Puerto Vallarta – the one that got away :)

Well, fisherman always say “you should have seen how it battled, it must have been the biggest I would have caught, but I lost it!”. Yes, unfortunately it happened to three of us. But that’s how it goes since it’s called fishing not catching.

Bill invited me once again to go on his yearly trip to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico which is next door to Puerto Vallarta but closer to the fishing grounds. On this trip we were to fish with the Osuna brothers of the Marlas Sport Fishing charters. Fishing with me were Bill, his wife LB and Neil. They got to the Bed & Breakfast a day earlier so when I got there it was enough time for me to get comfortable, walk the streets of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, eat good local food and share some stories.

streets of la cruz de hanacaxtle

Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

The following morning we had time to eat breakfast and relax a bit.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

After, it was time to setup our gear. Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

I added my 50 lb flouro leader to the 50 lb test main line on my Valiant 400 and secured it with a PR Knot.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Next was adding the 100 lb flourocarbon leader to the 80 lb test main line on my Gorilla 12 reel.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Below is my gear ready to go fishing. Stella 8,000 on a 7 foot popping rod for small tunas and other fish if present. The Alutecnos on a 400 gram jigging rod to be used as a jigging/bait rod for the tunas. The last two are 7 foot slow jigging rods for the snappers and groupers that may be lurking the waters in the 200 to 25 foot depths we were fishing.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

After setting up our gear we went for a nice lunch at a local restaurant called La Glorieta de Don Enrique. Very well recommended to all. From the clam sushi to the shrimp on avocado bed to the local beer and the different hot sauces, everything was tasty and excellent on that day.

Once filled to my limits we went back to the Bed & Breakfast and gather our equipment to load in the boat.


As the mates finished preparing we just watched the pangas come in and out of the marina.


On the way we were.

Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

We did stop to get some bait called Caballitos, these are what we call goggle eyes.

The bait commercial fisherman showed us his hand made sabiki rig, which was a long line of hooks with fish skin and what looked like feathers added to them. It was very interesting to see.

Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

We continued our adventure into the sunset and to the fishing grounds.

We got there at night and caught some squid to be used as part of the live bait in the morning. As morning came we decided to do some slow vertical jigging and slowpitch jigging while there were baits on the flat lines and the kites. Below I hooked up with a Pacific Almaco Jack.

Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Later it was a nice size Hachinago Pargo, wich is a kind of red snapper.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Next up I decided to try a new jig on the market, it looks like lobster and to my surprise it was a favorite to skip jacks and pacific bonitos. Both of which were needed as bait for the big tunas. Unfortunately I lost the $25 jig to a rock at the bottom of the sea.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Bill closed the morning slowpitch vertical jigging with a Cabrilla also known as broomtail grouper.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

The flat lines and kites were not producing so the captain decided to start trolling live skipjacks. It was my turn as one of the lines got hit. I really wasn’t ready as I did not have my fighting belt on so I had to rail the rod a bit until Bill let me borrow his belt. I fought the fish and tough I was gaining line when the line went slack and then I started reeling real fast fearing the the fish was actually swimming southeastward the boat, then again I felt the pressure and started to reel but to our dismay it was no longer a fish I was pulling but the buoy of a commercial long liner, AAARRRRRGGGG!!!!, I lost the first big fish of the day.

Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

We started trolling again. We had about 5 baits to start with so we were good for a bit.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

As we kept trolling we saw some commercial fishermen pulling their long lines filled with yellowfin tuna.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Then the lines started singing and it was LB’s turn, she fought the fish for about half hour or perhaps even 45 minutes but got fatigued and had to hand the rod to her husband Bill whom fought the fish for about another hour and fifteen minutes. The fish was up a good three time as we saw it’s fins skimming the waters. The leader came in the rod;s guides and as soon as it would do so it would find energy and make another run for it’s life. Unfortunately for Bill and fortunate for the fish the hook came off about 15 feet from the boat. We now lost a second fish. This one was a big fish over 250 pounds without a doubt.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

They always say three times a charm and it sure was. On Neil’s turn bill set him up with his fighting belt. Neil started the fight on the transom and when the fight started to be a tug of war between Neil and the fish, the Captain recommended the fighting position be moved to the bow where a few minutes later the fish was gaffed and sent to the transom to be hauled in the boat.

Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Below is Neil and his catch of a lifetime. By the measurement the fish was around 237 pounds.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Once that fish was caught the sunset came upon us and with high winds and rough seas decision was made to take refuge in the bay of the island and spend the night there.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

It was dinner time now so the captain decided to surprise us wit a delicacy prepared by his own hands, Yellowfin Tuna Belly cooked on the grilled with spices and seasoned with a mayo, ketchup and mustard base sauce. I must say it was delicious. Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Adding to that was chicken and beef fajitas.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Below is the captain grilling the tuna bellies and corn tortillas.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

The ending plate of deliciousness. Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

As morning came we started jigging again. A few Huachinangos snappers and chicken groupers were caught.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Once the bite slowed down it was time for first breakfast; fresh fruits and yogurt.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

We trolled and trolled without success so second breakfast came in handy :)Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Then it was lunch time when we ate delicious tuna rolls, sushi and sashimi. Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

We had plenty bait and this day we lost at least three hook ups. Then a nice hookup ended being a porpoise that was released. Night time came and bottom fish and flat lines were the order. We got no hits on the flat lines but bottom fishing ended with plenty of Perro Jacks (horse eye jacks) and a couple of yellowfin snappers.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photosCudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

At dinner time we had a nice plate of seared tuna, spaghetti and salad.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

The trip was a bust for me as I was not able to land a yellowfin tuna this time, buy hey it’s fishing not catching. All in all next time I will request the use of the kite and flat lines more often to give us a chance to do some slow vertical jigging and slowpitch jigging. At the airport I had nice meal ad one drink, then I was on my way back home.Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos

Good by La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and Puerto Vallarta! Cudaman Adventures , fishing report, fishing photos


Until next time, tight lines!



Bridge Fishing in Channel 2 Florida Keys 4-26-14

Gruntking did it again, he put together another http://www.boatlessfishing.com outing and this time it was a fishing one. The agreement came at the BBQ a few months ago. Many of us offered to go and show a few things to people that wanted to learn. If you didn’t go you missed out. Some members of the forum like Grunking Joe, PhishingPhanatic Rory, rare Nilson, Striz Ron, Greentide John, Myles, and many others fished hard core from Thursday till Sunday and some until Monday. My son and I were there only from late Friday night and till noon on Saturday since I had a fishing trip the next day but it was enough time to get my limit on Mangrove snappers and lost a Permit to the water pipes. I did release all snappers under 12″ and kept only 2 over 13″. The highlight of the day was a nice 12.5 pound Mutton Snapper by a member by the name of Myles. Wish I could have taken more pictures of the fishing and all the fish caught but there were over 70 fishing rods and too many people working all the areas of the bridge to do so. So here are the few pictures I took.

The lamp went down around 1 am to get sardines and thread fin herring wich arrived in small numbers at around 2 am.

Bait Fishing

Here is Nilson getting the bait on sabikis at night

Nilson getting bait

The amazing sun came up over the Florida Keys

Sunrise in the Florida Keys

Sunrise in Channel 2 Florida Keys

We all woke up and started to get ready to fish. I know some took some good knowledge from this outing.

Bridge Fishing

Here is the Gruntking with a barracuda he snatched (used a trebel hook with heavy sinker under it, threw it over the barracuda and snatched it. It is a common practice amongst people wanting to get shark bait and not have to use artificial or live bait. It is not as easy as it sounds you still have to know what to do and how to do it.

 Gruntking and his snatched Barracuda

Here is one of the mangrove snappers on a jig head with shrimp.

Herb Mangrove Snapper

Here is John with a gift from a Fishing Guide that was fishing under the bridge.

John with free bait

Here is my son with his grouper caught on a live pinfish with a circle hook. Fish was released.

    Seth and his Black Grouper

 In the end many fish were caught including more mutton snappers, yellow jacks and other species. It was a great day to be out there, and was fun talking to many and helping a couple of people understanding how to fish in the bridges.

Bait Fishing at Anglins Pier 10-6-13

THE FISHING TRIP: Bait scouting
The Spot : Anglins Pier at the end of Commercial Blv in Lauderdale By The Seas, FL
Weather : South southeast winds 6 to 11 knots. Seas less than 2 feet
Water: Clear then started to brown from canal water being released, but not so bad
Fish catches: Blue runners and butter fish
Techniques : Crappie igs and small silver spoons

This weekend was an idle weekend for me, it was about resting up a bit and scouting for bait. I decided to go to Anglins pier since it offers comfort for my wife and daughter whom kept me some company on this trip. Got there 3 hour before sunrise and waited for the sun to come up. When I arrived there were small pods of finger mullets getting smashed by some snook and people had been catching bluefish. The kind of bait I was after doesn’t come to the pier when there are too many blue fish since these are voracious predators and will continuously harass the bait day or night. Even though bluefish is a bait I can use by the time I got there all the action died down so my only choice was to wait for sunrise and hope for some blue runners  and Spanish mackerel to arrive or hope for the bluefish to return. The sunrise came up and only the blue runners and white baits were present. Since I’m going on a 3.5 day fishing trip on Captain Yuri’s boat headed to the Dry Tortugas in 3 weeks, I am in need of oily baits so I was only after blue runners, small jacks crevalles, spanish mackerel, blue fish, and the such. At night it was just a few pickings of blue runners and lots of the ever annoying lookdown fish. the water started to get a nice color and the blue runner started coming in but died down almost as soon as they got there. The water started to get a brownish hue to it and lots of cow fish started to show up so I decided to try again another day. I did not want to take more blue runners than I was actually going to use. I like to keep a balanced amount of bait. A couple dozen blue runners, dork jacks, only about 2 or 3 blue fish, a good half dozen Spanish mackerels, at least a dozen of google eyes, and a dozen of speedos all caught within three weeks before a trip. The the fresh bait that will include bait caught three days before the trip; pinfish, about 6″  to as big as I can get blue runners, spanish mackerels, goggle eyes, blue fish, barracudas, ballyhoos, and on the day of scaled sardines and thread-fin herrings since these loose their quality too soon. These are only some of the baits I use, for other baits that have come in handy you should read my fishing reports as I always leave an Easter egg tip laying around in between all the writing I do. My way of helping people fish but not giving all away in a simple list. Here are some pics from today:

Reading at Anglins Pier Anglins Pier Sunrise

Anglins Pier Sunrise

Jigs I normally use to catch most of my baits

Crappie Jigs and Ice Jig

Below are some baits vacuumed packed and ready for my old bait freezer at -10 degrees

Vacummed Packed Blue runners Freezer Temperature

Went Back on 10-12-13

Well my nephew’s best friend wanted to go fishing so I told him Anglins pier was good to catch some blue runners for fun and I wanted to get a few other baits as well. So we met up at my nephew’s house and arrived at Anglings at 4 am. Went to the lights and started catching some runners other baits were not present but was told that the macks were running the day before so I was hoping for a better day this time around. As we were close to shore trying for baits we were catching too many baby pompanos so we decided to move over tot the “T” (the end of the pier). When we got to the T there were plenty blue runners but all were on the small side. I was hoping for bigger size one so I could chunk and or use their innards for mutton bait in the Dry Tortugas while fishing on Captain Yuri’s boat. I have always had great luck while using blue runners that were no more than a few weeks old. My nephew his son and friends had a ball catching the runners. I also met up with Nilson a friend that will be fishing with us on Captain Yuri’s Boat. This day we ended with more than enough runners for all six fishing in that trip. Here are some pics from that day.

Small Pompano


A nice sunrise as always


My nephew’s son with his priced blue runners on crappy jigs


Florida Wildlife Commision officers (FWC) telling a diver to stay 300 feet from the pier. It is extremely dangerous for them to be there not only will they get tangle with the fishing lines but also may get hit by a fishing rig since the fishermen don’t really know where the divers might be, sometimes their flag rope is too long and the bubbles get carried by the currents.


Here are the runners before the saltwater was added for a slush to brine them.


Alligator Reef Light House Area Fishing 9-28-13 to 9-29-13

THE FISHING TRIP: Fishing in the  Alligator Reef Light House Area Alligator Reef Light
Aboard a friend’s boat. Yellow Tailing
The Spot : Alligator Reef Light House Area close to Tavernier and Islamorada Florida
Weather : Saturday night ESE up to 10 to 15  knots, Sunday morning ESE up to 17 knots, some rain
Water: Up to 4 foot seas in the cloud covered area is my guess. Up to 2 feet in the outside of the rain clouds. Water color clear and barely any current
Fish catches: Yellow tail snappers, mangrove snappers, mutton snappers, groupers, and the usual bait fish
Biggest size Type : 24.25″ Gag Grouper
Techniques : Live bait, dead bait and unfortunately no Vertical Jigging

Yello Tail Snapper Chum

Menhaden oil, cracked corn, oats, and glass minnows

Well, it’s been a while since I last went fishing I think that was August 6th. so I was itching for a fishing trip, The Reward Fleet in Miami called me and told me there was an Ironman trip scheduled for the 28th but unfortunately it did not happen. A couple of friends called me and told me they wanted to go yellow tail fishing and so here another fishing trip was well on the way. Jeff one of them owns a double wide trailer home on the water in Tavernier Key and as he is updates his vacation home and converts it into a weekend rental home  he goes fishing on the weekends when he has no plans to work on the trailer) so I went on my way in the afternoon, I stopped at Jacks Bait and Tackle where I saw some not so fresh threadfin herrings you know if they are fresh when the scales are visible and their eyes still have white around them, when these are too long in a brine solution (more than a couple of days) and people constantly move them they loose their scales and become very greyish. Well it was a big NOOOO on the threadfin herring I then looked to right and saw another cooler with so called fresh scaled sardines and I liked the color of the eyes and the fish still had scales on the, so I sifted through as many scaled sardines that I could find. I ended taking about 24 or so. I also got two blocks of tournament chum (the brand) and a dozen or fresh ballyhoo. The fresh ballyhoo at Jacks are always a surprise because you don’t see them until they give them to you. So I will tell you, be courteous to the attendants and put something on the tip jar and ask them to give you some fresh ones and they will pick them for you, very quickly but you will get a few fresher than the rest. I got a dozen of them. I kept driving on my way to Tavernier Key and stopped in Key Largo at this new bait shop called Captain Bad, they had a sign that read fresh speedos that caught my attention and so I went there and asked for 5 speedos ($3.50 each as if these were gogs!), guy walks in to the freezer where they had a cooler filled with ice and says “never been frozen just brined and kept in ice”  I told him “don’t worry these are just backup baits anyways.I walked around the shop and looks like they have all the basic need for real fishing situations. I did like the place and the people were very friendly. I will go back again. My friends called me and asked me what they should add to the chum they were making, they already had cracked corn and glass minnows so I told them to get menhaden oil and oats. As I got there Jeff had started the mix in a 5 gallon bucket and the proceeded to use a power drill to finish it off. I told him not to use all the glass minnows and add a block of them at the end. The mix looked good and smelled like fish and not a rotten mix to attract all sorts of sharks and thrash fish. Some people love nasty smelly chum, I rather use menhaden oily chums, a few dollars more to make or buy but it is worth it in my opinion. We had some time left to finish setting up the rods and catch some bait at the dock. There were a few dork jacks (tiny jack crevales) and a couple of pinfish that were not so plentiful this year. I remember a couple of years back there was an outbreak of pinfish to the point that they were caught just about anywhere they would normally not be and all of a sudden they went back to the same old numbers and almost vanished in some areas.

So off we went and arrived at the spot being careful to stay as far away as possible from that dotted line in the GPS that marked the imaginary sanctuary line. We sure did not want trouble with the authorities. Looking at the depth finder we chose an area with some fish markings near the hard bottom and we were lucky that the current was taking some of the chum all over the place. We could see the chum slick zigzagging all over the area.  We started using the scaled sardines and then the ballyhoo, when things slowed down I decided to break out the speedos. I took the first one out and crap! It was a freaking popsicle, LOL  I still remembered the guy saying “never been frozen just brined and kept in ice” LMAO!!! WHAT HAPPNS NEXT? NO FREAKING KNIFE IN THE BOAT!!!! Oh no, had to cut the frozen speedos with my bait scissors!!! Jeff was like but you always bring one in your bag, I was like, not this time! Not good, not good, but got over it. Fishing was steady the yellow tails were cooperating one after another kept coming in, I let my line out every time we threw a scoop of the glass minnow mix and in came a yellow tail, Jeff did the same and then worked the bottom catching some mangrove snappers, Victor was freelining and got some tails but many were small. We put out a regular chum bag that was kept in the water at all times. Unfortunately some remoras came to visit but left, then it was ladyfish and we got some of them and used them for bait and they worked quite nice. I put a head out and got the grouper and then some tails and mangrove snappers like the lady fish as well. Every time the bite died down we switched our baits, sardines, ballyho, speedo, ladyfish, dork jacks and picked more fish but it all became a sifting process. So many 12 inch yellow tails, we only kept 12.5 inches and above to ensure that when these shrunk in the ice they would still be a bit bigger than 12 inches and so the same we did with the mangroves even though those only had to be 10 inches. Yeah, I know fish weren’t flags but to Jeff and Victor it would be a nice weekend meal. In the end we went back to shore got more supplies and a knife. Daylight was here and the day looked very promising but the bite was not there so we moved to 150 feet with no luck and decided to try the ledge in 96 to 100 feet. We anchored in a sandy spot away from the hard bottom and let our line on top of the drop. We set out the chum and almost immediately a swarm of speedos came by. I ran to get sabikis but left the bigger ones at home since I wanted to downsize and not take everything with me. I always keep thinking “don’t do it, every time you do it you leave something you will really need”  and I did, I left the right size sabikis at home. Well tons of ballyhoos joined the party so I cast the net and landed a few but the speedos were like, well, speeding out of the way of course. I tried the small sabikies but the ballyhoo were nailing the sabikis hard and would not let the speedos even look at it. The dam ballyhoos ended wrapping themselves so quick in my sabikis that I lost three of them. We prepared small hooks with bait and let it drift in the water and the dam ballyhoos would eat it all, LOL sometimes I wish I had fresh ballyhoos. This time I had too many. Well I tried a few live ones and a few plugs, then a few chunks but no bites it was mostly small fish under us. Jeff was the only one that hooked a mangrove that was a keeper and we also hooked and released several baby mutton snappers and some 15 and 3/4″ muttons, not a single one was a keeper all of them were tiny muffins getting ready to grow in the oven. Midday came and we decided to call it the quits. In the end we got 15 yellow tails, 5 mangrove snappers, and a decent size gag grouper. We had not time to go jigging I wish I had tried but we were too shallow for doing so. Here are a few pics of some of the fish caught and some of the surrounding areas we navigated by.

Victor and a sifter yellow tail

Yellow tail Snapper

My gag

Gag Grouper

A marker and Alligator Reef light.

Reef Marker   Alligator Reef Light

Getting the bait close to the boat

Geting bait close to the boat

Jeff and a throw back muffing mutton snapper

Mutton Snapper

Jeff and his mangrove snapper

mangrove snapper

Well until next time, I hope to go fishing again very soon. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments

Fishing with Phil Pica July 27th 2013

Fishing with Phil Pica

THE FISHING TRIP: In search for permit and groupers while jiggingPhil Pica Boat
Aboard the “Unknown” with Captain Phil Pica
The Spot : Fort Myers shallow water wrecks
Weather : 0 to 5 knot winds, Fair weather
Water: calm at first then 1 to 2 foot seas
Fish catches: Gag groupers, Permit, Snappers, Cobias
Biggest size Type : Cobia around 30 pounds
Techniques : Vertical Jigging produced two tiny cobias and live bait everything else
Jigs : 100 gram,  butterfly jigs

Well we wanted to venture out in the Fort Myers are of the Gulf. The plan we were told was to fish in 60 to 80 foot deep wrecks but the captain spotted large schools of Permit circling shallow wrecks so he changed the plans to head towards those wrecks first. We arrived early at the dock to watch the big Snook and catfish being fed the prior day dead shrimp. We waited for the captain to arrive at 8:00 am but he was a bit late and got there at 9:00 am.  He had already the crabs and some backup shrimp in case the snappers were hot. We all loaded our gear and the captain was like “are you guys thinking we are going on a multi day trip or what?” We had brought three rods for each and our own tackle, must captains are used to catching the fish and handing the rods down to their customers but we were not there for that and the Captain knew about it, so all he did was shake his head.

On to the bait catching we went, the excess water from Lake Okeechobee was being let out from the canals and all youCaptain Phil Pica getting the baitcould see was brackish water for about ten miles.  When we hit the color change from brackish to the usual green turquoise waters we spotted many schools of herrings being chased by Jack Crevales and Spanish Mackerels. The Threadfin Herrings were trying to swim towards the beaches but kept going back into the green waters to get pounded by their predators. We brought only one light tackle rod to catch bait so the captain decided to use the cast net instead. As we got closer the captain saw an opportunity to pickup from the boiling schools of bait and after a few tries he succeed with a nice net of a couple dozen Threadfin Herrings.

Bait load

With the bait loaded we headed to the first wreck, there were dozens of schools of Spade Fish and dozens of Permit fish as well. We were in only 30 feet of water so we did not even try to vertical jig that shallow. The captain says set up for permit! So he starts setting up with 20 pound test, he said that the fish were very spooky and anything thicker would not allow for a bite. So I picked my light tackle set up and the others did the same so out went three crabs. Adam decided he wanted the grouper instead and so he fished with a live Threadfin herring, great choice as he was rewarded later on. The first hit came on Phil’s uncle a small permit it was and then Ed’s rod started to scream with another small permit, and then my rod gets hits but as I am fighting it it took me towards the wreck where I was broken off but not by the wreck, it was the fish  mouth which was abrasive enough to cut through the 20 pound test line. We were wondering what it was when Adam got a nice hit on his rod, he was using 60 pound test leader so he was able to catch the culprit, a nice 30 pound cobia. the cobia had a follower since Phil was ready with a bottom rod he tossed a live Threadfin herring in the water. I had no time to do that so I took my jigging rod, took off the jig, and out another live Threadfin Herring went, but it was Phil’s bait that was chosen as he was on the bottom and my bait was just free lined on the top water. Phil’s cobia came up to a nice almost 25 pound size.


Of to deeper wrecks we went, this time in 45 feet, we all decided still too shallow for jigging but still tried it and since it was shallow were were basically just yo-yoing the jigs, so we switched to bait. I did not bring a bottom rod as the original plan was to jig so i had to use one of my jigging rods to do so. So I setup a rod in wich I had 70 pound test Jerry Brown and 80 pound test leader I added a swivel to the end of it and decided to go light on the leader using only 50 pound test and a 7/0 circle hook, the only one I had in my bag. Off the Threadfin Herrings went, BAM! I get a hit and immediately it goes straight to the wreck  as I was fighting it BAM! Phil gets hooked up on his bottom rod and he starts to reel in but seems that his fish was giving up faster than mines, as it came up closer we knew it was a Jewfish so I decided to tighten the drag and pull the line as much as I could to snap the line. I did not want to be on Phil’s way since his fish was closer to the top. Up came the 150 pounder to the surface where he was greeted for a few photo ops. Since we knew what lurked there we made a move to another spot.

Goliath Grouper

This time we went deeper and again the captain’s avid eye spotted more permits in the mix with dozens of Spade fish. This is where Ed again nailed another Permit.  This time we were in about 54 feet so me and Phil started to jig.  Ed decided to change it up and threw down a live Threadfin Herring and almost instantly he hooked up with a small cobia that was followed by many others of a smaller size. We tossed some biat at the but since the followers were to small we pulled the bait out. Phil and I hooked up on the jigs with tiny cobes so back in the water they went, none of the bigger ones took our offer of beautiful expensive metals. We took our lines out of the water because these were too small. One more move to about the same depth and on the first drop Adam and Ed get their lines tight and up came the first Gag grouper and then the second while my bait gets hit and WHAT DO I GET? A SHARK!!! Wow my luck hasn’t got any better as the second fish i hooked up was another shark and they got another Gag grouper at the same time. Oh well, it is what it is and got to take what the seas offered us.

Gag Grouper

Gag grouper

Small shark      small Gag grouper

After a few mishaps with the bottom machine the captain was able to rig it to start functioning well so after that there was time for one more move. Here we went back to the first wreck to see if the permit fish were hungry again. The Captains spots the Permit fish hanging under some barracudas and this time they were in bigger sizes and bigger schools so HMMMM, wait, wait, nothing happened so I switched to a shrimp and got a small keeper mangrove, Adam got a lane snapper (but i think it was on the stop before this one), and another snapper was landed by Phil’s uncle. That was it, it was time to go back to the dock where the fish was split. i didn’t catch anything worth it but was able to get some filets for a few dinners with my wife and family.

The trip was well worth it, I had a shot at many fish but was unlucky. I sure will try to go again but next time I will only bring my bottom fishing gear. There will not be excuses next time. I hope I will get redemption on my next 3 day trip. I just hope 😦

Fishing in Flamingo Everglades National Park, FL 7-14-13

THE FISHING TRIP: Flats FishingCode Red Backcountry Charters
Aboard: Code Red Charters with Captain Ryan 786-505-4831
The Spot :  Flamingo Everglades National Park, FL
Weather : 10 to 15 knot winds, overcast weather, did not rain
Water: Clear water on flats, dirty water at outgoing tide
Fish catches: Redfish (Red Drum), Sea Trout, Snook, Mangrove Snapper, Lady Fish
Biggest size Type : Redfish 27″
Techniques : Artificial Lures only
Jigs : Artificial lures used were shrimp imitation and assassin sea shads that had white or chartreuse

Captain BollywoodThis weekend I had planned fishing in the Dry Tortugas on the Yankee Capts boat with Ed, a vertical jigging friend, but the trip was canceled. I then planned fishing right after a tropical storm on Newport Pier, but the storm dissipated and became rain and thunder storms. Then Ryan an old friend of mines turned Charter Captain gave me an offer I could not refuse and so I booked a trip with him and called Ed to see if he wanted to go. We met at Don’s Bait and Tackle before going to Flamingo. Ryan had all the equipment necessary for the trip including all the artificial lures we needed to use. Our target fish were Redfish   ( Red Drums), Cpatain Bollywood (Ryan) had already prepared the tackle, leaders, and lures for us and so it was a quick drop of the boat and off we went fishing for Redfish, a short 20 minute ride and we were at one of the Bights. In Flamingo Everglades National Park, Fl these are a series of natural areas that have a “c” shape formation and are located East of the main park ramp. Captain Bollywood position the boat with the current and wind and began poling in about a foot of water as we all looked for signs of redfish. A few wakes were seeing and so Ed had a first shot at them, he had a first hit as you could hear DAMN! I missed it! We then saw the fish moving fast the opposite direction. After a few more of our cursing words Ed again had another shot and this time DAMN! his line went slack and we noticed the fish cut him off. 15 pound test leaders could get cut off quickly if the fish swallows the whole lure, but you get more bites that way. Well the leader was raised to 20 I believe and so we went on to look for more redfish. In our drift direction there was another skinny water boat poling the flats so the Captain decided to go to another spot. This time he took us closer to the Bight’s mangrove tree lines as he was polling at casting a few shots of his own we spotted a snook that had no interest in being pulled by any ones line, the a few small lemon sharks passed by the boat, and then a redfish that paid no mind to anything we threw at it, even a jack crevalle passed by and had not even looked at out lures, I guess we missed sending them the invitation to come out and play with us.

We had to move and so we moved to another Bight, this time the tide was going out and the water looked a bit better since the wind had died down and we were able to see the current acting up in certain areas signaling for higher grounds. As we got closer and closer we began stalking or targets and this time there were quite a few, we missed a lonely redfish as he said good bye to us and then we fixed ourselves into a scholl that kept on going and coming. We had fresh shrimp imitation lures fresh leaders and so we got closer to the school and closer then it looked like the bell rang and all went running out of class. Ryan threw his cast, I threw my cast, we had a double! The Ed is like DAMN! I missed it! NO,Double Hookup NO, IT’S STILL ON! It now was a hell of a triple hookup! and so we reeled in our target species after a few almost tangles that didn’t happen. We took a few pics and off we went thinking of a new target, this time spotted sea trout were in the mind of the Captain. We got rid of the shrimp imitations and used some Assassin Sea Shad lures. This time the target was easily found as the Captain already had a spot he knew where they would be and we did not have to stalk them nor polling the flats was involved. We simply cast our lines and a few spotted sea trout would gladly and furiously hit our lures, it was one after another non stop action. We had fun until fun was no more, too much repetitive fishing and it gets boring. So we decided to accept the Captain’s recommendation to get out from the inshore waters and go to the inland lake for some snook or tarpons. We went 1 of 3 on the snook and 0 for 3 on the Tarpon, as we were going for those species Ed kept on hooking trout and the Captaion and I got some Lady fish which I kept for later fishing outings. It was a lot of fun fishing with the guys and was nice to do it all on artificial lures only. If you need an affordable Charter to Isla Morada or Flamingo Everglades National Park you can contact Code Red Backcountry Charters at 786-505-4831, Captain Ryan says he guarantees the target fish or you do not have to pay. The full day Charter is only $350 up to two people.


Herbert and Ed with Red Drums

Ed with Sea Trout

Spotted Sea Trout

Mangrove Snapper on Artificial  Ed with snook

The Boat    in Flamingo