I am, any state, country, I just love fishing. It doesn't even have to be fishing in saltwater, although that is what I prefer, since that is what I have grown up to. You can find me fishing for some bass on occasion, and the occasion would be that I am no where near a coast to cast out into the saltwater. So I am here to tell you a little about myself, and then we will get into some very detailed posts about all types of saltwater fishing, but being that I grew up in Florida, and 90% of my fishing that I have done in my life has been in Florida, so most of the posts are going to be related to Florida fishing.

I was born and raised in the Tampa Bay are in Florida, I have been fishing almost my whole life. I am 26 years old, and I am currently not a professional angler nor am I a experienced captain (yet). I however, have a family that is, my uncle has been fishing for over 40 years, and he knows thousands of great spots to drop a fishing line, mostly all over Florida, and especially the Keys. My cousin is also an expert, there is nothing that he can't catch, there is nothing that he can't hunt, I have learned from the best in Florida. Their knowledge has slowly trickled down into my mental den. They have taught me all about the types of saltwater fishing rods, fishing reels, tackle, bait, boating, and so much more. This blog is all about me sharing my knowledge that I have learned over the years from my uncle and my cousin, this is a great place for the beginning saltwater angler to learn a thing or two.

Add to

Stumble This