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Posted by derick on October 20, 2016
Did something a little different for todays’ charter with Matt R. He had mentioned to me that he had heard about certain salt water species being caught in fresh water ponds and asked if I could make it happen. As always, I accepted the challenge. I chose to fish some areas I’ve had a lot of luck with in the Hillsborough River.
This is Hillsborough County’s largest river system that runs from the Green Swamp area out to Tampa Bay via Downtown. That’s about a 59 mile stretch through some of the county’s most precious landscape. Many species of fish thrive here including various Panfish, Snook, Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Bowfin and on the other side of the damn (located inside Rowlett Park), Snook, Tarpon, Redfish and more.
Didn’t take long for us to find some fish but getting them to bite was a different story. We spotted huge Gar and Bass that paid no attention to anything Matt had to offer. This went on for 2 hours before the first strike. As soon as the Stickminnow 70 hit the water a small Bass hammered it but it came loose. The hook set gave Matt hope and motivated him to stay focused on landing a fish.
The wind found us so we moved on towards a small pond attached to the river that would offer protection but that wasn't all. Matt dug deep with the Stickminnow 70 through some thick vegitation and within minutes, was rewarded with his personal best Snook at 28”! Congrats, Buddy, There’s your fresh water Snook!
It was all downhill after that. No more Snook but numerous Bass. He even let me get in on the action!
Yet another productive day on the water for PFKC. Many fish were caught, missed and seen. The waxing Moon and the upcoming cold front will be a deadly combo to fire these fish up. Be on the lookout for nice low sodium fish to be caught before the front.
Posted by derick on October 17, 2016
So last night we had what was called a 'Hunters' Moon". This large Moon follows the "Harvest Moon"
Here’s what happens. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day. But when a full moon happens close to the autumnal equinox – either a Harvest or a Hunter’s Moon – the moon (at mid-temperate latitudes) rises only about 30 to 35 minutes later daily for several days before and after the full moon. The reason is that the ecliptic – or the moon’s orbital path – makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon around the time of the autumn equinox.
The result is that there’s a shorter-than-usual lag time between successive moon rises around the full Hunter’s Moon.
Lost yet?? O.k., I'll get to the fishing then.
Today I had the pleasure of guiding Phillip M., a young man visiting from Austria. He came a long way to fish the salt for the first time in his life but I bet he didn't expect to work so hard! They say hard work pays and for him, it did.
The first half of his trip was spent casting multiple times to fish suffering from lockjaw. Fish after fish, cast after cast, nada. It was time to switch gears.
I had Phillip position his kayak in a shallow edge along a trough that I knew would trap some fish on the low tide. As the water rises on the incoming, they would start to crawl out of the trough and eat everything in their way!
And that's exactly what happened. Phillip had shots at each fish he came across connecting with a few on the way. Mostly Snook with a lost Redfish at the boat and a few dink Trout. Ladyfish and Jack crevalle joined the party as well.
So it actually ended up being a good day despite the conditions. Phillip was happy which made me happy and he will be returning next Fall to start school at USF and to chase more fish with me!
Posted by derick on July 12, 2016
Took a little scouting trip for juvenile Tarpon out in the back waters of the Lower Tampa Bay region yesterday. Needless to say, I found some! Here is a quick video on an interesting battle with a feisty juvi that ALMOST won the battle!
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Posted by derick on July 7, 2016
"Mouth full of Rip-n-Slash. So Unfair!"
Got Justin Z. out for a quick sundown adventure that was interrupted by storms but not before some good old Tampa Bay action!
Justin is some what of a simple man. Hard working 9-5 mechanic from Dallas, Tx. (Shout out!) He fishes when he gets a chance, reads about his passion, attends seminars and simply catches fish. Well, Justin decided to break away from the everyday corporate life and booked a 4 day adventure in our lovely state of Florida!
I had the pleasure of taking him out for a sundown adventure to fish the backwaters of Tampa Bay in search of Tarpon. The tide was predicted to fall almost 3'. Just enough to flush some of these out of the mangroves and into deeper holes.
The bite was a little slow to start. It wasn't until after the first hour that we saw our first Tarpon roll. Several casts and nothing so we moved on. Moments later we found another small pod but these seemed to be feeding. All it took was 2 casts and BAM, fish hit it, ran and gone... Justin got to feel the powerful punch and was hooked. We played with that pod until they moved towards a small feeder creek and deep into to the mangrove jungle!
We couldn't find any more Tarpon after that and the storm was approaching. We had paddled a ways so we started back slowly and with enough effort for Justin to land his first Tampa Bay Redfish an lost several Snook! I couldn't quite get him to stop the "Bass" hookset but at least he tried. It can be a huge transition for some but like everything else, it gets better with practice.
"Nice job on your first Redfish, Bud!"
Wasn't long after that a lightning strike sent us running (ok paddling) back to the launch. Justin had a great day and learned a lot about fishing in Tampa Bay and will be booking again for next year!
Posted by derick on July 5, 2016
"Just look at that smile! Great Catch!"
As a guide I see many "first catches". Snook, Redfish, Trout, Sharks, you name it and chances are, I've seen it. Regardless, the results are the same. They all leave a special stamp placed in our memories to never forget and share. (ok and maybe to brag a little to our friends) But nothing puts a smile on my clients face like a Tarpon! Whether it's a 5 pound Juvenile or a 150 pound adult, the gratification seems equal.
I must give credit to those that actually do get to land that "first" Silver King especially on their first try. Tarpon are one of the most acrobatic fish in the flats of Tampa Bay commonly spitting the hook with one of their aggressive head shakes. That's where the term, Bow to the King, comes into effect.
Bowing to the king simply means that you must bow the rod tip as the Tarpon jumps. This temporarily allows the fish to lead the fight during a jump as it gives him a slight amount of slack to allow for head shakes and flips. Tension is the enemy as tension on the jump will aid in the hook coming undone.
Well, Linda did not have this problem as she was able to land her first Juvenile Tarpon!
Little did the couple know that Linda was not only going to catch a Tarpon but it also happened to be the biggest Juvenile of the year for Phatfish Kayak Charters!
It wasn't an easy as I make it sound. Linda worked hard for almost 2 hours before the Tarpon showed any interest in feeding. It started as a bit of a struggle. First, she had bumped one on the head that caused a huge explosion on the surface and second, made one that sky rocketed showing the clueless couple how big these fish actually were. It wasn't until the lucky 3rd try that she finally was able to hook up and land one.
"Here's Your Baby!"
Dan was not as lucky but very determined. He was about 3 and 0 with no jumps but that's the name of the game! There is a solid reason why we count Tarpon by the hook ups then rather the actual number landed.
After the bite slowed down, we worked the flat where Dan and Linda caught Ladyfish, Catfish, a small Redfish and Trout. After a while, the wind started to pick up as a storm brewed nearby so we headed in.
To wrap it up, today was a good day for ALL of us! Not only did one of my favorite couples come back for more but I got to witness Linda catch the biggest juvenile Tarpon of the year! Thanks guys and I look forward to next time!
All fish were caught on the Unfair Lures Rip-N-Slash 70 in Pearl Gold, Olive Ghost and Black Ghost.