Archive for the ‘Fish Tails’ Category

Beaufort, SC Redfish and Sheepshead

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Redfish or Sheepshead?

Running down the river we could feel the cold chill of winter seeping through our jackets, but damn the cold, we’re on a mission to catch dinner. We pull up to the old sheepshead dock and you can still see the clusters of barnacles growing on the pilings as the tide slowly rises to cover them up. I set the anchor to get us in the right position and we start to ease our fiddler crabs slowly to the bottom…bam…bam…bam, were tripled up! I think this may be the quickest sheepshead triple that I’ve ever seen; they must be thick down there. After an hour of steady sheepshead action one of my buddies hooks into something big, I mean really big and we start the “piling shuffle”. How we managed to keep this mystery fish on as it weaves in and out of the dock pilings is beyond me, but somehow we get it into open water. After a thirty minute fight on light tackle we finally get a good look at the bruiser, “it’s a big red fish” my buddy cries! A big redfish indeed, this sucker weighed in at 35 pounds before we released it. How about that to finish up a sheepshead trip. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!


Red Hot Sailfish Action

Monday, January 7th, 2013

A Day to Remember – Red Hot Sailfish Action

There are quite a few days that stand out in my mind as days to remember, but none quite as much as one cool January day off of the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. At the time I was working as a mate on a 40 foot Liberty named the Fantasy which was skippered by a well known sail fisherman named Chris White. One of our favorite trips was to leave the dock before day break and get out for an early morning sailfish bite. On this day the crew consisted of only the captain, me and one other angler. The nice thing about getting out early is that “you don’t miss anything” Chris told me as we as we left the bait patch that morning. We started out fair as we went one for a double within the first ten minuets of putting lines out, but we improved our average by 11 am after releasing 14 sails and going through all of our live bait. With fishing like this there was no question among us as to weather we would go back to the bait patch and get more bait. After a short while we were back at it with full wells. Fishing started a bit slow when we got back out as we sat for almost two hours without a bite, but as with all offshore fishing the action can change in an instant. We hooked into a quad (4 sails at once) and between the three of us we managed to keep them under control and released three and were able to focus on the last of the four. The only problem was that the nut under the spool had come loose on the reel thus allowing the rotor to lock the spool tight when not being centered by hand. There were a few times when the fish came close to breaking us off, but with some fine boat handling and good communication we managed to get the release. Over the next few hours we picked at a few more fish including one that sounded and we had to fight for over an hour. Now up to twenty releases and the sun setting we all knew that one more fish would make or break us because the Ocean Reef Club record for single day sail fish releases was 20…one more and it would be ours! As the light dwindled we set out our last two baits out waited…excited, Chris cries out “there he is on the right long” as the fish bills the bait and sucks it down. As fast as he ate he was gone and our hearts sank into the bilge of the boat. But as the day would have it that fish swam over to our last bait and this time we hooked him solid. I don’t think that the Fantasy had ever been run so hard in reverse as the water poured over the transom. “Releases” I yelled as I grabbed the leader to release the fish. What a day indeed, we ended up going 21 for 26 and pinning those flags up and down both riggers never felt so good. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

EM Isla Morada11

Beaufort, SC Tarpon Fishing

Friday, December 7th, 2012

December: Win or Lose – Tarpon Fishing

For some reason most of my fishing mishaps have something to do with a tarpon. These guys are so unpredictable that you never know what’s going to happen. One of my favorite things to do used to be catching juvenile tarpon out of the South Florida canals from my canoe. It was a simple enough process, I would paddle along until I saw a fish roll and pitch a bait on the swirl; most of the time the bite would soon follow. On this particular day I was fishing with my brand new Abu Garcia bait casting combo that I had finally saved the money to purchase and I was ready for action. It didn’t take long to find my first fish. I eased into position and placed the perfect cast just after the fish gave away his position. With a quick bite I wound tight and jabbed back to set the hook. “Game on” I though as the 15 pound fish screamed across the canal and came up for a head shake. No sooner than I thought that I had the upper hand the fish turned and came right for the boat and with one leap cleared the canoes low freeboard and flopped right onto the deck! This was not how I saw this whole thing playing out, but in the excitement I managed to flip the canoe and both the fish and I went overboard. It all happened so fast that I still see it as a blur, but what I do remember is seeing fishing rod sinking slowly, but well within reach. As I grabbed for it the fish came tight and took off, taking my brand new combo with him. Chalk one up for the fish! I had to paddle back with no fish, no rod, and sopping wet in the middle of winter, but what can you do; that’s fishing. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

tarpon fishing

Kayak Fishing

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

South Bound and Down-Kayak Fishing in the Keys

Most of us tend to do the majority of our fishing in our own back yards, but don’t loose sight of other fisheries that can be equally exciting. A few years ago I took a trip with my buddies Marvin and Jason to my old stomping grounds in South Florida. We hauled in our kayaks, fishing gear, camping gear and food for a few days of backcountry snook fishing. This was actually the first time that I had fished out of a kayak and was overall impressed with the stealth and maneuverability of the boat. We paddled in a few miles before we started fishing and despite a stiff breeze we managed to catch quite a few snook between the three of us. This would include one in the slot that Marvin seasoned and added to a side of rice for our evening camp side feast. What more could you ask for, good friends and good times out in the middle of no where snacking on a fresh caught snook over “guy talk”! Other than my hammock slipping in the middle of the night bringing me hard to the ground, we had a great time of it. We fished our way out the following day picking at a few more snook and some reds before hauling out and heading home. Though we all fish together here at home on a regular basis, that two day destination trip stands out as something special. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

Tarpon Fishing

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Victory to the Fish-Tarpon Fishing

In my early fishing days I had to make due with what I had and what I had when I first moved to the Florida Keys was an old fiberglass canoe. I am not complaining; I caught my fair share of fish out of that boat and some of my fondest memories came from those simpler times when fishing meant grabbing a few rods and loading up the canoe in search of relaxation. One lazy fall afternoon after a morning of fishing I anchored my old canoe up behind a point to take a little siesta on the deck. After a few hours of drifting in and out between mosquito swats I was abruptly awoken as the waters around me were churning with tarpon feeding on a large knot of mullet as they came around the point. These fish were so close that I was getting sprayed with water as they fed next to the boat. Of course, in my excitement I tried lure after lure to get one of these bruisers on the line, but with luck. On the other hand, luck did play a part in this story as a chunky mullet jumped right into my canoe while being chased by a tarpon. Now armed with the real thing I tied on a hook an pitched that mullet back into the fire, with a swirl it didn’t take long until I was hooked up to my first 100 plus pound tarpon. We fought back and forth until the fish pulled my little boat out a mile or so from shore. There I was standing up with the rod bowed in two on a nice fish…then all at once…the line snapped. The fish went one way and I went straight back into the drink. I had no hard feelings however, this was battle and I came up hooting and hollering in excitement. In the end it was a great day. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!


Ladyfish – The Poor Mans Tarpon

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Poor Mans Tarpon – Lady Fish

With the dog days of summer we are seeing some of the best fishing of the year. To beat the heat of the day; we decided to get an early start on the days fishing, and leave the dock at day break. There is nothing like the feeling that you get while running down the river in the early morning with low light and you know that you’re on your way to a favorite fishing hole. We pull up a feeder creek that empties into a small bay of oyster bars and mixed spartana grass. The tide is falling out of the creek and bringing with it an abundance of shrimp and baitfish. We get set and immediately start to hook up on “the poor mans tarpon” known more commonly as ladyfish. We can’t keep bait in the water for more than a few seconds before one of these hungry monsters gobbles it down. For an hour we see this steady action and then, as if someone turned off the fish switch, it’s over. Who knows why they stopped but we sure had a great time playing with them while it lasted. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

Picture 214

Tarpon Fishing Action in Beaufort, SC

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Leaps and Bounds-Beaufort, SC Tarpon Fishing

It’s another summer day on the water and with questions about passing afternoon storms we decide to head out on a monster tarpon quest. As I set the anchor I catch a glimpse of a tarpon boiling up on a passing school of menhaden from the corner of my eye. I know that he is probably not alone so I hurry back to the pit to get my baits out and establish a chum line. With in a few minutes we have a full spread of baits out and were waiting for the big bite…and we wait…and wait…and wait until I start to wonder if were going to get a bite at all. With tarpon feeding all around the boat but nothing as much as sniffing our offerings, we get ready to move. As were pulling in our lines the top long bait goes down hard! The line is dumping off of the reel so fast that I worry were going to get spooled, “there he is, he’s jumping”! The fish is out about 150 yards putting on a great ariel show, but at this point I’m looking to dump the anchor and go after this fish. The first moments of the bite will usually dictate as to whether or not you’re going to catch the fish, and we were lucky on this trip to keep him glued until we could motor up and give him chase. We fight the fish for just over an hour; he gets a little, then we get a little, but that’s the way it goes when you’re dealing with a 150 pound fish that’s fighting for its survival. After a hard fight and a quick photo we release the worn out tarpon back to the water for another day. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

tarpon jumping in beaufort, sc

Beaufort, SC Shark Fishing

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Feeding Frenzy – Shark Fishing

On this beautiful summer morning we pull off the dock and cruise down the river on what looks like a streak free mirror. My fishing buddy comments that he hasn’t seen it this calm in a long time and adds that the fishing should be good today. I agree; with conditions like this I should be able to see redfish coming from a mile away. We pull up to the flat and things look good, there is plenty of bait, wading birds and a few sharks pushing around. So we start to pole down the edge of the shoreline looking for any movement, ripple or giveaway that may lead us to a redfish…but nothing. I was really starting to get frustrated until my buddy put a dead eye cast in front of a ten pound bonnet head shark that was lazily cruising down the flat. I have to admit I didn’t even see that shark eat the bait but within seconds he came tight with a loud “hooked up”! On the first run that fish nearly spooled our light tackle rod, but we managed to keep it on long enough to catch up and after a 15 minuet back and forth battle we finally landed the fish and snapped a few photos. I really had not thought to fish for sharks that day, but with action like that why not fish for what’s biting. We ended up catching 5 more really nice sharks on the flats that day and had a blast doing it. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

Picture 262

Tailing Redfish in Beaufort, SC

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Tails Up! Tailing Redfish Action

As I power my flats boat off of the trailer I can hardly contain my thoughts of the day to come. All year long I have been waiting for the summer tailing bite and it’s finally here. Once we load our gear, we motor up and run down the river winding through narrow creeks and marshland to one of my favorite grass flats. When we first arrive the flats are completely dry, and you would probably look at me and laugh as I tell you “this flat will be filled with fish in the next hour”. But as water creeps in with the tide the flats begin to flood and off in the distance we hear a crash in the grass. I have heard that distinct sound before and know the reds are pushing their way in to feed. Over the next few minutes we hear more fish pushing in until we see our first redfish gently waving its tail off in the distance as it roots in the bottom for a morning snack. The beauty of simply watching these fish in the wild do what comes naturally to them makes the trip a success. It gets even sweeter as I watch my fishing partner ease up to an unsuspecting fish and place a fly just in front of its path. He pauses for a moment, gives the fly a short strip and with an eruption of water he is hooked up! After a hard fight and a quick photo we release the worn out red back to the water for another day. To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!


Cobia Fishing in Beaufort, SC

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The Brown Bomber – Fly Fishing for Cobia in Beaufort, SC

You couldn’t ask for a prettier spring day to be out on the water on Port Royal Sound between Beaufort and Hilton Head, South Carolina and on this trip we were after cobia. After sitting on the hook (anchored up) soaking baits with little success we decide to pick up and do some sight fishing. As I retreave the anchor my fishing buddy quickly runs for his fly rod. He ties on this horrible looking orange and yellow fly that you wouldn’t expect any self respecting fish to as much as look at. The sight fishing conditions are good with light mid day winds and a slacking tide. It doesn’t take long to find our first target and with a good cast we get a strike from a small cobia…but it doesn’t last long as the hook pulls out and we see our fish cruising out of sight. It was probably good to, because with in five minutes we find what looks to be a giant brown torpedo cruising down the river. I can tell by the excited shake in my buddies voice that he’s nervous, but he manages to keep his composure and make a perfect cast right on the nose of the fish. I don’t think the fish lost stride as it opened its mouth and slurped down that awful looking fly…what a bite. With a few strip sets we were on for an hour and a half battle with what turned out to be a 45 pound cobia. Now that’s fly fishing at its best! To hear more tails of whoppers and mishaps give me a call and let’s put together a fishing trip and until then “catch em up”!

57 lb cobia