Open for Business

The water is slowly clearing up and SWFL is open for business. The beaches are looking beautiful with less fish washing up each day. We are not out of the woods yet and still not keeping inshore fish, but things have gotten much better.

Took a nice family from California last week on a 6 hour charter. The bait stayed alive all day and we caught snook, snapper, and grouper all morning. We then took a little break so the family could walk the beaches of Cayo Costa and collect some shells. While in the area was did some sightseeing and say manatee’s, dolphins, and multiple bird species. After that we went back towards the pick up/ drop off location and found a school of jacks. The entire family was hooked up at the same time on a couple of occasions, leading to some very exciting action and perfect way to end the charter.

Green Algae/Red Tide “No Kill Policy”

Finished off July with a few more charters, snook and redfish were really getting good and fishing was easy… when you could keep the bait alive. Then the red tide moved into the area in full force. The red tide/algae is a naturally occurring algae that we deal with every year. I’ve been here my entire life and seen the red tide come and linger for a few days, kill some bait, and then go away again and allow marine life to get back to normal.

This year is completely unprecedented, the red tide is feeding off of the nutrients (chemicals/pollution) from the Lake O water releases down the Caloosahatchee River. This red tide has been fueled by the releases and has exploded in ways that have never been seen before. All of SWFL beaches are covered in dead fish, and have a stench that has settled in and refuse to leave. The water is filthy, and also covered with floating dead fish for as far as the eye can see. The scariest part is that it is not your normal small fish species. We have seen countless dead tarpon, goliath grouper, snook, redfish, trout, mullet, and sea turtles.

Our politicians and government agencies have allowed this to happen and since have taken almost zero action to correct the problem. Many captains, myself included, who rely on this fishery have taken action into our own hands. We have joined together to create a “no kill policy.” This means that until further notice, Blue Line Fishing Charters will not harvest any inshore species. There is enough pressure on this fishery and I will not contribute to any further stress on the environment by keeping any inshore species for dinner. To be abundantly clear all inshore charters will be catch, photograph, and release with no exceptions.

If you want to take action I beg you to please look into the following organizations:

Captainsforcleanwater.org

Bullsugar.org

July 16 – 22nd

This was another busy week, and this week was all about the kids. Took out 7 different kids this week finishing the week with the most important kid, mine! The name of the game this week was keeping the rods bent and keeping the young ones entertained. We caught a lot of trout, lady fish, jack, small shark, and mangrove snapper. We also spent a little time catching snook. I had a heart breaking moment Thursday morning, started the day with snook fishing, and had an 18 year old girl hook and perfectly fight a big snook (35 + inches). She was able to get it right next to the boat and I missed with the landing net… The snook took one last strong run, the line got into the motor and broke off, I felt absolutely awful.The family was very happy and understanding of the entire incident not letting it damper their day at all.

Sunday was my favorite trip of the week, I was finally able to get my wife and son out for a short morning trip. Vance kept himself occupied by moving pitchers of water from one side of the boat to the other, while Lauren and I fished. The redfish were hungry this morning providing us with plenty of opportunities that fell short of landing them. Finally it all came together and we were able to land an 11 pound overslot redfish. After that it was time to call it morning since Vance was getting tired and cranky. It was a great and needed few hours on the water together.

July 9th – 15th

I spent the 4th through the 8th on vacation in Texas, but picked up right where I left off with a charter on the 9th. It was a busy week with 5 charters and a tournament. The week was full of marking off people’s bucket list. Four different people this week had never caught a snook and their goal was to catch one. I did not disappoint, all of them got to mark snook off of their bucket list. We never landed a monster but did catch plenty of decent sized snook throughout the week. Also a few of the charters wanted something to take home for dinner, trout were plentiful throughout the week. While trout fishing we also had fun catching lady fish and shark on the flats.

For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of chartering a group for the annual FSU Booster Club fishing tournament.We started the morning right on time at 730 and had our trout within a few minutes. From there it was time to focus on snook and redfish. We caught the tail end of the outgoing tide and we caught a small snook as the tide was going slack and the bite stopped. I wanted to snook fish at the end of the day as it was, so it was time to go catch a redfish and then later return and get a bigger snook. Red fishing was slow, at our third spot we finally hooked the one we were looking for. The angler did all he could but the fish proved to be the winner this round, by tangling himself in two other lines creating a huge knot and eventually breaking off the line. We looked for more redfish until the storms moved in and forced us to go hide. We never were able to get back to big snook fishing and had to drive through the storm to make it back to Tween Waters in time for the weigh in. All in all it was a fun day on the water with a fun and positive group who were happy to be out catching fish.

June 25th -July 3rd

This was another week of being stuck in the middle. The green toxic algae slime is creeping further and further down the river getting closer to the gulf each day. All the while, there is still high concentrations of red tide coming further south with each FWC report. We kept busy this week with snook in the passes.

My best trip the week was the Elswick family who just wanted to enjoy time on the water seeing the wildlife and catching anything that bites. They told me at pick up that if they could bring home dinner it would be a great bonus. We stared in the passes looking for snook but the bite was slow so only catching a gag grouper. I decided it was time to switch it up and go look for dinner. We drifted a deep natural channel next to a flat and immediately started catching trout and lady fish, one after another. They were catching them so fast that I couldn’t keep bait on all four rods because every time I would try to put bait on I would have to stop and land a fish. During this excitement, I saw a tarpon roll about 100 yards away. The action was nonstop where we were and I did not have a tarpon rod on the boat so I stayed put and caught trout after trout. Out of no where, one of the boys trout rod nearly gets yanked from his hand and doubles over to the water. With a huge explosion and drag screaming loudly, a 100+ pound tarpon kept from the water 20 yards from the boat. There was another explosion as the tarpon belly flopped back into the water. The drag on the 2500 reel continued to scream barely able to keep up, as the boy looked at me and said how do I catch it? I simply responded with, “you don’t.” Simultaneously the tarpon kept from the water again, getting his entire body out of the water again. As the rest of the rods were reeled in, I began to try and chase the tarpon with the boat as that was the only hope in catching the tarpon. Shortly after, the tarpon made one more giant leap from the water with an incredible amount of power and straightened the hook. He was off and on to his next meal. We all shared high fives on the boat and celebrated the amazing experience of a giant silver king in less then 4’ of water. We set up again and continued to catch trout and lady fish until the four hour trip was complete. It’s as an amazing and rare experience that I know the entire family won’t ever forget.

Free shirts!!!

Free shirts!!!!

New shirts are in stock and looking great. I posted on my social media that you can get a free shirt and I’m sure more than a few people are interested. Anyone who goes on a trip or has gone on a trip is encouraged to leave a review on google, yelp, or trip advisor. After you leave a review then contact me and let me know your shirt size and address, I will get your shirt in the mail shortly after. It’s that simple, so leave a review or book your charter today.

Stuck in the middle…

The snook has been the main focus in June. The action has been consistently good with a ton of small snook and some monsters mixed in. The bait has been hit or miss and tough to find down south, on account of all of the fresh water being sent out of the Caloosahatchee. The water down south has been a nasty coffee brown color, forcing me to focus on fishing further north around the passes in order to find clean water. Not too far north though, there is red tide stretching down to Boca Grand causing a ton of dead snook, tarpon, and even goliath grouper to wash up on the pristine beaches. Affects of red tide and dead fish have been reported all of the way south to redfish pass. This should be unacceptable to anyone who lives in or vacations to Southwest Florida, if action is not taken soon by our government the fishing in our area will be decimated and more importantly the home values and tourism will be in the dumps do to our waters being a filthy cesspool.

Okay, now off of my soap and back to the fishing. Being sandwiched in the middle of bad water has led to some amazing snook fishing. Multiple days in bland pass it sounded like fireworks were going off with so many snook hitting bait in top of the water. They were so thick and hungry at times we were not even fishing near the docks, we were throwing baits into the middle of the pass getting bite after bite. One day the crabs were washing out of the pass floating on top of the water and as they floated by next to the boat, you could see 4 snook swimming underneath. The snook were taking turns making passes at the crab with an explosion on the top of the water until the crab was eaten. It was an amazing sight.

I think my best story was one of my clients had a large threadfin with a weight casted perfectly under the dock. It sat for a minute or two and all of the sudden the rod was almost ripped from Kevin’s hand. He reacted quickly and grabbed the rod with both hands and held on tight while the drag was screaming loud. The line then broke off and Kevin looked at me and said, “what did I do wrong?” I laughed and told him there was nothing he could do to stop that truck.

On a positive note, the fresh water dumps have been stopped for now and should be clearing up soon. Hopefully with some luck the red tide will also dissipate soon and life will get back to normal. I’m grateful to be stuck in the middle because good fishing can still be found. Book your trip today!

Fishing with dad

Today I had the rare treat of being able to relax on the water. My dad picked me up at 615 with boat in tow, and we ventured out to Pineland Marine. After a short run we stopped near Useppa Island to get bait, greenbacks were plentiful and we were loaded up in a couple of throws. We spent the morning catching large mangrove snapper at a couple of dads old inshore wrecks. We then fished some mangrove cuts on the outgoing tide and caught snook under the bushes. We called it a day before it got too hot and headed back to the ramp. It was a good day and always nice to get on the water with the man who introduced me to the sport.

May 28th – June 2nd

This was an unpredictable week full of ups and downs in preparation for the Bricks and Sticks fishing tournament. It started with a tropical storm coming from the south through the gulf giving us a ton of rain and wind for the first half of the week. Bait was plentiful all week long but the fish were not. The first half of the week consisted of a lot of moving to avoid the rain and catching smaller sized snook. On Friday the weather finally broke and got very nice with no rain and light winds. Friday consisted of catching bait for Saturday’s tournament and scouting for redfish.

Saturday, tournament day, I had a 3 person charter with a 630 AM pick up time at South Seas Resort. I began the day well before sunlight catching even more bait for the day. While making my run from getting bait back to pick up my clients my fuel pump stopped working. I was now only able to run 3000 RPM’s before the motor would starve for fuel and shut down. I made it to the marina and picked up my clients on time. We slowly made our run across Pine Island Sound to a 4′ deep flat where we began throwing jigs and spoons. The tournament consisted of catching two snook, two redfish, and two ladyfish. We immediately started catching ladyfish, trout, and jack. After about and hour of having fun catching fish we made our way to the Fishermans Coop where I had a new fuel pump being delivered. 15 minutes later we were back in business with everything running properly. We made the run crossing Pine Island Sound again and back to Redfish Pass. We stayed in that area for a couple of hours catching snook after snook trying to upgrade our size. While there we had an up close and personal visit with a friendly, but hungry, porpoise. Scott had a Go-pro and was able to put it under water and get some excellent up close footage of the porpoise. Now with a great high tide, we once again make the run crossing Pine Island Sound in an effort to look for redfish. With no luck at the first stop we go to move, get on plane and then the motor cuts out completely. We were now dead in the water. It was time to call Sea Tow and start fishing right where we were. Sea Tow arrived a while later and towed us back to the ramp, our day was done. We had four out of the six fish that we needed and were disqualified because we did not make it to the weigh in by 4pm.

It was a disappointing and unexpected end to a crazy week. Sunday’s trip had to be cancelled and the boat was able to be repaired without going into the shop.

Smoked Fish Dip

Between giving the boat some TLC and the constant rain this week my time on the water was limited. I still wanted to post and possibly make this section about much more then just fishing reports. So for this week I am sharing one of my favorite appetizers with you, guaranteed to wow your friends.

For my fish dip, my fish of choice is King Mackerel “kingfish” but you can substitute it with a variety of other species, two other popular options in SWFL are Mackerel or Mullet.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of smoked kingfish
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped (remove the seeds)
  • ¼ cup fresh onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of hot sauce

Directions

First, peel off the skin and place the fish in a food processor and pulse about 3 – 5 times to break it up a bit. Now, add the remaining ingredients into the food processor and pulse until smooth. You can eat it right away, but if you refrigerate it and eat it the next day, I promise you that it will taste even better.

When ready to eat, garnish the fish dip with diced red onions, sliced pickled jalapeños. Serve with crackers or corn chips, I prefer saltines.