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September Snooking

On: Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 9:25AM | By: Merry Beth Ryan

"Everyone believes in something, I believe I will go fishing" Henry David Thoreau September marks the opening of the fall Snook season. There are lots of anxious anglers who have been anticipating opening day of Snook season for four long months. Well, the time has arrived and there is Snook fever in the air this month. Snook are one of my favorite fish to catch. They are one of Florida’s highly sought after saltwater fish. Whether it is the thrill of the hunt or the heart-stopping thump, Snook fishing is contagious. Watching a Snook crash a bait is as intense as it gets. Your adrenalin level will be at its peak, to say the least. There are many other fish out there that strike just as hard or harder than a Snook, but I assure you Snook is one fish that you will always remember catching. Talk about pure excitement and adrenalin rush, Snook are bound to give you that and then some. Live bait as well as artificial baits work well when targeting Snook. Snook hide near structure at times and they ambush any baits that get their attention. They are not like Snapper and Sheepshead who will peck at your bait taking little nibbles.

Snook strike with force and are great fun to catch. If you have never seen a big Snook swallow your live bait or artificial bait it is something to add to your “bucket list” of things to do in this lifetime. More and more anglers are using catch and release techniques especially when targeting Snook. Many anglers feel the Florida Snook are better off being released to swim away than they are on a dinner plate. A great deal of respect is granted to the Snook here in our state. As with all our fish we catch, it is necessary to properly handle the fish and revive all our release fish with tender loving care. If you want to take a photo of your Snook, be sure you hold the fish horizontally, placing one hand under the belly for support. Make it a quick photo and get the fish back into the water as soon as you possibly can.

A Few Fish Tails From The Reelin' & Chillin'

On: Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 9:17AM | By: Captain Terry Frankford

The Reelin & Chillin was able to put anglers on some great Redfish, Mangrove Snapper, and even a Cobia recently. It was tough working around the hurricanes and the associated inclement weather, however, it’s always been a factor that before a front fish tend to feed; this I took advantage of. Here are a few fish tails enjoyed aboard the Reelin & Chillin: I will associate the storms showing, how fishing around them can be productive. Please note I say “fishing around them,” NOT IN THEM. With hurricane Fay near Cuba, my Tarpon trip canceled. However, for me this was the calm before the storm. I had the day off so I went fishing. M-5 a near shore artificial reef located in about forty feet of water made of concrete culverts was my target. Long story short—Mangrove Snapper to sixteen inches. I had my limit in a half hour and started culling my catch.

Water conditions were mild, maybe one to two feet; however, by the late evening hours conditions went downhill, and the Gulf of Mexico was not the place to be. With Fay past and Gustav near Haiti, Frank Winkle and I headed out to M-5 with Snapper as the target. It took about three hours to catch our limit of Snapper, including culling part of our catch. We then moved out to another reef M-7 in about fifty feet of water. We culled a couple more Snapper, then the catch of the day was on, a forty-four inch Cobia ate my shrimp. After a thirty minute battle using fifteen pound line and only a #4 Owner circle hook I was using for the snapper, we were able to land the fish. The water conditions were like glass and unbelievably clear. I did three Redfish trips between hurricanes Gustav and Hanna, here are the results: Ashok and Peggy Sawe with family: Three Reds, twenty-six to twenty-eight inches Birdena Samuel and friend English: Around eight Reds all over the limit to thirty-inches except for Birdena did catch dinner landing a twenty-six inch Red just at the end of the trip.

Sam Vilardi and Steve: Twelve Reds four in the slot, eight over to thirty inches. Captain’s Tip - Working the Storms It may sound like the testosterone level is a little high going out before or between storms, however, you can do it without incident, if you pay close attention to conditions. When I say before the storm it’s not hours, it’s more like a day. I’m not going far, inshore or within a ten-mile distance from shore to the artificial reefs. My boat is in perfect condition, I have towing with Boat U.S., several Captains who are personal friends wouldn’t have a problem coming out to help me, and someone always knows my plan for the day. I keep a 360-degree eye on the horizon for storms, and with a boat that can go upwards of 40mph, ten miles isn’t far. Don’t take chances, but try working the storms, it will prove productive and keep you on the water. Tight lines & good times, Capt. Terry Frankford Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc. 941-228-7802

Cobia hot offshore

On: Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 9:17AM | By: Captain Larry McGuire

Fishing is fantastic offshore of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. We are catching lots of Big Gag and Red Grouper, Scamp, Amberjacks, Kingfish, large Sharks, Barracuda, Cobia up to 60 lbs, and all of the Mangrove, Yellowtail, and Vermillion Snappers you want to catch. Best action is out around 35 miles, but there is keeper Grouper, Snapper, and Kingfish closer in. Large live baits have been working the best. Our Catch of the Week goes to Larry Bethke with a 60 lb Cobia he caught on October 1st. We were catching Snappers, and I was reeling in a 2 lb Mangrove Snapper when a school of huge came up trying to eat it. Larry Bethke immediately dropped back over a 10 inch Lane Snapper that he had just caught. One of the monster Cobia grabbed it and it pulled off. Then another big one grabbed it, and the fight was on, An hour later I gaffed it, and it was in the boat, and the hook fell out.

Larry was using a light spinning rod, 25 lb test line, a 1/0 Owner hook, and a 10-inch Snapper for bait. It was an amazing catch with such a small hook and Larry’s best fight on light tackle. Now is the time to go out and get some of this action, and get it while it’s hot. Tight lines and good fishing Capt. Larry McGuire Show Me The Fish Charters Located at the Cortez Fishing Center, Bradenton, FL 941-720-6475


On: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 2:52PM | By: BoatUS

Deadline to apply for BoatU.S. Foundation Program is September 30. The easiest way to ensure a child’s safety on the water is to make sure they wear a life jacket that fits. But children’s growth spurts or last minute changes to the roster of invited guests do not always make that easy. However, your boat club or local waterfront business may be able to help if it works with the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water Life Jacket Loaner Program. Since the program began in 1997, three children's lives have been saved as a result of wearing a BoatU.S. loaner life jacket, and today over 90,000 life jackets are borrowed—at no cost—for the day or weekend at over 350 clubs and businesses each year. There is no cost to become a loaner site, but applications will be accepted only until Sept. 30, 2008. “Demand for this program has been up 22% in the last two years because we make it so simple to use,” said BoatU.S. Foundation Program Manager Alanna Keating. “The loaner life jacket kit consists of 12 jackets of various sizes in a plastic storage tub, with easy-to-use sign-out sheets to help us track usage. All we ask for in return is that you make the life jackets available to the boating public in a readily accessible but secure location, and periodically let us how the program is going. Photos of kids wearing the jackets are also appreciated,” added Keating. Signage for the exterior of the club or business is also included.

To download an application to become a Life Jacket Loaner Program site or for more information on the laws in your state, please visit From BoatU.S.



On: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 2:46PM | By: Florida Marine Times

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined forces today to reinforce the values of sport fi

South shore Fishing Report!

On: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 2:30PM | By: Captain Jason Prieto

By Capt. Jason Prieto Things have been cooling down thanks to overcast days and vast amounts of rain from the weekly tropical systems. With cooler water temperature brings steady action on the flats and backcountry. This means the hot topic this month will be Redfish! Redfish- are starting to show up in good numbers on the flats. Look for extreme high and low tides when targeting the big schools. The lower tides are good times to fish deeper cuts and potholes on the outer flats. On higher tides I like to fish the big schools of mullet or flooded mangrove lines. Snook- are on the move to the flats but are still showing up in good numbers in the passes, docks and beaches. Big white bait has been the secret, but has been a chore to find at times. If you cant find the whitebait a cut mullet head is always a BIG Snook favorite. Remember to slow you approach up because big Snook are lazy. Trout- Are showing in good numbers on various deeper flats with the salt and pepper bottom. 1/8 once jig head with a White body shrimp imitation. I like the Joe Hubert's REEKING HAVOC stinky baits. Live shrimp under a Cajun thunder popping cork is a deadly combination as well. White bait free lined has also been a proven technique. Capt. Jason Prieto

For light finesse fishing WaveSpin Reels adds its DHxL

On: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 2:19PM | By: Florida Marine Times

Latest reel of growing family is first to introduce new beveled waved spool for longer tangle free casts; multi disc drag for more tension and smoother operation PORT RICHEY, Fla. – From the moment last winter when WaveSpin introduced its DH3000 reel and anglers and fishing writers began trying its patented no tangle-design and hardy drag, a steady flow of letters and phone calls streamed into the company. They usually asked the same question; when would a smaller version with the same attributes be available especially for finesse fishing like trout, panfish, smallmouth bass, walleye and more. WaveSpin’s new extra light model the DHxL (Doug Hannon x-Lite), designed for fishing 2 - 6 lb class mono or 8 - 20 lb class braided lines, will be introduced at the ICAST (fishing tackle trade) show in Las Vegas.

Its three predecessors will also be featured including the DH3000 which has won many accolades and awards, among them the 2008 Field & Stream Best of the Best for spinning reels. ”We have no model number such as the 1000, 1500 or 2000 size to define our newest reel,” said Russ Riley, VP of XXX Stream Tackle the marketers of the reels. “The DHxL will fit very comfortably within all of those sizes due to the extremely high tech drag and spool. It’s compatible with 1000 to 2000 sizes although it’s slightly smaller than a 2000 sized reel.” As for attributes WaveSpin’s DHxL should catch the angler --- and the fish. With a lightweight graphite body and aluminum handle it weighs just seven ounces and exceeds many of its competitor’s features with 7+1 stainless steel bearings, a gear ratio of 5:1:1, and an extremely high tech 10 disc drag offering 18.5 pounds of tension extending the weight range of fish species for potential IGFA world records.

“Following in the footsteps of its WaveSpin predecessors it could be the smoothest drag on the market today,” said Riley, “and with one of Evolution’s ( selection of light rods, several that Hannon also helped to design, it makes a great combo.” All of WaveSpin’s patented “waved” spools make loops irrelevant by eliminating tangles and birdnests. In addition the DHxL also introduces a new beveled design that reel innovator Hannon says will provide longer casts “WaveSpin’s patented technology has benefits and features like no other brand reel,” said Riley. “Not Shimano, not Daiwa, not Abu Garcia or any other brand. By adding the DHxL reel to the WaveSpin lineup, we now offer the patented no-tangle technology in four sizes at a price and quality unmatched and unchallenged by any other reel brand. It’s a one of a kind light reel. It even resembles a piece of jewelry in the light and the feel and appeal are pure quality. The list price is $72.00 and like all WaveSpins it comes with an exclusive two-year unlimited warranty.

The reel, with its uniquely designed spool lip of smoothly rounded teeth – “waves” that eliminate tangles – also features a patented no-tool quick-strip spool allowing anglers to slip off the entire amount of old line in one clump without tedious stripping. WaveSpin’s pros recommend the following line capacities: 2 lb mono/8 lb braid - 330 yds; 4 lb mono/14 lb braid - 200 yds; 6 lb mono/20 lb braid - 160 yds. WaveSpin Reels can be bought at a growing number of sporting (Cabela’s and Gander Mountain) and independent fishing goods stores along with direct sales on its website For retail or dealer information on WaveSpin please contact Russ Riley, VP of Operations, at: 989-967-8426 or via e-mail at

Tampa Bay Watch Volunteers Monitor the Return of Bay Scallop

On: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 2:14PM | By: Florida Marine Times

Tampa Bay Watch and Tampa Bay Estuary Program have teamed up again to sponsor the Great Bay Scallop Search, a resource monitoring program where volunteers snorkel to search for scallops in select areas within Boca Ciega & Lower Tampa Bays. The Great Bay Scallop Search has been conducted annually since 1993. The purpose of this program is to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population. Volunteers found only one live scallop in 2005 due to the severe red tide, 17.5 were found in 2006 and an all time event high of 555 scallops were found in 2007.

Tampa Bay Watch is optimistic to find even more scallops in 2008! The Great Bay Scallop Search is Tampa Bay Watch’s most popular volunteer event each year. Not only does it offer the opportunity to bring attention to the bay’s valuable resources, but it also promotes hands-on volunteerism and education to families and residents of the estuary. Many first-time as well as “seasoned” scallop searchers comment on the exciting bay wildlife they see under the water during the event. Even if a search team does not find their elusive scallop prey, fun is always had by all! About 45 boats, with over 200 participants, will search selected sites in Boca Ciega & Lower Tampa Bays for the elusive bay scallops.

Bay scallops, or the Argopecten irradians, disappeared from Tampa Bay in the 1960s when the bay water was highly polluted from dredging operations and industrial and municipal wastes. Tampa Bay’s water quality and seagrass beds have since improved to levels that will once again the bay scallop population. Registered scallop searchers will meet at 9:00am at the eastern side of the Fort De Soto Boat Ramp on Saturday, August 16 to receive survey equipment and instructions for the monitoring event. At each site, a weighted transect line 50 meters in length is laid along seagrass beds. Snorkelers count scallops along each side of the transect line, within one meter of each side, creating a 100 square meter survey area.

Bay scallops are secretive bivalves in the same family as clams and oysters. They may reach a shell size of two inches and spend most of their short 12- to 18-month life span hiding in sea grasses of waters like Tampa Bay. Scallops are filter feeders, therefore they are highly sensitive to changes in water quality and can be used to measure an ecosystem’s health and signal changes in water quality. Bay scallops are vulnerable to changes in water temperature and salinity. Adult bay scallops can pump as much as 15.5 quarts of water per hour. Tampa Bay Watch, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation are working to increase the bay scallops in our area by raising scallops in laboratories and releasing the juveniles into the Bay. Although bay scallops are edible, it is illegal to harvest scallops in Tampa Bay, in order for restoration efforts to be successful. Media is welcome to join us at the Scallop Search. Boats will be available at the Fort De Soto Park boat ramp to transport media for on-water interviews with scallop search participants. Contact Rachel Arndt at 727-867-8166 or email at for more information or to reserve a spot on a Tampa Bay Watch boat. Tampa Bay Watch is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the charitable and scientific purpose of protecting and restoring the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary encompassing over 400 square miles of open water and 2300 square miles of highly-developed watershed.

Tampa Bay Watch involves more than 10,000 youth and adult volunteers each year in hands on habitat restoration projects. For more information on upcoming events, becoming a volunteer or member, visit, or call 727-867-8166.

Lower Tampa Bay Report

On: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 2:04PM | By: Captain Jason Prieto

The typical summer weather is here. Muggy hot mornings and rainy afternoons have been the normal pattern. Getting an early start has been the key to catching fish, especially on the flats. Site fishing has been impossible in some areas due to all the fresh water run off, but the deeper flats, reefs, bridges, and ledges have been holding lots of fish. Snook have been very sketchy! As they are ending their spawn, they are starting to make their way to the fall areas like the flats and backcountry. The fish I have caught have been big fish, slot-sized fish! The key to catching Snook is having big white bait (greenbacks or threadfins). Small bait is everywhere, therefore Snook are not responding to it as well as the bigger bait. Mangrove Snapper have been hot.

Every ledge, rock pile, and reef is holding good numbers of Snapper. The key is using ultra light tackle and chumming heavy. Throwing small bait into the current and letting it drift with the current will bring them up to the surface. A 1/0 Eagle Claw circle and 25lbs Ohero fluorocarbon line seem to be the perfect match. Look for Redfish to start moving into the flats and schooling up. They will be milling up the shallows for all types of crustaceans and other types of bait. Live bait or artificial will work when targeting Reds. One of my favorite artificial lures for Redfish is a gold spoon and a DOA shrimp. Greenbacks, shrimp or pinfish suspended under a Cajun Thunder bobber will work great for live bait.

Captain Jason Prieto is a native resident of Tampa and has fished Tampa Bay and its surrounding waters for the past 20 years. He is owner and operator of Steady Action Fishing Charters which is based out of lower Tampa Bay. To book a charter, you can reach him at 813-727-9890 or If you would like to catch him on the radio tune into Outdoor Fishing Adventures Saturday mornings from 7AM to 9AM on 860 WGUL AM radio. Tight lines!!!!

The “Dog Days” Of Summer Are Upon Us, Play It Cool, Play It Safe, Play It Smart!

On: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 2:01PM | By: Florida Marine Times

There was a reason somebody—don’t ask me who—came up with that expressionabout “the dog days of summer.” Probably because any sensible dog realizes that heat can kill you. So, he finds a shady spot to lay down and stretch out. Preferably a place with a cooling breeze. And a bowl of cold water nearby. Sorta like both of my English setters are doing right now after running around outside barking at squirrels (a no-no), yanking on Kate’s plants (a REAL no-no), and taking care of, uh, “personal business” (a real YES-YES). Ghost, the 11-year-old veteran, has a favorite spot under a very old fold-up schoolroom seat that gets a very nice cross-breeze. It’s cool there. And private. Comfortable. The 14-month old puppy—alternately known as Bonehead and Conan The Barbarian as well as his more charitable given name of “Heart”—mostly just flops down close to wherever I happen to be standing or sitting.

Like now. He’s big and loveable and just goes with the flow. Panting like crazy the whole time. So what’s this got to do with fishing? Take a lesson from The Old Dog. Historically, the average temperature in southwest Florida during August and September is 90 degrees. That, as Yankees from the reallycold north say about winter temps, is straight-time. “Don’t include the wind-chill factor,” they’ll add, nodding sagely. Same thing down here, only it “don’t include the blazing-sunshine factor.” Puppies just love to be outside. They run around as hard and fast as they can go. They never give a second thought to stopping for a long drink of water or a brief nap in the shade. Some fishermen are the same way. They miraculously get a free Saturday from work, kids, and honey-dos so it’s on-the-water from dawn till dusk. No sunblock. No water. Maybe a sandwich. Plenty of bodily-fluid-dehydrating beer. Ouch! Old dogs, like this one, believes firmly in that line from an old Clint Eastwood movie: “A man’s got to recognize his limitations.” For instance, after watching a slide show that a dermatologist played for the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers several years ago, I became a devout follower of The Church of SPF40 Sunblock. See, those slides showed some REALLY disgusting images of ears rotted off, lips half-carved away, and other horrifying manifestations of skin cancer. Made me a believer. And I mean RIGHT NOW, a believer!

Water? Yep. I carry several gallons aboard my Hewes Redfisher 18. And I INSIST that when the Captain drinks water, all hands on deck ALSO drink water. No soda. And definitely no beer. Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking. “Beer and boating go hand-in-hand!” Right up to the point where somebody busts an arm or leg or rib because he/she’s busted one too many bottlecaps. Then things get real interesting with lawyers and insurance companies. And friendships. Old Dogs learn a few things while avoiding speeding cars, trucks with bad brakes and other Mean Dogs. Like getting up early before it’s so blazing hot that neither man nor fish can tolerate being out. Or that staying out in the sun for 12 hours can then require another 48 hours in a hospital emergency room. Sometimes puppies learn that getting their tails run over by a drunk driver hurts. Sometimes they’re the drunk driver. And that can hurt a whole lot worse.

<; ((((((((((((((((((((((((>< Capt. Tony guides fly and light-tackle anglers from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. He can be reached through or 941-496-4289.