quite back yet...
For those who return on occasion and to those
who are just finding my site and notice the lapses in the monthly
columns in the archive on the left it may be obvious that something
is or rather is not going on. For me it has been fishing. I can not
blame the record number of devastating hurricanes as I would have
loved the opportunity to fish in the recent wake of those storms.
I am not sure it would have felt like the right thing to do with all
the loss and suffering that took place. However fishing or any diversion
to ease your mind may be good medicine to help keep one's sanity.
Let me state here that my thoughts continue with those who lost life
and property in the storms. As a Florida native with family members
in the Tampa area I was concerned. I made a trip down the weekend
following the last storm to help clean up around my Mother's house.
Growing up in Florida and experiencing several hurricanes I can not
remember ever seeing so many downed limbs. That and the occasional
demolished structure or multiple toppled trees while all else was
left virtually untouched shows how mysterious the natural world can
For a dilemma of less consequence I must determine why I fished only
once from March to September. There must be some shift in time that
only Einstein can explain as I just seem to have lost a few months
of precious fishing time. I have been working harder to correct that
and fished twice in the past 4 weeks. It is a start and I hope to
gain momentum. When I am back to a normal fishing pattern I will be
inspired to get my monthly articles back to a schedule of one a month.
For those who visited in August you saw the post from a guide, Capt.
Butch Rickey, a regular columnist on the site as he shares accounts
of his fishing trips. That post was a result of the FIRST hurricane.
Who had any idea that there would be more and increasingly powerful
storms. By the time it was over not only Capt. Rickey and the west
coast guides had problems but almost the entire state. I think from
the reports I am reading now things are getting back to normal. However,
many in the fishing industry have suffered setbacks. Whether it is
damage, lost business or cash flow there is some catching up that
must be done. I can confirm that the fishing on my two recent trips
was great. Even with some structural damage business are mostly back
up and running. Everything you need on a visit is available. If you
have had any concerns about planning a trip down to fish Florida there
is nothing to stop you from having a great time.
One of my trips was with a guide for a paddle fishing outing on the
Intercoastal Waterway near Crescent Beach, south of St. Augustine.
My buddy Jack and I had planned an last minute trip to get some tips
on fishing the area after hitting likely spots and getting skunked.
Jack's place is only about a half mile from Coastal
Outdoor Center so we stopped by to set up an afternoon trip. It
is always a pleasure to drop by and talk with Brad Miller (owner)
who has a wealth of knowledge on anything to do with kayaking. He
reported that though the storms had slowed vacationing visitors that
things were beginning to recover. Jack had an unexpected event and
was unable to join me but I made the charter and had a great time.
I learned exactly what I needed to be a better angler in the marsh
and oyster covered ICW. My goal was to be able to catch a redfish
on an artificial and that is exactly what I did. I had almost given
up on it but I know it can be done now. I have pictures of the trip
that I hope to add very soon.
My second trip I was able to hook up again with my good fishing buddy
in Tampa, Dave Latimer (also known as the 'Redfish Magnet' but that
is not all he catches). Even though I had the kayak with me it went
unused. Dave needed to make sure the Polar skiff that had been sitting
since early summer was still in working order. The weather was dicey
but Dave had a couple of options to make the best out of whatever
the morning presented. As it turns out we were able to hit one of
his favorite spots, a flat in the south east of Old Tampa Bay that
we have fished together on a couple other occasions. The water was
till warm enough that waders were not required (first week of November)
but chilly enough to know that the next trip out would need something
more. True to his name Dave immediately began catching reds and as
he has on every trip I have made with him to the flat he got a slam
(redfish, snook and trout). Not bad for early November but on one
previous trip he did it the first week of January and believe me it
was cold, Not sure what that snook was thinking or what kind if anti-freeze
it was using (we also saw a nice snook floating dead, likely from
I have learned much from Dave and without a doubt I consider hum a
mentor. He put me on my first redfish and on this trip was with me
for my first slam. Hard to believe a big time flats angler like myself
would not have many slams (are you laughing?). It was true. Finally
though I got it done. In November no less. I did not have a great
day as I only caught those three fish but considering the weather
and being a little rusty I was grateful. I should put this in perspective
though and note that I read in a Miami online newspaper an account
of a 9 year old who also got his first slam that weekend. I am glad
he won't have to wait as long as I did.
It is good to be back on the water. I look forward to getting my next
article up and adding several photo sets from trips over the past
year that are just waiting for comments to publish in the photo section.
I hope you will stop back in a few weeks and check up on me for the
new article. As always I welcome submissions for stories, photos,
fishing reports, tips, almost anything that can help other flats anglers
have more fun and become a better fisherman. If you do not see a new
article I hope you will send me a letter urging me to get to work
Let me know what you think.