Watch Your Speed

Winter Florida LargemouthNo, I’m not talking about your speed on the roadways, although that’s a good idea to keep in mind unless you just want your insurance rates increased and your license suspended.  Winter time fishing can be some of the most productive of the year but the one thing I keep forgetting to keep in mind when I hit the ponds or the saltwater flats, is the speed of the retrieve and how fast to work the fly in general.  There isn’t another single time of the year when this is so important and we’re constantly getting questions about how quickly to work a fly through the strike zone for various species.  Unfortunately there isn’t any one single solution but rather a batch of questions the angler needs to ask while they’re out there casting away.

The first consideration is what am I trying to imitate and how quickly does it move through the water when relaxed and how much faster when frightened.  The dry fly fisherman is going to say that his bugs only move as fast as the current it’s riding while a barracuda fisherman will respond that a needle fish can truly haul the mail when a giant is tight on its tail.  There isn’t any single correct answer but instead it’s key to keep the prey in your mind and what frame of “mind” it’s in at the time.

Secondly, I take a look at the species being pursued and the type of feeding it generally does.  A large bass is primarily an ambush feeder that doesn’t chase anything further than a foot or two (similar to giant snook, and gator trout), while a smaller specimen of the same species may actively chase down its dinner from time to time.  Speedsters like mackerel, bonita, barracuda, ladyfish, and others, are relentless and amazingly fast; chasing down and devouring their meal like they may not get another.  Trout like brookies and cutthroat rarely chase anything, they rely on the current to bring dinner to the table, at which time they can dine at a leisurely and easy pace, sipping or grabbing their food as it passes.  The retrieval rates vary greatly depending on species and size as you can see.

Thirdly, am I appealing to the fish’s hunger, territorialism, or shear anger?  Bedding fish are not really in the mood to eat and therefore don’t often pursue things that aren’t passing relatively close to their location.  Objects that pass by closely, but too quickly don’t get chased either, so you need to slow it down, and sometimes stop the retrieve so the fly lies still in the bed, before eliciting a strike out of anger and the need to protect the brood.  Striking or highly predatory fish are often more willing to chase or follow prey, or your fly, over greater distances and at higher speeds.

Lastly, we need to consider that the same species will likely change its feeding habits due to a slowing or speeding up of its metabolism as a result of changing seasons and varying water temperatures.  Bass are a prime example of this and the reason I wrote about the topic in the first place.  Experiencing a slow and deliberate bite on the drop into a deep pond left me amazed and frustrated by my inability to slow down enough without losing total concentration on the task at hand.  I awoke from a daydream at one point, realizing I’d been struck only because the line was swimming away at right angles to where I had originally casted.  The bit was so subtle that I hadn’t even noticed it.  I invariably lost that fish because of an ineffective hook set.  My inability to slow down may also be the reason behind my lack of success with black drum on the flats as well.

There are a lot of things to consider before making that first cast of the day if you want to have some semblance of success, not the least of which is the speed (or lack thereof) in your retrieve.  Pace, pausing, long, short, jerky, call it whatever you want because there isn’t any single answer to the question.  Only more questions.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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The Ultimate Guide to Fishing South Florida On Foot

Ultimate Guide to Fishing South Florida On FootDoing the research for any trip abroad is a very important part of any preparation in my household and the farther the trip, or the more unknown the species, the more resources I’ll look for.  Thank goodness we live in the information age when access to maps, species profiles, fishing reports, fly recipes, and hatch charts are nothing more than a finger click away.

Putting in the time before enjoying stellar success is a big part of growing as a fisherman and I really think that everyone should spend a few “less than successful days” on the water in order to truly appreciate what they have when all the parts start falling in place.  We can’t all jump right in as experts, and not every day is going to be worthy of a syndicated fishing show, or a spot on the Fly Fishing Film Tour.  Fishing our region can be a humbling experience for a guy that thought he knew what was going on in the fishing world.  And there’s just so much darn water!

Much of Florida was nothing but swamp back in the day but as civilization expanded and our desire to tame the wilderness meant that dry real-estate was at a premium, canals were built to control, drain, and route ground water and storm-water runoff out of the settlements, unknowingly creating some of the best fishing opportunities anywhere in the United States.  Retention ponds, lakes, ditches, canals, and other water control measures provided ideal habitat for many of the indigenous fish species of both fresh and saltwater varieties; and the introduction of non-native species (both accidental and on purpose) helped to make this region a superb fishing destination with nearly limitless possibilities.  Bass, tarpon, peacocks, snook, jacks, ladyfish, oscars, and many more inhabit every wet corner of the area and they'll all take a bait or fly of some type.  All those locations and all those fish can make for a very confusing fishery but now you know there are resources to make finding a place to go a little simpler.

Well Steve Kantner “The Land Captain” has written and published the quintessential authority on fishing South Florida… on foot no less.  He realized that a great number of fishermen, whether locals or visitors, don’t have ready access to watercraft of any type but would still like to experience and enjoy everything that Florida has to offer the adventurous individual.  “The Ultimate Guide To Fishing South Florida On Foot” has brought everything together an angler new to the area, or just getting started, might want to know before hitting the water, or the road as it were.  Since the guide is geared towards spots you can reach by foot, you really can just hit the road and explore with some sense of where you’re going in the first place.

Peacock EyeMr. Kantner has consolidated so much information and insight that it’s nearly impossible to explain how in depth and thorough this guide proves to be.  I’ve been fishing the area for about ten years and I’ve quickly learned a good number of things just in the moments of browsing through the pages between customers in the shop.  Species profiles, tackle requirements, techniques and tactics, along with maps (reproductions of those available on the FWC website along with others) and personal insight complete a package it would take years, if not lifetimes, to accumulate.  This book will open up South Florida to many people who just wouldn’t otherwise be willing to venture beyond their comfort zone of the water immediately surrounding the homestead.

Stop in and check out Steve Kantner’s new book, load up the car or bicycle, and be ready to start finding fish with regularity.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Fishy Facts: Bow Fishing

So this month we will be taking a different approach to our Fishy Facts blogs. Instead of focusing directly on a fish itself, we will take an in-depth look at a certain way to catch fish. And if you read last month’s Tracker Time blog you would know exactly what kind of fishing we are talking about: bow fishing!

Using specialized equipment, bow fishing allows fishers/archers the opportunity to take fish. I am not sure what you would be classified out of those two (fisher or archer) exactly but you definitely get the best of both worlds. The main differences between regular archery and bow fishing is that the bow will have a line holder that holds the line attached to your arrow. Your arrow does not have any kind of fledging as it not necessary in water. What is necessary though is understanding how your arrow will react when in hits water. Also the arrowhead used will usually be a barbed one that will hopefully keep your fish from getting away. After a fish is pierced it is reeled back and taken.

Typically bow fishing takes place on a boat, as you need to be rather close to the fish to get one and they spook quite easily so be prepared to cover some water. The most common species harvested are bottom feeders including carp but also alligator gar are common targets. In saltwater though, things get kicked up a notch and sharks are a targeted species along with rays. Bow fishing also typically takes place at night when fish are slightly more active and using bright lights are easy to spot.

Of course you will want to look at your local rules and regulations concerning bow fishing. Because not only could you be fishing in the wrong place but now “discharging a weapon” as well if you find yourself in real trouble. Bow fishing has increased significantly over the past few years. What once was a smaller niche market is now proving to be a huge game-changer. Not only in sporting good stores but also ecosystems.

Unfortunately invasive species have done a good job and making a mess of our waterways. One of the most prolific is the Asian Carp. You know, that fish that jumps out of the water when disturbed and have caused serious damage to ecosystems and people that they have hit. Huge efforts to eliminate these fish have been undertaken, and bow fishing allows people the change to specifically target them and remove them much quicker and safer than other methods.

The son of the founder/owner of Bass Pro Shops is huge outdoor enthusiast. Bow fishing has become a huge passion of his, and he loves to show it on his YouTube channel. Our stores now carry a wide variety of bow fishing products as well. Bass Pro Shops also started its own Bow Fishing Championship! It is pretty awesome and definitely deserves a checking out!

While the new products and advancing technologies definitely have a lot of people drooling, it is cool to think about how this sport has evolved from its once simple and survival-importance ways. Our ancestors had to learn to bow fish in order to get the food they so desperately needed.

So do your homework and look into what it would take to get into bow fishing. It may provide that niche sport to get your fisher into archery or your archer into fishing. Either way it is a great way to get outdoors and make some awesome memories on the water. And that is what it is all about.

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout

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Sling Pack, Waist Pack, or Vest? So Many Options.

Fishpond Gore RangeTech PackFishermen have been trying to answer this conundrum ever since Orvis brought out their first catalogue and we started believing there just had to be a better solution than the one we already carried.  I'm not sure there really is a single answer to which is best and sometimes we just have to let the color of our fishing shirt determine the type of pack we're going to carry on the water.  Just kidding.  Each one has it's uses and it'll just take time to figure out which one you like. I've personally gone full circle, beginning with a simple waist pack I used for many years of wading the saltwater, but I've found that it isn't large enough for some endeavors afield or far too big for others, and it makes wearing a stripping basket at the same time all but impossible.  But what's the ultimate solution and should new anglers agonize over getting it right the first time?

Vests like the one shown are great for carrying just about everything short of the kitchen sink, and I've found that there's a reason trout fishermen traditionally chose this type of system.  The pockets are spacious and numerous so you can hide things away never to be found again, except at the beginning of the next season when you take stock of what you need to purchase before hitting the water again.  Some even have integrated backpacks wherein you might carry enough supplies to spend extended period on the water rather than just a few short hours.  There are obvious benefits to wearing a vest but you do have to watch out for the tendency to carry everything, including the kitchen sink, the potential heat retention issues due to the type of fabric the vest is made of, and the need to compensate for clothing worn underneath by wearing a fixed size vest larger than your normal.  Keep an open mind and plan ahead.

LL Bean Sling PackSling packs and chest packs are perfect for the person that's able to scale down the amount of equipment they carry to the water for a days adventure and are a great way to keep yourself from becoming overly weighted down by things you probably won't need anyways.  These options force you to look at your tackle needs and storage systems with a more critical eye towards limiting waste and clutter.  Sling and chest packs are the perfect options for those short jaunts around a neighborhood pond, a nearby creek, or along the beach looking for cruising snook.  All you need is a small box of flies, tippet material, pliers, and a water bottle to have a great adventure.

Fish N Hunt Waist PackWaist packs are somewhere in between the two and continue to be a favorite of mine because of how well they distribute the load low on the body where I don't even notice the burden.  Many of them have back support built in which greatly increases the amount of time you can spend wandering the waterways in search of fishing opportunities. Water bottle holders, box storage, plier keepers, and even rod holders have been included in their designs so the angler isn't left with much to desire.  About the only issues I've ever had with waist packs is the need to spin them around to the front in order to get anything out of it, which results in a pretty twisted up wardrobe; and as I mentioned before, troubles with using a stripping basket at the same time.

Another possibility I've experimented with is using a backpack whether intended for fishing or not.  It works well when carrying both spinning and fly equipment because it's large enough to securely carry multiple large Plano boxes full of tackle, water bottles, Boga Grip, and other essentials.  Simms, Patagonia, Orvis, Fishpond and numerous others have included backpacks in their product lines, both in traditional and waterproof materials.  Backpacks are an accessory worth looking into if you have a bunch of equipment to carry.

New anglers shouldn't get too worried about their first choice of carrying accessory since they'll likely have half a dozen different ones within a very short time, very much like myself.  I've been around the block a few times and thrown in a few wrong turns over the years but each one was a learning experience and now my choices are based on experience rather than fashion.  Comfort, practicality, and versatility are the main criteria we should be using to find our next bag so keep the lessons I've learned in the back of your mind the next time you go looking for something new to schlep around your tackle.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

 

 

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Spring Fishing Classic

 

 February 6th -15th

It is that time again, Spring Fishing Classic! Sales, Sales and more Sales that go on at Bass Pro Shops around this time! If you are an avid fishermen(and women!) or wanting to pick up the sport and learn what is the best tricks, advise and products, make sure that you come to our event!

Here is the schedule and times of all the different events that will be taking place:

Rod and Reel Trade in

 February 6th –February 15th

New season new equipment? We think so! Bring in your old rod and reel during our “Trade in Promotion” and walk out feeling ready to conquer the water with your new rod and reel!

Line Spooling

February 11th – February 15th

Instant Rebate up to $100

February 6th – February 15th

On selected products, get instant rebates! See ad for details

Fried Fish Sampling

Saturday February 7th 2pm-5pm

Come up to our Camping Department and try out some FREE Fried Fish Sampling! You get to see how it is made with all the products that are used. To make it even better, all the products that are used are sold in stores. Talk about convenient!

Local Pro Seminars

Local Pro Seminars

FEBRUARY 13-15

First 25 customers to attend a workshop will receive a mug at the aquarium

Feb 13th-Will be held in the Marine Department by the Marine Associates.

7pm- Electronics Essentials: Effective use for Saltwater Success.

 

Feb 14 and 15th- Front of the aquarium.

11am- The Baitfish Connection- Understanding seasonal movements will help you catch more fish

2pm- Cutting- Edge offshore Gear- A guide to the Latest Advances on Tech and Tackle

2:30pm-KIDS SEMINAR- Kids will receive certificate of completing a workshop there at the aquarium!!

3pm- ONLY SATURDAY FEB 14TH-Women’s Workshop- Fishing and Outdoor cooking tips.

4pm- Surf Fishing: Beach and Wading strategies that work.

4:30pm-KIDS SEMINAR- Kids will receive certificate of completing a workshop there at the aquarium!! 

 

Women’s Workshop

February 14th at 3pm in front of the aquarium

Ladies, have you been curious about learning how to fish? Nice relaxing getaway sport. Perk of learn is to gloat to your husband how is better (all fun)! We will be hosting a FREE Workshop that will include some great tips, demos and products of best outwear. To make it even better, for the first 25 ladies to attend will be receiving a FREE tumbler!

Local Fishing Tips and Seminars by Local Pros

Friday February 13 -7pm

Saturday and Sunday- February 14 & 15 - 11am, 2pm and 4pm

Avid fishermen and women or beginners! Come get some tips and watch some product demos right from our aquarium! All given by our on Local Pro! For the first 25 customers (18 and older) to attend these seminars will receive and FREE tumbler!

 

Kid’s Next Generation Weekend

February 14 and 15 – Noon-5pm

Don’t think we forgot about the kids! We will have some fun fishing activities from:

Casting Challenge- Learning how to cast a fishing pole. (Fish Shaped water bottle for kids who complete the Casting Challenge (while supplies last)

Crafts- Color Wood fish stand-up and coloring sheets

Free 4x6 download - receive a free photo download 

 

Kids’ Workshop/Seminar

Saturday &Sunday during the Next Generation Event

February 14 & 15- 2pm & 4pm both days

Subjects to include:

-Discuss how we can learn to catch fish by thinking like they do

- Have a few items for kids to view and have “hands-on” experience

(First 25 kids to attend workshop/seminar will receive certificates and lanyard)  

 

 

 

As you can tell it is going to be a busy 2 weeks that you cannot miss! So remember February 6-15 – Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic!! 

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Pompano Fishing Workshops at Bass Pro

Destin's Bass Pro Shops held its first in-house pompano fishing workshops on Saturday, January 10th and Sunday, January 11th, even though spring pompano fishing won't pick up for several more weeks, when the weather warms up.  Our Fishing Department Staff, Bo Corbitt and Chuck Formes, who hosted the 2-day workshops, spend most of their days off fishing in the surf or from the piers, catching redfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and pompano among others.  Topics covered included types of surf fishing combos, tackle and pompano rigs, jigs, live bait, presentation, and where to look for the deep cuts in the surf where pompano are most likely to lurk.  The proper use of sand flea rakes along the tide line to catch live pompano bait was also demonstrated.

For the past several years, Destin's Bass Pro Shops has hosted spring and fall surf fishing classes in April and October at the beautiful Henderson Beach State Park on the Gulf in Destin.  Everything is provided to participants, including tackle, bait, and expert instruction from our experienced fishing staff.  There is no charge for the classes and admission to the State Park is free.  Participants must have a current Florida Saltwater Fishing License and pre-registration is required, since class size is limited.  Check the Destin store's events site in March and September to see when our next surf fishing classes are scheduled.  Once the classes are announced, one may call the store at (850) 269-6200 to pre-register.

Gary Feduccia

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Fishy Facts: Brook Trout

The lovely Mary in Fishing chose this month’s species for our Fishy Facts Blog. Which is ironic, considering she has never caught or even eaten one but it is on her “to-catch” list. This month’s species star is the Brook Trout!

The brook trout is a species of the salmon family that is native to North America. Like many other fish it has several nicknames including: squaretail or speckled trout. The brook trout also finds itself in a peculiar place as it is called a trout but is actually a char. And don’t forget that it’s also part of the salmon family, so things can get quite confusing.

The brook trout is a favorite among many anglers, especially fly-fishermen. Affectionately called “brookies” these fish are both beautiful and delicate. They are so cherished, that eight states have elected the Brook Trout to state fish. Those states being: West Virginia, Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Michigan.

Due to expansion of the species, brook trout can be found in most states throughout the U.S. They prefer cool and clear streams or ponds to live in. They are also found in lakes, rivers and creeks. Brook trout are not the most tolerant fish as they require water with high purity and only a narrow pH range. These fish are drastically affected by changes in pollution, pH range and oxygenation.

Brook trout are known to feed on a diverse diet. They consume insects, all forms, and more. Their diet can include crustaceans, amphibians, other fish and some small aquatic mammals. As mentioned before, these fish are extremely attractive. They have vivid colors and spots that stand out. A while back I caught my first brook trout and honestly it was tiny. But the deep purple color and vivid yellow dots made it truly the prettiest fish I have ever caught. Different areas though do produce differently colored or patterned fish.

Two somewhat of a subspecies of these fish are coasters and salters. The coasters are a population of brook trout native to Lake Superior. They migrate into rivers to spawn and then return back to the main body of water. They are typically larger than other brook trout but have had their numbers drastically reduced from overfishing and habitat loss. Salters are a sea-run brook trout found on the East Coast. While these fish are in the saltwater, they will lose some of their markings and get a grayer color to them. Once they return though, it only takes a short time for their true coloring to come back.

What is interesting about brook trout is that they are playing two roles in our ecosystems. Much of their native range has been destroyed or developed. Areas that once had thriving brook trout populations now have none. Outdoor organizations like Trout Unlimited have worked hard at restoring and protecting such habitats. In other areas though, the brook trout is considered an invasive species. They can out-compete native fish species and have had adverse effects of other species such as the cutthroat trout. Certain places have an unlimited bag limit or must harvest ruling to try and reduce brook trout numbers.

I wish Mary the best of luck in her goal to catch one. They are fascinating fish that put up a good fight and taste good as well. We tip our rods to you, the majestic Brook Trout! Until next time!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Finned-Friends:

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

Bull Shark

Tilapia

Smallmouth Bass

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Mako, the Best Saltwater Boats in the Industry

         

Anglers searching for the ultimate saltwater boat need look no farther than the Mako lineup at Destin's Bass Pro Shops!  From skinny-water fishing to offshore runs, Mako makes a boat to meet or exceed your needs.  From 16 foot inshore skiffs to 28 foot Deep V offshore models, each one is meticulously built using the latest leading edge technology and marine design.  100% composite materials and marine grade components assure you of many, many years of trouble free boating.  Moreover, every Mako boat carries a certification label from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

Each model employs wide-open casting spaces and non-skid decks, gear storage, and a baitwell and rod holders on the center console models.  Our Mako lineup is powered by world famous and reliable Mercury engines, still going strong since 1939.

Mako boats have the best warranty in the business and is backed by Tracker Marine Group, America's #1 boat builder, in business since 1978, and a division of Bass Pro Group.  This includes a limited lifetime structural hull warranty, 5-year "stem to stern" coverage, 3 year gelcoat coverage, and a warranty that is transferable to a second owner!

Bass Pro Shops "No Haggle, No Hassle" pricing assures that prices are the same everywhere and guarantees the best deal possible.

So, for the finest and best backed inshore or offshore fishing experience, stop by Destin's Bass Pro Shops and check out our full line up of quality Mako boats!

Gary Feduccia

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rods and reels You Can Be Proud Of

Saltwater Seminars, Vendors & More In Store Only It’s time to mark your calendars for the Bass Pro Shops Saltwater Event. Throughout the weekend there will be vendors such as Accurate, Daiwa and Seeker with Representatives in store to answer all your specific product needs. Also Captains Frank Ursitti and Tucker McCombs will be hosting seminars discussing gear and techniques to catch that prize fish. Visit the following link for more information about this event.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=52

Frigate Reels: Now On Sale Also it is a great time to restock your gear with great sales on Offshore Angler Products such as the Frigate Spinning Reels. With sizes from 3000 to 8000, these reels will fit any angler’s inshore and offshore needs. These reels will be on sale from $69.99 to $89.99 until November 9th. Check out the following link for more information about this great product.

http://www.basspro.com/Offshore-Angler-Frigate-Spinning-Reels/product/1304290721425/

New Johnny Morris Carbon lite In Store Now One of our most popular low profile reels is now featured in a white finish. Weighing in at only 5.8 ounces and featuring six alternating carbon and stainless steel drag washers. The Carbon lite is one of the lightest and strongest reels on the market. Also priced at $129.99 the Carbon lite is one of the most affordable lightweight reel on the market. This reel is available right-handed in 5:4:1, 6:4:1 and 7:1:1 gear ratio. Currently left-handed reels are only available in 6:4:1 gear ratio.

 

 

 

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Tie One On: Crawshrimp

Just like this month’s Fishy Fact, we are gonna get a little salty with this month’s Tie One On! Not only are we getting salty but we’re going slightly 1950’s B-Grade Horror Film with it. It is almost straight out of one of those cheesy monster movies, ladies and gentlemen I give you: The Crawshrimp!

No please note, every time you say Crawfish it needs to sound like how Lord Business from The Lego Movie would say “The Kragle!” Please note, if you have not seen The Lego Movie that you have permission to stay inside and watch it instead of being outside fishing or what-have-you.

Just like you use certain patterns for certain fish in freshwater, the same goes for saltwater fishing. Fly patterns are an attempt to create/mimic natural prey to initiate a strike from a fish. You wouldn’t toss a big ol’ bass plug at a dainty brown trout, and you’re not gonna use a salmon egg for snook or redfish!

So now we have to think about the kind of prey saltwater species go after and start making flies to match! The Crawshrimp combines two very common prey items for saltwater fish, especially inshore ones, a crustacean and shrimp.     

This is a sinking bait, as it is not common to find these kinds of prey floating on top of the water. Commonly, sinking saltwater flies are designed to bury themselves into the sand. This one does not. Because of this, it is easy to work off the bottom in a number of ways. This allows the fisherman to create a number of scenarios with the pattern including the bait being injured or fleeing in order to tempt a strike. If a fisherman were to retrieve in short successive strips it gives the illusion of being a shrimp scurrying away.

Commonly this pattern is used on sea trout, snook and redfish. All of these fish are a lot of fun to catch and put up a good fight. One thing to consider with getting any kind of saltwater gear for fly-fishing is how corrosive saltwater can be. Just like with regular fishing, you will want a good saltwater reel specially built for that purpose. Stop by the White River Fly Shop and get all the goodies you could possibly need. Our very own Ed just took a saltwater fly-fishing trip with his family. You can bet he took stock before heading out.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph

 

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Fishy Facts: Bull Shark

So I found myself in a conundrum if you will. I seem to focus on freshwater species when it comes to my Fishy Facts blogs. In fact, it would appear that I have only done two about saltwater species. So I feel bad for our saline-loving friends, but I’m from Arizona! I know about as much about the ocean as Fozzie Bear does in Muppet Treasure Island… “Oh! The big, blue wet-thing!!!” So why not cover a species that is mostly found in saltwater but is notorious for being in freshwater as well… the bull shark!

The bull shark is found throughout the world in warmer waters. They typically are also found in shallower waters. Like I stated above, they can make the transition into freshwater and brackish water. Brackish water is the level in between fresh and salt water when it comes to salinity. If you haven’t ever seen Shark Week on Discovery Channel… well one, go away and two, get on it! They always drive this fact home about the bull shark.

Another thing that sets bull sharks apart from other species is their general temperament. There is the stereotype that sharks are evil. People believe they are mindless-killing machines. This is mostly because of horror movies and the fact that you only hear about sharks in the news when there is an attack. Luckily, more and more information about the true nature of sharks is making its way to the general public and people are more understanding of them. So really sharks that bite onto something are seen as being curious, because that is how sharks investigate things. So the mindless-killing machine viewpoints are disappearing, but the bull shark can be one tough fish. They can produce massive amounts of testosterone which can lead them to being more aggressive.

So here we have a shark that not only swims in waters we think should be shark free, but also are more aggressive. Could be a recipe for disaster, and while bull sharks are the most common species of shark in shark attacks, but shark attacks are really uncommon occurrences.

Bull shark are strong fighters because of their size and temperament, which makes them an awesome fish to catch. The key is to hold on… and don’t fall in. There was an episode of River Monsters that covered the bull shark. The show’s host caught one, tagged and released it. The shark then swam off and was located several times under other fishing boats. This shows how intelligent and opportunistic they are. The shark was literally waiting for fishermen to do its work and would just eat the catch off the hook.

I have not been able to find any reviews on how the shark taste nor any recipes. But it would be safe to assume it tastes great fried!

-Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts

Grayling

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

Catfish

 

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Catch Me If You Can

We can taste salt on our lips and smell it in the breeze blowing past us. We can see for miles as the sun rises to the left of us. How did we get here? Where are we? What are we doing? We’re saltwater fishing.

It all started at Bass Pro Shops. We saw a Redfish/Frigate rod and reel combo that was on sale. There were so many rods, reels, combos, and great deals that as we looked around we were almost overwhelmed with the wealth of options, but we always came back to that first combo – so we put it in our basket – it was then that we decided to go fishing. 

In order to go fishing, we needed gear to take care of our new equipment; we needed things to clean up and maintain everything and things to take care of the fish when we catch them. We added a Bass Pro Shops XTS Rod Sock, a reel case and Salt Away to our cart before heading to the shelves to look at bait and lures.  There were so many choices and options when it came to bait. There were hard, soft, jigs, spoons, and trolling baits. After that we had to get hooks and then we realized we needed something to help us carry everything, Luckily Bass Pro Shops sells this awesome Backpack called the Bass Pro Shops Extreme Qualifier 360 Backpack Tackle Box. It not only separates into two separate bags, but it also fits 10 tackle boxes, the top is insulated to carry fish or yummies, and it has straps for a rod tube AND it’s water resistant!

We now have a rod, reel, bait, hooks, and other things that we knew we’d need to go saltwater fishing. Next we needed things for after we catch the fish. We needed knives and scalers and cutting boards and a processing table, gloves and a bucket or four, and deodorizer and knife sharpeners. We were lucky again that we were at Bass Pro Shops: they sell everything we would need for a fantastic trip! We were able to find folding and floating knives. We found skinners and scalers. We found a Bass Pro Shops hardwood Fillet Board and a Bass Pro Shops Folding Processing Table. We found all sorts of gear and aftercare items; next it was time to make sure we had the clothes and foot ware necessary to have a fun trip. Luckily, Bass Pro Shops sells all of that too so we didn't have to travel around searching for everything we need.

On our way out, we couldn't help but be distracted by the boats: they’re beautiful. There were big pontoon boats for fishing like the 2014 SUN TRACKER® FISHIN' BARGE® 22 DXL, and there were pontoon boats for fun like the Regency 254 LE3, and there were boats that were for fishing and fun! There were little boats too like the 2015 MAKO 284 CC w/ Twin 200 XL Verado (L4) which is specifically for offshore saltwater fishing and just what we were looking for. There was so much to see and learn about!

This is how we got to where we can taste the salt on our lips and smell it on the breeze blowing past. This is why we can see for miles as we watch the sun rising in the east. We’re saltwater fishing, and we’re having a grand time.

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A Fishfinder That is Compact and Affordable.

Lowrance Fishfinder Elite-3x

The Lowrance Elite 3x is a compact and affordable color fishfinder. With a vibrant 240x360 3.5 inch display and an easy to use interface the Elite 3x is great for everyday use.

 

The Lowrance Elite 3x is a compact and affordable color fishfinder. With a vibrant 240x360 3.5 inch display and an easy to use interface the Elite 3x is great for everyday use.

 

The included 83/200 transducer gives you two different viewing cones in order to fish in waters as deep as 800ft (approx.. 400ft saltwater). 83 kHz sonar provides up to 60 degrees of  coverage, which is ideal for displaying large fish arches and searching large areas, while 200 kHz sonar provides up to 20 degrees of coverage for enhanced fish-target separation and lure-tracking .

 

Looking at the display fishers can quickly identify fish targets from bottom contours, bottom hardness and structure detail. If you want to make things even easier go into the settings and turn on the “fish I.D.” option to simplify the display and show only fish and their depths. (looks like the below picture, only in color).

 

Visit us here at the Miami Bass Pro Shops and check out our display unit along with our selection of fish finders and combos.

Ruben M.

The included 83/200 transducer gives you two different viewing cones in order to fish in waters as deep as 800ft (approx.. 400ft saltwater). 83 kHz sonar provides up to 60 degrees of  coverage, which is ideal for displaying large fish arches and searching large areas, while 200 kHz sonar provides up to 20 degrees of coverage for enhanced fish-target separation and lure-tracking .

Looking at the display fishers can quickly identify fish targets from bottom contours, bottom hardness and structure detail. If you want to make things even easier go into the settings and turn on the “fish I.D.” option to simplify the display and show only fish and their depths. (looks like the below picture, only in color).

Visit us here at the Miami Bass Pro Shops and check out our display unit along with our selection of fish finders and combos.

Ruben M.

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The "Other" Fish

When we leave the house to go fishing around here, we normally have a target species in mind. I always here people that fish saltwater say, “You never know what your gonna catch”. This may be a little more true in the saltwater but also rings true around the tri-state as well. Now me I’m primarily a bassman, but some of my most memorable and largest catches are those “other” fish that I wasn’t necessarily trying for. I chased a fish for 30 minutes that I had hooked on a crankbait and never saw it.  Who knows what it was, but it was a blast!

bmay river largemouth bmay shovel erics goldfish

 

The 3 hardest jig bites I’ve ever had was from a single Shovelhead that owned me three times. It straightened two hooks and broke me off! My dad caught a 10lb. Walleye at Brookville Reservoir while we were bass fishing. The lake record Walleye at Brookville was caught by a fisherman practicing for a bass tournament. A friend caught a 51” Musky while bass fishing at St. Clair. I have hooked fish while bass fishing in the 25+ pound range. Of course they weren’t bass, but for those first few seconds of the fight you just don’t know. It is a test for your tackle and your angling skills. Some of the largest catches an angler will experience may not be the target of the day but will make a lasting memory. So embrace and be proud of that “other” fish you catch next trip out. 

grass carp muskie nicks carp

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Free Surf Fishing Classes!

With cooler weather around the corner, Destin's Bass Pro Shops will again be offering free Surf Fishing Classes at beautiful Henderson Beach State Park.  We've had a lot of success with these classes offered in the spring and fall over the past few years and have received many positive comments.  We provide everything one needs except the saltwater license, drinks, and sunscreen.  Even admission to Henderson Beach State Park is free.

Bass Pro Shops provides all the tackle and bait and experienced staff instructors.  Classes are limited to 10 people and pre-registration is required.  You may stop by the store or call our Customer Service Department at (850) 269-6200 to make reservations.  Classes will be held on Saturday, October 4th and Saturday, October 11th from 8 am til noon.  If we get more interest and demand, we will schedule additional Saturday classes.

So, if you've never tried surf fishing or are an old hand at it, come join us for a beautiful morning fishing at Henderson Beach State Park across from the Destin WalMart.

Gary Feduccia

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Saltwater Frenzy!!

Are you heading out? We are experiencing some of the best saltwater fishing in recent years and you better get it while its hot!!!!! We can help you get out on your very own Mako Skiff and take part in the action……. No ¾ day boats with 60 strangers fighting for the rail! Just you and whomever you want on your boat, fishing your style and your spots for not a lot of your money!!!!! With 10% down and less than $180 a month you could own your very own Mako Pro 17 Skiff with a Mercury 60HP 4 Stroke and trailer! This is a great inshore and bay boat and with the BT, YF and YT’s closer than they have been in 10 years you can fill this boat up with all the Ahi you want! Come by our Tracker Boats Dealership inside the Rancho Cucamonga Bass Pro Shops and speak to one of our Sales Specialist to see what we can do for you!!!!

http://video.trackermarinegroup.com/videos/mako//2013makoskiffsoverview.mp4

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"The Dance" -- Fly Fishing the Gulf

Fly Fishing --- a well orchestrated dance between the fish and the fisherman.   Using the rod as the conductor’s baton, the fisherman rhythmically entices the fish.  Fly Fishing is more an art than sport.  You are hunting and luring the fish.  You are enticing the fish to eat.  Presentation is everything.  It takes patience and study, waiting for the perfect moment.   Yes, all this is true in sport fishing yet; the presentation in fly fishing takes harmony of balance, rhythm, and motion.

When we think of fly fishing, the first thing that comes to mind is Brad Pitt’s character in “A River Runs Through It.”  Standing in swift running freshwater streams, we watched the line dance through the air as he gracefully lured in the trout.

So… when we think about fly fishing, we see a cool mountain stream, surrounded by towering trees with trout jumping after bugs…Or maybe… let’s see…. How about South Padre Island.   REALLY?  You fly fish in saltwater?  Is that even possible?  Answer:  Yes.  It is not only possible it takes fishing for the Gulf’s inshore fish to another level.

South Padre Island has several professional fishing shops that carry fly fishing rigs and plenty of expertise.  Roy Lopez at Bass Pro Shops is one of these avid fly fishermen.  He has found a way to marry his love of fly fishing with his love of saltwater fishing.   I came into the White River Fly Shop specifically looking to get my husband started in a sport that he has wanted to do for years.  Here’s what I learned.

What are you fishing for off the shores of South Padre?

Tarpon have a natural migrating pattern from Florida and the Yucatan Peninsula.  Their arrival at South Padre is still a mystery.  They seem to follow the Gulf Coast.   The tide dictates feeding patterns and their location.   According to the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the migrations take the tarpon up the eastern coast of the U.S. to at least the Chesapeake Bay, throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and southward to the Caribbean Sea.

 

Tarpon are fished for sport.  Roy says, “I wait all year for the tarpon to come back around in the annual migration.  I put the time in to find out their patterns and eating habits.  I have respect for the fish.  They travel from Florida and the Yucatan to get to Padre. “

 

But there is more than Tarpon off of South Padre’s shores.  Fishing Kingfish, Red Fish, Speckled Trout, Jack Crevalle, Spanish Mackerel and Bonita can all be found on the surf or jetties during ideal summer weather conditions. They can be found off the Gulf Coast year round.  Typically flashy, obnoxious flies in loud colors with a wire tippit can be used to entice these toothy fish to bite

.  

South Padre offers wading from the East Side sand flats to the West Side silt and estuaries.   Fishing from the rocks or in the water, we use different tools for different fish.  Consider the rig.

Roy generally ties his own flies, but has a few that he might use if needed.  The picture shows four of the possibilities.  A) Tarpon Toad –  Premier Tarpon Fly.   B)  Red Fish Toad – great fly for south Texas red fish and trout.  C)  Merkin Crab – another red fish fly typically used when red fish aren’t feeding, generally the fall months.  D)  Sea Ducer – fly that you would use in shallow water from 5 to 15 inches of water.  It has a real soft lay down. 

Rods:

9’ 8-weight rod typically with a stiff backbone to punch heavy flies through the wind (we have horrible prevailing south winds that don’t let up) for red fish, trout, flounder and any other species you’d find inshore. http://www.basspro.com/World-Wide-Sportsman-Gold-Cup-Fly-Rods/product/13082906212339/

9’ 10-weight rod with heavy backbone to punch flies for bigger fish from the beach or jetties – kings, Jacks, Spanish mackerel.

Inshore reel doesn’t necessarily have to be top dollar.  It needs a sealed drag system and is tolerable to the salt.  Roy suggests:  Lamson Konic/Guru and any of the Sage line-ups from the 1800 series to the 2200 series.  They retail anywhere from $150 to $185. http://www.basspro.com/Lamson-Konic-II-Fly-Reels/product/1209270507043/

http://www.basspro.com/Sage-2200-Series-Fly-Reel/product/1309110626206/

 

10-weight series – you are dealing with bigger fish.  You need a reel with stouter drag.  The Lamson offers the Konic/Guru 4 and Sage 2210 ranging anywhere from $150 to $250 for catching these bigger fish.

Your line in the inshore scene will typically consist of a weight forward floating line that can be matched to a rod.  The line is dictated by the rod or the casting preference of the fisherman.   Bass Pro Shops can typically fit the fisherman with an ideal rig to fit his/her preferences.  This is true for the 8-weight or the 10-weight.

Recently, Roy hooked a tarpon of about 5 feet/100+ pounds and watched it swim away after breaking the line.  With a smile, he remembered the “dance” and walked away satisfied.   Ok… maybe a little disappointed.

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Saltwater Fishermen Want Pink Fishing Line

Seaguar Pink Line

 

Something new and interesting is coming to a fishing line display near you soon. Seaguar is launching “PINK LABEL” Fluorocarbon leader for the saltwater angler’s usage. Underwater tests with pink fluorocarbon have revealed that the pink line lacks the illuminates of other line. The pink line also so does not show fluorocarbons milky color after becoming rubbed on other line, accessories or apparatus.

To meet the growing consumer demand for pink fluorocarbon and to assist in the battle against breast cancer, Seaguar has introduced Pink Label fluorocarbon leader material. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Pink Label are being donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

Pink Label is 100% fluorocarbon leader material is made from exclusive Seaguar resins in a proprietary process. It provides all the benefits of fluorocarbon versus monofilament including superior tensile strength, better abrasion resistance and minimal stretch. Pink Label is also soft and supple yet provides 30% better knot strength than other fluorocarbon lines. Above the surface, the subtle pink color enhances line visibility and below the surface, pink is the first color that disappears in the water column to maximize strikes.

Pink Label will be available on 25-yard spools from 15 to 80 pound test, and in 25-yard coils from 100 to 200 pound test. The 25-yard spools feature Seaguar’s exclusive Level Wind Technology, which spools the line by laying it down side by side, never crosses itself. The result is a spool as smooth as a spool of thread, without any line overstress or twist.

Pricing was not available prior to the completion of this article.

Seaguar

Seaguar is the inventor and world leader in fluorocarbon fishing line. Visit their web site at: https://www.seaguar.com/ and follow them on Facebook for giveaways and tips to help you catch more fish.

About the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. ®

Recognized as one of the leading breast cancer organizations in the world, the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s (NBCF) mission is to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms for those in need. A recipient of Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star rating for nine years, NBCF provides women Help for Today…Hope for Tomorrow® through its National Mammography Program, Beyond The Shock®, Early Detection Plan, MyNBCF online support community, and breast cancer research programs. For more information, please visit www.nbcf.org.

 

About the author:

Tom Branch, Jr. is a Prostaffer for Bass Pro Shops in Atlanta, Ga, a freelance outdoor writer and a retired Lt./PMDC/Firefighter with Gwinnett County Fire. He is currently a contracted employee with NAVICO/Lowrance working as the College Fishing Recruiter. He has been working in the Outdoor Industry for over 20 years. He has done everything from successfully managing and developing a pro fishing team, developing new products, designing packaging, participated in different radio & television shows. He has done many product demonstrations all around the country for different companies. He and his beautiful wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab Jake.

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Go Barefoot in the Boat- If the weather/water is warm, going barefoot in the boat helps the angler to avoid stepping on their fly line. Footwear of any kind provides enough insulation to prevent you from being able to feel that you are stepping on your line. Many a cast has been ruined and a fish lost by a pinched line on deck.  Bare feet can also present a slipping hazard on a wet deck, so you be the judge. Alternatively use a stripping basket to hold your fly line. Also, remember to stretch your fly line, preferably before you board the boat, and if that's not possible or you forget, strip the fly line off the reel into the wake of the boat as you relocate. Water pressure applied to the fly line will stretch the line and remove any twists and coils. If you do not cast in a relatively straight plane, but have a circular or "oval" rod rotation, this will add twists to your line causing it to kink.

Fluorocarbon or Monofilament Leaders- I have a couple of simple rules on this subject.

1. First, I don't spend stupid money on monofilament and fluorocarbon tippet material. For fluorocarbon I buy "Vanish" manufactured by Berkley. For monofilament I buy "Berkley Trilene Big Game" in Clear.I buy spools of this quality line in different tests. For Fluorocarbon, typically 17 and 20 lb and for Big Game, typically spools in 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 lb. test. I tie my own tapered leaders thus the reason for buying multiple spools of different test. Ultraviolet rays combined with the effects of saltwater degrade these lines, so annually I throw out the leftover spools and buy fresh material.

2. When it comes to what lines to use. My simple rule is if I am using a floating fly line with a floating fly pattern because I want the fly to be on the surface or just below the surface, my leader and tippet system is made entirely of monofilament (nylon) line. On the other hand, if I am fishing deeper waters, particularly around cover such as heavy seaweed, ledge and boulders, the first four feet of my leader is 40lb monofilament, but the balance of the leader system is Fluorocarbon material. Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible under water and it is made of a heavier density copolymer... so it sinks. It's valued for its refractive index which is similar to that of water, making it less visible to fish. Mono floats/Fluro sinks- easy to remember.

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Hook Set- Many fly anglers new to the salt environment utilize the same fish striking (hook set) they do when striking a trout taking a dry fly. This is an overhead, high rod tip motion with the butt of the rod somewhere between the angler's waist and shoulder. If you use this technique when striking a saltwater fish (Stripers, Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore to name a few), you're going to miss a lot of fish. The proper technique in saltwater is to keep your rod tip low to the water during your retrieve, and even putting the tip under the water's surface is perfectly acceptable. The retrieve has the fly line loosely pinched between the forefinger or middle finger (or both) of the rod-hand and the fly rod grip as the angler strips in line with the line-hand in a fashion that best imitates the swimming motion of the bait you are imitating. As the line is stripped over the fore-fingers of the rod hand the angler applies more pressure to the pinch point so that if the fish strikes the fly as the angler drops the line to pick it up again for the next strip- the line will stay tight helping to hook the fish. As the angler repeatedly strips line imitating the swimming motion of the bait, when the fish strikes the fly, the angler is in a position to "strip-strike" the fish keeping the rod tip low. The strip-strike has the angler pulling the line with force with the line-hand as he releases pressure at what was the pinch point on the rod-hand. The fly line will go tight immediately, and the rod will begin bouncing under the pressure and head-shaking action of the fish. Typically the hook is set in the fish's jaw, however it's perfectly acceptable to strip-strike the fish again with a good degree of force to "seat" the hook. The angler then raises the rod to play the fish.

 

Rod Positioning While Playing a Fish- After the angler has set the hook and is now playing the fish, care must be taken to land the fish. I see many anglers who engage in hand-to-hand combat, "fighting" the fish as if it's a 200 lb beast. It's unnecessary, and I typically coach new anglers engaged in this life and death struggle, to Relax. Yes, keep pressure on the fish, don't allow a slack line and when the fish wants to run, let it. If the fly reel drag is set properly, it will do the work of applying pressure and slowing the fish's run. Typically there is no need (except for the macho photo shot) to rear-back and bend the fly rod in half as you play the fish. The drag and the spring action of the fly rod will do the lion's share of the work. When the fish slows and you can turn it, do so, but keep a tight line and if the fish makes a run back to the boat as Bonito and Albies typically do, reel like a mad person to maintain a tight line/contact with the fish. If the fish pulls to the right, apply pressure to the left, and vice-versa- this will tire the fish more quickly. It's also OK to the turn the fish from side to side to tire it. Remember, for toothy fish, each time you reverse direction the leader is being pulled across the fish's teeth. In the case of Bluefish particularly, a steel leader should prevent being cut off.

Never put your line hand on the rod blank above the fly rod grip to apply additional leverage. A fly rod is meant to flex deep into the handle and putting pressure on the fish with your hand positioned on the blank above the grip may very well cause the rod to break. Additionally, try not to bring the butt of the rod above your waist while fighting a heavy fish. A high rod position exerts significant pressure (bend) on the tip section of the fly rod which may result in breakage.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

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