On The Cover
Flats Fishing with Hunter Ledbetter
Photo Amber Marchant
On the Cover Dawn Williams
In This Issue
Dawn Williams - Inspired Angler- On the Cover
Flats Fishing with Hunter Ledbetter and Friends
Southerland Outdoors - Freshwater Fishing Reports Page 22
The Gale Force Twins
Hubbards Marina - Reports
Cherlyn Arnold - Family Fishing
and More , It's all inside
Diving with Stephanie Lynn and a New World Record
Growing up on a five acre lot in the country-side of Loxahatchee Florida had its perks. First off, my mom and my step-dad let me roam free to discover all the land had to offer. This was heaven for an outdoorsy girl like myself. Since I was an only child, I made my own fun exploring the ponds and forest before making friends with the neighborhood boys. Luckily, they quickly took me under their wing, and soon my nine-year-old self was fishing, four-wheeling, and riding horses from dawn to dusk on the weekends. Back then, fifteen-plus years ago, it seemed to be a safer time, so the only rule on the block was to come home when the street lights turned on.
Dawn Williams - Inspired Angler
Since I fit right in with the boys, I am not even sure they realized I was a girl since I could keep up with them, most days surpassing them in energy and adventure seeking. I was usually the first one up at the crack of dawn — funny, how my name matches my personality — ready to drag the boys out of bed, so we could fish at one of the ponds on our property. We would roll up small balls of bread to put on the hooks, casting out to catch brim, a small pond fish. The casting, the reeling, the calmness, the excitement — I loved all of it. Fishing made me lose all sense of time. It wasn’t until my mother would yell for me to come home that I even realized the sun had set, and the moon was on the rise. This is when my love affair with fishing began.
After a move to Wellington, I quickly adapted to my surrounding, switching from pond fishing to canal fishing. This led me to expand my fishing expertise, learning how to bass fish, something I still love to do to this day. Looking back, I am really grateful I found this sport early on, because during all my hardships, especially transitioning into adulthood, fishing became my therapy, my zen place. No matter what I was dealing with at that time of my life, I went to the water and let go of all my worries. As I casted a line and reeled in a fish or not, I released my fears and connected with myself. I tried a million other activities to replicate this feeling, but nothing could compare, so I kept coming back to fishing.
It was some years later, after establishing my own house managing business, I fell into a whole new world of fishing the ocean. After a short trip offshore fishing for yellow tail in Palm Beach, I took a trip to New Hampshire to go deep sea fishing with my dad. On this trip, alongside my uncle and cousin, I learned how to deep drop and caught my first northern fish, a pollock. I can still remember the feeling; it was as if I was pulling up a tire from the bottom of the ocean. I kept at it, and with a little help from my dad, I reeled in the biggest catch on the boat. Not only was I super excited that I had caught something, but I also was really happy to have spent that time with my father. I had never lived with him or got to see him a lot, so that trip is still one of my best memories.
After that amazing excursion, I returned to South Florida inspired and quickly began offshore fishing in the Palm Beach area. At this point, I realized that I had a true passion for the sport and fell in love with being out on the salty seas. I also got the chance to learn about sport fishing from an old boyfriend who allowed me to tag along with him on his fishing outings. This was a pivotal moment in my fishing career as I learned so much about different techniques and what it takes to catch various fish. I learned everything from how to rig ballyhoo,to kite fish, and to how to run a spread when trolling. Every boat was unique, and every crew was different as well. This allowed me to soak up numerous tips and insider tricks from some of the best fishermen in the country.
Unfortunately, the boyfriend didn’t stick, but my love for sport fishing did...LOL. This prompted me to fish on all kinds of boats, traveling up and down the coast of Florida, even to the Bahamas, to continue chasing my passion. In addition to meeting some great people, I had some amazing catches in the past few years. Trolling offshore near Stuart, I reeled in a 40LB Cobia, and anchored up bottom fishing I landed a 13LB mutton snapper off the coast of Palm Beach. I also caught my first sail fish bump trolling, using live bait in Palm Beach. These were pretty big accomplishments for a girl who used to cast lines with bread on them into her family’s pond.
During all these trips, I was excited to reel in these catches on my own. Not only because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, but also to prove it to the men on the boat. Being a female in this sport is not easy, since it's still largely a man's sport. I want to be respected for being a woman who truly loves the sport and wants to learn more. Luckily, I can rely on my passion for fishing to lure me back to the sea even when I am met with challenging situations. I also feel that if I can show other women that I can do it, they may be inspired to get into fishing or to follow their own passions.
Now, I am gearing up for fishing trips to the Keys and Pine Island this year with the hopes of putting a trip to Panama and Costa Rica on the calendar for next year. I am eager to push myself out of my comfort zone, as I learn how to catch rooster fish and marlin while exploring these Central American countries. No matter where I fish, whether it’s a small pond out in the woods or on a sport fishing boat in international waters, I am most at home near or on the water. As the salt water runs through my veins, I gaze upon the rough and calm waters in front of me, knowing that I am ready for my next adventure, reeling in whatever life has to offer.
Link to website
Fishing The Flats
with Hunter Ledbetter and Friends
I have been communicating with Hunter for several years via Social Media and finally met him at ICast a couple years ago , felt like I had known him for years and we planned to go fishing , but it seems everytime I am down there he is somewhere else taking pictures, shooting videos and Fishing elsewhere . Maybe 2019 will be different . One thing is for sure Hunter is a great guy with a huge passion for fishing and Photography and We are Happy to have he and his friends here at Flfishmag.com . Hunter Ledbetter from Marines to Marinas , always at the top of his game
1. Park the skiff and go explore the flats! This is a great way to get to the Bonefish that may be in water only a few inches deep.
2. Stalking is the name of the game when you get out of the skiff.
3. You’ll need a partner with a backpack for your extra gear, water and camera, but it doesn’t hurt to have some of the essentials on you. Pliers come in handy.
4. If you get tired walking the flats, and want to get back on the boat, you can find these fish in the cuts on the edge of the flat, usually on the falling tide too.
5. Walking the flats is best done when it’s calm so you can see the wakes and the fines of tailing fish, but like all fishing sometimes its just a waiting game.
6. It is difficult to describe the excitement of being in the water just a few feet away from these fish in just a few inches of water.
7. Multi-tasking is a skill you’ll want to develop walking the flats.
8. A big, good looking Key West Bonefish is the reward for effort walking the flats!
I like nothing more than to get out on the flats and push my boat around, looking for that fin, wake or just the slightest disturbance on a calm day. With seemingly endless flats from Key Largo to the Marquesas, you have plenty of options on where to take your boat and what species to target. The Keys has a well deserved reputation for providing the flats angler with an excellent shot at a Bonefish. While there is ample habitat for these fish in water deep enough to pole your flats skiff, you may find that your best shot at them is in water just a few inches deep. Rather than missing out on these fish or waiting out a tide
change, consider abandoning ship and take a walk to them.
Walking the flats isn’t for everyone, it can be pretty physical walking in sand and water, I might have tripped once or twice in a hole, but I’ve also caught some nice fish I would have never gotten to otherwise. A few basics, do no harm to the flat. Our ecosystem down here is fragile. Find a sand patch to anchor your skiff. Try and walk along the edge of sand channels,
just be aware of where you are stepping and try to leave it the way you found it. I walk the flats barefoot, but I am pretty familiar with the areas I fish. I pretty much know where the calcified algae and
other things that will cut my feet are and avoid them. wou’ll probably want to invest in a comfortable pair of
wading shoes until you are really dialed in walking your flat.
Fishing The Flats
with Hunter Ledbetter and Friends
. Get a comfortable waterproof light backpack. You don’t want to have to walk back to the boat when you need something. Hooks, jigs, leader material, flies , water, sunscreen, cell phone camera……… you know the stuff you need. If you’re bait fishing fill a pocket up with shrimp, keep them wet and they’ll last a long time. And lastly, I don’t recommend you do this alone, I’ve stepped in holes and sunk up to my chest or if you were to twist an ankle, you’ll want a buddy to help you get back to the boat ( Editors note , Fishing , Hiking, Camping alone is never a good.idea )
Fishing The Flats
with Hunter Ledbetter and Friends
Fishing the flats wading isn’t really that much different than doing it in your boat. I tend to look
for an early morning or late afternoon falling tide and look for eddies or pockets of water where the shrimp or other crustaceans might get caught and that’s usually
where the fish are. If the school is big you’ll seethe push and the fins up from the feeding fish. The fish in bigger schools tend to me more aggressive, when they’re competing with all the other fish around them.
The single and double fish tend to be much more spooky and tougher to get to eat, but in general tend to be a little larger.
Fishing The Flats
with Hunter Ledbetter and Friends
I don’t have to tell you these fish are spooky. You make more noise walking than your skiff does poling across the water. Walk as deliberately and quietly as possible, don’t get target fixated; there are stingrays on the flats, you’ll want to look where you are stepping. I to have more success gently landing the shrimp in front of the fish, but if that spooks them,you’ll have to cast beyond them and slowly crank the shrimp to them. If the turtle grass is thick it does tend to pull your shrimp off.
Once you’ve fought you fish, the other big difference is landing it without a boat. You’ll need both hands to get the fish and get the hook or fly out. You don’thave any place to put the rod. This is where your fishing buddy is essential. Have your fishing partner slip their rod in the back waist of their pants. Hand your rod off to them. They should back the drag off a little and be ready in case your fish makes another run while you walk the leader down to your fish. Bonefish are still as fragile as they ever were. Try and keep
them in the water as you get the hook out. Get your picture quickly, point them into the current, give them
a little push and watch them swim away!!
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Freshwater Editor at Florida Fishermen Magazine
Freshwater Fishing Reports with
Happy New Year everyone, and what better way to start the New Year than on the water!!! First tournament of the year was at Lake Griffin on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Central Florida.
Lake Griffin is known to produce large fish. We started off the morning fishing the mouth of Haines Creek. Fighting high winds, we decided to go to the opposite side of the lake where it was calm. The largemouth are staging up in pre-spawn formation. Which means that they are being caught on rattle traps and crank baits in 8 to 10 feet of water. Fish the mouths of canals and rivers. Also look for vegetation. We caught a couple on lily pads using a frog which was unexpected this time of year
We ended up with a top 10 finish, but learned a lot about patterns that were working. We also learned that following diving birds works well also!!!
Freshwater Fishing Reports with
At Lake Miona in The Villages
Our stop this week led us to Lake Miona in the Villages. Lake Miona is a small clear lake with a public boat ramp.
Freshwater Fishing Reports with
We started our morning throwing a Spro Rattling Chug Bug popper. After a few casts, I had one take the popper under. It hit right at the mouth of a canal. I tossed the popper a couple more time in the mouth of the canal, and BANG!!!! Another largemouth.
. I fished around the bank with little success. I’d catch an occasional one, but the real bites were at the mouths of canals. With the water temps around 64, it is still too early for spawning bass here in Central Florida. The water should be around 68 for the spawn, so we are in pre-spawn stage, which means the bass are going to start staging. That means target a little deeper water where they are stacking up. Look for baitfish on your electronics.
Rick Southerland - Freshwater Editor at Flfishmag.com
This week Lake Harris on the Harris Chain of Lakes is our featured lake. Lake Harris is one of the top largemouth bass spots in the country. With huge tournaments including the Bassmasters, FLW Tour, and the HUK Big Bass Splash, it never fails to deliver monster bass!!!
This past weekend was the Bassmasters Eastern Open on Lake Harris. The boat ramp was full, and so were the live wells at the end of the day. Most were caught in 8-10 feet of water in hydrilla patches. With cold front conditions, hydrilla will hold patches of water warmer than out in the open. These bass are in prespawn stage. Which means that they are eating and getting ready to move up in shallow water to spawn. The cold fronts will push them back a little and they will find the warmest water to feed in. Use your electronics and pay close attention to water temperature. When you find a warmer patch, or a dense hydrilla patch, you found the fish.
Another rule that I use when fishing deeper is the 10 cast rule. If you cast 10 times in an area without any success, move and try another. These fish are moving right now, you have to move and find them too. Once you do the rewards are huge. Stay safe, stay warm, and tight lines!!! Rick Southerland Freshwater Editor at FFM
Stephanie Lynn's New
Sometimes the best experiences are the result of failed plans.
I started freediving and spearfishing just over a year and ago and have been fortunate to learn from some strong divers and spearos. One of my best dive buddies, David Fritch, and I planned a trip to Costa Rica to visit our friend, Eric Haury, who had moved there 10 months prior. These guys were my first dive buddies and we had been planning this trip for almost a year. David and I planned to visit in December to miss the rainy season and get clear water on the inshore reefs in hopes of targeting Cubera Snapper. A nice Cubera is a fish that had been on my bucket list all year and we were confident that this trip would present the opportunity to land one.
We took a short plane ride from Fort Lauderdale into San Jose Costa Rica, rented a car and headed south. We met up with Eric just in time for dinner and spent the evening working out our perfect dive plan over tequila drinks and pizza. Our plan was to do a combination of inshore and offshore hunting over the next four days.
Day 1 we decided the best idea would be to leave at sunrise and hit some reef spots known to hold big snappers and groupers. The three of us boarded a boat with two local fishermen (Captain William Zumbado and first mate Robin) at 6:00am and headed out about 20 miles to a popular pinnacle in about 60-70’ depth. We each had 3mm wet suits, our pole spears, two spear guns (a smaller one for reef hunting and bigger one for pelagics), and 100’ float lines attached to floats ranging in size from 15L-30L. When we pulled up to the first inshore spot, the water was a milky green. Despite rainy season being officially over, it had rained the entire night and the rivers flowed out into the inshore waters causing limited visibility. We did a couple warm up dives to try to find the pinnacle, but the current was strong and visibility was less than 10 ft. At that point, all of us realized that our chances at inshore fish this trip might be impossible. We talked it over and decided our best option was to try blue water to see what pelagic species we could get to swim up. We got back in the boat, and using our broken Spanish, convinced the captain and mate to take us. At first they were reluctant because “blue water” was about another 30 miles run and would make their gas costs significantly higher. However, they made a couple calls on the radio and heard from another local fishing boat that they had spotted yellowfin tuna schooling with the spinner dolphin and within minutes we were headed out to blue water!
Tuna?!! Yellowfin tuna was one of the top fish on all of our bucket lists but we thought we were too far south and too early in the season to have any chance at them. The captain quickly got us to the spot where we saw thousands of Spinner Dolphins breaking the surface, jumping out of the water and putting on a show. We switched our guns to our bigger 120cm blue water guns, attached our float lines and floats, and got into position. The captain did a great job setting us up right in front of the school of dolphin and my dive buddies and I jumped in two at a time. We would enter the water, take a couple breaths and drop to between 30-40ft of depth and wait. As we waited the pod of dolphins would swim by, thousands at a time. Some were so curious and would swim around us for a bit before rejoining the pod. As the dolphin pod started to thin, all of a sudden you would see the silver flashes of the tuna. They came in schools of hundreds. We waited patiently at depth as the walls of tuna rushed by. Then we would choose the biggest fish, line up and shoot! I connected with the first fish, my float line went tight and the fish sounded straight down, tomb stoning my 15L float. I worked the fish for about 10 minutes, inching it up by my float line hand over hand, until I got it up to about 40ft from the surface and my dive buddy was able to dive down and secure a back up shot. We boated the fish and all celebrated my very first yellowfin tuna!
After the “girl” landed a tuna with a spear gun, the captain and mate were just as stoked as us, if not more! They eagerly set us up for another drop and even started helping manage the float lines for faster in and outs on drifts. Drop after drop we saw tuna and landed tuna. After a couple hours we had landed 5 tuna and decided to call It a day. We headed home well after sunset and enjoyed a dinner of fresh tuna sashimi before passing out from excitement and exhaustion around 9pm.
The next day we had planned on doing a full day of inshore hunting to secure the targeted Cubera Snapper. We headed out at 7am and drove out about 20 miles across the bay in hopes of finding clean water. It was another night full of heavy rain and, although we were hopeful, we all knew the likelihood of finding visibility was not high. We tried 5 different spots, all of which were milky green with less than 10 ft viz. We decided to call it and head in for a day of surfing instead. After getting in some surfing, we headed to the house to make tuna tacos and again, revise our plan. It was unanimous- go for tuna again! We made a call to the two locals that night who happily agreed to take us back out the next morning at 8am.
Stephanie Lynn's New
Eric was not feeling well the next day, so the third day David and I headed out with the locals. After an hour delay due to engine troubles, we were on our way out to blue water. We decided that today we would be patient and target larger tuna. Most of the tuna we saw were around 30-40lbs so we were going to be selective in hopes of shooting some bigger fish. On our way out, the captain got a call from a local fisherman who said they were catching Mahi on rod and reel so we decided to change our plan and take a quick detour for the chance at Mahi. When we pulled up, the Mahi were schooling at the surface and I decided to jump in with my pole spear. I knew that there was currently no world record for women for Mahi on pole spear so I thought I would give it a shot. I attached my floatline and 15L float to my pole spear and slipped into the water. We were in about 400ft of water, the visibility was amazing and there were fish everywhere- blue runners, smaller sharks and the school of Mahi.
I Took a quick dive to about 20 feet to bring in some of the bigger bulls from the outside of the school, pulled my pole spear back and lined up on the closest one. My shot connected! It was a low shot right above the pelvic fin, but it was in the thicker part of the meat and ended up being a good holding shot. The Mahi went crazy and I took my time working the float line to make sure the fish did not rip off. The Mahi pulled me around 5 minutes as I kept constant pressure. A couple small sharks came in to check out the bleeding fish, but none of them tried to take a bite. Eventually, I was able to secure the fish by the tail. I bear hugged it and grabbed it by the gills. Success! I got the fish to the boat and we all celebrate a potential first world record. ( I submitted the record and a couple weeks later the record was confirmed! First Mahi on pole spear women’s world record with this fish weighing 23.1lbs).
Stephanie Lynn's New
23 Lb Mahi with Polespear
Link To Video
We spent about another hour hunting the Mahi and had the most incredible encounters. We put our flashers down to about 50’ attached to a float at the surface. Over the next hour we had mantas come in on the flasher, huge schools of baitfish and a beautiful blue marlin. David and I both secured two nice Mahi and decided to move out to try to find the tuna again. Luck was on our side, and within 20 minutes we were on the pod of Spinner Dolphin and the tunas were right behind! We quickly learned that the bigger tuna would hang out at the back of the school and a bit deeper. Within two hours, David and I both shot two nice yellowfin tuna over 60lbs and decided to call it a day. We had more meat than we knew what to do with and our 30 something year old bodies were reaching the point of physical exhaustion.
We decided to take the next day off of spearing. Instead, we ran around town giving away fresh Tuna and Mahi to the locals and got in one more surf session. That night we had a group of friends over for a sushi making party where we sat around enjoying coconut cocktails, fresh tuna, and endless fish stories.
We crossed fish off the bucket list, made new friends and set a new record! From now on, I’ll look forward to more failed plans.
Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story , Now we need to get you out Fishing with us , Looks like you are close by
Florida Fishermen Magazine
Freedive Instructor, Divemaster at PADI
Manages SeaTrek BVI
Link to Website
Family Fishing - Cherlyn Arnold
Let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Cherlyn Arnold. My husband and I love to fish. We have three kids - Lyla-10, Coral-4, and Cannon-2. All three kids have grown up on the water with us. Not only do they get to experience the love we have for fishing, they get to learn about the outdoors.
Many times we get stopped on the water by other boaters and complimented for number one having kids on board and two for the play yard. When my husband purchased any of the boats we've ever owned the one thing that was a must was for the play yard to fit. The play yard has been great, each kid growing up could sit and play in it while we fish. Our son, who is the youngest is almost ready to be out of it.
Safety is number one priority and we review this every trip.Together we learn about each species we catch, how to handle the fish. The favorite, the kids love the most is the release. We talk about the mangroves and all the different birds we see. We teach about not throwing trash in the water and why its important. Being outdoors and exploring the Indian River Lagoon beats any day in front of a television. We believe its important to see what's out there and explore- all while doing what you love. We are making memories with our children that they will forever keep in their hearts.
So the next time someone says having kids means no more boat, prove them wrong.. We did!
Click to check out the action
Capt. Chris Cameron
726 Scallop Drive, Cape Canaveral FL 32920
An absolute awesome week again. Sailfish numbers were awesome. Almost 2 per charter daily. They are eating everything you can pull. Live bunker or dead minnows. King Mack bite is insane. Pelican, Reef, lumps, wrecks. You name it and the kings are there! Cobia are around in great numbers. Just find the rays. Patrick in 50 foot is a good start but also around the tip of the cape. Red Drum and sharks are all close and eating everything. It’s been a lot of fun for charters
Triple tail are on all the chains and dredge debris. Live shrimp and small jigs are key. All in all an awesome week! Now get ready for the winds:( www.firedupcharters.com
Capt. Chris Cameron
Fishing Report January
Offshore - Targeting sheepshead this time of year on near shore rocks, reefs and live bottom can be some of the most fun and productive fishing of the year for these large fun fighting fish on light tackle.
To find these schooling fish watch your bottom machine over and around structure in depths from 10-40ft and look for suspending fish in large groups. See sonar image below.
Tackle used for Sheepshead varies but my go to set up is a 3500 PENN Fishing battle or similar reel spooled with 20lb Vicious Fishing braid, paired with a medium action inshore 7'2" Cajun Custom Rods and a 25lb monofilament leader. I use a knocker rig set up for sensitivity and to keep from having an indirect set up leaving leader loose (Carolina rig) for the sheep to pick up and drop the bait before I can feel the light strikes. Weights vary depending on tide speed and I will use as light as possible from 1/2oz to 2oz with a small bead between the weight and hook.
A 2/0 Mustad Fishing short shank j-hook is the business end of the rig. The reason for the short shank opposed to what lots of people use (long shank) is that some of the larger fish will actually bite right through the shank of the hook and I prefer leader to fall between the fishes teeth for a better chance at the really big fish not snapping the hook.
Live shrimp or fiddler crabs are generally the go to baits and are readily available at your local bait or tackle store!! Good luck and tight lines!!!
Book your Sheeshead trip with us today!
USCG Lic Captain Jake Scott
Gale Force Twins - Swimming with Giants
aGale Force Twins
The alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. but today we weren’t fishing, we were planning to swim with the manatees! This has always been on our wish list so when we found ourselves in Orlando during a cold front we remembered the colder the air temperature the more likely they’ll gather in numbers. The circumstances were perfect. After a few phone calls we chose to book an excursion with River Ventures Tour Center out of Crystal River, Florid.
We drove just under two hours when we arrived at our destination. Just like any wildlife encounter we first had to learn the do’s and don’ts of sharing the waters with these beautiful creatures. It was 38 degrees, we had our winter coats over our wet suits and we wondered if we were crazy getting into the water. But we were committed! At the dock we were introduced to Captain John Stark and our guide JJ (JJ is also a phenomenal photographer providing us with most of the pictures you see here!). The sun was still rising when we boarded the pontoon and slowly headed towards our destination, a foggy Kings Bay and Three Sister’s Spring.
Gale Force Twins Swimming with Giants
Every winter close to 800 manatees migrate to the warmer waters of Crystal River where the fresh water river stays between 72 and 74 degrees year round. These warm blooded mammals can grow up to 13 feet and weigh over 2,000 pounds. With that much mass you would think they would use their fat to keep warm. However, they do not carry nearly as much fat as you might think so they must find warmer water in the winter in order to survive. We also learned that this particular group of manatees have been studied for some time and scientists have found them to be one of the healthiest groups as their numbers continue to grow.
Once we arrived at King’s Bay there was an eerie calm that surrounded us. It was important to remain quiet to not disturb the manatees' routine. As we got into the water, Captain John handed us a noodle to keep under our hips. He instructed us to use only our arms to swim because kicking would stir up the muddy river floor and obscure our view. J.J. guided us towards the manatees where we simply floated and held still. Before long these curious creatures started to approach us.
Manatees have poor eye site so once they were comfortable with us in their space, they came to take a closer look. The calmer you are the more you’ll attract them and the likelier they’ll hang around. This river is the only location in the State of Florida where touching a manatee is permitted. After initiation from these gentle giants, only then where we allowed to reach out with one hand and become friends
These creatures have a true innocent curiosity about them. They approached us with manatee kisses, asked for belly rubs and back scratches. It was as if we were accepted into their home and they were the perfect hosts. After swimming with such gentle giants for some time the cold water began to cut to our core, it was a friendly reminder that we were in their territory. We said our goodbyes and floated back to the boat taking with us a greater appreciation of these alluring mammals and a renewed commitment to their conservation. Not to mention a memory we’ll share with others for years to come.
Back on the boat, Captain John gave us towels, foot warmers, and poured hot chocolate to stay warm. Amanda was so cold that she even accepted a University of Florida towel (Go Canes!). Swimming with these extraordinary creatures was remarkable. We are appreciative to have checked this adventure off our bucket list with the wonderful staff at River Ventures.
The Gale Force Twins
Contact River Ventures:
Call 352-564-TOUR or 352-564-8687
Gale Force Twins - Snapper Fishing
It’s MY turn for a post! Emily and I try to share who writes and who edits our videos. Even though we both help each other revise our blogs and edit our videos, there’s always a dominant author and a dominant video editor. The last two posts, Emily took the dominant author role and I took the dominant video editor role, so this time we switched!
This week Emily and I spent a day together catching up on some quality twin time. It seems we’ve been fighting windy conditions and rough seas more and more often as we approach our Florida winter, so we naturally decided to head to the patch reefs in about 30ft of water to avoid the big rollers at the deep reef. While fighting blue runners and even the parrot fish, we targeted yellowtail snapper and mangrove snapper while anchored up. Then after some success we were ready to change things up and we trolled the reef, again for some snapper!
Casa Morada Resort - Islamorada
Link To Website *
Video Of Casa Morada
Call 800-478-1789 or contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org
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Inshore- We were blessed with some gorgeous weather this week and that has really brought us some clear clean waters around Johns Pass lately. Also, the white bait is large enough to net and has been fairly prolific around the pass lately too. Plus, we finally got our fiddler crabs back in stock and the sheepshead bite has been great on the fiddlers. I love to use a 2ot hook with 20lb floro and I hook the fiddler crab underneath the shell up through the top of the shell putting the barb of the hook at the base of the 2nd to the last leg with the last leg being his back leg on either side of the crab. We are seeing lots of trout caught at night around the lights of johns pass especially using live shrimp or the DOA shrimp worked super slowly. Also at night, we have seen a good bite of snook recently around Johns Pass. This past week, Joe Piervincenti, from Tampa caught a snook at night around the docks using a small Spro jig on the start of the outgoing tide and he commented that plenty of other Johns Pass anglers were landing snook at night as well. The silver trout and whiting have been biting well from the jetty of Johns Pass using live shrimp weighted to the bottom. Storm Blackman, from Holland, caught a nice whiting using this approach this past week.
Near shore- Gag grouper closed up with a bang, we had a great catch of gags the last few days of the season but they did seem to slow down a bit near shore towards the end of season. Now that gags are closed we will be targeting more of the red grouper, hogfish, mangrove snapper, lane snapper, and others near shore. The hogfish bite is definitely picking up for us as the waters continue to stay cool and clear up. The hogfish love the fiddler crabs or live shrimp on a knocker rig, jig head or a jig like the Captain Chappy’s hogballs. We expect the hogfish action to stay consistent through the spring of 2019, we still get them when the water warms in the summer but the best time for hogs is definitely around December through April. Red grouper bite is a little picky right now, but now that gags are closed we will focus on them more often and figure out the best depth for them. We did get a handful of keeper red grouper around the 70-90 foot areas at the beginning of this week. Also near shore we have seen a huge push of some monster flounder and mangrove snapper which is very unique and has been a pleasure to see. We typically have mangrove snapper near shore but right now we’re seeing 39 hour quality mangroves around the near shore waters biting on small pinfish. The big flounder have been a nice bonus along with the mangrove snapper caught on live shrimp or small pinfish on the sandy bottom adjacent to any structure that hold bait like the near shore ledges, rock piles or wrecks.
Offshore – The end of gag grouper season was stellar weather and even better gag grouper fishing, we had a Flying HUB 1 private charter the last day of gag grouper season that fished nearly 100 miles from Johns Pass catching multiple 30lb or larger gag grouper. Now that the gags closed we are doing deep drop fishing aboard the Flying HUB 1 fifteen hour charters. Our 12 hour extreme, 39 hour overnight trip and the 44 hour full moon trips will be targeting red grouper, scamp grouper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, vermillion snapper, porgies, a few mutton snapper, tuna and whatever else will cooperate for us. On our recent long range overnight trip our first mate, Will McClure pulled up nearly a 50lb cubera snapper and this weekend’s 39 hour is going back to try to get a bigger cubera snapper. Plus, the January and February time frame is a killer time of year to get offshore and target blackfin tuna especially around the new and full moons!
Hubbards Sunset Cruises
Our sunset cruise is only Friday, Saturday and Sunday this time of year but that doesn’t stop the good times! Hope you get a chance to join us for this fun filled cruise in the near future. It’s a bit more of a party atmosphere compared to our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour, and it doesn’t offer the full narration like the dolphin tour but there’s great music and some great jokes. Plus, the sunset cruise takes you down the beautiful gulf beaches at the golden hour with the sunset to your left and the beautiful beaches to your right. Plus, we often spot pods of the dolphins cruising the beaches too while enjoying the free beer and wine offered aboard our sunset cruise at Hubbard’s Marina inside Johns Pass Madeira Beach. To learn more about the fun filled sunset cruise with free beer and wine check out this link - https://hubbardsmarina.com/sunset-cruise/
Link for Sunset Cruises
Video Report Link
Brittany Cortes from SWFL
This year has been amazing with my fishing partner (bf). @bigd5_0 has put me on countless big fish this year turning me into a fishaholic! From 40” snook to 40” reds we’ve really caught some monsters this year. Perseverance has been key and it seems it’s always that one last cast when we catch the big one 🤙🏼. Also with how the water conditions were down our way with the red tide and devastation, it brought such joy to me when we caught the fish afterwards and they had so much life in them!
Bri Andrassy - Florida Fishermen Magazine
Check out Bri Andrassy Fishing on YouTube
an Amazing young lady
Darren - Social Media editor at FFM
Ben and Lexi
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