Saturday, June 9, 2007

Little Redfish

I forgot to mention when I posted about Tropical Storm Barry, we did get out on June 2nd for some bay fishing. The waves on the Gulf were 10- 12 feet easily and the beach was totally covered (up to the boardwalk on stump pass beach). So we fished Lemon Bay. There are plenty of oyster bars all around Lemon Bay that provide all the right stuff for Red Fish. Well we hit the tide just about right and threw some free lined shrimp right at a couple of oyster beds. I did battle with a couple of nice RedFish, followed by two surprise snook attacks!

Anyway, this bay fishing trip was followed by our failed attempt down in Boca Grand Pass on Sunday June 3. It seems ALL the fish went off shore, including the "white bait", or "green backs" as they call them. We tried to get some bait for snook, reds, and trout....but noth'in showed up. So it was just a long boat ride on Sunday. Fortunately Monday had some treats, for which I am still sore from!

More pictures to come!

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tropical Storm Barry: Fishing Report

I was down for an extended weekend and was flying on June 1st to get to the Englewood-Charlotte Harbor area. Of course this was the esact time that Tropical Storm Barry was forming in the Gulf. The reason for my visit? Tarpon!

Barry formed very quickly. It started as a wave down around Cuba and quickly gained energy and became a named storm on friday evening. The storm stirred up the Florida Gulf, causing ten foot seas or more and resulting in the erosion of many beaches. Other impacts related to this were the impact on recently nested turtle eggs on the beaches. Many of them simply washed away. I viewed this at the Stump-Pass Beach on Manasota Key.

Anyway, the fishing slowed to a halt at Boca Grande Pass. There were no tarpon to be found. Local Captains, including Mike Wise of "Wise-Guy" Charters explained that the low pressure drove the fish out off shore several miles. As the seas calmed over the weekend and the high pressure took hold, the Tarpon were back in limited form. Normally there are upwards of 50,000 or more tarpon right in the pass this time of year, but on Monday experts estimated only 1000 had returned.

The good news? They were hungry! Luckily we were able to move our charter to monday morning and the bite was strong for about 90 minutes. Then, suspiciously, they disappeared again! For about 45 minutes we couldn't find fish and then...bam!..they were back to stay.

All in all we had five good hook ups. Heavy shark activity led to one being swallowed up by Bull Sharks and others being chased rigorously. We did, however, bring in a 6 foot, 150 pound Tarpon close enough to leader.

What a day! I'm working on organizing some pictures...I have to edit the video we took.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hurricane Season Coming Up...

And I don't mean the Miami Hurricanes as in the University of Miami!

It's true, the season is near and forecasters aren't feeling positive. Of course, they weren't last year either but only 10 storms formed of significance. This year projections are for at least 7 or 8 major storms to hit Florida alone, according to

With a major season in 2004 and 2005 (Katrina), Floridians caught a break last year with an easy ride throughout the summer and fall. A needed break for sure. But if this year is anything close to projections, people will need to make early plans for insuring their own safety and that of their properties.

Here are a couple of good online sources for updates on local and regional weather:

Stay tuned and keep safe this season! Next post I'll post some research on how Florida residents should prepare for battle against natures most powerful storm. Stay tuned...

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Fishing Fued

I chatted with my father old time lake and stream fisherman who turned to Gulf waters at retirement...and he talked about the friction between the trendy "Jig Captains" and the traditional "live bait" fisherman down at the Boca Grande Pass. Of course I'm speaking about Tarpon Fishing again because it's all the rage now through most of the summer.

Anyway, this heated dual gets a lot of attention this time of year. Here's the conflict:

Traditional live bait captains fish at night, depending on tide conditions, anywhere from midnight to 6:00am. Freelining shrimp, crab, and different types of live bait fish are useful methods. This restricted fishing time is partly due to fish preference, and partly due to the massive influx of the popular jig fishing that starts at the crack of dawn.

Jig fishing, according to the traditional Captains, is borderline unethical and possibly dangerous to the Tarpon. Their point of view is that when you hook up while short drifting the captain must maintain control of the fish (meaning keeping the fish straight down below the boat) and that adds maximum pressure to the fish, ultimately leading to strain and fatigue. Many times this can result in death of the fish either by exhaustion or by shark attack.

Traditional live bait charter captains contend that they aim to hook up and then move off of the drift pattern in the pass. This accomplishes a couple things:

1. Increased water safety (reduced pass traffic)
2. Better angles (rod - fish relationship)
3. Less chance of harming the fish via the methods mentioned above
4. No chance of snagging a fish as with jigging.

Of course not everything is one sided. Jig fishing, many argue, has made access to one of the worlds greatest sport fishing more accessible to people. If for no other reason than the time of day we see people flocking to try their hand at tarpon fishing. Also it is relatively simple for the non-fisherman to try, given a good captain guiding the way.

The friction between the two different styles remains both camps have something to offer. Can there ever be a mutual respect between jig fisherman and live bait fisherman? Anything is possible but from what I hear's highly unlikely.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007


Just taking time-out to wish all of you a happy Memorial Day weekend. With any observance, examine the purpose and make something of it...

Until next it..

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Community of Parrots

I decided to write today about how some people gather, socialize, and enjoy the coastal areas of Florida. As my interest expands I'll be writing more about other regions of the Florida Gulf Coast, but for now my attention turns to the Sarasota Bay Parrot Head Club.

Parrot Heads enjoy many social activities such as raft-ups, reef diving to preserve marine life, beach preservation weekends, concerts, and many more relaxed gatherings. There's no age discrimination either, I've seen bikini strapping 20 year olds to freed-up 80 year old fishermen (or women) at Parrot Head functions.

Relax, Life Really Is Good!

The whole Parrot Head idea seems really more about connecting and free enjoyment of life than many other "clubs" I know of. Don't assume that Parrot Head clubs are just for the Florida Gulf Coast...their not. They are really spread througout the US and tropical islands too.

Here's a sample of the popular Sarasota Bay Parrot Head Club website. I've attended a couple of their gatherings and can say sincerely that you can't leave without making a friend at one of their look them up! Find them HERE!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Writer Guy...

One of my favorite things to do in south Florida is to take in some of the tropical music. When I go to Englewood I'll usually try to catch Jim Morris playing either solo or with his band. His songs are always entertaining as he adds humor and usually some real life experience to his songs.

My father, Ed Rock, is a big fan of Morris' music and help promote it within the Parrot Head Charter, based in Sarasota, FL. Here's where you can get a sample of Jim's stuff...pretty hard to resist a trip south when you here it !

Sample Jim Morris!

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