The weather has been absolutely incredible. My phone is going crazy with tons of people wanting to fish. Usually I would turn them down telling them it was too cold and continue on with my stone crab and mullet fishing but this year is different. The weather is ridiculously hot. The mullet are everywhere but not doing the right thing for us to go get them. So what do you do? You go after snook, redfish and trout. The bait has been ridiculously easy. Filling the live well with one or two throws. I took my client Tyler and his two boys out and we quickly caught our limit of trout. After that we knocked some quality redfish and then finished off with this quality snook, 36 inches to be exact. My biggest tip for winter fishing in Tampa Bay is when the weather is still in the upper 70's low 80's, look for fish that think it's early fall or late summer. Do not go to your winter time hot spots assuming that the fish just go there. Keep your eyes open, check everything and fish it! Tight lines, Capt Chris
It's scallop season! One of my favorite times of year. It doesn't last long either so definitely want to get your taste while it's good. My family and I went out near Homosassa on a clear Sunday afternoon. The water visibility was incredible. My son was the first overboard of course and in no longer than 5 minutes he came up with 20 or so scallops. The water clarity around Citrus County, Pasco County and Pinellas County has been amazing lately! The water is so crystal clear you can see the bottom very easily and this makes for easy diving. The sea life is abundant. We saw manatees, dolphins, starfish and so much more. Homosassa has got to be one of the most beautiful places. I highly recommend grabbing the family and taking a scallop trip with West Coast Fishing Adventures! Give me a call and get up here as soon as possible because the scallops this year are unbelievable. If you are looking for a fantastic way to enjoy a hot summer day diving in the crystal pristine waters of Homosassa with your family, then this is the way to do it. What are you waiting for? Take a scallop charter trip before the season ends, before the kids are back in school or before they don't want to do it with you... Hope to see you all on the water and hear about all the tasty scallops you enjoyed from our scallop charter trip! Capt Chris
I have been out a lot fishing and looking for bait this week. Bait is a funny thing in the Pinellas County Region. One day it is here and the next day it is gone. The one thing that I would really try to emphasize on is knowing your region. Take the time one of the days you fish and really get out and try to find bait in different places. take out plenty of chum and try different areas of your county that you fish. Once you find the bait coming up in one area throw on them, collect some and leave. Move on to the next area that might have bait and do the same. This way you will know where to get bait on any type of day or at least a good start. Bait in Pinellas has been tough! Make sure to use a variety of good chum! I cannot tell you how many people I see fail to get bait because they run out with one can of cat food and are not properly equipped. Put in the time it takes to find the bait and you will get big fish. If the Redfish aren't eating, move on to the Snook. If the Snook are not eating, move on to the trout. Same thing for bait. If you're not in a hole, move on. Always find the bait and the bite and once you do, try to stay in it. Hope this helps a little on your next bait adventure. See you on the water! Captain Chris
A lot of people ask me about fishing in all kinds of weather, especially during the Winter months when the weather can be unfavorable, so today I want to talk a little bit today about fishing around the weather. Sunday I had a charter with the notion that the weather was going to be nice. We got into the boat around 11 o'clock a.m. The weatherman was wrong as usual. What was supposed to be a bright and sunny day was mostly cloudy and cold. We decided to go anyway. There was a lot of boat traffic being a Sunday and everybody thought it would be nice so I needed to get to a little bit of a backcountry area that is also a no motor zone. We threw normal DOA 4 inch shad and some paddle tails all of which were earth tone colors. We were catching a fair amount of small to medium size trout and having a decent time. Using the trolling motor to our advantage we got in some skinny water and found a lot of mullet so I decided to hold tight. We started seeing some redfish schooled up moving together and I decided to really just wait it out and watch their pattern. When the sun started to pop up, we knew we had to make a move. We got into the Redfish and when the sun was over head we knew waiting was the right decision. There were probably 2 to 3 hundred Redfish all around us. Being on a large tower boat we tended to spook most of them but were able to hook up a few bottom slot, legal size Redfish. It seemed that the sun made all the difference because as soon as it went away the bite turned off. If you’re planning on booking an upcoming charter, we will definitely focus our time around the sun and warmth of the day, more than the tides at this time of year. Hope you enjoyed the report for today. See ya on the water! Captain Chris
Had a great fishing charter in Tarpon Springs last week. We left early Thursday morning around 7 a.m. and the winds were very low, only about 3 knots. We headed out to the islands to find bait and it was a piece of cake. Less than 15 minutes and blacked out the live well with nice size baits. It was a great start to the day. We headed off shore a mile or so to find mixed species – Mackeral fishing, Pompano fishing, Shark fishing, Ladyfish – pretty much everything was eating. Around 11 o'clock it was getting hot so we decided to come closer to shore. We finished off at the beaches and found some slot size Redfish as well as hundreds of slots size Snook. There were also some huge Trout in the mix. It was a great day for a Tarpon Springs fishing charter and ended up being a stellar day even though it was extremely hot out. Snook season opened Sept 1st and the tides are great right now. Book a charter today!
I recently read an astounding report on super braid lines, and man, the research supports it. Here is a great article from MicroSkiff.com about the ins and out of super braid. Check out my “official opinion” after you read this. Super Braid Article!!! If you have used super braids for any amount of time. You know the three things that can happen. First, knots not secured carefully can slip. Second the mystery break off. Third line can become “fuzzy” after use, which allows water dirt and debris and makes the line un-sturdy and heavy. I decided to give this line a test run on my Diawa Advantage 2500. This is an artificial only rig. The reel is seated on a 7’6″ Falcon Coastal rod. With this rig I selected the Windtamer 8# green. The first issue I have had with some super braids is knot tying. I found the FINS line finish was perfect for the knot I like to tie my braid to leader. The second issue I have had is the mystery break off. i know now “why” that occurred based on the “Spectra vs. Dyneema” information in the article. Its been 3 weeks and 4 trips since I strung up the Diawa. Not a single break off. Which leads us to the third thing. Fre! This line looks like I just put it on. The color is the same as the remaining line on the spool I bought. I fished this hard on a couple of occasions. I found it long casting, smooth. It re-seats itself on the reel perfectly making wind knots almost impossible. With the flippy tip of the Falcon Coastal, I got a few line wraps on the lead eye when I used super lite lures. But not once on anything 1/8th oz. and up. So being a plug guy and a go to jigger, I was fine with that. The fact is this is just a better line with thought put into all aspects of the braid technology. Not just a catching name, this line will help you catch more fish.
Capt. Chris and I had another West Coast Light Tackle Adventure this weekend. This trip was more about revenge than fun. After a tough outing the previous weekend during the Coastal Redfish Tour, we needed to show the Tampa Bay redfish who was boss. We gathered up our twelve year old sons and a tackle bag full of every artificial bait known to man and then headed for the Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp. The day was bright and sunny, but the morning was cool with a heavy breeze coming out of the North East. After a short run to the Western side of Tampa Bay we found a nice shoreline that looked promising. There was a canal with flats on either side. There was a rock jetty butting up to the flat. At the end of the jetty there were mangrove trees, sand holes and oyster beds. I grabbed my stick, pre-rigged with a 1/8 oz jig head and a D.O.A. CAL soft plastic (you have to call me for the color). Capt. Chris grabbed his always ready Aqua Dream Live Spoon rig. With no delay we began peppering every inch of this great looking area. The further we traveled down the shoreline the fishier it looked. The problem was, the fish weren’t as excited about this area as we were. After an hour of casting and only a 12 inch flounder to show for it, Capt. Chris made the call to stow our gear for the move. Another short run found us just a mile or so east of the first stop, but it was dramatically different. This was a pure open flat, in front of hundreds of yards of mangrove shore. The tide was high and falling so Capt. Chris choose to move in close and work our way out with the tide. No sooner had we come off a plane when we noticed a dead fish floating 50 feet from the boat. Curiosity killed the cat and the boat captain that day, so Chris began casting the Aqua Dream towards the dead fish to bring closer for an ID. On the third cast at the mystery fish, the Aqua Dream stopped dead!!!! ZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Instead of pulling the dead fish towards the boat, a LIVE one was pulling his line as far from the boat as it could. After a short struggle the landing net slid under the 23 inch redfish. “Fish Tacos” the boys shouted from the back of the boat and into the well it went. Two casts later, Capt. Chris was on again, the green Aqua Dream hanging from the mouth of another nice red. The next hour and a half was consumed with shouts of “I’m on” or “Oh No”. There was not a period of 10 minutes when someone on the boat was not getting thumped. But not all the thumps were hook ups. There were a lot of short strikes happening to all but one of us. Capt. Chris just kept throwing that green Aqua Dream. The strikes on that thing were not short. Not at all. In fact they were attacking that thing with very bad intentions. At the end of the day, we had three beautiful redfish in the well heading for Tacos. Both our boys got to real in reds, and everyone was eating well. But best of all we got to show those fish in Tampa Bay who is BOSS!! Turns out the boss is Aqua Dream Live Spoons, but SHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Don’t tell anybody.
Capt. Chris and I decided to pack the boys (our 12 year old sons) and the boat and head the 53 miles north to Homosassa. This was the first time I had ever been out in these waters and many years since Cap. Chris had. To say this was about exploring is an understatement. We arrived at MacRae’s Marina at 6:00 a.m. which is what was recommended by the helpful bait shop attendant who answered the phone a few days earlier. We found the public ramp at MacRae’s to be more than adequate and as the attendant had mentioned, being early, we had the place to ourselves. The launch is about 5 miles upriver from the Gulf but very easily navigable as it is lined with markers. There are rocks and shallow spots on both sides of the markers so make sure you stay in them. Once out of the river we had a sense of, “what now”, as we looked out to the expanse of Homosassa Bay. We could see spoil Islands north and south of us with huge flats between. As we looked south we saw a very unusual pontoon boat with an extra large shrimp on its roof. As we got closer we could see the letters painted on the broad side of the homemade shelter - “LIVE BAIT”. After a brief discussion we made our way towards the “shrimp boat”. The lady running the “shrimp boat” was real old Florida. She is an artist making ends meet selling live bait to the boats that come out of the river. She has her own little island just inside the mouth of the river and lives a simple, slow Florida life. The best part is, she knows these waters better than anyone out there. After a few minutes talking she helped us on our way with a few little tips and an area to begin looking. With the shallow waters of a low tide and not being familiar with the area, we took it somewhat slow. We decided we were going to give the spoil islands a try or at least move towards them as the water rose. Shallower and shallower until, scrape! Yes indeed. We learned that the bottom in Homosassa area is limestone. Yes all of it. Fortunately we were already at idle and it did not cause any damage. Just remember when you go to trim up over those flats. Going a little further south put us in site of the Captains’ fleet. This let us know we were on the right track. We set the boys up with live shrimp and sent them out about 9 inches under a popping cork. Cat fish!!! Time to move. We putted around for a while without seeing many signs of life. The one thing we did see was boat after boat heading directly offshore. With the action slow we decided to see what was out there. A mile or so out we knew. SCALLOPS!!!! Boat after boat, right next to one another, all chasing the tasty little filters. The water was rising though and we weren’t here for scallops. We ran back inside to find the tide had risen nicely and there was now a lot of activity, particularly around the spoils. As we slow trolled around them we started to notice a pattern. Every point we came across had nice school of mullet, and right behind the mullet, a redfish or two. The decision was made to set up on the next point. Nice and quiet we got into position. Put the biggest shrimp we could find on a hook and sent it into the cloud of mullet. The first one to get nailed was Capt. Chris’s son. ZZZZZ went the lines. Nice 20 incher in the boat. Then moments later ZZZZZZZZZ, my son is hooked up and the rod is bent. After a short tussle, another 20 incher in the boat. The fish moved off and so did we. Setting up on the next point, then the next. All said and done the boys caught three nice redfish. Saw more turtles than we could count, and got to check out an area of Florida that clearly takes you back to a time past. On the ride back in it was agreed, we MUST fish this area again. Just our luck, the Coastal Redfish Tour will be making a stop there in January. We may not be able to buy bait from her this time, but we will for sure stop by to say hi to the “shrimp boat” lady. Tight Lines!!
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