I went flying with a buddy of mine from Davis island airport to Lakeland airport and back. I took some pictures of the adventure. Enjoy!
-(If you look carefully at the last picture in the bottom left hand corner you can see a bald eagle diving)
I Went to Cockroach Bay in Ruskin for an outing with the Hard Core Kayak Fishing Anglers Club. Ruskin is a small farming town know for being the tomato capitol of the world and its located on the other side of the bay from St.Petersburg. I met at the boat launch with my fellow HCKAC members at 6:45 am. We were shoved of the beach at 7am. It was a very foggy morning with low visibility.
We paddled to our first destination which turned out to be a foot deep grass flat. I as well as many members were throwing top water lures. I only produced a small puffer fish. While some members were fortunate enough to catch some small trout.We continued on and as the sun came up the fog slowly lifted, and you could clearly see across the bay. We found a deeper grass flat. The water was extremely clear and i saw many trout swim right underneath my boat. Throwing a Gulp on a Jig head i managed to catch one trout and small bonnet head which i lost right at the boat. Overall the fishing was slow but the scenery was something that could not be beat. Cockroach Bay is very beautiful and is a must for any kayaker to visit.
The West Indian Manatee better know as the sea cow are mammals that inhabit the Tampa bay area waters. They are elusive and beautiful animals. Manatee can weigh over 700 lbs and can grow to almost 12 feet long. Over the Years I have come across them while out on the water. They are very curious and have come very close to flipping my kayak. Here are some pictures:
We all know that line loops and tangles in our reels are the worst thing to deal with when we're on the water. These tangled messes are better known as "Bird Nests", as they resemble a seabirds nest. Tangles are even more prevalent now, with the ever so popular super thin braided lines. Over the years I have figured out some ways of stopping a reel nightmare of a mess.
1. Don't not turn the crank to close the bail. Instead flip the bail closed by hand. This will take a while to get use to if you are not familiar with this procedure, but it is a worth while technique to learn.
2. Close the bail right before your lure hits the water. This pulls excess slack out of your line, which is the main cause of the loops deep down in your reel.
3. If you do have a loop in the line, do not open the bail and strip the line. Instead loosen your drag and keep the bail closed, then pull the line out with the bail closed until the loop is gone. This will save you much time when a loop appears in your spool.
4. Match your lure with a correct rod, if you use a light lure, such as an artificial plastic. You should match a light lure with a rod that has larger guides. A heavier lure should be matched with a rod with smaller guides.
These four basic tips will help any kayak angler in preventing the dreaded birds nest.
Winter is in full swing, cold fronts bring hot bites. The cooler water has resulted to fish moving to skinnier water and becoming more active. The snook moved into canals and river mouths, to staying in the warmer water. Sheepshead bites starts to go off as the water cools, try any rock pile in Tampa Bay. Red fish will break up from there summer schools and move along mangrove shore lines, especially ones with oyster bars located beneath. The trout bite also rises, in the grass flats. With low tides very common in the winter the only way to fish is in a kayak! Get into the warmer shallower areas that those noisy, destructive power boats wish they could get into! With the large tide changes that occur in the winter Crabs, crustaceans, and bait fish are flushed out of creeks and flats turning the bite on. Fish changing tides right and you cant go wrong!
be safe, wear a PFD, practice catch and release and get out there and catch ya some!
In June, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) increased the snook minimum size limit to 27 inches total length from 26 inches.
FWC also changed the way that snook should be measured. You should now determine the straight-line distance from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed, to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed together, while the fish is lying on its side.
Increasing the minimum size limit by one inch compensates for a slight increase in length some anglers may achieve when measuring snook this way. And, biologists hope the new rules will increase snook spawning stocks by, “decreasing snook harvest by 22 percent on Florida’s Gulf Coast and by 12 percent on the Atlantic Coast.” A recent FWC stock assessment for snook indicates that more anglers are catching and killing snook, and consequently, the management goal is falling short.
The maximum size limit for snook remains unchanged at 34 inches total length.
During the open seasons, the recreational daily bag limit on the Atlantic Coast is two snook per person. Anglers may possess one snook in the slot along the Gulf Coast, in waters of Monroe County and in Everglades National Park.
Licensed saltwater anglers must purchase a $2 permit to harvest snook. Snatch-hooking and spearing snook are prohibited, and it is illegal to buy or sell snook. Snook regulations also apply in federal waters.
From Florida Sportsman Magazine @ www.floridasportsman.com
I Went out last Tuesday fishing the mangroves and i pulled out four SMALL. Let me repeat Small Snook on DOA Glow Shrimp. Here they are apparently all the big snook are still on the beaches. Hoping the Winter will bring bigger fish into the upper Tampa bay
Went to Upper Tampa Bay park to fish and paddle double branch creek with one of my cap mel forum members Jim. We put in at state street at 7am, and we were off. Paddled against a slight wind for about 15 minutes to the mouth of the park. A flats boat was live bait fishing the mangroves as well as a Gheenoe throwing spoons. We didn't see a thing caught. We fished the mangroves and oyster bars. I eventually caught one baby snook. I released the little guy and we continued fishing while paddling back to the launch. We were off the water by 10:30. The fishing wasn't so great but the scenery sure was!
For the past week ever morning seemed to have brought a thunder storm, an odd occurrence but it did bring some much needed water. With these morning storms i have not been able to fish. Today the rain gods brought mercy to us fishermen. So i was on the water at 7am.
Started out with a top dog jr, but no top water bite today?!?!?! Maybe i was out a little to late, the sun was already up a little to far, should have woken up earlier!
I then switched to pitching DOA shrimp under the mangroves an upper Tampa bay no fail technique. I proceeded to bring this guy out from under the shade.
I kept moving and caught three more snook, and lost 3 others.
I ended the day as the storms started to roll in
Was out of the water at 9am and todays tally was 1 25" snook, 1 22" snook, and twin 16" snooklets!
I was thinking the other day, what are my favorite lures for kayak fishing. I thought what if i had to choose five lures to bring with me, what would they be. So here they are:
1. DOA 1/4 oz Shrimp in glow color.
2. DOA Cal Shad Tail in pink ice.3. MirrOlure MirrOdine. 4. Johnson Weedless Gold Spoon 5.MirrOlure Top Dog Jr.
The Florida Gulf Coast offers a verity of kayak fishing locations. There are launch areas that lead to finger channels, oyster bars, mangrove lined canals, and grass flats. You can find public access at parks, causeways, and bridges. All a short paddle to prime fishing grounds. Here are my favorite Tampa bay area kayak launches, access points, and fishing grounds. Provided are the links to the satellite image and map of each spot by clicking on the name of each location below.
- Upper Tampa Bay Park: A beautiful park located in Oldsmar, Florida in the upper tampa bay. It is located off of Hillsborough Ave./Tampa Rd. on Double Branch Rd. There is ample free parking and a floating kayak launch dock.
- Big Island: Mangrove islands near the feather sound just off of the I275 (Howard Franklin) Bridge. You can park anywhere just off the bridge
- Weedon Island: on the St. Petersburg side of Tampa Bay (south of Gandy Bridge). Great Mangrove and Grass Flats fishing in a no motor zone. A great place to go if you dont want the buzz of an outboard. A power plant is located close by which attracts fish by providing warmer water in the winter.
- Ft. Desoto Park:A beautiful park located at the entrance to the Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. Over looks the sunshine skyway bridge and egmont key. The park consists of many keys and provideds lots of paddling room. Many diffrent launches in this park.
- Caladesi Island: Island located off the intercostal water way in dunedin/clearwater. Many diffrent launch spots including the honeymoon island causeway and dunedin boat launch.
My Two Favorite Knots for attaching leader to terminal tackle
Non slip mono loop Knot: For connecting a lure to leader, allows movement of the lure for more realistic action.
- Tie a single overhand knot 6-8 inches up the leader from the end of leader. Insert leader end through the eye of lure and then bring it back through the loop.
- Wrap the line end 3-4 times around the main line then insert it back through the loop in the knot.
- pull the line end to reduce loop size and pull main line to tighten knot. clip off extra line
- Pass line through eye. Double back and make six wraps around the main line
- Thread end through the first loop above the eye, then through the big loop
- hold end and main line while pulling the coils tight to the eye, clip off extra line
The Advantages to Kayak Fishing
- A Kayak is quieter than a boat, even when a trolling motor is being used on the boat.
- A kayak has no impact on the environment, no prop scars on the grass flats, no gas and oil leaking into the water, and no emissions leaking into the air!
- Kayaks can access water that boats cant, which can lead to bull redfish, gator trout, and huge linesiders!
- You do not need a large trailer and gas guzzling truck, your kayak can fit on almost any car even the smallest such as mini coopers or a prius.
- The cost is low a fully rigged kayak costs around $800 where a boat will cost at least $20k, no need to purchase $5 gas, oil, boat registration, trailer registration, boat insurance, batteries, battery chargers, outboard tune-ups.
- No more waxing, Re applying the gel coat, flushing the engine, scrubbing, applying bulky covers. And saltwater corrosion! With a kayak you spray it with a hose and your clean up is done!
I Went to Tampa Fishing Outfitters to treat myself to a new reel as my Okuma Helix was getting a little old. So i did my research in my $80 to $115 Dollar price range and came down to two options the Penn Sargus or the Okuma Salina. As i wanted an all metal body and no graphite. I tried both reels out and the Okuma Salina caught my eye. The Okuma has a dual washer drag, which applies pressure on the bottom and top of the spool resulting in a smoother stronger drag. The Dual force drag was an option that only $500 Reels have and the all metal body made the reel extremely tough. I went with the Okuma Salina. Here she is all rigged up and ready to go on my fenwick 7ftI also Decided to get a Okuma Avenger 30 since it was only $23 Dollars! I put it on my Medium Light Quantum rod. It is surprisingly a great reel for low budget price!
Put the boat in at 6:30am in Sweetwater Creek in Upper Tampa Bay. Paddled to my first spot on a mangrove lined deep water canal and worked the mangroves with a 1/4 DOA Shrimp. With in 5 minutes a baby Snook was to the boat. I let the little guy go. Again I casted and another little snooklet hit the doa.
I kept drifting and slowly worked the mangroves with the DOA. And fish on. This one had a little fight. Turned out to be a beautiful little Mangrove or Grey Snapper that was right at the 10in mark but i did not keep it.
I kept trying the same area for more snapper because they usually school together but no luck what so ever. So i decided to move on. I paddled across a flat looking for reds while moving along to another mangrove. No Reds, just some rays making muds and a catfish that ate a gold spoon :(.
When i reached the Canal i worked the mangroves once again. On my second cast fish on! This one put on a better fight than the rest of the fish. Turned out to be a nice 20in Snook.
After Catching two more 20"-22" Snook i decided to call it a day and was off the water at 900 AM. On the way back home i was almost run over by 2 dolphins fishing along the mangroves and got some nice pictures. It was a fun morning paddle.