Fishin Franks , Fishing Report and general useless information page.

2017

05/10/17

OK I know I keep talking about how strange the fishing is but this month is right on track for normal. In other words strange, Sheep head which should be scattered from heck to breakfast going around in pairs are thick at the Reef off Alligator creek and hitting free lined Shrimp. If you use a sinker and try to bottom fish for them no luck, But if you let the shrimp drift down slowly by casting up into the tide the Sheep head will bang it on it's way to the bottom. And here is the fun part and what helps make this weird that is exactly how you will catch the Cobia there so you cast up into the currant while thinking nice sheep head 12 to 14 inches and get a 30 inch Cobia, Yes weird but fun.


 

Now the Tarpon are playing hide and go seek in and out of the Pass, So take a big bait with you and if the Tarpon make ya too nuts head over to the phosphate dock and drop a big chunk of Mullet or lady fish, A big chunk of fish next to the pilings and get ready to go in reverse, Yes the Angler drops the bait right next to the pilings and when the line starts tugging you sift into reverse and slowly back away hoping to drag the fish away from the pilings. Keep in mind if you slam the boat into reverse too fast you have a very wet friend who used to be on the front of your boat. So back slowly.


 

Finding Tarpon during this month may require a bit of hunting. Keep your eyes on the water while running the boat as slow as possible while still staying on plane. And the driver of the boat looks ahead and it is never a good idea to Tarpon fish alone. Much more often than you think a boat is found with no one on board drifting, I have been punched in the face/head by a Tarpon, I think it did that for fun the dirty bugger. I reached down bending over the side of the boat to get the hook out of the Tarpon and it lunged a quick slash of it's tail and the darn thing head butted me. Bright pretty little lights or stars if you will went off in my head and I was a bit dizzy for a moment. Just a little harder and it could have knocked me out and over the side I could have gone. All in an instant. So back to looking the driver looking ahead and the other person looks side to side and behind the boat!!! Yes behind the boat.
One time myself Robert and the Wife “T” I call her all of us went up in a Huey helicopter and we were flying about 6000 feet and had a beautiful view of the gulf waters, in a Huey with all of the doors open is as close to being a very noisy bird as a human can get. We were looking down and there was a boat right below us and the guy on the front of the boat by himself, dumb idea and about to get dumber was giving a great demo as to how to cast a fly rod. We could see the into water at least 15 feet down and there was not a Tarpon any where in front of his boat. But from the water level he could not know that, and he was really casting. Now if that fellow had a friend on the boat the friend would have noticed there was three different daisy chains of Tarpon starting about 6 feet from the stern of his boat. I thought at one point a Tarpon might knock itself out on his prop. As we flew away he was still fixated on what was in front of him and the Tarpon were relaxing while they swam in circles off his stern.
Point being, look behind you, or better yet bring a friend.


 

Fish can be so weird, But then again us Humans are right there with them, I was just looking at my shiner tanks and I have a dozen or so gold fish in the tanks like the canary in the coal mines, they tell me if the water is OK. I have shiners dieing off big time, and worked with Bill from Certain water services to get my bait to live in the tanks. He tested the water and found out the problems and put in filter system so the fish would live, and we learned a lot of water quality, On a side note of that people think it is strange when I am filling my coffee water from the bait tank filler. But thanks to Bill It is the best water in town. And after that rant it brings me back to my point about the gold fish. The Gold fish were all put in the tank at the same time and yes they are fat and healthy but some are 2 inches long and some are 5 inches long. That puzzled me.

So I started looking into game fish like Snook or Tarpon and it is the same for them. Some Snook might reach the slot limit in less than a couple years other could take twice that long. Just one of those things I never thought about but looking at people some kids are 6'4” and another 5'2” at the same age so go figure we are not that different from other animals at that.
Well have fun out there and good luck

Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

04/28/17

Spring is springing and the wind is blowing, and the Tarpon are moving in and out of the Harbor,
Snook are covering up the flats and the Red fish are behaving strange. So all is normal for Charlotte Harbor in May.

Lets start with Red fish. The Reds are wanting everything slowed down almost like is was August cut bait or Shrimp but not live ones, Shrimp that has been in the sun for an hour or so. Yes a bit stinky same thing with a chunk of Blue Crab. If you are using artificial baits, the lures of Choice would be a D.O.A. Shrimp reeled very slow just on top of the grass. Next best bet the Live Target green back bait, But steady retrieve with a pause like three slow cranks of the reel handle and then stop count to 2 then three cranks and stop. Another good one is the Mirr-o-lure Marsh minnow pearl white with a 1/8 once red jig head, again slow crank but a bit slower than the Live target and no pause just really slow retrieve. There is a lot more numbers and even larger Reds as you go south in the Harbor, Yes Pine Islands sound and the flats south of the Matlacha bridge are both loaded up with Reds. Turtle and Bull bay have reds but they are holding around the Islands, strange part is they are not under the branches as much as 10 feet out from the shore of the mangroves drip edge. I am not sure why the Reds are not up under the trees where I would think they would be, So when you approach the Island stay back twice as far as you would any other year and cast/work your baits from the tree line out, if you don’t get a hit move closer so you may cast up under the branches, Yes I would start out then work closer as the Reds any moment could start going back under the mangroves, as they did in past years.


 

The Snook on the other hand are wanting everything fast, The MR-17 twitch, twitch stop repeat, but quickly. The Storm twitch stik is doing good as well with a fast retrieve and a slight pause. The live Target bait is good as well but crank fast and when you pause the lure, it is a quick one count then a couple twitches and then fast crank again. With Snook out of season most people do not target them but a couple of catch and release Snook can save a fishing trip, and just remember to handle them with wet hands, or a wet glove or rag and the Snook will survive the catch and release easy. You are helping their cardio work out, he said with a grin.


 

Tarpon the big story of May, pun intended Lady fish and thread-fins are bait of choice and you will want a couple of crabs with you as well. The last week of April saw the Tarpon fishing up-river go crazy good. Live mullet or cat-fish, even cut bait chunks of mullet and cat-fish tails were getting Tarpon hooked up, several and hour. Yes the Tarpon had moved up River and as I write this they are still there, But by the time you read this, the Tarpon may have moved out into the Harbor, One thing would keep them up river, talipia Yes if the talapia hatch or run of baby Talapia is still going on the Tarpon will stay with the food, which could last the first week of may possible even into the second week. How ever I believe May will be Harbor fishing for Tarpon I would try the first week dead bait, whole Cat-fish 10 inches or so or large chunks of mullet free lined out from an boat anchored up at the deep holes or the mouth of the Myakka River. Tarpon are really starting to think about spawning finding a mate or group of mates and they are still in the dating mode so they are in the going out to dinner phase of dating at this point. So they will hit and that is the pint of this after all, putting them in the air, Yes Tarpon are a fish we count or score how we do by hook ups, which is how many Tarpon bite and then get off before they jump. If they Jump we count how many jumps before they shake of the hook. And last of all how many Tarpon to the boat and released. SO hook ups, Jumps, and landed.
I prefer the second choice I like Jumps if I can get 2 or 3 jumps from a tarpon and then it spits the hook, all good, I have been lucky enough to have caught way more than my share and do not feel the need for getting my arms pulled form their sockets for an extra 30 minutes. But I can tell you, my first few Dozen tarpon I was all about the fight, start to finish.
Lure for Tarpon this year D.O.A. Bait buster the classic, Storm swim baits, Bomber 16 sich long A, and a possible new one to the group the larger size live target swim bait. The live Target could be great or just a flop, funny thing is it looks maybe too real. Funny how the best Tarpon lure ever invented looks kind of well dopey the D.O.A. Bait buster is a very simple elegant design and continues to produce Tarpon in the air. The live Target may just do it, But I have reservations as I have seen life like lures fail before. This will be interesting to see.

So anyway weather you are a back bay Snook and Red fisher or a Tarpon hunter this is going to be your month to have fun, It looks like the rain is going to stay away for a while longer and that means crystal clear water so stay back a bit farther from the reds time to get out those 8 foot rods for the extra distance and with the clear waters make you Tarpon leader 60 pound fluorocarbon and add an extra 12 inches.
Good luck, Have fun

Fishin Frank

 

 

 

04/09/17

Well howdy Boys and Girls of the fishin world there is plenty to talk about, Yes lets start with the sort of bad news Red Tide, Yes the Red tide is staying around, the truth is it has not really left us. And continues to be in back ground to low concentrations although the waters of South west Florida, So lets hope this stays low. But do not be surprised if you are out fishing and your throat starts to get scratchy.
Good news is that is it not killing fish at this point but could happen any day.


 

The good news is that Bass fishing is hitting an all time high I think a lot of people are heading back to the lakes for some good old fashioned Bass fun. Soft plastics worms are still doing as good as they were years ago and the big thing lately is Frogs yes frogs weather used as top water or with a weight on a Carolina rig Frogs are producing some Big Bass 5 to 7 pound or better. Here is a neat trick the Ribbet Frog is one of the better top water lures for Snook, Yes the Ribbet has paddle tail style feet on it and rigged weedless can be cast right up under the mangroves. And give it a light pop, then a slow steady retrieve just fast enough to get the feet splashing and hang on Snook on! Keep in mind as with all top water lures, wait before you set the hook until you feel the weight of the Snook/any other fish, on the line. Humans are quick and you will pull the lure out of the fishes mouth before the fish can bite down on the lure causing you to miss the hit. So wait until you fell the weight of the fish.

Now the schools of fish you will hear about are Red fish, big schools of over size reds have been hanging out in Pine Islands sound and just south of Matlacha. The other big fish schooling is black drum these Monster fish average of 40 pound have been seen in the Harbor just north of Bokeelia and up to the 20 foot hole on the north end. And of Course the Tarpon. Yes schools of Tarpon are more common as the Tarpon first enter the Harbor during the spring. I like to run the out side of the bar on the west side from Cape Haze north in 6 feet of water watching under the water for dozens or hundreds of Tarpon which I believe are there to meet and greet their friends as they come in from the gulf, maybe to start picking mates for the spawn.


 

How to catch some fish this time of year lets go over the bait types, and this time of year white bait is your first choice, White bait is really a hard scaled Sardine. Or Green back. Much thicker and hardier than other species of similar baits, Use an Octopus 2/0 hook rigged across the bridge of the fishes nose for best results. Next best bait is pin fish, Pin Fish get their name not from body shape but from the dorsal fins. The dorsal fins are very sharp like needles and I would say at one time they were called pin cushion fish, shorten to pin fish. When I an using a Jig head with pin fish I hook them across the back and let them flop on the bottom making a fuss and kicking up sand. We call that a Red Fish Sundae,
If I am using a hook with a leader and a sinker I will place the hook into the Pin fish across trough the fish just above the Anal opening, this allow the Pin fish to pull against the weight, while remaining up right. If you wish to cast and retrieve a pin fish hook them up trough the Jaw So it will swim along with the pull of your line.

Tarpon how and where well watch for School of lady fish or Spanish mackerel, and bait fish or schooling fish is going to attract Tarpon, Like a fast food sign for a teenager. Now we all want to cast at the Tarpon with a blue crab or a larger thread-fin herring, which is part of the group o f fish people call white bait, The Thread fin has a green back, but it is brighter color green and has black dots on the back in the green color, the easiest way to tell a Green back from a Thread fin is the dorsal fin The Thread fin has a long extension on the back of the dorsal like you see on a Tarpon, The green back has a short dorsal fin.
While we want to cast at the Tarpon your best bet for a hook up is to cast out a Thread fin or crab about 4 feet below a bobber/float, this can be hard if not impossible to cast so often I will drop the bait off the side of the boat and then us the motor with my bail open to get away from the bait. Yes this is the time you will catch most if not all of your Tarpon on. Hey a watched pot thing maybe.

If you are trying to cast at Tarpon think like skeet shooting, you do not shoot at the skeet you lead it shooting in front of the skeet to where it will be. Same thing when I cast at Tarpon, I see which way the fish is moving when it rolls and cast in front of that. Hoping to get my bait just in front of where the Tarpon “will” be. The more violent the The Tarpon is rolling like when it rolls if you hear a tail slap, you will hook up, they are angry feeding and really hungry, if it is a very soft or quiet roll, the chances of a hook up are much less. And that is where the bait just sitting there under the float will be way more likely to hook your fish. Try to use a dual drag reel for the one in the rod holder, where you have a controlled free spool then just start reeling to engage the main drag system.

Well good luck I am hoping to have my boat back in the water a get you some fresh water and Salt water spot reports starting next month. I am ready to be back on the water.
Until next month Good luck

Fishin Frank

 

03/6/17

Two wonderful amazing problem fish and the Tackle to deal with them.

Right now reef fishing in the gulf of Mexico is very good, water temps are just a bit cool and the fish are going crazy and you are out or a delicious meal of Lane Snapper or Grouper and Fish on and you feel the fish fighting like crazy and then you hit that magic point where the fight almost stops and you are reeling like a crazy person and the fish is almost to the boat you can see the shine of it! It's right there and WHAM. The rod doubles over and just like that your fish is gone. For a minute you thought your arms would be pulled off, or the fight continues and The fish jump jumps which could be an easy 5 feet long and a mouth full of long sharp teeth, or it stays down and pulls until you are sure it is the bottom of the gulf, and the tectonic plates are shifting. Either way your fish is gone.

Often the two fish most responsible for this thievery of your dinner is a Barracuda or one of the many species of Sharks which inhabit the Gulf. They are there on or near by the reef for the same purpose as you are, Food. So it is not surprising when a Shark tries to steal your fish off the line as you are reeling it up, This is when a two speed reel is worth the Extra money after all of the money for fuel and the boat and then not being able to bring up a fish with out something else stealing it off your line, you make you go crazy in a hurry. So a two Speed reel like the Penn Fathom or the Fin-nor, I mention these two as they are not as much money as two speed reels from other companies, using a Two Speed I start in low gear just like I would in a Truck, and for the same reason I need the power to get things started moving in the case of reef fishing moving up towards the boat, and once the fish is being pulled up, They will reach a point where the fight becomes about half of what it was. Right then you click into high gear and you switch form 3 to 1 ratio to 6 to one. And that fish is really moving towards the boat and your dinner table. It is best to use a short Rod under 6 foot long, that will give you better leverage.
Before the circle hook law, we used longer rods to sweep the hook set. Pulling up hard to set the hook do that with a circle hook and you pulled the hook out f the fishes mouth.
Now Sharks are always moving and they are moving in, anytime the passes will be full of Tarpon and the Spanish mackerel are already here. Those are two of the Sharks favorite meals. And did you know that Sharks give birth or as it is called “Pup' in the spring time so that means that most of the females are pregnant So use Tackle some what heavier than I will use once June rolls around. By June the Sharks have given birth and I switch to a bit light weight for more battle. But in April or May Sharks big pregnant it should not harm them to be caught and released, any Doctor will tell you exercise is good for you. But too much is not good. You get the idea.

Now Barracuda fishing is a ball as they will often sky rocket. And have been known to jump into Boats,
A tube lure is what works best in the gulf I like the pink or green ones best, But the truth is most of the Barracuda I have seen caught have been while I was fishing for something else. If you have ever been swimming and look over to see a fish as long as you are starring at you with those huge eyes and teeth O.M.G. The teeth are massive, sharp and pointy. So there you are swing and you see this monster right there. They tends to get with in ten feet of you, Just sort of checking you out. That is what makes people nervous. The checking out part. Any way it is because of the Barracuda I do not wear shine things like rings or bracelets. Too much time in the water. I am not really scared but more practical. For years I had to remember if I was hurt I could not work and that meant no money.


 

Any way Both Sharks and Barracuda will hit the grouper rigs, weather the leader is steel or Mono or Fluorocarbon. A Barracuda is only shy when you are trying to catch it. If it is trying to catch you not shy at all.

Both Sharks and Barracuda will eat anything from Fish to Shrimp, and both fish are tasty, The big thing ids that a little larger tackle right not so as not to tire out the pregnant females so much during the fight.


 

 

 

03/06/17

Sharks are here all year, But just like Snow birds many of them head south for the winter months, One fun and Tasty Shark that is plentiful is one of the Hammer head Sharks the Bonnet-head or when you have northern visitors the Shovel head, Sounds more Tarzan like to Say Shovel head, Some how Bonnet-head does not have the same ring to it.

So These are Hammer heads which grow to about 4 feet long, and start having Babies Fe-males at 32 inches long and males at 24 inches. I guess the guys just cant wait, Having 4 to 12 Pups each year, Believe it or not Bonnet are one of the most caught Sharks in the U.S.

OK are they good to eat? Yes they are. I fillet them and I will get to how you should prepare your Shark for dinner, and you don’t even need to buy it a suit. First of all, how big a shark should I keep? Look at your cooler that tells you how big your shark can be. Well if it will not fit in your cooler let it go. Shark meat is not good left in the sun all day. First you should gut the shark as soon as you catch it, that stops the transfer of fluids, Yes sharks sort of urinate through their skin but not quite really and yes they urinate the same as most critters but not quite, either way, you get the idea I don’t leave the skin on, if you do it wont hurt you. A taste matter not a safe to eat thing. Now when I go to gut the shark I use a gaff. You can not gaff a shark through the belly like some fish, The skin is too tough, and so I put the gaff hook through the gill opening. And now with the shark on the gaff hook, I cut down from just below the jaw to it's butt. Then take out or cut out every thing rinse the shark off and put it in the cooler. Now sharks have a couple different brains, One for when they are awake and one for sleeping, most sharks have to stay in motion, A bonnet-head can lay still but the brain stem brain is still alive enough for the next 15 or 20 minutes after the first brain is dead to bite you so watch out. Hey if you just tossed me into a cooler I would bite you too.

 

As far as how to clean the shark you should know there is a layer of blood/stuff between the meat and the skin, If you like fishy tasting fish leave the skin on if you like fish flavor, with out the fishy taste fillet the skin off. Start when you get back by cutting off the fins, If you like a nasty gel type soup keep the fins, I throw them out. Once the fins and the tail is cut off Cut the tail off straight down where it attaches to the body, Now cut a line all the way down the back of the shark on the center line. Now I take my fillet knife and cut down to the back bone and work the meat off one side f the back bone then the other. Now you have two sides with a back bone cut the meat sides off from the head and lay them on the board skin side down and very lightly cut the skin from the meat a back and forth slicing motion is best. Now I rinse/clean the fillets and with the grille hot, I cut the fillets into chunks about 4 inches so they can be flipped. Butter one side of the fillet piece and then sprinkle n some Lemon herb seasoning. Place butter side down on the grill, when brown flip over the fillet, butter and sprinkle lemon herb seasoning lightly. Brown and done enjoy.

 

I guess you should know how to catch one as well, A poppin cork with a live shrimp is the best way to catch Shovel nose, Sharks or a shrimp on the bottom, Bonnets or shovel nose like shrimp it is their favorite food, I have caught a few while using bait fish but 4% of what I have caught with a shrimp.
Most Bonnet sharks are caught while people are Trout fishing on the flats or just out side the bar.
There is a picture of me holding a Bonnet shark and that is the way to grab a shark by the back of the head. When you get the shark next to the bat with your good hand, Right hand for right handed people left for left handed. Now grab your leader I use the bleeding leaders from A.f.W. 2/0 for these sharks.
Now if I can lift the shark up easily I will if it is too heavy, I remove the hook in the water and let it go. Or Bring out the gaff if I am going to eat it, A gaff will ruin the gills of the sharks so no catch and release with a gaff. If I can lift it I hold it by the leader with my right hand and then quickly after it settles down grab the dorsal fin, It makes being Tarzan “grabbing sharks” easier when you do it a little at a time. After I have my finger on the dorsal I then switch to grab the shark by he back of the head. Cool thing about shark skin is it is smooth as silk if you run your hand fro the head towards the tail and UN-real rough if you try to rub tail to head. Funny thing it is the most are-dynamitic surface know to man, They molded shark skin and they is what the skin of a stealth bomber air plane feels like,
OK Now you can go out and catch your shark dinner, best places to find Shovel nose sharks is on the flats but I often look for them on the sides of the I.C.W.
Hope you have fun enjoy your trip.
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

03/09/17

Tides are not that hard to understand if you are a bass fisherman. Think about it if you fish a lake on a regular basis, when you have a lot of rain and the water levels come way up, The Bass move up into the grass and places they can not normally go. As the water level gets back to normal, the Bass move to more regular locations around the shoreline, If the water in the lake happens to get very low. The Bass move into deeper water.

So here we have have this happen almost every day, as the water/Tide rises or falls the fish will move.

Now the thing to remember is you want to go on the flats at low tide. Think about it, after low tide the water comes in meaning you will get more. And you will be able to get out from where you are, If you go in at High tide the waters is out going and getting shallower as time goes by, so you may not get out.

Now fish know the tides and will follow the water as it comes in back into the creeks and shallow areas, So it works out fishing the mouth of a small creek at low tide and as the water rises the fish will go up farther into the creek. So the same with High tide as the water is falling I will often sit at the mouth of a creek waiting for the fish to come out.

Lets jump to the middle for a minute. Slack tide yes the time during the day when the water just is not moving. That is the kiss of failure for flats fishing you need moving water so go home? Nope just go to a reef. Yes reefs can be very good fishing during slack tides when the water is not moving. When the water/tide is moving the fish are looking into the tide. Fish have a great sense of smell and like to smell what is coming at them, the same as animals in the wild. So during slack tide the fish will mill about in all directions giving you a better shot at them finding your bait, This is a good time for sheep head or mangrove snappers, even Gag grouper have been known to hit better during this time.

Now we come to the change of tides, and sorry but nature is not run on a time table, so the tide chart might say 1:pm but that really means 1-ish. Wind and other things all play a role in exactly when it tides starts to move. This can be the best possible time to fish, once the tide has stopped moving and starts to go the other way, it begins to stir up all of the stuff which settled with the water coming from the other way, Small creatures like tiny crabs and shrimp get swept up and the food chain starts,

This stirring up of the debris and sand from one side of a rock to the other side is what gets the food chain feeding. So the Pin fish start feeding and then the larger fish and so on.

Water movement on the flats is key to having a good day catching rather then a good day fishing, The shrimp and smaller crabs all start into motion with moving water. Which brings the Red fish, Snook, Trout, even the Sting rays which stir up the bottom even more all happens when the water is moving.

Now Ambush fishing picking a place where the currant will bring bait by, Like between two islands or around a point, bait get swept through a smaller cut between two islands where the is a large body of water which is narrowed and intensified as it is squeezed between two islands, fish will lay in wait at this type of place, So I position my boat a long cast in front of the gap between the islands and cast a bait with no sinker or weights we call it free lining, because the bait is free to move with the current, Casting right at the mouth of the cut then leaving my bail open and letting the line get sucked between the islands which drags my bait right to the fish, So you should be at least 40 feet away as not to spook the fish in the cut. Another good way to fish a cut like that is with a bobber, If I know the dept of the cut, I will set my bait for about 6 inches off of the bottom and cast the float with my bait to the side of the cut and then again leaving my bail open to feed line out as the float takes my bait right along the edge or side of the cut. Now when I am free-lining a bait I go towards the middle hoping to bring the fish out to me, Because my line gets tangled in what ever branches or debris are along the edge where as when I use a float/bobber I can see the drift my float is taking and can adjust by swinging my rod tip towards or away from any obstructions.

Now if I am using lures I will cast up into a creek and try to work the lure as close to the edge of the cut as possible, Fish prefer to hang out close to structure like roots or branches hanging in the water, I think this is from when they were little being ready to escape a larger predator, by running around the branches in a life or death game of ring around the rosy.

Fishing With the tide is useful I guess you could say necessary, thing of trying to fish a bridge with the currant going the other way, using the tide to get your bait where you need it and again thinking that almost every fish is looking into the tide trying to small whats out there, in front of them, A bridge technique I like to use when the currant is stronger is I will take a free ling bait and cast at the bridge, letting my bait be carried up close to a piling. Once the bait is where I want it I let out another 3 feet of line as I then place on the line a sliding sinker, which will fall to the bottom dragging my bait down below the surface. As the tide continues to run the sinker will work it's way closer to my bait, This is the cool part my bait gets a little closer to the bottom every few minutes covering the entire water column top to bottom. Now this only works with a strong tide or currant, Easy to know if you cast a bait out and it is on the surface of the water from the currant keeping it up, this is time to clip on a sinker. And just let it go.


 

 

 

 

01/11/2017

Boys and Girls of Fish world lots of great things happening Big, Yuge, things. Goliath Grouper “Jew” Fish are biting in the canals and in the passes, these monster fish which can reach 8 feet long and 700 to 800 pounds are cooperating well. Goliath Grouper are one of a couple types of Grouper which grow up in the Shallow water of the mangrove trees than as they get larger move out towards the gulf to live there.

It was not too many years ago we first started finding/catching in our canals these small grouper looking fish, some less than 6 inches long, these fish which were Brown and with or red, or maybe yellowish and dark with spots, I took quite a while to figure out what type of Grouper they were, this was just before the internet and back then you had to use dial up. Let your parents explain that. Be, boop. whirl, had to throw that in for us old timers. Finally a book and it was the round fins of the Goliath which made the I.D. Possible. Males we would learn take 5 years or so to become able to spawn and Females about 6 years and maybe Goliath turn male to female or maybe not. What I do know or think I know is that they like to live once they are about 6 or so inches in the canals. And they stay in the canals until they are about 50 pounds just before they get 4 feet long these Grouper seem to move out of the canals and out to the passes. Boca Grande Pass is the preferred pass as the old Phosphate dock has lot of heavy cover for them and they like having a home. Open sand bottom is not where they like to be.


The difference between fishing for Snook and Goliath Grouper in the canals is the time you spend waiting with your bait under the docks. Both fish like to live under docks and If I am fishing in the canals I use a chunk of Mullet or lady fish with a large enough hook to hook the bait and have the point of the hook far enough out to hook the fish. If I am trying to catch a fish like this I flatten the barb on the hook as I know it is catch and release. Casting the chunk or bait under the dock as center as possible then it is a waiting game. Studies have shown much to my surprise that Goliath Grouper do not reduce the fish populations on the reefs like I and many other people would have thought because they are lazy. Most of their diet is crabs, shrimp things that they can just gulp down with out a lot of chasing, I add this so you would under stand a Snook is a top predator and will and does chase down it's food. Goliath will tend to meander over to the food, not run over to get it. So the waiting game is on.

Out by the Phosphate dock at Boca Pass the technique is a bit strange You need a boat to get here on the out side of the piling is where we look for these giant fish to play with or at the large round tie up bumper. Either one How we do it is to use a 2 or 3 pound fish with a 13/0 hook or larger with 200 pound test leader, sometimes I use a 10 once sinker slid onto the line before the hook. Big rod I like the Bill fisher 80 to 130 pound class and an International reel 50 with 100 pound mono on it. The Angler / fisher person sits in the front of the boat and the operator of the boat put the nose of the boat up bu the dock. Drop the bait to the bottom and as soon as the rod person feels the fish bite the boat is put in reverse and that helps pull the fish away from the liking and into more open water, this has to happen before the fish figures out what you are trying to do and decides to pull back. The driver of the boat never leaves the helm. As that fish is going to try and pull it back to the dock. So have back up people for the person on the rod, a 300 pound fish mad at you is going to really fight. Now at this point it is simple you pull the fish pulls who ever pulls the hardest wins. If the person operating the boat and the person on the rod work together you should be successful. Team work the Rod person gets the glory and the boat operator gets yelled at if the fish gets back into the pilings. Hummm So remember to congratulate the boat person as well when the fish is landed and the pictures taken.

Just though I would share a little of the unusual things that are possible here in Charlotte Harbor
From North fort Myers
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

 

20/21/17

Fishing and tackle store we get to see a bunch of things I guess you can say well just can not be UN-seen, or UN-heard. I have to say information at least critical information, is important in finding out what a customer is looking for for. Like the day a woman came in and said I need something 10 inches long and it has to be black. Well that was quite a declaration and I have to say it did take a couple minutes to figure out that a 10 inch Culprit Black bass worm was what her husband had sent her into the store for. A little more info in the beginning would have been helpful. Or the times when someone would pull up in their car and ask us to identify a fish in their cooler, What kind of fish is that can I eat it? First off a little late at that point and a couple times they were smaller tarpon. And If you think Jacks are not good eating, there has been so many times when a person is showing me Pictures of the Pompano they caught and while tough to clean were Just great eating and the Pictures showed Nice size Jack Crevele. Tasty is in the tongue of the eater.

 

Or in a different vein the guy walking in all excited about the monster grouper they caught in the canal, Only to be told it is endangered and you can not keep a Goliath Grouper but it has red it is a red Grouper, No sorry, Color can be one of the worst ways to I.D. A fish.
And when the Poor person has caught the Snook of a life time only to find out the Season is open But only on the east coast and here on the west coast it is still closed until march.
So many rules you should have a pocket lawyers.


 

As far as learning there as fishing clubs they are a great place to meet people, I am not sure it is the best place to learn how to fish. Joining a club is about friendship and being with like minded people. Here is the best advice I can give you. Never say to a person in the club, I would like to go fishing with you. OK that part is good, now here is where you are going to screw your self, Do not add “So you can show me where to go and how to catch fish. What? So what you just told them is you are too cheap to hire someone to teach you to fish and your value of that person is only about what they can do for you? Really? Going fishing together is about being with some one you enjoy and want to talk and spend time with. By the way this is the number one complaint from people who are asked to go fishing by someone. They feel you did not want to fish with them, that you only want a cheap teacher. As long as I am ranting, here is another thing, If you go fishing with someone, Pay your share of the fuel. And NEVER leave the boat until it is cleaned and everything is put away, NEVER no matter what.


 

Now classes this is good for general knowledge a class will give you basics of catching fish. I do not recommend a class for a specific fish, like catching a Snook, think of classes for how to fish from a boat or from a pier.


 

Hiring a local guides and hoping they will show you where they catch fish and how they catch fish,
is not really fair. People would even go as far as hiding their g.p.s. to find out where the guides were catching the fish. Which may work in the gulf but on the flats, This could be a real problem for people as much of the flats may be less than one foot deep. Folks who come down with a boat and think they can go where a Charter Captain can go with his boat on the flats, many times will just leave them high and dry on a sand bar. As learning flats fishing is knowing the boat and the depth of the water, So you do not end up waiting for the tide to come up. So hire a Captain to take you out and catch fish and have fun. Not to try and find spots.

 

A new thing is instructors People who go with you on your boat showing you where and how to catch fish, this is different as it is their job to show you good spots and help you. Which is different than the Captain who is just trying to catch you fish.
ire someone to teach you or pay the person you asked going rates are from $50 to $100. an hour.


 

There are so many things about fishing. The best thing is you can just go. Relax and enjoy where you are, it sometimes helps to turn off the phone. Stop in and say Hi sometime.
Fishin Frank


 

 

 

 

2017
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2016

01/25/16

Shrimping the Fleet is coming in, Yes indeed how cool dose that sound?

Well more correct would be death and destruction, has ended for the night, sound bad and a little dramatic but true none the less. The catching of wild Shrimp is not a real good thing, the average by-catch is around 15 pound of other life or Shrimp too small to sell. So all of that goes over board dead back into the water.
I have learned many things in my time here at the bait shop and one of those is we need commercial fisherman to get our bait and even for a night out fish dinner. But some things just do not make sense any more. Shrimping for food shrimp in Charlotte Harbor is not a good thing, Charlotte harbor is a favorite place for the larger shrimping boats which work the gulf of Mexico. When the wind gets too strong to be in the gulf Safely, The boats head into Charlotte Harbor, The Harbor is safe haven as it is not large enough for big waves to form. So the Shrimpers can lay up until the wind lays down, and whats even better for them this time of year the Harbor is full of Shrimp. Yes the Brown Shrimp is on the move. The Brown Shrimp live in the deep waters of the gulf 60 feet or deeper down to almost 600 feet Shrimp have been found most common in water 100 feet deep, they spawn and the Eggs float to the surface becoming part of the plankton, As the fry hatch they swim as far into the creeks and canals as possible and scatter across the grass flats. Growing at a rate of about 1/3 of an inch a month a Shrimp may be Adult in a year able to spawn.
Shrimp is the basic food for everything . Even and including us humans, So they have learned to spawn thousands of tiny eggs each time safety in numbers. Humans have learned to make nets and trawls to catch them by the thousands each pull. They use heavy doors which drag the bottom keeping the nets open and close to the bottom. Often a chain is dragged front of the net to scare the shrimp up off the bottom and into the net.

Every wonder why the bottom of Charlotte Harbor is so flat? Watch your dept finder and you will not see anything no bumps or junk on the bottom. Anything caught in the net of a shrimper is dumper at the Alligator creek reef or in the hole off Pirate Harbor. Now this could be a good thing in a way, but fish like habitat. Not open bottom. No reefs man made or natural have a chance here, they will be dragged off each fall or winter by the big off shore Shrimp boats.

Why is this a big deal for the Harbor, lets look at Texas, The Snapper and grouper were becoming very scarce fishing was getting real bad, in the gulf off Texas. So the did studies and a simple thing was found out the fish were lacking food. With out enough food the Snapper and grouper did not grow or reproduce well at all. Starving fish are just not healthy, who would have guessed, So Texas closes the Shrimping for Food shrimp until the Shrimp have become larger enough to spawn. About 4.5 inches Which takes about a year for a shrimp to reach that size. Only after the state if Texas has sampled to the Shrimp will the commercial food take of Shrimp begin. Florida has no closed season on Shrimp So many boats who's home state closes the shrimping come to Florida for that time, Charlotte Harbor being the safe good place to weather a storm is perfect, these huge boats anchor up and at night why not work? So they drag up and down the Harbor, the biggest problem I have with this is that the vast majority of what is caught is not good to sell, Shrimp too small, bait fish , flounder and many other creatures they are tossed back dead. Food shrimpers pull/drag their nets until the boat slows down, and they pull fast so the Shrimp can not escape. Very effective.
Bait Shrimpers on the other hand pull the nets slowly and only for a few minutes as the goal when catching bait is to bring it on board alive. Where as the food shrimpers are not interested n them being alive, The bait boats have an order to fill once it is caught they go home. Food shrimpers sell shrimp by the pound so when the hold is full they go home. Big difference. We need commercial fisherman they are not bad people or indifferent to the fate of marine life, But they have jobs to do family to feed, and some forms of fishing are just not good. Commercial Shrimping has come a long ways, with nets that let out a lot of fish and or Turtles but not all. And they are good people who are in a line of work which is out dated, Shrimp farms are supplying most of the Shrimp you buy today and the fleets of shrimping boats are going by the way of the dodo bird, cool in their day but just not needed to day.
Why is Shrimping for food allowed in a national estuary in the first place? Tampa bay has out-law the take of food shrimp. Why is it still allowed here. Because we do not see it. They do it at night and most often when the weather is too bad to be in the gulf, still thousands of pounds of shrimp dumped dead into the water instead of growing up to swim into the gulf and feed the fish. We need to adopt Texas style laws or stop all together the commercial take of shrimp in Charlotte Harbor and most other places
.

 

 

02/21/16

How great is it to be in Florida when it actually feels like Florida, The weather is great the fishing getting better by the day and our meet the factory Tent event sale is here March 19th, You can meet People from Penn, Quantum, Fin-nor, Daiwa, Okuma, Reels, and from almost every Major Lure company Eric the owner of Mirror-Lure And Mark Nichols the owner of D.O.A. Strike king the list goes on and on, So come and make your deals with the factory and have fun, Two questions you should ask a lot that day is why and how, Why should I buy this and how should I use it. Very important questions each lure company will have it own casting demo tank to show yo9u how to use the lures they make.
And speaking of fishing, the big question is where can I find fish and how do I catch them. The red tide has backed off out by the gulf and the fish are moving in. They don’t seem to mind the dark water, what's up with people thinking brown water kills the fish? If that were true every fish in lake Okeechobee would be dead, it is just like a glass of tea, Brown the same tannins which cause coffee or Tea to be brown are what causes the water here to be brown. So while not pleasant to look at like blue green waters of the Gulf, I love the brown water I can afford to live by it. If this was all Blue crystal clear water, I could not afford to live here.
So the wife and I got out fishing and what I had been hearing the Captains on Radio Fishin is absolutely true not so much about moving place to place as it is about how you are rigging your bait, or working your lure. Right now there is a lot of fish in the Harbor along the east side the flounder out by the Sand bar, The Trout are getting better numbers each day right now, and a few reports of Spanish Mackerel being caught in the Harbor,

To get to my fishing day with “T” we left the house around noon, I kept looking at the temp out side and we waited until it hit 70 before we went onto the boat, the wind chill being that close to the water at 25 mph is well BURRRRR, So once it hit 70 we were off to the Myakka Cut-off, nice boat ride but did not hit a single fish or even a bite. Started off with poppin corks and live Shrimp then tried free lining a live shrimp, then tried a Shrimp on a jig head slow bouncing on the bottom, OK Nothing next spot. As The wind was a bit more than comfortable we headed back up river and by I-75 we started fishing the mangrove shoreline, casting up under the mangroves with a Shrimp on a Jig head did not work, So I tired casting a free line shrimp up under the Mangroves as far as I could, nope not a bite, So I tired casting the free line Shrimp up into the tide and let it drift right along the drip line or edge of the mangroves. And I got a hit. So T cast up into the currant and I cast just in front of that as the Shrimp drifted down along the edge f the trees wham, wham we both got hit and her was a Red fish 17 inches my fish a 14 inch Sheep head, just Bam , bam doubles, and for the next half hour we cast and let the bait drift, Now to get the bait to drift properly Cast at the trees and then leave your bail open and pull out 15 extra feet of line so the currant catches the belly of the line and pulls it down along the shore instead of out towards you. If you cast and close the bail right away the Shrimp will be pulled out away from the Mangroves, by letting out extra line the shrimp is pulled parallel in front of the mangroves, I tried casting right to the spot where I got the fish and nothing, let it drift into the spot and bang fish on.

So look for deeper water next to the mangroves or on the open flat, then try fishing one way, if you don't get bit, try a different way of rigging up, Poppin cork , then try not poppin the cork, the free line no weight or floats, then maybe a weight or jig head, Let it sit, then try letting it drift. This is a Crazy time and it seems to change not only by the day, but often by the hour, The more ways you try presenting your bait the more likely you are to catch fish.
Enjoy your time our there in the beautiful Florida sunshine, See you March 19th at the Tent sale event.
Fishin Frank

03/13/2016

How to choose a rod first thing is to not get into a type of comfort rod, the best thing to do I gues is ouch think like a golfer, I am sure there are golfers who use a 7 iron for the whole course but not many. Different types of rods for different types of fishing like a golfer who uses a driver or a putter or a wedge. That said the first rod should be your comfort rod, your go to medium to medium heavy line class that would a be a 6 to 12or 6 to 14 pound test mono rating or an 8 to 17 pound test mono rating 7 foot long. OK I will explain if I am casting lures I like a rod with a very light tip so I can twitch a lure but with a very tight lower section, light in the tip heavy towards the butt, 6 to 14 pound class, If I am casting bait shrimp or green backs I like a rod with a tighter tip and a heavier action close to the handle like an, 8 to 17 pound class.

Now there is another break down on this if I am fishing open water with live or dead bait, I like a parabolic curve action where the rods bends as a whole from the tip to the butt, an even bend may describe it better. However if I am fishing the mangrove or heavy cover I want a fast taper rod not an even curve. The reason is that when I am fishing cover like against or under the mangroves trees, I need more control of the fish in open water the fish has plenty of water to run in and nothing to break the line. Now if the fish is running under the mangroves or docks the fish may wrap the line around the roots of the trees or anything else there. OK I have to explain a fish does not wrap the line around the roots or piling of a dock because it is trying to break your line, No matter how many times I think that smart SOB did that on purpose to me well in way a way the fish did warp the line intentionally. Fish when they are tiny little baby fishes are food for every thing larger than they are and to escape the predators they run around the roots or piling playing ring around the rosy with the bigger fish, if they ran away in a straight line, they would not get any bigger. So when a fish is stressed fighting you it falls back to how it escaped from problems before and they run around branches/ roots, piling trying to get away from the thing tugging at them. So I guess in a way they are that smart. How does it feel to be out smarted by a creature just smarter than a rock?
OK so that brings into play the fast action rod. Unlike the parabolic bend the fast action increases pressure to the fish a little bit more with ever inch the rod bends which helps you turn the fish. Think about if you were tied to a line and you took off running hit the end of the line hard the line would most likely break from the impact. But if a little bit pf pressure was added to you with each step pulling you off course you would end up running in a circle or arc. And that is what happens to your fish the steady increasing pressure turns the fish helps you get it away from what ever it wanted to swim around to get away from and then break your line.


 

Back to choosing the right rod, for general use a med heavy 7 foot rod, for against the mangrove I would use a shorter rod may 6' or 6' 6” it is easy to control and you do not have to cast far to reach the mangroves, now on the open flat when fishing the sand bars or open water I would say a 7” 6” or maybe an 8 foot rod, the longer rod allows for longer casting to maybe reach that fish way over yonder in the next pot hole. Hwy are they never in perfect casting distance except on T.V. Shows?

 

Rod choice is at the basic level simple big fish, big rod and reel. That sound simple but every day people think that by putting heavy line on their small reel they will land bigger fish. That is like putting the brakes from a pick up truck in a semi truck and expecting them to stop it. The drag on the reel will only stop so much. Another problem is that heavy line on a small reel mean you do not have much line to work with and once the fish has all the line, just say good bye to the fish, It is OK to shed a tear at this point I under stand. So match the rod to the line you wish to use heavy line with a heavy rod and reel. Light line with a light rod and reel.

 

To close with a last thought, if you have fished a lot and you know what you like you can pick up a rod and sort of tell what it will do. For years I picked rods for people and for rods to do a certain thing I still do, but when you are starting out choosing that comfort rod is difficult at best. And if it is for a woman very, very difficult. A woman’s wist is different than a mans, over the last few hundred thousand years men have eloved wrist to swing clubs and pound on things, and a woman’s wrist has been to comfort and really is not the same. So one thing I know it is almost never that a rods feels good for both the woman and the man. To make matters worse rods all kind of look the same finding the perfect comfort rod for a person, man or woman is though so I developed a system using weight to find out how the rod effect a persons wrist and how it “feels” ever rod has a feel to it and only the person can say if that is the right one. So no matter if your buddy has his or her perfect rod for them it might not feel good to you at all. Take your time when choosing the comfort or go to rod and reel as it will become your best buddy and you will hopefully spend a lot of time together. After that get help picking a rod that will cast far down the flats of get you a lot of control of a fish against the trees. I can tell you many time I have had to replace rods which customers have thought was great in the store but then got out fishing and it was just wrong. The only way, the best test is to fish with it.

Find a bait/tackle store to help you choose, hopefully my store, the right rod makes the experience better. Right tool for the right job.
Fishin frank

 

 

04/22/2016

 

Sharks are the story and there is a bunch of them.
S.W. Fla. Is home to many type and or species of sharks Black tip, Atlantic Sharp nose,
Bonnet-head/shovel nose, Bull, Great Hammer head, Lemon, Nurse, Tiger, Spinner, Sand bar, Black nose, Scalloped hammerhead, and there have been Mayko and Great white sharks, Funny thing is that I know I am forgetting a couple and Sharks are really important as far as balance of power in the water.
Yes wild life has a power system fewer Sharks can mean there will be more sting rays and more sting rays which love to eat scallops means fewer scallops, strange how every thing is tied together and one thing effects all of the other things. Kind of like six steps to Kevin bacon.

 

One of my passions in fishing and a source of money was catching Sharks, I would head out and with light tackle take people to catch small sharks 2 to 4 feet long back then on 10 pound mono, then as it got dusk I would set up the boat to catch a couple of 8 foot plus sharks just to let them get beat up a little by a fish. That would not stop or turn or anything until it was ready. The light fading and the people would be thinking Sharks I know the theme from Jaws would be going through their heads as I would very quietly hum the Da-Dum. Da-dum thing while we were waiting and then the reel would start to click slowly click, click, then as the sound turned into a steady buzz of metal on metal I would say Set the hook. And it was on. I am not sure how to tell you when to set the hook so you get the Shark on and the hook hit right in the jaw and not down where it would cause damage, the Shark tends to hit and keep going and there is a slight change in the speed when it has the bait in it's jaw and feels comfortable to start to swallow, Think of you if you had a fish stick in your mouth with all of your friends wanting to take it from you and no one is allowed to use their hands, Sharks don’t have hands So they move away holding on to the bait then get ready to eat it, first thing with creatures is to make sure nothing is going to take it from them. UN-less, of course it is small enough just to swallow as first bite, then your bait wan not big enough. Picking hooks can be daunting when it come to Shark fishing, Circle hooks, or “J: hooks. A standard “J” hook can easily be caught down in the throat of a Shark, and a circle hook is almost impossible to get out of a Sharks. Bolt cutters are often carried by Shark hunters to remove Circle hooks. I use a modified “J” hook. The J hook is easy to get out except for the barb.
I had four customers on my boat and they were all hooked up at the same time it was fast, and steady, as I got one Shark to the boat grabbed it by the back of the head it was about 3 foot long and grabbing a Shark by the back of the head is the only safe way to control the Shark and keep the shark and you safe, the hook had lodged in the heavy cartilage and the only way to get it out was to push it through and flatten the barb, so I could pull it back out, which I did and being so busy with all of the people catching Sharks I just stuck a bait on it, half of a Spanish sardine, and threw it back out so he could continue fishing. After taking off several more sharks, it dawned on me, No difference, So I started bended down the barbs on all of the hooks. I had always felt a little bad about the barbs on the hooks with Sharks, Not too bad as they eat live sting rays, and quite often I have pulled sting ray barbs out of a Sharks mouth for it. When removing a hook. But now with the barbs bent down almost no blood, the hook slides out easy and wow this is cool. That was in the mid 1990's I have not used a barb when fishing for sharks since. As time went by I did refine how I bent the barb down. I learned that if I took an extra couple of seconds, to just bend the tip and not flatten the barb, the bait stayed on better. Barb-less hook suck they are use-less. The bait wont stay on and often the fish gets off, with the barb bent over in as much of a bump as possible the bait and the fish stays on and the hook slides out easy from the fish and ME! Yes I have jerked hooks out of my legs, hands, head, and other more embarrassing body parts. Lucky though no parts that private. With a normal fish I don’t think the barb is too bad an idea as they eat live blue crabs, sting rays, other fin with spines and the mouth of these fish is kind of made to get a hole in it and repair quickly, But a shark has a mouth more like ours, muscle, cartilage, not a membrane type tissue. So the barb do more damage.

The other thing about bending the barb is that if the Shark breaks off the hook with out pressure on it is likely to fall out, Nothing really holding it in place.
Well any way this is my long winded way of saying, bend the barbs down on your hook when Shark fishing and that in this case a bent barb “J” hook is way better than a circle hook which will not come out is just way better.
Have fun out there and be safe

 

 

 

06/22/16

Summer time, summer time, sum, sum, summer time, Yes the wonderful time of year when the weather forecast is, Hot with beautiful mornings and a chance of rain in the afternoon. The weather people could just do a loop recording. The Tarpon are moving back into the Harbor and the feed is switching from crabs to fish, be it lady fish or thread fins, In the next 2 weeks it will be time to get out the D.O.A. Bait buster and swimming mullet lures, As the Thread fins and white bait get hard to find. The Trick right now is the Bait is following the tides. Yes the Bait is more susceptible to the salinity, So when the tides comes in the Bait moves up as the tides falls the bait will move towards the gulf. The hunt for bait is trying at best right now, My advice is to start looking at different places, Every one tries Marker #2 or #1. These are good places to find bait as both markers have 4 pilings which provides the bait with more shelter from predators. But many of the single piling markers will hold bait. The only way to know if these is bait is to try one. With bait getting harder to find Lure fishing will get to be more the normal way to hook up your Tarpon, Don't forget the hitch-hiker rig for rigged your bait buster below a bobber. As casting for hours can be tough. Put the bait buster below a float about 5 feet and let the bobber do the jigging work for you.

 

Another Question is why are there the king Mackerel here in the gulf? They should be far north by now, following the cooler waters. This started just a few Years ago, The kings will go past us in the Spring following the perfect water temperature 68 to 72 degrees, Which the Kings like best. Then all of a sudden a month later the Kings are back scattered all along the coast. I started watching the gulf water temps on the weather and tides pages on my website and right now it is 87.8 degrees off Naples. 89.2 off St. Pete and 86.7 off Pensacola. So about 1 degree difference from North Florida to us, The kings once they get to the Panhandle and the water warms up start heading back south stopping where ever they find good feeding. It is no longer a temperature thing as it was in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. In the 2000's the weather has changed So there is little to no difference so now it is just about where the easiest meal is. We will see a run with a lot of Kings this fall as the water temps drop. The kings will all start moving South if the Gulf gets cold enough. And again in the Spring as the water warms. So there is still 2 King Mackerel “runs” But once it is warms they scatter out looking for food.

Now this is just a Frank-isum, and may not be a true-isum but it explains why the Kings have migrated north then returned to hang out here all summer long for the last few year.\
 

2016 continues to be the weird Year with another run of Spanish mackerel for July which is very cool as they are one of my favorite eating fish, But only if caught that day, kept on ice all day. Taken home fillet, wash, put on a grill with a heavy coat of butter on one side which is placed butter side down on the grill. Once that side is brown Butter add lemon herb seasoning, And in a few minutes brown on both side done. And wow what a meal. Only good the day you catch them not too bad the next day and not worth a darn once frozen. So if you want a Spanish mack meal, keep three mackerel for each 2 people, that will do it let the rest go. Waste not, want not,

 

I am going to I-cast the national fishing trade show and this year I am looking to add 3 new lines of lures. We will be added more colors and style to the ones we have, But trying to find what will be the next Storm twitch, The number one fish catcher, best selling lure of the last 3 Years. If you have a lure or brand of lure, you think I should be looking at let me know. How do I choose what will be the next great lure, I never could. It all comes down to one person catching a fish with it, then telling a friend, who tells another, and if each of them catches a fish with it, it will be a hit. But if it only works for the first person, and not the 2nd or 3rd. Which does happen a lot, and I am not sure why. My best guess is that lures which work really well for a few people and not other is that they need to be worked in a very certain way. And that can be a make it or break it point.

Last of all watch the heat, This time of year try to get out while it is still dark, Just as the sun starts to show it's self, the fishing will be at it's best until 10:am then slow down By 2 in the afternoon it will be at it's slowest, right as the sea breeze makes it uncomfortable to be out. So try to be back in by 2 and then think about going out after the threat of storms is past. Night fishing in July is excellent and it is cooler and the Big fish are here to play with. So think about vampire fishing. This is the time. And no sunburn.
Have fun, be safe,
Fishin frank

 

06/24/16

 

Well with the rain and the river running filling the Harbor with freshwater, There are plenty of Tarpon to go chasing after, and the Red Fish have come out of hiding with good numbers on both the east and west sides of the Harbor. But Big Fish is what I am thinking, So what fish can you find in sheltered watered, let's face it Summer time thunder storms are a regular thing, and the wind is blowing hard one day and then OK the next so planning a trip out into the Harbor is kind of iffy.

That leaves one monster fish to play with Black drum, and what a great fish it is. The black drum has whiskers like an old man of the sea and likes to hang out back in the canals and around the bridges, Just a month ago thee were schools of thousands of these drum from 15 pounds to 60 pounds average fish in the school was about 40 pounds and there were thousands of them. Now the big school spawn or meet and greet is mostly over and the Black drum are now in their summer homes, the I-75 bridge and the 41-bridges both have a bunch of Black drum around the pilings,
The other place which is full of Black drum is the bridges in the P.G.I. canal systems.

 

For some reason there are black drum on the Port Charlotte side of the River but many, many more on the Punta Gorda side. I would suppose it is because of the canals are maintained. And the water is deeper. There are fewer openings to the canals in P.G.I. So the water moves faster and stronger going in or out than the canals over in Port Charlotte, I think that is the larger reason there are so many more drum in P.G.I.

 

Black drum are not fussy eaters until they are that is, try to keep in mind that if you like say Italian food do you stop at very Italian restaurant you see, No of course not some times you are just not hungry or maybe you would like just a burger in stead. I am sure fish are the same way we are in that aspect. I like to eat that just not every day or even all day long. So when would be the best time to be there when the drum would be eating? I would say half way through a tide, that is when the strongest water movement is and every thing is getting stirred up and your best chance for a good day catching instead of a good day fishing.

 

What is the best bait for Black drum, #1 Blue crabs that is the best. I normally cut the crab in half, to get more of the smell out in the water, But if there is a bunch of drum they will eat them whole, A black drum has a large crusher plate in the rear of it's mouth and can smash a blue Crab flat in a couple thumps of it's crusher plates, making it easier for them to swallow. Crabs are not the only bait which works well on the Black drum Shrimp, and they may be live or dead, drum don't care. They will also eat cut fish. I have not done well on whole fish when trying to catch Black drum cut pieces seem to work much better.

The main thing when fishing for black drum on a day to day basis is that it is bottom fishing, the whiskers on the drum lower jaw are there as taste buds so to speak and or extra smelling devices, Black drum use these whiskers the same way a cat fish does to find food so something laying on the bottom and if it stinks a bit so much the better.

Black drum as a rule are not leader shy, so using a 50 pound test leader is most often OK, and even though the fish are average weight of 40 pound they may often be caught on 15 pound test line, this takes time don't be in a hurry or start tightening your drag the drag is there as a pressure relief for when the fish pulls to hard. Take it easy and you will land that fish. I should say that I have had Black drum on at the $1 bridge and they have come to the surface with one big head shake snapped 50 pound test line like it was sewing thread. When fighting a Black drum it is steady pressure that wins the fight a big sudden jerk or lots of fast pulling will tell the fish to do the same thing and this fish is muscles, Big head, big shoulders and a huge tail to really put the pressure to you when the fight is on.

 

So find a canal with a road bridge and just toss on the bottom with a 40 pound mono leader about 3 feet long with enough of weights to keep it there I would say 1 to 4 ounces and with a 4/0 to 7/0 hook a chunk of fish the size of your hand or a couple shrimp tails, or best bet half of a blue crab.
Kick back and wait. When the drum hits it is often slow y moving away from you and if you set the hook and then just hold for a while you stand a very good chance of landing the fish.


Well enjoy the days of summer on the water and remember to drink more than you think you should.
Have fun with the drum and if it is too big, when the water is hot there is often a bunch of parasites in the meat. So for the summer Black drum are catch & release fishing. Once the water cools down you can go after our Black drum dinner. The meat is wonderful, white, flaky, and solid, excellent eating, Just wait for the water to get back in the low 70's or colder.
Fishin Frank

 

 

07/26/16

Summer time and the living is down right hot. Like wow hot, which if you have tried to go swimming the water is hot, The darn Gulf of Mexico fells like a Jacuzzi Spa. Not the refreshing coolness of the gulf, But the weird part, is there are a lot of fish, OK there are a lot of different fish like different species, red fish which have come way up in numbers on the East and west side of the Harbor, Dead Shrimp, cut lady fish or best bet for catching them is cut up Blue crabs. Yes get a larger size Blue Crab add Cut it in half or quarters and toss it out, One thing don’t try and Check your bait,, The act of reeling it in through the water will often wash out any of the meat and stuff the fish would want, so it is a cast it and leave it type bait.
Another fish which there is a lot of being caught is Bull Sharks . Please keep in mind these Bulls are catch and release size a Bull Sharks has to be 54 inches to keep So head up around the I-75 bridge or out by the holes in the Harbor it is not rocket Science a Chum bad a Piece of Cut fish and you should be catching a Bull Shark, Some of these were birthed this year and they are fun on lighter tackle say a 10-20 spinning rod with a 40 size reel and 20 pound Braid line 40 pound test steel leader with a 5/0 hook. I think they get the name Bull Shark as they fish like a bull dig heavy pressure and just keep pulling, it is common to have people go up to a 5000 size reel and 50 pound test just to shorten the fight.

Another Fish is the Snook they are in the canals and out on the flats, I start if I am there early and I mean dawn's Crack I work the area just inside the Sand bar of the east side and as the Sun comes up I follow the Snook back under the mangroves, Yes on the east side Mid day Green means Go, Leafy green branches mean shade for the fish, and if you are out in an open boat the shade of that Mangrove branch can look mighty inviting.

Look but do NOT touch the branches of a mangrove tree in the summer, You touching the branch to get a lure out of the tree or what ever you are doing lets the No-see-ums know you are there, and that one and 20,000 of it's friends will comes as you just rang the dinner bell.
If I am Snook fishing right now I am going to work a lure real Slow maybe the new Rapala Twitch bait with single hook front and back it looks like and I mean looks just like a white Bait,
If I am going to use bait it would be to try and catch live white bait and or Thread fins and free line them, While it is very hard to keep them alive when moving place to place, I am not too worried if they die I cut them in half and they are just as good maybe better if you are in dark water and if you are in the Harbor you are in dark water.

I find it hard to think of so many kinds of fish including Mackerel, Sand bream and Snappers, Even Grouper like Gags and Goliath are up in the harbor right now, I would guess 6 to 10 type of sharks, and the Big silver fish in the room tarpon are still here, and it is looking good for the Fall tarpon season this year,

Good look Enjoy the fishing and try to stay cool

Fishin Frank

 

08/13/2016

Snook season is here and it starts with a lure
Yes the lures you choose for Snook fishing is kind of where do you fish,

If I am fishing in the canals first thing in the morning as the sun is just coming up, I am using a Zara Spook. The Spook is a top water lure when reeled in and twitched at the same time causes the front of the lure to slash side to side. Pick a place and cast the spook within a foot of the Sea Wall.
Go over the spot at least 3 times, if you do not get a hit turn and cast the other way up the sea wall at least three times. I will repeat this casting one way and then the other at least twice before I move and when I move it is 10 feet farther away, and then do the same thing again.

Now If I am casting from a pier I will choose a 15 Bomber or a Rapala X-rap 10. I start cast casting as soon as I get on the pier. OK as soon as there is 10 inches of water or more. Snook are a shallow water fish. Once on the pier I start on the right side of the pier casting along the length of the pier going out, I try to be as close to the piling as possible, so my lures will just brush the out side of the pilings. Snook hang out on the back side of the pilings waiting for food to come by. So if I cast along the side of the pier I can get the lure to go by 4 sets of pilings. This gives me the best shot at getting my lure in front of the Snook's nose. I will cast from 1 spot 4 times then move half a cast farther out the pier.

Now if I don't feel like letting a bait sit there but I don't wish to cast a lure I will take a shrimp for a walk down the pier. I start by getting a little larger size shrimp and a jig head. This is the time for a heavier jig head like a 3/8 or ½ once maybe heavier the job of the Jig head is to keep my line straight up and down. I am not casting it I put my right arm over the rail and let the jig head with a live shrimp hooked on the hook by going up from the bottom of the shrimp's head out the top, letting it trail out behind the jig head. Then when the jig and shrimp are on the bottom, I close my bail take up any slack in the line and lift my rod tip up 6 inches. Then start to slowly walk forward out the pier, if it is a wood pier I step on each board as I walk out, on a concrete pier I use half steps. Slow and quiet is they key to catching Snook this way. Have the drag on the reel set to hate, “Locked down when the Snook hits the whole fight will be right at your feet. If the Snook goes 6 feet to the left it will warp a piling or to the right another piling for the Snook to warp your line up.

Out n the flats I like the paddle tail jigs or the Soft Plastic jerk baits to cast up under the Mangrove bushes, The jerk bait with a weedless hook rig is better as the hook is not out, so it is harder to get it snagged on a branch or root.

Paddle tail shads like the D.O.A. Cal shads used on the open flats should be retrieved with an up and down jigging motion to the Rod, The lifting and dropping of the rod tip, makes the lure do the same thing. Picture a bait fish being chased out of the grass towards the surface then going down to hide, and being chased up again.

Now the #1 Snook lure the storm twitch, this is a crank bait and may be just reeled in slowly or twitched in the one thing on the retrieve it seems if you stop/pause the lure when reeling the Snook go crazy trying to eat it. Coral Creek and Lemon bay this has out fished every thing. Don't know why but it has the same effect on the beaches

Fishing the beaches of the barrier Islands is relatively simple for Snook, wade out to knee deep water turn left or right as you prefer and cast slowly or with light twitches reel the lure in. keeping in that knee deep water. Oh yes and hang on to the rod. There is some Monster Snook right on the beach.

Snook is the year round in-shore big game fish of Florida. They can be caught at almost anytime of year anywhere there is structure Even on the near shore reefs. Yes as you get south on the west coast some of the best Snook fishing is on the reefs with in a couple miles of Shore, Not uncommon to find Snook over 40 inches on the reefs of the gulf.

Good luck

 

 

 

09/24/16

From Zero to Hero trash to cash? Yes the fishing industry is cashing in on Red Fish which all got it's start with Chef Paul Prudhomme when he created the Blacken fish craze. Before this Red Fish were considered Salt water Carp. One of my first Fishing memories is going to P.C. Beach and there was a guy fishing with a pile of several fish behind him, When I asked what they were he said damn Salt water carp not good for anything and this place is infested with them.
I should note the Chef's recipe came out not long after which consist of The fish dipped in melted butter and then dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices, usually some combination of thyme, oregano, chili pepper, peppercorns, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. It is then cooked in a very hot cast-iron skillet. The characteristic brown-black color of the crust results from a combination of browned milk solids from the butter and charred spices. While the original recipe calls for Red fish, the same method of preparation can be applied to other types of fish and other protein sources, such as steak or chicken cutlets. I got this from wikipedia page titled Blackening cooking

within 3 years the Red Drum was put on the endangered list and we were not allowed to keep any Reds at all. Red Drum had become one of the highest priced food fish in the country. We all long for the good old days, I can tell you not all of the good old days were that good, I can remember when you could fish for a month and never hook a Red Fish, And before that when no one cared or even thought that catching one was good, forget cool or catching a bunch in a trip was considered a good day, it was more like catching a bunch of cat fish now.
It was President George Bush who signed Executive Order 13449 Oct of 2007 which provides game fish status protecting Striped Bass, & Red drum from commercial harvest in Federal waters, Many states like Florida already had laws prohibiting the sale of Red Fish, Now there are a couple of fish farms selling Red Drum. But very little commercial harvest any more.

So any way, Why Red fish not Snook before the 2000's Snook was the Fish what made the red fish the Fish of choice, the reason MONEY, Ever ask your self why is Bass fishing so big? Simple they are in almost every state, So tackle companies can sell a lot of bass tackle. That is the same reason Carp are such a big thing in Europe they are in almost very country, more sales of product, Snook on the other hand are only south of Tampa it is a South Florida phenomenon where as Red drum are in all of the Gulf states and up the Atlantic Sea board, Much larger opportunity to make money.
So the lowly Red Drum/Channel Bass/Spot tail bass/ or Red Fish became a Super star in the fishing world.


Red fish laws have gone from no regulation to a ban on keeping any Red fish for a few years then for a couple years You could keep a Red fish but they had a Season the Seasons for Red fish were simple when Snook was open, Red Fish was Closed and when Snook was Closed Red Fish were open. to finally as it is today where there is no closed season but you are allowed to keep only one Red per person per day, Now the is talk and so far only talk about removing the Slot limit from the Red fish and the fish could be anything over 18 inches, I am on the fence with this one. The is not a lot of difference if you take a smaller or larger red as far as over all fish stock, Gone is gone but it would make more fish available to keep, right now anything 27 inches or larger has to go back, So that part would take more Reds from the wild, which I guess is the problem with that. I my self would like to see the slot moved up the board to 21 inches up to 30 inches. The only reason is I like to eat Red fish and there is not much meat on an 18 inch Red. If you took a Snook 27 inches and a Red fish 27 inches the Red fish would have almost ½ of the meat on the fillet that a Snook has. Red Fish have a big head and shoulders with a huge crusher plate in it's mouth to Smash Crabs or Oyster shells to get the meat from inside. This takes a lot of room in the front of a Red fish, so the meat starts after that big head.

 

I should say here not every body thought Red Fish were trash fish, we has some of the most amazing older Black women who I am sorry to say have almost all passed away, They knew how good the Red Fish is to eat and they taught their Sons and Daughters. So they were way ahead of the curve.

 

Just some random thoughts and memories from Fishin Frank of Fishin Franks now with two locations 4425-D Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte 33980 and 14531 N. Cleveland ave North Fort Myers 33903

 

 

11/23/2016

OK it is a big deal Trout December, Yes the cooler water has brought in a bunch of our spotted buddies,
and the Best places for them are along the Sand bars, Poppin corks with alive shrimp or your favorite lure, and speaking of favorite lures and boats and things I hope you mad it to the Fort Myers boat Show Wow this was the largest boat show I have ever seen on the west coast of Florida from Jon Boats even a couple of kayaks to Monster Yachts and bay boats, flats, boats and pontoons of every type you could imagine. Thousands of people came to look and buy, We had some competition this year. We always do the fishing Village which is at the west end of the boat show people come down and I warn them walk a bit farther and you will walk off the end of the world, the show was so long it was just hard to believe it had an end. But our competitor this year for who was the most asked for where are they. The bathrooms beat us out by 5% I think the voting was rigged myself, OK had to throw that in Yes we were a close 2nd to the bath rooms for the most asked for place at the boat show and hey if you have to be 2nd place it is just hard to beat the bath rooms.
I did have one strange experience with a couple of city ladies. I was standing at our casting tank showing a couple guys how life like the Savage line through Trout look. I mean a dead ringer for a live Trout, Savage has a few sizes in the casting tank I had the 12 inch and the 6 inch. I was showing a couple guys the 12 then the 6inch and they went off to pay for a couple of the 6 inch as they were heading out Snook fishing that night. As they were walking off a couple of women about my age walked up to the tank and stood there looking at it. Now they did not have the look of someone wanting to buy a lure to go Snook fishing, but hey you never know. So I asked may I help you are explain something for you. The woman closest to me who had now bent over the tank and had been staring at the larger plastic Trout lure said “Do you know that fish has a hook in it?” whoa now OK I’ll bite thinking they were giving me a hard time, I said well you know with fishing some times that happens and a fish can get snagged with all of the hooks we have in that tank. Hey I thought that was pretty funny, until she said “Well are you going to get that hook out of that poor little fish. OK city slicker alert!! this is not an out doors person. So I am now wondering what to do? What to say? She is just a concerned older lady who REALLY needs better glasses as she is standing less than three feet from the plastic lure. So I said trying not to hurt her feeling or ruin her day. “Well the fish is a little stressed, so I am giving it some quiet time, if I try to get the hook out now it could cause physical or emotional damage to the fish, so once it has had some quiet time I would remove the hook as gently as possible. Now I can introduce you to women from major cities who would out fish you or me and out hunt us as well. I am not sure if this person had ever left the confines of the concrete canyons before. But as a final warning to me with a look of daggers and disgust you better get that hook out of that fish, I promised her I would not harm the fish, which I know was true it is plastic after all and with a last mean look at the bad man she walked off. So I can say with out a doubt Savage lures makes the most life like plastic lures I or a city woman ever have seen. And I have been properly chastised for harming one. So take my advice try a Savage lure, but do it in secret if you have friends from the inner city who don't get out much.
In the last 32 years of being in the tackle business that take the cake for getting chewed out over a plastic lure.
Anyway we had a blast at the boat show with fishing simulators going and people telling fishing stories from all over the country. I heard Wall-eye, Halibut, Salmon, Trout, Bass, Every possible fish and saw pictures from every where, it was truly a great show. And to the woman I did not hurt the fish when I removed the hook to put up the lure for the night, I promise I didn’t
Fishin Frank

 

11/23/2016

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, St. Lucia Day, Boxing day, Krampusnacht, Saint Nicholas' Day, Saint Lucia's Day, , Anastasia of Sirmium, Twelve Days of Christmas, Pancha Ganapati, Quaid-e-Azam's, Hogmanay night, & Happy New Year. Around the world we celebrate holidays of food and family in December, along with a lesser known but really not important holiday Fishin Franks Birthday, a Holiday of where the whole family gets together and enjoys Fishin and Catchin a day of pure fun and relaxation for the whole family.
Yes South west Florida is the perfect place to celebrate F.F.B.D. We have fresh water, Salt water flats fishing, Harbor fishing, deep water Gulf Fishin, Pond and Creek, and lakes what ever you are into if it is fishin, pretty much you can find it here, Fly Fishin, Spin, or bait caster, You fish from Piers, shoreline, Boats little or big. I am not sure of a lure or bait which will not find a taker here in the vast array of Fishin we have to choose from to choose from. With all that Fishin there is a by product, Fishin tackle Rods and reels which like the F.F. Day have survived for many years in attics and basements across the globe. And now are finding they need a new home, People say I have out grown my home here but I just keep stuffing more things into it. You may be thinking of getting rid of some of yours. Here are some things to think about.

What is the real value of an old reel. The value is you. Things we have and which are close to us, are like a picture of us for our family. A guy came in the other day asking me about the price of his old reels, one of which was his grand fathers, and he was in his 70's, How or why would you put a price on that, is hard to figure. I have a Pocket watch which was my grandfathers, I would not sell it at any price. Think how much that reel would mean to your grand kids or their kids, Even if they do not fish, Hey every family has some weird folks in it. But there is hope one day they will fish, But it is not them using the reel which is important, every time they see it on the shelf, they will think of you. The images from something like that are stronger than a picture.

 

Reels which have lasted decades in an attic, will often go bad very quickly when used in Salt water, So if you have an old reel handed down from family, it is OK to use it, but to keep it nice wipe it off with get-some oil or reel magic, or Penn reel cleaner, just like when you wash your car, You rinse it and you see soap spots all over it, when you rinse your reel and rod off with a hose, there is still spots of salt, wiping it with a dry rag then a rag with oil, will keep it in the family for years to come. Altho putting on a shelf, it still the best way to keep it. One other problem older reels have is bake a lite, that is the name of the first man made material, sort of plastic but it gets brittle with time, and the new braided line can burst the spool on the reels, if the reel has a metal spool this will not happen. So be careful when putting new technology with old school tackle.

So like old friends our tackle stays with us, and like me it just keeps on going, a little corroded maybe a little rusty and creaks a bit, But from an old creaky Guy in the bait shop, I wish you a happy holiday and hope your year end with the fish you dreamed of. Thanks for another great year and most of all thanks for not making me get a real job.

 

Thanks to all of our friends and customers for a great year. Best wishes, From Andrew, Austin, Barb, Greg, Jeff, Josh, Mike, Robert, Steve “Two legs”, Steve “Peg leg” Vinnie,

Thanks to all of our friends and customers for a great year, From Robert, And me Fishin Frank & “T” Terry my sweetie. We have had a great time with our Customers during the last few Decades and to see you all next Year. Now enough reading go catch some FISH.

11/25/16

Boat Shows are a real experience, this last week we spent at the fort Myers Boat show it is the largest coolest boat show on the west coast of Florida, This started last Spring when I got together with John who runs the boat show and negotiated for a huge space in the back part of the show, I had already had a 16' trailer from Roy' Trailer, It is an enclosed trailer for hauling things to show we do off site. But that was not going to get it this year. So with help from Roy's they built me a 22' extra wide and extra tall trailer with a 7 foot tall rear ramp door on the back so we could walk our product walls in and still have room for everything thing else, So armed with 2 trailers full of stuff to the boat show we went, Wednesday is set up day. 11 of us spent 6 hours setting up tents and displays getting every thing, and If I say so myself it was really cool. Our Seminar area in the big top, had chairs and a lure demo tank so when the Captains talked about a lure they could show the people how it worked, not just talk about it. So Wednesday night we packed it in with a plan. I should have been worried.
 

I remind you of of an old saying, If you want to hear God laugh, “tell him your plans”.
Thursday morning we get to the show a couple hours early to get set up and the strangest thing thing the outsides of our tents are dry, no water on top of them but everything inside was soaked! Lure packages falling off the walls, reel boxes water logged mess, there were cork handled rods with water soaking into the cork under the plastic, What??? how is this possible? The ground is soggy, puddles of standing water. So the “rain” poured up into our tents the water dripping from the tops, I just could not think of how the insides of all the tents soaking all our stuff, how did that much rain get in and not have the trees dripping wet. The city did not turn off the sprinklers in the park, So it did “rain up” that night.

 

The Pirate crew and I set about laying thing out to dry, and get ready, We sent Greg back to the store with his pick up truck to get more product to replace the stuff which had fallen off the wall, what else could I do but {water damage sale}


We have fishing simulators which are just a lot of fun and a great way to test Rods and reels, I keep three units so we have backups, Tested Wednesday night, all good Thursday with the in-door rains one was fried, the circuit board had gotten wet, No problem one still working and I have a back up, got the back up simulator and nothing, opening it up we found a mouse has set up house inside the Sim, Really?


We by 10:30 we had every set up and our Fishin Village was up and running full speed almost with Lure demo tanks, Okuma/Savage showing their new Swimming lure, If you see it on the wall just another lure, but in the water WOW the real fish looking thing Ever, We had kids thinking the lures were real fish, I know I shouldn't have, but I would whistle and call the fish while pulling on the line, Kids were amazed the fish would come when I called. I almost had a couple of Adults thinking I had trained a pet fish.


Being way in the back of the show it was great Lots and lots of people stopping by our fishing village for the seminars which were a little hard to hear as my P.A. System quit working water getting into it from the in-door rain storm, But the Captains did an excellent job of teaching,

 

Life at the boat show settled into to enjoying our time. Until Saturday night, T and I were leaving and from the bridge we noticed the rear door of our brand new trailer was left down. Oh well nothing in it except some rod racks we weren't using. No problem.


Sunday morning heading to the boat show were hopeful, the sun was trying to shine, the weather people were going to be wrong no more rain. I should have been afraid.

 

 

 

12/19/16

Oh Happy days I am So over 2016 the year that went by in an instant and took a decade to get through, Big question. Is there any fish left here to catch? Massive rains started off the year, then hot weather caused bacteria to hit record levels, add to that Algae growth near horrific levels from lake and river water, run off, the rains ended and the Red tide began, what? O.M.G. 2016 just all around a bummer.

 

So any fish left to catch, hard to believe but yes there is fish here even bait fish are starting to show up. Where did they hide/ where were they? Little know is even after a Red Tide there could be some good come from it. Yes Red tide not only kills fish but some types of Algae and a bunch of tiny creatures leaving the water crystal clear as it departs, and the dead fish if left to go to the bottom are food for tons of Shrimp and crabs Neither which are effected by Red tides and the fish are coming in, Many fish like the Sea Trout do not “live”here and were just on the way in when the Red tide happened and the Harbor is loading up with Trout, Cobia which we have had quite a few reports are another fish which travels a lot. So all good there. I am not sure in the beginning of 16 where the reds had gone, maybe through a tear in the time space continuum? But we could not find any Red fish or even bait, since then it has all changed. the red Fish are on good numbers as Bull and Turtle bay start showing fish and now look at the east side of the Harbor where the Trout and even Pompano and a few flounder, with plenty of Snook up by the mangroves.

 

Some tricks to catching fish right now are if you can get out in the gulf and troll a set of 4 lures, Back right a rapala, XRMAG-15 this is a Blue with black spot diving lure which will get you down about 15 feet, then on the other side a Sebile 228 Slow sink Green mackerel Magic swimmer, these are your King mackerel and or what ever big fish lures. The snack food lures which will catch larger or small fish and give you a lot of fish activity or bites, on the forward set of rod holder on one side put a Williamson Flash feather FFR5PW this pink and white little beauty will dance close to the surface, on the opposite side place a Storm twitch TWS08614 these two are really for fun and entertainment, They will catch fish larger or small, great for Tuna or kings or Bonita really even blue runners and Spanish mackerel. Now I pick a path for trolling based on whee the reefs are. I always want to troll between two reefs, one food source to another. At least it is better than blind trolling, Keeping an eye on the sky for birds diving or fish blowing up on the surface. And if I am on the way to a reef I can stop and bottom fish for Snappers or Grouper,

Speaking on bottom fishing a cool trick is to use sardine for Grouper over the last couple week a couple of our customers have been catching kings while bottom fishing for Grouper. We think the Snapper are throwing up the bait they ate when reeling them up with ended up chumming the kings, Weird enough but quite possibly true. Keeping a sardine on the hook when bottom fishing is not easy. So I cheat take a box of whole squid with you which is great bait for snapper any way and you should have some.
Now lay the Squid on it's side and slice a ¼ inch cross section so it looks like a rubber band. Place that ring of squid over the head of the sardine and just past where the head connects put the hook through the squid and the sardine and through the other side of the squid ring and this keeps the sardine on the hook and you catch more fish.


The fishing in the gulf is hard core right now with a lot of what they call reef donkeys as they pull so hard or to you land lubbers like I was Amber Jacks, Always check to make sure they are in season as it changes but holy moley fish man are they a Battle.

Inshore is a shrimp thing now and the Trout and fish are really moving in a both sides of the Harbor,
the ole fashion poppin cork and a shrimp is still one of the best ways to find fish on the flats right now, either Anchored up or drifting, Hard to beat what works,,

Happy new Year
Fishin Frank

2016

 

 

2016

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2015

2015

01/26/2015

Hi there boys and girls
I have decided to go fishin Mondays with my dad, Just to let you know he is the original Fishin Frank, and boy this was a heck of a Monday to start, Jan 26th started out nice as could be at 6:am but by 7:am the front was here, the air temp dropped and the rain and wind blew in, and I knew this was going to be a fishin trip, not a catchin trip. But we loaded up the little boat and off we went to Hathaway Park out of Washington loop. Our thought was maybe the front would not stop the freshwater catfish from biting, hint it did.
Dad and I launched the boat and headed up the creek watch the depth finder when we found a deep hole we would then Anchor up above the hole. Dad would cast a night crawler just to the edge of the hole trying to get it to fall slide down the side of the hole to the bottom and wait for the cat fish. Well we waited next to a half dozen holes and no cat fish would come and play.
Shell creek is narrow and it could be blowing 40 mph you are not going to have waves and I will tell you, I had forgotten what a beautiful ride it is up the Creek, And I’ve seen up a lot of creeks as you would guess often with out a paddle, This time with a 20 horse out board, and being there is a real treat, The banks are oaks, cypress, and palms, with Vines and cypress knees stickin up all over. really quite beautiful and lots of Turtles getting warm in the sun, Hard to believe how deep the creek is many spots of 12, 15, even 20 feet of water in a lot of holes, an average depth of 6 foot, with the shallowest water we found at 5 feet,
The ramp at Hathaway is a little steep but not bad. I was not in the mood for live bait.
So choice was a Plastic dinger worm hoping for bass, and a beetle spin. I flipped that dinger in to weeds and along the shore line as we moved up the creek and one bend I got a hit but swing and a miss, It felt like a smaller fish, but I would have been ok with that. So on the way back down the creek I choose a beetle spin which is my go to lure, after all everything eats a beetle spin, and Creek-Zilla was no exception, I had been casting the shore nothing, and then started trolling the spin, still nothing, we were at the 2nd bend from the ramp and I decided to reel in. and Just to cast at a bunch of Lilly pads, So I made my first cast when the beetle spin hit the water I would let it fall for the first couple feet then a Small twitch to the spin after that a moderate steady retrieve, this style has worked for me many times before, the 2nd cast the beetle spin hit right at the edge of the weeds and it was on the drop and I just twitched it, and Wham something slammed that beetle spin and took off for the bottom my rod bent over double, I was praying my 10 pound line would hold, when ping my lure came flying to the surface. Swing and a miss! I told dad. then finished reeling in the beetle spin. after getting it in my hand I looked and something had ripped off the spinner blade which has never happen to me before, and crushed the hook. So I was fish less and befuddled what could have ripped of the spinner and crushed the Hook, up here in a creek? I though about trying again but it was getting dark and cold and I found my self completely under gunned for the situation, But now I know where Creek-Zilla lives and I will be back.
If you have not been fresh water fishing lately give Shell creek a try.  I have maps on how to get there on fishinfranks.com “click” Where to go fishing maps.  But I am not telling where Creek-zilla is, we have a personal score to settle
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02/24/15

 
Dad and I decided to go fishing on Monday, as that is not a real busy day on the water. How Ever the store is slammed on Monday’s so by the time dad is ready I end up running out the door. Last week I forgot the bait, Yes I forgot to take bait on my way to go Fishing. This week Dad picked up the bait in the morning. I won’t live that down for a while. Our trip this week was to Pirate Harbor and the flats Just north of there. We started out inside the canals looking to see if the Trout were still hanging out, not so much Dad got a 14 inch Trout. he had a slip sinker rig with a 1/2 once weight using as Live Shrimp. Not very exciting as we had been there about a 30 minutes before we got our first hit. I was using My storm twitch for 15 minutes then switched to a Paddle tail jig. So I could bounce it off the bottom. No luck either way, But then again Dad only caught the one Trout. so we saw a couple People catch some Cat-fish and decided we were heading out on the flats, Going out on the open flats the wind was perfect for a drift, So we started drifting and casting in front of the boat while we moved, The best part of drifting is you can see if there is fish moving where the fish lay lots of information to be had just by looking, I can tell you the thing I learned there are no fish in the open, it will be around the middle of February before the fish are back on the open flat, We stayed with out fish less drift until we came to a set of islands, then using my stick in as a push pole, guided the boat to drift right between two of them and the was a nice ditch. trough running about 4 foot deep between the islands, we casted the trough then just before we got to the back side of the island I anchored the boat and dad tossed his Shrimp under the poppin cork 3 feet from the mangroves and Blamm, that bait must have hit that Red fish while it was yawning right in the mouth and it was on, Boiling and fighting. saw another Red following the one on his line I tried casting at it but no luck. Dad’s Red was heading around the boat so I reeled in and took up the landing net and camera. Dad got the red in Nice fish about 25 inches and foot-ball fat Fish. We fished the island for a while but we had made a lot of noise while landing the first one and getting pictures, we had spooked the fish.
 
Why was that Red fish there in that spot?  Time for a little Lewis and Clark aka exploring. It is not enough for me to catch a fish in a spot, I want to know if there is a chance that there will be more fish there. Why was the fish there anyway?  It is crazy but after 30 some years of fishing the Harbor I had never fished these islands before, so we idled the boat along the shore line spooking out two more reds, It turns out there is a nice deep hole there 3 to 4 foot deep maybe 20 feet long and 8 feet wide, right against the shore line and that hole connects to the cut between the two islands, So the fish can be in the currant during the incoming tide and sit back next to the island as the water gets low. Perfect place to hold Red fish or Snook. Now I have a map of that hole in my head, I used the stick it pin to find the depth, I am going to mark my stick it pole with foot marks so I can tell how deep each spot is, I count anything more than 6 inches as a hole, figuring the average depth two feet that is 25 % of the depth, So a hole. I am excited about going back there to try this spot when I know where to anchor and where to cast. I even went around the outer island to make sure I could get in that way. So I will be ready next time. I will let you know what happens.
 
we fished around a couple more islands spooked some fish, but they were not ready to eat, So we headed out by the Sand bar to See if the fish out there were ready to play, We anchored where we could see dark and light places in our casting zone. Then Putting Shrimp under Poppin corks Cast out lines out the sides of the boat, so they would drift back behind us covering as much water as possible. I decided to help the fish find us, So I took a bag of Frozen Shrimp and crushed the shrimp in my fingers and started tossing them out in a broad pattern behind the boat. Just to get some smell in the water, It worked and about 10 minutes after I started the chumming Dad got a bite feisty little fish. Getting it to the boat Puffer
Puffers really like Shrimp, They are just the craziest little fish. with a sharp beak like Jaws like a parrot, they are biters. But so cool when they blow up. Then the Line we had a shrimp on with a sinker on one of the sand holes goes screaming off, I picked it up and the fish ran way off to the side of the boat, and I now there is something weird with the world when it turned out to be a cat-fish. But I will not complain about the kitty at least I was not fish-less. This is the problem when you start chumming on the flats, it can bring in any fish. not just the ones you want. Dad caught a couple more puffers than the needle fish starting hitting. You can tell the needle fish by the way they attack your bait. the bait will go sideways and so will your poppin cork, So if your bobber lays on its side and you see a light splash in the water where you bait should be that’s a Needle fish striking your bait.
I knew Vinnie was going to Pirate Harbor to try for Trout, So I called him, while calling I put the Rod in the rod Holder and Just as Vinnie started to tell me about the Snappers biting inside Pirate harbor, line rod bent double, and I saw the most Amazing Sea Trout I would guess close to 30 inches Jump into the air Spit my hook and laugh at me all the way back into the water. Yes I should have expected that. any way we had a great trip, with only 3 ours to fish, we had a Nice Red fish to fillet, released a Trout, caught a few Puffers and robbed by needle fish, and I caught a crazy side ways running Cat-fish. Found a new spot to fish. Oh and Vinnie and Darlene caught a Cobia at the mouth of Alligator Creek 1 inch shy of keeper.
It was a good day. Oh the other thing slow down, lures should be slow and steady, don’t pop the poppin corks. and you will catch fish. Everything is slow. By the middle of February The water should start warming up and you can pick up speed but to be honest, the weather, the water, the fishing, all are perfect right now, the catching could be a little better.
Enjoy have fun
Fishin Frank

 

03/22/15

tired of waiting the Mack attack is here
Spanish mackerel are in the Harbor in good numbers, From Marker #2 to the 41 bridges, Then they seem to space out a little and start again by the reef, the largest grouping of Spanish is at the south end of the Harbor by Marker #5 and cape haze, with Jug creek shoals coming in a close 2nd.

Spanish are very well-known for taking lures so unlike most fish I often tell people to troll lures they don't use any more or don't like much, The lures need to be smaller 3 inches or less. and while it is thought that the Mackerel will bite through the line, which is sort of true it is the buddies of the one you have hooked which bite through the leader/ line. When one Mackerel gets hooked up its excited thrashing around makes the rest of the School think it has the best food ever, and they come to get in on the feast. Mackerel will hit anything which moves or makes noise, which if you think about it, if a mackerel got 4 foot I don't think I would go in the water. Getting back to the point the one hooked gets the other excited and they start darting about looking for the thing which got the other fish so excited and your swivel or the knot which attached the leader to your line is a perfect target even where your line is hitting the water, the V it makes while you reel in is fair game to crazy feeding Spanish.

 

If you are looking for very good lures to troll, try the Maverick Golden eye in the small version or the Storm twitch these lure have a lip on them and do not spin when you troll them, use a light rod. Lets say a 6 to 12 pound class 7 foot spinning or bait cast set up with some thing 6 pound test or more.
I troll at about 3 miles per hour for the mackerel.

 

Another trick I learned is to keep the rods I am trolling in front of me, I mounted Rod holders on the front deck of my boat so I can watch where I am going and see when a fish hits. If you do not have front mounted Rod holder any couple of your friends will do just fine. If they are in front of you, you can see when the rod gets hit and stop the boat if the people or Rods are behind you, you may not find out about what is happening until you are out of line.
 

To make sure the rods and lures are working right watch the tip of you rods they should be vibrating the tip of the Rod that is. The lures have a lip on the front of them which when pulled through the water causes them to be pulled under and the force of the water gets deflected off of the lip causing the lure to swing side to side imitating a swimming action of a bait fish. that Side to side movement of your lure, makes the tip of your rod bounce ./ vibrate in time with the side to side action and So when you look at your rod it should be bent a little and vibrating, if the rod end is bouncing or Best case pulling hard, meaning joy of joys you have a fish on, or if pulling down a bit then rebounding back up would mean a very small fish or a weed has been caught in the lure. either way reel in clear the lure and start again.
If you are going to cast for mackerel I would suggest Spoons or Got-cha lures. Spoons should be small Like the Clark Squid Spoon #0 or #00 problem is they are too light to cast so I put a water fill-able casting bubble on the line a head of the Spoon to give it weight in the air but once the bubble hits the water it is nothing just a plastic bubble full of water. The got-Cha lure is different it is a jig type bait and should be reeled in moderately fast with a jigging action, which means while reeling steady you would sharply lift the tip of your rod. Then lower it, repeating this the whole time you are retrieving the lures

 

Spanish Mackerel are not a fish to catch and freeze for later, The meat is not tasty after being frozen. So I only keep them if I am going to have time to clean and cook them that night. If I am going to have time I will keep 3 for two people, The seem like more than you would want but if you have a grill some butter, and McCormick brand lemon herb Spice. It may not be enough. I butter one side of the Fillet, then sprinkle some of the lemon Herb on it and place that side down on the hot grill. Oh yes when you fillet a Spanish watch for bones by the belly, Spanish are tricky to fillet properly and get out all of the bones. after removing the skin rub your fingers up and down the meat. Your finger can feel bones way better than your eyes can see them. When the side facing down on the grill is brown I butter the top side add some seasoning and fill it over. brown on both side is done.
Serve with your choice of side dish as you will only be thinking about eating more of the mackerel any way.
Good luck out there, have fin and be safe
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

03/11/15

 

Shell creek is not that different from most creeks as the fish tend to hold in the bends of the creek, Anchor on the inside of a curve and fish the out side bend
That is where the water will be deeper and the currant a little faster making better habitat for the fish. Cat fish and Crappie like fallen trees. The Crappie will be under a tree
or in the middle of the branchs, the cat fish like to hang out near the out side of the obstruction waiting for food to wash around it.
I wish there was a super sercret spot or thing you can do, but I go through with my depth finder on, and find holes. figure out where I should put / anchor my boat
Then go some where else and fish for a 1/2 hour or so, the quietly go back to the spot I mapped out and fish it. When I am finding a spot the motor and me checking depths will
often run the fish out, So I go some where else then come back after the spot settles down again
Good Luck
Fishin Frank

 

04/25/15

Ahh the cool weather of Spring time. what wait a minute you are not in South west Florida. Here it we went from a beautiful warm winter right into Summer. one day I walk out of the house at 5:am and it was chilly and the next day it was hot and humid. wow what a change. The water temps are that of what should be June, the gulf is on the mid 80’s and parts of the Harbor are reaching 90 degrees. So what's all this mean well good news Shark and Tarpon even Cobia are all here and biting in full out eat something mode. But the flats is a different story as the water warms up you will need to start slowing down, much the same as when the water gets below 70 degrees in the winter, the main difference is the lack of oxygen, Hot water will not hold oxygen so the fish slow down just as you do when it is hot. a neat trick I use in the winter and summer months is to use a very small reel, instead of using a 4000 or 40 size reel I switch to a 1 or 2000 size, even though when you turn the handle it spins at the same speed like 50 to 1 ratio, the spool size is much smaller so you bring in less line per turn of the handle when retrieving a lure, allowing the fish time to see it, hear it and make up it’s mind to eat it.

Now the middle of the Harbor is deeper and deeper water takes longer to heat up, and the fishing there continues to be good. the Tarpon who may breath either under water or air form above don’t care what the oxygen in the water is, and are hanging out in the deep holes of the Harbor where fish like whiting, cat fish and or thread fins are hiding from the heat. and while seeing rolling tarpon is always better I would say weather you see Tarpon rolling or not. stop over the deep hole either the middle hole or the 20 foot hole and on one rod put out a live thread fin free line, and on the other rod a cut bait under a float. The cut bait should be about 5 to 6 feet below your bobber or float and the size of your fist,
now this is not written in stone you may place the live thread fin under the float and let the cut bait free line, if you do this I would take off the Fluorocarbon leader and replace it with the AFW knot-able steel leader. The new leader from AFW you do not need crimps tools or a lighter to melt it. You just tie it the same way you would tie on your fluorocarbon leader including a line to line knot. then just tie on your hook. any knot will hold but a Uni knot works best. keep in mind when tying a uni  to uni from your braid line to the leader pull slowly and when tying on your hooks pull the knot down to the hook not the leader through the eye of the hook or the leader can get curly on you. This new steel leader we have tested it on Tarpon, Sharks, Snook, red fish, and you will get a few more hits while using fluorocarbon leader, but if you are dragging a cut bait free line while Tarpon fishing you will lose a lot of leader to the sharks, and if you switch to the AFW tie-able steel you will hook up and land not only the Tarpon but the Sharks as well, and that is cool. The one thing is if the water is very clear as it is along the beach, the Tarpon will see that steel more so than in the darker waters of the Harbor, and there is not the shark problem along the beaches so there along the beaches I would stay with the 60 pound Fluorocarbon leader. but in the Harbor I would switch it when ever you are free lining. after all a hook up with a Shark or a hook up with a Tarpon both are fun.


Too sum this month up. Try every thing,

 

 

05/24/15 

Picking the line to fish with,

This is a big question now, should I use braided line or Mono, Mono Filament line is a solid plastic line getting it's name from a single or {mono} filament invented in 1938, but was stiff and kinky and not until the mid 1960's was it really usable to fish with. Braided line is a type of cloth and from Kevlar, Yes bullet proof vest thread. While not exactly Kevlar close enough. Lets start with that, Braided line is amazing new line because it allows you fish fish with very heavy line, that is so small you can cast 20 pound test with the ease of 8 pound mono. Yes there is a difference between how thin a line is and the castiblity of the line, Take 30 pound braided line it is smaller than 12 pound mono, but when you throw it on a fishing rod it will cast the same distance as #12 mono , So 2o pound braid while the size of 4 pound mono will cast like 8 pound. Braid line is more resistant to scarping against barnacles so wears better than mono, Mono filament line tends to twist when used on s Spinning reel, and to get the twist our you would drag it behind the boat as very slow speed, When twisted mono looks a lot like wrought iron, and when pulled through the water the water would work out all of the twists in about 1 to 2 minutes. Braided line when it gets twisted just will not UN-twist when pulled through the water, some of the twist will come out but it takes 5 time longer to get the twist out. Braided line, being cloth material dose not hold the shape as will mono to help the water work the twist out. Good news is that it take 5 times longer to see the or have the twist in braided line become a problem.

 

Braid is stronger than mono line. That is what most people think and not really true. Braided line has no give or stretch, So on a flat dead pull with no jerking it is very strong, but if you pull then jerk on the braided line it will pop quite easy. This is the reason I use braided line when fishing against the mangroves or under docks, I use it because it breaks so easy, If you hang braided line in a tree branch a short sharp jerk of the line will pop the braid line easy, while mono fishing line stretches so much it is very hard to break and often sends high speed missiles back to the boat, the stretch acts like a sling shot. So contrary to people opinion I use braided so I can safety break it.

So if I am trolling or really open water fishing I still prefer mono as it gives/stretches when the fish hits making it hard to break. A hint if you are going to troll with braided, here is the equation. With mono line. The fish hits, the line stretches, the rod bends the drag on the reel gives. So when using braid to troll with. No stretch so set your drag at least 1/3 looser than you would with mono, so the fish will not break off.

Now mono line will get you more hits, the same way that Fluorocarbon leader will get you more hits than steel leader. So in open water I use mono to hook more fish, more fish on the line means more fun,
Now What color line is the best, not too ay years ago it was simple you had a choice of clear mono line or white mono line. Now the are tons of colors and lines with mixed colors, So which is best. that is easy they are all the best, but not all year, I had 8 rods and reels on the boat and each one had a different color line on it, no one colors catches more fish than the other all year, as the water colors changes and the conditions change so will the color of your line, I watched one color catch way more fish than the others only to fade back down to normal, then another color would get way more hits,
I fish every once in a while with white bait and white bait swims around a lot, now with each rod a different color I know which white bait is swimming behind the boat, or is under the boat and All I have to say is hey Yellow reel up, when the line were all one color everyone had to reel to find out whose bait it was. Tangles are easier to deal with when the lines are different colors as well, much simpler to get Yellow apart from green than green from green.
So there is no real down side to different colors other than we are not used to it,

Just to wrap this up as I could go on about a lot more issues, let me say, What is the best brand of braided line. There is not a best one. They are all good, the trick is to find which is the best for you, which brand of line cast good for you, with-out throwing wind knots, Some people will do better with one brand and some with an other. So if a line works for you, that’s means it is good. But it may not be the one for your fishing partner, how you cast, which rods and reel you put together. Whether you use bait or lures. All will make a difference in which line is the best for you. So when a line company says we are the best. No that is impossible, It is only true it may be the best for you.
Thanks I hope this helps
Fishin Frank

 

07/25/2015

31 years this month I have been here at Fishin Franks, well then again I am Fishin frank, So that stands to reason. July is the beginning and the end of the tackle year and the ICAST show or International; Convention of Allied Sport fishing, the largest tackle show in the world was held here in Florida, We walked for hours and had not seen 1/3 of the Show. After 2 days of walking we had at least waked by every booth and tried to talk for a minute with maufactures who had a different or new product.

Here is the old debate, Do I or should I buy lures that catch fish or buy lures that catch fisherman? If a lure would catch every fish that swims and one one bought it, does it still catch fish? The simple truth is A lure has to catch fisherman first. Most lures work, That said I had a line of lures called killer baits, so life like, and the swimming action seemed looked perfect to me. I threw that lure on and off for 12 years until one day I caught a bunch of fish with it, Then threw it as far as I could out into the Harbor. For some one else to find and try, So looking realistic is only half the battle, but I was right, it caught a lot of fish, forgetting the 12 years it took to do it

I attended my first tackle show in 1985 a dealer show who is  long since out of business in Jacksonville. In the days it was hit the close out booth for deals and then on to the new. That is one thing which has changed 99 percent of the close out are there for a reason, and I have learned to go to the new stuff, Unless it is a local favorite which did not sell nationaly, which happens often sells like crazy here, but not in the rest of the country. In that case I buy all I can get. I had the same problems then with new products as I do now. Where to start and what's the difference between nuclear Chicken, Electric Chicken and Texas chicken? No it is not a new trend in fast food, it is color pattern names for lures, It is one of the many reasons to go to buying shows so you can see what the lures look like.

I am a hard body kind of guy, I can say with a grin I guess which mean I prefer lures made of hard wood or plastic, Top water style or diving crank baits I have just done better with them. My Dad like spoons, and a huge number of people are into Soft body baits or soft plastics, thousands of colors and hundreds of body styles I would need a store as big as Tampa it's self to hold them all.
In-line spinners off set spinners, the list goes on. And not to forget jigs, Jig heads with rattles or with out, Circle hook or “J' hook weed less or standard. Stand up or bonceing or swimming styles.

I am confused again, so many choices Sizes are easier, 3 to 3 ½ inch lures are the ones which catch the most fish. Larger lures for big fish only as the smaller fish can not get them into their mouths. Hard to say if a lure can be too big. After all we have some monster Fish here. I just bought some lures that are over 18 inches long and must weigh a couple pounds.

 

Looking at lures to try and picture what the action it has has gotten easier over the years, I spend many hours in a swimming pool or in the harbor under water watching lures fall towards the bottom, or having some one retrieve them past me. If you can figure out where the weight of the lure is. At the top it will tip over, when falling. Weight at the bottom it will drop, Round bodies will wobble going down.

 

One thing I did discover while under water looking at lures I found out why top water lures have different colors on the top or back of the lure than it odes on the bottom, A top water lure floats on the surface so I could not understand why the part not in the water would be a different color, when you are under water looking up you see three images of that one lure. In the middle you see the bottom of the lure on both side you see a mirror image of the back or top of the lure. So you really see more of the top color than you do the part actually in the water by refection.

 

So buying lures can be over wheming, I bought 6 new lines of lures some new ans a couple of classics
There is 60 million people going to fish here in the U.S. This year I figure out of that some one will like the new lures I bought.

 

 

 

 

08/26/15

Peace River We all know the Peace river is here, but do you know how cool it is? Lets start at the 41 bridges. Now the real mouth of the river is in a line from Ponce DE Leon park in Punta Gorda across to Hog Island. So the Gilchrist bridges or 41 bridges as we call them are really a little over 4 miles up river.
To get to where the river is fresh all year is about 17 miles up where Horse Creek enters the Peace river
or 22 from the mouth of the river. I thought I would throw that in as I get this question a lot, most people do not under stand the Peace river is 104 miles long and in the past a Major trade route for goods, before stage coaches and wagons, I guess I should say before roads, heavy goods were transported by barges. Now we use interstate Hwy but back then a lot easier to put a couple tons of stuff on a boat and push it.


Now lets get to the fishing, Snook fishing can be done on most of the peace river, Zolfo Springs and Wauchula have for part of the Year some very good Snook fishing. Even Tarpon can be found up the River.

Back to a trip up the river, Starting at 41 you are in a full on Salt water environment, as you pass the bridge for I-75 you are into a Mangrove environment, still salt water now once you pass Harbor heights you will see saw grass, This is where the transition starts, this is a true brackish water environment. Now watch the shoreline as you head up river at Harbor heights take the right fork and you will see the plants are changing more ferns, and the trees are different the Mangroves thin out and the Cypress tress begin to be more common, Watch Island 33 you will know which one this is as the channel marks stop here, you have been seeing the typical Red or green markers now in front of you is a marker with red and green on it, half and half. That is the Charlotte county line. And the channels markers stop here this is also the first place with less than 4 feet of water, you have been over holes deeper than 20 foot on your way here but in front of you is a shoal which extends all the way across the main channel of the river and at high tides there is 3 feet of water at lower tides less than 2. Now you can take and go around the back side of island 33 and while there is not much more water the bottom is soft and you will have no trouble making it through. In front on the main channel the bottom is much harder and may ding your prop. I always use the main channel as I run a flats boat and only need a foot of water to run comfortable. Once you are past island 33 hold to the out side bends of the river and there is not really any shallow places, until you get past the camp ground. And that is only shallow if you are not thinking out side of the bends, which means you must picture in your head an “S” follow the curves,
The fish will also hold on these out side bends. Near the shoreline and You could cast a lure like a Rat-L-trap or a Bomber at the shore or I prefer to troll these bends in the River. These bends get deep quick and it is a good idea to idle over a bend to see where the deep starts, Pick a tree on the shore as your guide. When I troll I am less than 5 feet from the bank so a certain tree is a good reference point to know where the deep part of the hole is.

Now the only tricky turn is at the water treatment plant, you will be running along and then find your self in a bay. The river had just taken a hard right which you will not have seen and now you are in the bay where we in Charlotte County get our drinking water from. I would take a few minutes to fish here.
In the water treatment bay there are often tarpon, and the Snook tend to lay up along the shore line on your right hand side, I like to anchor out in the middle and try for some of the giant Gar fish which live here not uncommon to find gar over 4 feet long. A shiner under a bobber with a 4/0 wide gap/ Kahele hook is the trick to fishing for them or catching them. If you are a Fly person, use a 2/0 hook with a piece of red ribbon, I would make the ribbon at least 4 inches long, I like 6 inches then I shred the last 3 inches. This works the gar go to attack the ribbon and their teeth get stuck in the shredded part.

Now lets get back to the river Now the river tends to look like Jungle, think Tarzan movies, Johnny Weissmuller filmed Tarzan movies here. It is the last transition Until you get to the real world again up in Arcida.come out of the bay and make a hard left and around the island you will see the bridge for hwy 761 go under the bridge, and all the way to the left hand shore line. There is a sand bar which comes off of the main channel of the river, which is on your right, If you go straight ahead the Snook fishing is great on the left hand bank but it is a dead end. Wait to head up the river until to get right in front of the main channel coming from the right, that will take you to the Fort Ogden trestle, where it is deep and the fishing is good right around the pilings. You may only get a little ways farther up river from here, take this next ½ mile slow there is no deeper section, and often fallen trees in the water at or near the surface. You will make a left turn and there is a nice beach and some bug round Piling maybe, I am sure at some time long ago there was a bridge or something here this is the mouth of Horse Creek ahead of you there is what we call the narrows, great fishing for Snook, Bass, Blue gills, even some times Red fish, the main channel of the river goes off to your right but is really shallow less than a foot deep. This is where I will stop as this is about where you need to stop, I have not been up past this for a year so, I will make a run up there and then I will continue our journey
to Arcadia and Points beyond as a last thought there is a great park in Arcadia on Hwy 70 at the edge of town fishing is OK, for Snook and or Bass, but a really nice park and a cool place to just check out by Car.

 

 

08-27-2015

Spinner baits. Come in many sizes types styles and There are in-line Spinners, but today I would like to talk about the safety pin type/style first commercial business to manufacture this off set or as the were first called safety pin started in 1951 in St Louis and it was Lloyd Johnson and Henry Denison who introduced the safety pin spinner bait with a clip on jig, who were later bought out by Johnson & Johnson, Yes the baby powder people. Johnson bought out by Johnson weird Yes but true, and to this day it is the Johnson beetle Spin. First and I would say still best of the beetle spins.
What was new and different was the sideways “V” shape of the safety pin type spinner which allowed the Spinner to be spinning right above the jig body. Spinner baits had been in line before this and the blade spun around the same line the hook was mounted to, Now the blade was above the hook on a swivel with a round shaped blade, it created a thumping noise in the water, the round shaped blade was replaced by what we call now-a-days a Colorado shaped blade which spins easier and if anything creates a better noise than the first round ones. Toady you can get off set spinner baits with Colorado, Willow leaf, or Indiana blades each has it's own sound when pulled through the water, and a huge variety of different bodies and tails, later stinger hooks were added for even better hook up to bite ratio.


What else was new? a brand new invention in the 1950's soft plastic lure bodies. Beetle pin choose a V tail which gave it such a new action. The problem was the soft plastic body needed replacing a lot. The fish tore up the plastic when striking the lure, which ruined the body, but also made it more profitable, selling replacement tails.

 

Fish did bite them and that led to another problem, fish much too large for the small jig hook hit the Beetle spin so the entire Jig head needed to be replaceable, which is what lead to and why to this day the same clip is used to hook on and quickly remove and replace the jig head. Come on that is really cool thinking. Sell replacement jig heads more money.

 

The basis of a Beetle Spin is the look of an open safety pin or for you younger people a sideways V shape..with the blade rotating on a swivel right over the top of the jig hook the thumping and flashing of the blade.

 

This leads me to how do you fish a Beetle spin, Cast it out and let it sink for a few seconds as the Blade spinning give the lure lift and it will want to go close to the surface of the water so I let it go almost to the bottom and when I start reeling my rod is at 90 degrees to the lure holding the rod sideways allows me to feel the thumping of the blade in the water and when the lure is working perfect you will feel it.
You rod will vibrate/pulse with the spinning of the blade. When you feel that you know you have the right speed of retrieve.

 

Old Stuff, dose not mean bad stuff, I am old and still work, dose the same apply to lures?
We get caught up in what's new, the latest and greatest. But at one time all lures were the latest and greatest. Let take the beetle spin. Spinner baits were started in 1951. In line spinner baits before that
more recent Strike king introduced the Red fish magic, a slightly larger beetle Spin made for Red fish.

The Red fish magic comes with a paddle tail soft plastic body n the Jig head, Which is there to catch fisherman. As it really dose not work well with an off set spinner, but people use them alone on a jig head and the Paddle tail catches a lot of fish. So it is more of what fisherman are used to. Back in the 1980's My late friend David who owned a lure company and I did a lot of research and found if a tube body was used on the off set spinner Snook, Trout, and Yes mostly Red Fish loved it. I think the thumping of the blade and the thumping of the paddle tail is too much, the Tube jig body crates a much more subtle sound and works great with the thumping of the spinner blade. In the picture you can see both.

 

I have caught fish in fresh water and Salt water with the small and larger versions of the beetle spin, The Small ones 1/8 and less are excellent for Silver and Spotted Sea Trout, Sand Bream, Mangrove Snappers. Blue runners and a host of other species.

 

Simple easy to use and what's great is that you feel the hit, the strike, the WHAM as a fish grabs the spinner and it will make you heat skip a beat. Almost literally


Good luck try one of the old beetle pins you have sitting in the bottom of your tackle box, I think the old guys will surprise you.
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

09/27/2015

Spinner baits. Come in many sizes types styles and There are in-line Spinners, but today I would like to talk about the safety pin type/style first commercial business to manufacture this off set or as the were first called safety pin started in 1951 in St Louis and it was Lloyd Johnson and Henry Denison who introduced the safety pin spinner bait with a clip on jig, who were later bought out by Johnson & Johnson, Yes the baby powder people. Johnson bought out by Johnson weird Yes but true, and to this day it is the Johnson beetle Spin. First and I would say still best of the beetle spins.
As a side note this is where the modern day Bass fishing spinner bait came from. Which is now used in both fresh and Slat water. I first used beetle spins in slat water as when I started I did not know there was a difference between fresh water lures and slat water lures. I still do not know the difference. A good lure is a good lure, I know someone told you there was a difference, but who told the fish?


What was new and different about the beetle spin was the sideways “V” shape of the safety pin style spinner arm which allowed the Spinner to be spinning right above the jig body. Spinner baits had been in line, before this and the blade spun around the same line the hook was mounted to, Now the blade was above the hook on an arm with a swivel to allow the round shaped blade, to spin, this created a thumping noise in the water, the round shaped blade was replaced by what we call now-a-days a Colorado shaped blade which spins easier and if anything creates a better noise than the first round ones. Toady you can get off set spinner baits with Colorado, Willow leaf, or Indiana blades each has it's own sound when pulled through the water, and a huge variety of different bodies and tails, later stinger hooks were added for even better hook up to bite ratio.


What else was new? a brand new invention in the 1950's soft plastic lure bodies. Beetle pin choose a V tail which gave it such a new action. The problem was the soft plastic body needed replacing a lot. The fish tore up the plastic when striking the lure, which ruined the body, but also made it more profitable, selling replacement tails.

 

Fish did bite them and that led to another problem, fish much too large for the small jig hook hit the Beetle spin so the entire Jig head needed to be replaceable, which is what lead to and why to this day the same clip is used to hook on and quickly remove and replace the jig head. Come on that is really cool thinking. Sell replacement jig heads more money.

 

The basis of a Beetle Spin is the look of an open safety pin or for you younger people a sideways V shape..with the blade rotating on a swivel right over the top of the jig hook the thumping and flashing of the blade.

 

This leads me to how do you fish a Beetle spin, Cast it out and let it sink for a few seconds as the Blade spinning give the lure lift and it will want to go close to the surface of the water so I let it go almost to the bottom and when I start reeling my rod is at 90 degrees to the lure holding the rod sideways allows me to feel the thumping of the blade in the water and when the lure is working perfect you will feel it.
You rod will vibrate/pulse with the spinning of the blade. When you feel that you know you have the right speed of retrieve.

 

Old Stuff, dose not mean bad stuff, I am old and still work, dose the same apply to lures?
We get caught up in what's new, the latest and greatest. But at one time all lures were the latest and greatest. Let take the beetle spin. Spinner baits were started in 1951. In line spinner baits before that
more recent Strike king introduced the Red fish magic, a slightly larger beetle Spin made for Red fish.

The Red fish magic comes with a paddle tail soft plastic body n the Jig head, Which is there to catch fisherman. As it really dose not work well with an off set spinner, but people use them alone on a jig head and the Paddle tail catches a lot of fish. So it is more of what fisherman are used to. Back in the 1980's My late friend David who owned a lure company and I did a lot of research and found if a tube body was used on the off set spinner Snook, Trout, and Yes mostly Red Fish loved it. I think the thumping of the blade and the thumping of the paddle tail is too much, the Tube jig body crates a much more subtle sound and works great with the thumping of the spinner blade. In the picture you can see both.

 

I have caught fish in fresh water and Salt water with the small and larger versions of the beetle spin, The Small ones 1/8 and less are excellent for Silver and Spotted Sea Trout, Sand Bream, Mangrove Snappers. Blue runners and a host of other species.

 

Simple easy to use and what's great is that you feel the hit, the strike, the WHAM as a fish grabs the spinner and it will make you heat skip a beat. Almost literally


Good luck try one of the old beetle pins you have sitting in the bottom of your tackle box, I think the old guys will surprise you.
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

 

12/22/15

My stinger list for 2016

In other years I have said I would join a gym, Lose weight, stop Smoking, Things like that, This year I am going to make resolutions which make sense, I do not think losing weight or starting to run or for goodness sake I am not joining another gym, these are normal New years resolutions, the reason we do not keep up on them is they only help with our body, It is my head which needs help. If you know me, well you understand that. So to get in shape this year I am going to go out and paddle a Kayak, row a boat, go wade fishing, take a walk on a sandbar, cast a lure. This will be good for the body and fore my peace of mind. I am going to get back to what makes life better. Being on or near the water. It really does not matter if it is a small fresh water stream, or the deep fathoms of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

I resolve for 2016 to spend more time cast8ing top water lures, The most exciting way to fish, You see the strike, feel the strike, get all of the battle of the Pull and struggle. Way too cool.

 

In fact 2016 is my year to fish. I am going to stop turn in a fish for no reason except the Gods have told me to stop, this is the best way to find new fishing spots.

I am going to get out onto the beautiful waters of the gulf and cruise the Stone crab Tarp buoys and find my huge Triple tail. The other thing I really wish to do in 2016 is cruise along the beach just off of Boca on top of the bar and skip some Pompano, You can skip Pompano off the bar between Burnt store and two pines quite often But I miss the green water and the Brighter colors of the Pompano when they are in the gulf.
I will make it back into Trout Creek and fish the bends of that creek free-lining a shrimp for huge Red fish.
I will get back to the inner Islands of the area between Bull and Turtle Bay where the Snook stack up against the Islands, And drift across the open Flat of Turtle bay casting / jigging a Tandem Lure jig and catch 50 Trout on a drift.

I will be at Marker #2 and Jug Creek Shoals just as the sun comes up and see the white bait start dimpling the surface of the waters.

I will be on the Gaprilla tailing flats after the other boats have left, and things get very quiet just before dark and see the Red fish begin to tail as they push their faces into the grass for food.

 

I just thought about it and it has been 2 years since I have been Grouper Fishing, Be afraid Groupers I will be in your neighbor-hood soon.
Another thing I will do in 2015 is troll the water of the Gulf for King mackerel and anything else that will hit.
I really need to go over to Lake Okeechobee and do some proper Bass Fishing, There are plenty of Bass to catch here in Charlotte County But I would like to be there as the sun comes up and the mist is still on the lake, If you ever fished fresh water you understand there is a smell or taste to the air which day break on a larger fresh water lake has that is like no where else on earth.


 

I will answer a question here, is which is better lures or Bait, That is a good question and which one should you use?
Depends on your mood fist of all do you feel energetic? If so cast a lure get with it, feel the strike of the fish. On my last trip out I used Live Shrimp as all I wanted was to kick back relax and enjoy sitting there watching the water and the clouds, the every once in a while a pesky fish would add a bit of excitement to the day.
Bait is better if you are fishing a spot, like a hole or little cove on a mangrove shoreline, or under a dock, as you can cast the bait there to that spot and the bait will help you find the fish there.

Now if I was going to fish a shoreline looking for fish or several docks along a canal, I would cast a lure, I can cover more water keep the lure working and find where the fish are, Often I will cast a lure until I hook a fish, then switch to bait to see if there are more fish in that spot.


 

Stat thinking about you new years resolutions, Like maybe I will learn to use a bait cast reel & rod, Bait cast reels do not cast bait very good at all, But they are way better for top water lures or Soft plastic Jerk baits. And it is fun and challenging, I have been in the parking lot with several customers teaching them how to set up a bait cast reel. What the Magnetic and friction controls do. How not to back lash.

 

So many things to so and 2016 is my Year to do them, I am confident I am determined and I will endeavor to persevere to make my goals. And unlike my quitting nicotine and losing weight or working out. I think I can do this, I thank I can
Happy New year Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

 

2015

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2014

 

02/20/2014

Busy, I guess is the key work of the month, Talks, shows, store, Tent sale, Ok I went Fishin, T and I got in the boat first time we were out in it. an Old skiff we picked up, and decided to do a little pre Snook season looking about, I want my Snook and I have two months to find him. March and April are both open to catch and eat Snook, and I missed last fall, got busy and it just went by. But not this season So we head out the canal and we looked at each other and we both had the same thought, lets just go hide and fish, It was just like work to have to go look for Snook, so the first cut between two islands we came to we pulled in idled along until we found a little deeper water, dropped anchor. The water was around 3 foot deep, and there was a light breeze blowing perfect.
No weights in this little cut so we cast out a select size shrimp free-line, trying to get as close to the mangroves as possible, it was not long before the little tugs started, bump, bump, bump, not really pulling just tapping / bumping the bait, finally I had to try a hook set, swish of the rod tip jerking back hard and firm and nothing, the shrimp has had all of it’s legs chewed off, in sort of a circle, half moon pattern from the tail. Hummm? well it was sort of a pin fish tap just not as vigorous, I had a hunch.
So I ripped the shrimp into two pieces tossed it back up under there, Bam! ka-bam even, a 16 inch Red fish was fighting mad and trying it’s best to pull me out of the boat instead of me pulling him in, Ok not really fair I am 185 pounds he was 3 I kicked his little butt. But it did confirm my suspicion that it was small Red fish trying to eat the shrimp but it’s mouth just was not as big as needed, So it was trying to tear off pieces from my shrimp. Oh and I had switched to a circle hook, the only fish in the world where using a circle hook is better than a “J” hook is Rat reds, as If it fits into it’s mouth it will bite, swallow, 7 start to poop it out, all in a matter of seconds. well bite and swallow in one movement anyway.
So Terry and I caught a Few Reds and then 2 cat-fish and it was time to move we stopped at another spot fished a little while and them called it quits. I always find it funny when people come in and want to catch Reds, and have to have live shrimp when I have caught more reds on dead shrimp then I have on live, Now Snook is another story that is opening this month, and I have caught thousands of Snook on Live Shrimp and only a few on dead shrimp, when it comes to Snook though I am a lure guy, Snook is the best fish for people who like lures, trying to fool it into thinking it is a real bait. Snook will hit top water. sub surface, jigs off the bottom pretty much any lure or style of lure you can think .
Some of my Favorites are the bomber long A. Who will be at the tent sale March 15th. Or the DOA. Cal Shad tail #443 And by the by Mark Nichols will be casting his lures in our parking lot that day. Even Mike Rice Brand manager C.E.O.type guy of Penn will be here, Did I mention Gary Loomis of T.F.O. rods or Barry the owner of Star Rods Rapala, Quantum / Fin-nor or Lick em lures, And Eric the owner of Mirror-o-lure will be showing you the proper way to use a MR-17 the Number one selling twitch bait of all time! This is really cool and I am bragging when I say you can come to Fishin Franks Saturday March 15th and meet more owners or heads of Tackle Companies in one day than any other event anywhere.
check out our advertisement. One very cool thing I have to mention is the owners of Rock port Rattlers the amazing new Jig head with the rattles in it, are flying in from Texas for the Tent sale. I mean come on Gary Loomis is going to be in our parking lot. O.M.G....  And back to the Snook fishing had to talk about the tent sale, Keep in mind that Snook are a shore line fish, not an open water fish, The easiest best way to get your snook requires a 7 foot 10 to 20 pound class rod at least a 40 size reel and you should use at least 20 pound line 30 pound to 50 pound leader, and A live shrimp select size or larger. Place the shrimp on the hook by going in from the bottom of the head and out the top. The point of the hook should be even with and just about the horn of the shrimp. walk on the pier about 10 feet move your rod tip over the side of the pier and keeping the tip of the rod as close to the pier as you can with out snagging your jig head on the pilings start walking out the pier, steep on each board as you walk. If you are on a concert pier you should take half steps, soft sloe shoes are a must, quiet and slowly you walk out the pier and then back on the other side. keeping your shrimp on a jig head just off the bottom, and tighten your drag this is you pull the Snook pulls and who ever pulls the hardest wins. the whole fight happens right at your feet. So hold on tight to your fishing rod.
Snook tend to lay just behind the pilings and when a bait goes by they dash out grab the bait and try to get back behind the piling where they were. Once the feel the pressure from you it is on like Donkey Kong. Head thrashing tail whipping jumping crazy fish.
Good luck and be a nice person take a shrimp out for a walk on the pier, it is nice out at night, and did I mention this is better after dark, Snook have very keen senses and if they see you they don’t leave, they just don’t bite. So even a Snook can not see in the dark,

 

 

 

03/26/14

Sharks a size for every one and one of the best fights there is.
 
This is time time when all eyes turn to big fish, The Sharks are really starting to come in,
People forget or don’t know that many sharks jump or even do flips when hooked up on a rod & reel. Black tip sharks are fast, real fast they can make a bone fish look lazy. So they are a great Catch & release fish, as they are great fighters and they will make your heart pump a real know your alive situation.

Many of the smaller shark species like Bonnets , black tips and Atlantic sharp nose are filing the Harbor. while the black nose, sand bar, Bull and many other species are thick on almost every near shore reef, and this year Tiger sharks are being caught along the beaches. To catch these toothy fish you need to get a pattern, a game plan going, I like to cover all of the bases, So let’s start with your chart I use the 15-F from water proof charts, what I need is to see the bottom contour, where the in-roads for the sharks would be, I look for deeper troughs along the bottom I the harbor or ledges in the gulf, Once I find the bottom I like be it a deeper trough on the bottom or just a place between 2 reefs on the gulf. When I get there and once my boat is anchored.  Oh and the tricky part of anchoring is that I use a couple of crab trap floats tied to my anchor line So I can cast it away without having to bring it in the boat, No time for that with a big fish on peeling off line like your hook up to a Chevy and I know it is hard to imagine 300 yards of line being ripped off your spool but it can happen in just seconds, several species of sharks can reach speeds of 360 feet per second So time is important. The last bit of advice is to use a loop knot over the cleat, instead of tying the anchor line to the boat.. So the line can be tossed away from the boat and I can chase the fish.

Now that the anchor is out I want to put my chum bag over the side, over the back really, often I use the chum  already in the bag, it is easy and when I am done I can just throw the bag in the garbage. The trick to using this type of chum is not to let the bag float on the water. I shorten the line up enough to keep the bag up-right, so it is hanging from the cleat. this way every time I walk or a wave hits the boat it sloshes the bag up & down dispensing the chum, if it is just floating on the water it will not dispense properly. Now that I have all that I put out my first line.

My first rod out is a 40 size spinning reel, with a med/heavy rod the same as I would use for Snook or Red fish, 12 pound mono or 15 pound braid line. As the sharks I am trying to land on this rig are 2 to 4 feet, for tackle I use a 4/0 AFW red leader. On the hook is a half of a sardine. and most important a bobber on this line.  This will be the farthest away from the boat, the longest line out, I let the currant take it at least 75 or 100 feet away from the boat, and the bait is 3 to 4 feet below the float.

Now the second line is free-lined out and placed in the back left corner of the boat with no float or sinker, it will adjust itself to the currant lay on the bottom during a slack tide, or as the tide picks up and starts moving faster, the bait will come up off the bottom.Same hook, leader and bait, the ole trusty sardine. Now with the first rod on a float and the second free-lined there is almost no way for them to tangle.
 
The 3rd and 4th rods both go in the holders mid ship. these are the heavy rods, the 3rd one is a 6500 Live liner with 65 pound test braided line and it has a  3 foot 100 pound test steel leader with a 7/0 hook and 4-finger size chunk of mullet on it, with a 4 once sinker to keep it in place, preventing tangled lines, cast this out at a 45 degree angle from the boat towards the back.
 
The 4th rod a 9/0 or bigger Penn conventional reel, loaded with 80 pound mono line, I use mono as it seems safer to me I can tell when it is about to break and dose not bury into itself as easy as braided. This has a 6 foot 250 pound test leader with a 12/0 hook and a big chunks of bait, like half or whole mullet maybe a lady fish but big 3 pounds of bait, the smaller sharks may push it around, but it will take a big shark to pick it up.
Use a heavy sinker 8 once or bigger to hold the bait out and away from the other lines, even though it is heavy the currant pushes hard a such a large piece of bait hence the big weight. Again I cast this at a 45 degree angle back of the other side of the boat.
 
So now I have a line with a float covering the sharks running near the surface. Free lined with cover the middle depths of the water and finally ones with sinkers on the bottom.
The smaller baits on the first 2 will entice any black tip or smaller sharks 3 foot or less to bite, the larger rods with big baits will get the big Bull or larger sharks t eat.
One all of the rods are set, you have to wait now, I usually figure on about 45 minutes for the chum to really start working, that is why the chum is the second thing I do after getting in the Anchor set, that way the clock is running,
another tip is that makers hold bait and make for good shark fishing but I do not get close as the sharks will tend to run around the marker and break off, so if I am fishing a marker I am about 100 yards away letting my chum bring them to me.
 
I hope this helps you in the quest for some heart pumping fishing excitement, which once you know a few tricks, you will be able to do. Just keep in mind this is a apex predator can you could just as easily become it’s prey so be carful and as a last thought, you are not allowed to shoot a Shark, So again be carful & above all have fun.
Fishin Frank

 

 

04/28/14

We killed them,
I would guess tis is not the best way to start a story, but as far as this is concerned the truth. Yes we need to stop using phrase like the bait moved, and use the correct term We killed that school. Harsh maybe but here is what I know. In 1968 Zapata Foods did a fly over South west Florida, Mike Mack Sr. flew the plane, The report was that there was a School of bait not different school, but one unbroken school of bait from Naples to St. Pete never less than 1/4 mile wide and in place over a mile wide granted that was almost 50 years ago. lets jump ahead to the 1980’s which is  30+ years ago when I was first throwing a net for bait. The thread fin would come into Charlotte Harbor and cover the whole of the River from the 41 bridges to marker 2 and 300 feet from the shore on both sides of the river. Green backs were thick from Ponce park, which was my favorite place to catch bait, all the way to two pines. I would just cruise along and watch when I saw them as they say one & done. A single cast of a 10 foot net would get more bait than I needed. Now just 10 years ago I knew the white bait was in trouble when we started selling more 1/4 inch mesh than 3/8, the meaning behind this is that people were starting to throw on smaller bait with their cast nets.
The common phrase’s were the bait moved or not coming in, again these are the problem phrase’s and in my opinion the problem, If we would start saying “we killed that school” instead of they moved, I believe by simply admitting the truth, we would start to fix this problem. A hard Scaled sardine or green back needs 4 to 6 months to reach sexual maturity, or be big enough to spawn make babies. We kill them before they ever have a chance to spawn, this is not they or them, this is us, you & me, we are the problem, this is time to take responsibility for what we are doing, and I am not talking about not having bait to fish with, I am talking about the food for fish like Snook, Tarpon, and the others who rely on these bait fish for the oils they need to spawn properly, over eons of time fish have developed a need for oily bait fish when it comes to breeding, not to mention a fish will grow much faster if that fish has enough food, In truth it is hard to starve a fish they can live on very little food, but they grow much slower and do not have viable eggs when they spawn. So lets take using bait for fishing off the table and just look at the fact that we are taking away the nourishment needed by the fish to survive properly. So we have all but wiped out the bait fish. Not just here all along the coast, you with your cast net, & me with mine, People at the end of their trip do not even put the bait back n the water, they pull the trailer up onto the ramp and toss the bait onto the concrete to die. We have to start thinking differently and never say again the bait moved, once we under stand that we killed that school and for every two that die next year there is 500 that wont be here, we will finally be able to address this problem. What is the answer. Only take what you need, not what you want, do not squeeze the bait when you use the for chum. release everything in your well long before you get to the ramp, when the day is over release the bait alive. this will help, How ever the truth is we might need to ban all cast netting in the Harbor during the months of April, May, June, July & august to let any bait grow big enough to spawn. this may be the only way to bring the bait fish schools back in numbers which will allow us bait to use and food for the fish.  It is not a bad thing to cast net bait fish they only live 1/2 to 2 years, the primary purpose of their being is to be food for something, The problem is the have to be able to get big enough to spawn and make more of their little selves. think of it this way if 100 boats go out and get 50 pieces of bait each, that is 5000 pieces a day. 5000 a day is a very low estimate the real number would be much higher. Now here is the licker to this story, everything I wrote here may be B.S. and not true at all, this is what I would call a Frankisum, The weather cold water or just a bad year for bait could be causing this. I really believe the the truth lies some where in the middle, Yes the weather, pollution and other factors are contributing, I would say we are only 95% responsible, Sorry but this is just the way I see it, and the sooner we take that to heart the sooner things will get better.

A case in Point for bait to more catchable size fish is Texas, Texas was having a problem with find legal size Grouper or snapper big enough to keep, They found there was just not enough food for the fish, So they put a ban on Shrimping until the shrimp were big enough to have spawned once, Now the fishing in Texas is getting better by the year. after Texas put a stop to year around shrimping many of the boats came to Florida where there are no restrictions. and any night from Oct to February, when the wind picks up, you will see anywhere from 2 to 20 boats shrimping the Harbor. Because this happens at night and no ones sees it, did it really happen, the answer is Yes. Haven’t you ever wondered why the bottom of Charlotte Harbor is so flat with no features, it is dragged flat, Shrimp is the most prolific creature each pair making thousands of eggs, and they reproduce faster than almost any other critter, but we still have to be careful as we can kill faster than anything can grow, except maybe Ants. The good thing is there are quite good supplies of shrimp here in Florida, and we are in no danger of running out, but this year presents a problem, with no bait fish anglers are more reliant on Shrimp for bait, and Shrimp only hatch once a year and we are this month going to get to the time of year called PEE-Wee season, which the adult shrimp have left the shallow water for the deep water of the Gulf where they live out their lives, never to return again. The ones that are here after June are the ones which hatched this year. As in tiny shrimp or Pee-Wee. Fun Fact shrimp die if you net them in more than 10 feet of water they die quickly so as the adults move to deep water they are unreachable for bait

White bait, is the subject. there are really quite a few different types of bait here in Charlotte Harbor, Squid yes Charlotte Harbor right now has thousands if not millions of small Squid, which will stay until the rains come. Bumper or Menhaden, Butter fish, Bally–hoo Yes we have a lot of bally-hoo here but unlike the keys almost nothing eats them here. That is quite the puzzle, Why are Bally-hoo such good bait in the keys but not here. Skip-jacks / Yellow jackets which have fins on their belly and back which if they poke you burn. They are not dangerous unless you are allergic to bee stings, then I have heard of people being bothered by them, but for the vast majority of us they are just painful/annoying. The
bait as a whole is subject to water temps, water pollution and there may be nothing we can do to bring the bait back. But one thing is sure this is not good, and this needs to be looked at to see if we are just catching too much as I suspect or if there may be a more wide spread problem maybe a virus or a contaminate in the waters. At this point the easy thing is t say we catch too many before they spawn, and this is the easiest to fix. I only hope this is the problem.

 

 

07/20/2014

Howdy campers, welcome to fishin franks summer camp
 
So much is going here at summer camp, Fishing, classes, hiking, Kayaking,

Lets start with fishing, Sharks the #1 south after catch this year, are still thick here in the Harbor, surprising so, from 2 foot to 14 feet, Lets grab up a chum bag head to either the pirate Harbor hole or the middle hole and toss out a chunk of mullet or lady fish normal spinning tackle like you would use for Snook or Reds is the most fun, but I would take one elephant gun with you 65 to 80 pound test and put a 2 pound bait on it, Yes Big bait big fish, there have been some lemons or bulls here well over 8 foot in length. not quite tons of fun but pretty close, Plenty of spade fish on the in Harbor reefs, a crappie jig tipped with a piece of shrimp will keep the kids happy reeling in fish, What I do to keep it simple is put the jigs as deep as I can under the bobber, and be able to cast, still cast it the waves will jig the jig. and there is not so much casting involved, safer that way, although some of the crappie jig would make nice earing rings.

Classes her at summer camp include court room law, Yes I attended court about the guys who robbed us, Good news they are both convicted and going to be in prison for several years, remembering that day, getting woke up by a call from the cops at 4:30 in the morning, saying the store had been robbed, getting to the store and seeing empty shelves, then thinking in the court room and hearing them say well it is not like a home, “Horse Hockey!” it is as much a home to us as our houses, I spend more time her at the store,  than I do at the house, and 65k in merchandise could have about put me under, This was one of those perfect storm screw ups, The alarm company called me the night before as the system had just quit, and asked could he come Friday instead of Wednesday night, I said sure what’s the difference as it turned out about 65 K, but how was I to know this, and The building had just turned 90 years old, well when a building turns 90 the insurance company canceled your theft/ break-in, hurricane, and other coverage's, until you get approved with up-to date alarms and other inspections so I had no insurance. and then this sob picks the night when all of these things created a gap. son-of-a-old-dog you have to be kidding me. Murphy strikes me big time.
 
The good news is we had Officer Baras, Who was Chasing down all of the leads, there were many people involved, Charlotte County officers, Punta Gorda police, But the Guy I was dealing with and while he had his own leads which were right on he was also directing officers to follow all of the leads I was getting from facebook and other internet sources, the phone rang all day, and I texted detective Baras, each lead, The way we got lucky was video of the guy in the store and video of him outside the store, getting his face & being able to see him before and during the break in was key, it is hard to chase a ghost, you need video. and having a few thousand friends on the internet and in their cars locally helps a lot, there is so much tackle being stolen right no it is incredible, but while a had the perfect storm of bad luck I also had the perfect timing of good luck. The CCSO was on a roll. the had solved every crime they had investigated for the previous two weeks, and that stayed true to out break in, and after for a while, 17 hours straight Baras worked and by the end of that day both guys were in custody and with the help of some friends most of the stuff was found the next day 64”"K out and 40 back
all in all things worked out and they will spend a long time in prison. Thank you to the Officers and people who helped, and the state attorney's  One final note about this is just for information fort Knox could learn fro us, motion sensor’s trip sensors, video in-side and out,
I did learn security is not to be taken lightly, so if you scratch your back side I will see it and I promise only me, and I will snicker only a little bit.
 
Hiking here at camp is fun, We start at the one of the beaches on the gulf and walk out until you are knee deep then walking along casting a storm twitch lure, working it back to you slowly starting and stopping the lure, You will have a great time playing with Snook,
the wife may also do her share of catching Snook or She might like walking along the beach. There have been a lot of summer storms this year and the beaches are producing some beautiful shells, Cayo costa and even the swimming beaches are getting stirred up and sharks teeth & shells are being pushed up where you can see them, You need to out on  the beach just as the sun comes up, as the shelling this year is rally good and not a secret.
 
The best fishing right now is from just before sun-up to about 11 :am Red fish are the main target with over slot Snook a close second, The canals to the beaches,


Kayaking from 19th on Boca is beautiful and Snooky with some nice Reds, paddle out to Hoagen key and the north end has lots of snook the Red fish seem to be out in the pot holes across the flats early in the day and then going up under the docks or mangroves as the sun hits midday.

So all good here at summer camp, a fun filled exciting time, or at least the afternoon storms make it exciting as Florida is number 1 for lighting hits, and I know that all too well. Yes I have been hit explains a lot don’t-cha think?
Have fun and be safe
Fishin Frank
 

 

 

 

08/20/2014

Nature is crazy and mix people with wild things and the weird is going to happen.

One night Larry who came in with friends who were going to Fish the Placida trestle, Larry bought a brand new rod and a bait runner type reel, this reel has 2 drags one to which is used for waiting for the fish, and the other for fighting the fish, the trick is to remember to set the waiting drag then click it on. Well it was his first time using it and his first time fishing in Florida. So like many people he laid the rod down while waiting for his fish, and did not thing about the bait runner, So you know what came next, all of a sudden rattle clunk splash the Rod and reel was pulled right of the pier and into the water. Larry spent the next half hour cussing and stomping around on the dock, he had not caught even one fish with his new set up and in the water it went, His friends did not want to leave, well they did not lose their Rods, and them a bite one of the guys had a hit and slowly started to reel in, It did not feel quite like a fish and it wasn’t it was a large Blue Crab which had his line in one of it's claws, and it appeared to be tangled up in line, So they netted the crab and found it had that line in it's right claw and another line in it's left claw, You guessed it the other line they pulled in hand over hand, and there was Larry’s new rod and reel, a little wet but no worse for the dunking and it had a 5 pound cat fish still on the hook so Lost and found with a little help from a Blue Crab which Larry let go back into the water, while his buddies fussed about wanting it for bait, No way Larry did not want that bad Karma. After all the crab gave him his tackle back.

 

Fishin Piers can be a great stress relief, One of our customers just got a new rod & reel, and was casting a lure and wham nice hit, Fish on & the fish was jumping and going crazy, and the Rod he said preformed excellent a Shimano C-I4 and a Star Seagis rod, it should be great, that is an expensive

set-up, But what a dream to fish with. Now he was breaking it in with a 4 pound Lady fish, after a good battle he landed the lady fish, letting the lady fish lay on the pier hook still in the fishes Jaw, he turned to get his pliers from his Tackle box and hear a noise behind him, quickly turning around he was just in time to see a large Osprey with the lady fish in it's talons flying off with his fish, Now keep in mind the lady fish still had the hook in it's jaw and his new rod and reel was hanging below the bird, the Osprey having a hard time with the weight of the fish and the rod & reel made it about 30 feet up and 50 feet away from the pier before letting go, and Splash went the fish, Rod, reel, and during this few seconds all the guy could do was stand there, mouth open and watch. He packed up came into the store and wonder. I have heard a lot of stories about losing rods but this one, Just plain weird. What was that osprey thinking?

 

 

09/23/14

What a Great time to be in Florida. The cooler air and the water temps are going down the rain is slowing, just perfect.  and the Big, huge, giant, Red fish are coming
Yes October this year is the Month we get to catch huge Red fish right along the beaches and just in front of Turtle bay and Jug Creek shoals, and the are here, Some years we have to wait until November before we get these big Reds. By big I mean over 34 inches and some of these fish will weigh in at 40 pound or more.
 
In the gulf from land you can catch these Reds, but this is evening , night or morning thing. If you are fishing during the day all I can say is that it is better to be lucky, If you are there early or late which is the prime target time. Try casting 3/4 once weed-less spoons out from the beach I like to add a length or fish bites, I cut the fish bites strip down to 4 inches and stick on the hook of the spoon. cat out and reel in trying to get the spoon to come back in about a foot off the bottom, I use the count method where off the sand I figure to have about 6 feet of water so when the spoon hits the water I count to five then start reeling, and keep your rod tip down, this is keep the spoon from trying to swim up as you reel it in.  and a slow steady retrieve, I will stop reeling two or three times on my retrieve to let the Spoon settle on the bottom. Once the spoon is on the bottom I will just lift or sharply jerk my rod tip to sort of dance / slide the spoon across the bottom then start reeling again. Think bait jumping off the bottom to escape a predator fish.
 
Now trolling for these big reds is the same thing as trolling for Grouper a lure which will dive at least 30 feet, and trolling between 3 to 4 mph, what I look for is a path between 2 reefs like Mary’s and the power poles. I figure that the fish would most likely head from one food source to another So trolling from one reef to the next always seem right to me. Now I do this is around 30 feet of water and the lure says it goes 30 feet deep, You may compensate by reeling in some line to get the lure shallower or letting line out to get deeper. Pink and bright greens for one of the lures, and the other purple dark and light is key then if you get hit on the darker color a couple time switch the other lure over and visa/ versa.
 
Now getting into the Harbor just out side of Jug creek shoals, this is a bait thing, lure will work but it is double tough to do it. I do a Lewis & Clark on the sand bar when the tide is very low so I can see where the cuts in the bar are at, By this I mean slight ditches if you will where the water has cut a trough across though the sand bar. this is where the Reds will cross from the Harbor to get back up on the flats. They are going up on the flats to find Shrimp or Pin-fish, But white bait {hard scaled sardine} will work the best right now. Get to the trough at Low tide and get set up, then be quiet like a hole in the water. The reds as the tide comes up will want to get up on the flat to feed, cast your bait into the middle of the trough and wait if you fish them, they will come. I have seen the huge bull reds wait for schools of smaller mullet or lady fish to try and leave the flats as the tide is falling and just lay out side the cut in the bar and ambush the fish as they come out. So don’t get all hung up on fishing the trough/cut that you do not see a big school of Reds right there. This is the reason I try to keep the boat to one side or the other of the opening So the fish will try to move through the cut. if your boat is setting right where the reds are trying to get on the flats, as you guess not good stay off to the side and try not to interfere with the fish as they travel except to stick some as they pass by,
 
How you rig up depends on the tide a slow moving tide, I free line the bait 20 pound braid with 25 pound test floro leader, now if the fish get closer to 40 inches go to 40 or 50 pound test leader, the #20 braid should hold but it takes longer so the thicker leader gives you more time to land the fish. If the currant from the tide is stronger or if you have to cast farther to stay out of the path of the fish I will add a sinker about 30 inches up the line from the hook. Split shot maybe even a 1/2 to keep my bait in the trough, If I am using a sinker I switch from hooking the bait in the head or mouth to hooking just above the Anal opening. {Right over it’s butt} this allows the bait to swim better pulling against the hook & line rather than pushing it.
 
I hope you find these schools of big Bull Reds, if you can find some blue crabs and cut them into bait chunks that is candy, crack for big Red fish. And don’t worry if the fish breaks your Rod or pulls it out of your hand, I have more to sell, Hang on to your rod, have fun and best fish wishes
Fishin Frank

 

10/25/2014

Snook Fishin in November during the day is best done on the flats, if you can find quiet water, I mean no boat traffic it helps the Snook bite, But the quiet also brings on a problem, a Snook has hundreds of ear drums on each side of it’s body, Yes each scale that touches the Black lateral line has an tiny oil sack under it which senses vibration in the water the way our ear drum sense vibrations in the air, So if it is quiet you need to be quiet, Right now the Snook are keyed in on white bait during the day, So lures which look like bait fish / White bait in particular are better. Like the storm twitch, or the Mirro-O-Lure Mr-17 bright colors on the east side like Pink or white and darker colors on the west side where the fresh water keeps the water a darker brown color seem to work best, My advice is to use an electric motor on as slow as it will go and stay a decent cast away from the mangroves, Then casting side arm like you would if you were skipping a stone across the lake shore cast as far under the mangroves as you can, Do not worry about hanging up in the trees, if you are not hung up in the mangrove every once in a while you are not trying, 3 feet from the branches might as well be a 1/2 mile away. and there is no reason to get in a hurry about bring out the lure, you did a perfect cast to get it up under the branches so try to shake the end of the rod, get as much movement as possible, with as little forward motion as possible. If I am using a lure that floats then dives I tend to use it as a top water before I use it as a swimming lure, I do this by letting the lure hit the water then I just wait for about 3 seconds and start to shake the tip of my rod.which makes the lure shake, after another pause I then give the rod tip a hard sharp jerk making the lure go just under the surface then the hard part wait for it to float back to the surface, doing this 2 or 3 times and if I don’t get a strike I pull the rod tip to get the lure under the surface of the water then I start reeling, To enhance my chances of hooking up a Snook I stop/pause the lure ever few feet while reeling, That is when I get the most hits when the lure is sitting still, not always the case but more often than not.
I hope this helps you in the Hunt for November Snook. For the most hits a 3 to 4 inch lure is best for larger Snook switch to a 16 size bomber about 6 inches long, a little more or less.
Good luck have fun and a last thought, If catch & release is what you are doing pinch the barbs flat on the treble hooks. It keeps you safe and lets you remove the hooks from the fish with little or no damage

Thanks
Fishin Frank

2nd story

The flats that mystical magical area of the Harbor where nothing bad can happen except maybe run aground. Well I thought so, while running up behind the bar on the west side the scag on my 115 Yammy 4 stroke hit something right in the middle of the flat, It made a small dent in the scag but snapped the mid section of the motor completely in half, In my years  boating, professionally and recreational I have never seen this, So I took the boat to SOS marine, Jerry has seen it all But never this, Scags broken off. bullets cracked and broken but this should have torn the lower unit off, the lower unit is the part from the scag up to the cavitation plate, This is a snapped off mid section, I don’t under stand how this happened except for that this boat did not have a jack plate So the motor was lower probably the scag was slicing the bottom, and what ever it was was right on the bottom and could not be found after going back to see what happened. Possible that a motor which had fallen off a boat or a palm tree trunk.
I just though you should know maybe the flats are getting some sand stone bottom feature, which is possible, the only rock/stone I was aware of was behind hobbs point, and I am carful there, but I have always just run the open flats,
I have replaced the motor and installed had Jerry at SOS Marine install a new Jack plate So when the boat is running skinny this should not happen again, The only other obstacle I know of is in the Myakka cut-off a small drug plane crashed there years ago, thinking there was more water, than there was when the pontoons hit what was supposed to be water it flipped over and just stayed right there, that is located if you are coming from the harbor side the cut-off is fairly wide when it starts to narrow through the S bend the plane is just before you get to the narrows on the right/east side about 30 feet from shore and maybe 6 inches below the mud, I hit it a few years ago and bent a 4 blade stainless prop into modern art. But there was no other damage other than a long slow idle back home. I continue to think Charlotte Harbor is the or one of the safest places to boat & fish, but Weather junk on the bottom or natural sand stone, It maybe we should start to watch a little closer. When the tide this winter is very low we plan to walk that flat to find out what we hit, but that will be a while from now.
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

11/22/14

A hearty ho ho ho and it is being to look a like like Trout season, every where you go from the east side to the west, and the poppin corks abound. ok, enough of that, but it is true The Trout are getting thicker by the day, here in Charlotte Harbor and the whole of S.W. FLa. The water will be cool all through December and we should have plenty of Sunny days combine all that and that lights up the trout bite, like strings of lights on a red necks porch in July, I will say the one thing different this year is the bobber jiggin, for Sea Trout, I will explain to bobber jig get a stand poppin cork an un-weighted one would be better, and a Rock port rattler jig head, bright colors seem to be the best Pink or Chartreuse, What makes this really effective is that the Rock port Jig head has a rattle built in. Place the jig head about 2 1/2 feet below the cork. Hook on a live shrimp to the jig head, It dose not have to be very big a choice size or about 3 inches total length, Hook the shrimp through the head, One of the better spots would be on the east side of the Harbor behind the sand bar 1/4 mile north of the Pirate Harbor entrance, go through the channel markers but slow down going into the channel, just because it is marked as a channel dose not mean there is any water in the channel average depth 2 feet, So go slow boat flat not rolling white water, head to around half way between the start of the channel and the trees in front of you, turn North or left as it is the same thing go about 5 minutes, yes I know it does not seem long but use your watch it is longer time that you think. Now turn into the wind, leave your out board motor as deep as you can, go until the motor bottoms out turn off the motor and cast in to the wind let the boat drift until the engine bottoms out and raise the motor a little and head back into the wind for another drift, it is impossible to get stuck if you follow this simple system. Now when you cast out to bobber jig into the wind your bait will trail the boat, so I let out some extra line I do this by leaving the bail open on my reel until the bobber/cork is about 50 feet away from me then close the bail. The Trout will get spooked by the boat then try to circle back to where they were, And here is a tasty shrimp for you mister Trout,
When bobber jiggin you do not really pop the cork as much, half as often as you would regularly pop. maybe if the is a breeze and a light waves I would not pop at all, the waves make the Rock port rattler jig head with your shrimp on it, bonce up and down that makes the rattle , rattle in the jig head which attracts the Trout so poppin is not really necessary, but I enjoy the pop of the cork so I still do it now and then.
Trout are one of the most dangerous fish we have here, no it is not the big fangs or all of the Teeth they have it is that they are slippery little devils and you get ahold of one it starts to slip and you tighten up your grip just as the hook reaches your hand, and zap a hook through your thumb, first of all use a Mustad 37140 #2 hook as it will hook in the corner of the mouth every time, this makes it easier to see where the hook is and avoid it. also un-like a circle hook you can get it out of the Trout’s mouth with-out doing major damage, it is way less expensive then circle hooks and works way better. So to warp this up,  if a Trout starts to slip out of your hand, let it slip, and pick it back up. Remember dry hands  or dry rags kill trout, use the water in your bait bucket or live well to wet your hands or rag before handling a Trout, cool thing for you is you do not have to get the slim off your hands it will stay on the Sea Trout, A Trout handled with a dry rag dies within a few days, So keep it wet, you and the Trout will both live better, Have fun out there enjoy the Trout fishing, For some larger trout head down to pine island sound not as many but larger fish on the average.
Thanks Fishin Frank
 

 

 

 

 

2014
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2013

 

 

 

 

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12/22/2014

2014 Still no flying cars, Tele-transportation, interstellar space ships, but we do have smart phone which are just smart enough to know how to annoy you. and then there is the fishing, some great some ok and some well not so good at all, But lets start with the year of the Snapper.

Mangrove Snappers, in huge numbers, and large sizes average 12 –14 inches are Increasing steady catch here in the Harbor and near gulf, over the last 10 years, And 2014 was a banner year for big Mangrove Snappers, One of the reasons for this could be as simple as fashion, It is not cool to fish for Snapper right now, Going after Reds has a more fashionable sound to it. But if it is dinner a a great fight on light tackle few fish compare to the Snapper people concentrating on other species. Inside the harbor Fish like Reds and Trout amongst other fish have taken over as fashionable, So the numbers have increased each year for the last 10 years,, When I fish for Snapper here in the harbor, Small white bait free lined is a good bet, But most of the time I use a regular bottom rig, with a sliding sinker, so I can feel the bite and hold the bait near the bottom, and either a Live shrimp or a Shrimp tail peeled. For Snapper I thread the hook into the shrimp, starting at the tail end threading the hook up toward the head. I want the most meat at the same end as the point of the hook. and toward the middle of the Shrimp, as that is where the snapper most often bite, unlike most fish which eat a shrimp head first.
 
Black Sea Bass, in The passes this year a first for us in about 6 years, not to say that there have been none but few and far between, The Sea Bass is a welcome return to the Passes, and a few Star Gazers have been caught along the beaches, at the beginning of 2014 we had good numbers of Lane Snappers here in the passes, So some of the once plentiful fish are just starting to trickle back into the passes,
 
In Thinking back on 2014 and Changes, how we hate that word, We as humans have a life span of about 70 years and we think of our corner of the world as unchanging. What the world was when we were young is how it is supposed to be, But the truth is nature changes slowly up to a point then it wallops you with a big one. The spillways along U.S 41 have had a major change this year, Man made changes this time. The Canals here were dug in the 1950’s when we had a rainy season, each day during the summer the clouds would go up the Myakka river and down the Peace river circling & circling until they got together and Bam thunder lighting 2 inches of rain 30 to 40 m.P.h winds, It was not uncommon then for a winter resident who decided to move here to sell out and move back north after their first rainy season, It was so intense and so much thunder and lighting, the storms would send them packing, this ended when Murdock was developed and broke the could pattern we now have a rainy-er season but nothing like it was. This is important information as to why the canals had to be re-done, there was simply not enough rain water to flush out the canals anymore, So the rain we do get has been channeled to help clean out some of the canals which had become congested pools of algae and bacteria, Lot of local Snook and Tarpon fisherman are complaining this will ruin the fishing, and it will be good again. I remember the last time they fixed the dams along 41, changing the dams made the fish leave, and it took a few years and the fish found new homes there are that became the normal. Change How soon we forget that what once was new and different will over time become familiar and the way it should be, Until we change it again, I was talking to a person who said the new bridge was horrible at the hover dam, And I could not help but think how when they first built the hover Dam how ugly that had to be to the locals, then over time became part of the land scape and an old familiar friend. The spill ways will get Snook and Tarpon back and the fishing may even be better, or sadly worse. Lets hope for the best. this all reminds me of Boca Grande pass and the shipping lane, The so called fishing guides out there did not even know the state had been dredging it every 4 years for over 90 years. and as I said of the spill ways this will now be different, only in the case of Boca, it will never again be constant, once the spillways settle in the fishing while different than it was might be better or worse time will tell, But it will be a constant bad or good after a couple 3 years. Boca Grande is now wild and free and changing each year, each storm. If history is a judge, the area just out side the pass should settle in at about 11 feet deep instead of the 30+ feet it had been, once it reaches this depth the changes each year should be less drastic than the ones we see now. but with no history to guide us as the pass has not been natural since 1911, hard to tell.
Any way foot note 2014 ended with a lot of Red Grouper in Boca Captiva passes, Yes there are more shorts than legal size fish, But legal size can be had right there in the passes, and Red Grouper is open in state waters, So get out there and enjoy.
 
Tilapia Had a big spawn this year I have not seen a hatch like this since the 1980’s when each year, thousands or millions of baby tilapia would come boiling down the river to the delight of the Snook and Tarpon, Tilapia were for 2 months every fall the best bait you could get, Now I have learned since then that is is ill-legal to use live tilapia for bait, which is stupid even by Florida Standards which have you noticed our government that’s a pretty bold statement, If the state wants them dead, thinned out, what better way than to let a Snook or Tarpon eat them? I understand and completely agree with never transporting fish from one lake to another, very bad, but in the water you caught them in? this is just FWC at it’s dumbest. To finally get to the point it was the rain this year up-river which brought the Tilapia hatch down the river, and the fish went crazy on them, cause the best Tarpon fishing the Peace river has seen in over 20 years

Red Fish, slot size that is are very few this past year,compared to the last 4 years, there seems to be quite a few Rat reds which is a great thing, and really lots of over size larger than the legal slot for keeping a Red fish, So to figure this out we have to think back 3 years ago what happened? well the freeze was 4 years ago so Red from the freeze year are past the slot limit any way, and then I remembered the Red Tide. Yes we had a pretty bad red tide event all along our coast, It came into Bull and turtle Bays and Pine island sound, just about the time the tiny red fish fry were hatching. a problem we have during this time of technology is that if we don’t see it on our screen, Computer or T.V. it did not happen and no T.V can see Red fish 1/4 inch long, But it seems as though a lot of the Red fish fry did die during that Red tide event. To under stand now you have to look back.
 
Any way, I think this has been enough ranting about 2014, and I am looking forward to 2015, and some great fishing, with all of the Rat “small” Red-fish next fall should be a banner year on Red fish fishing, and the Snook are thick. Lot of big Sheep head this year so this coming year will have a huge supply of Sheep head becoming legal size in time for the cooler weather, All in all I would say lots of really good fishing to look forward to in 2015,
Thank and I will catch you again Later
Fishin Frank




 

 

 

 

07/28/2015

31 years this month I have been here at Fishin Franks, well then again I am Fishin frank, So that stands to reason. July is the beginning and the end of the tackle year and the ICAST show or International; Convention of Allied Sport fishing, the largest tackle show in the world was held here in Florida, We walked for hours and had not seen 1/3 of the Show. After 2 days of walking we had at least waked by every booth and tried to talk for a minute with manufactures who had a different or new product.

Here is the old debate, Do I or should I buy lures that catch fish or buy lures that catch fisherman? If a lure would catch every fish that swims and one one bought it, does it still catch fish? The simple truth is A lure has to catch fisherman first. Most lures work, That said I had a line of lures called killer baits, so life like, and the swimming action seemed looked perfect to me. I threw that lure on and off for 12 years until one day I caught a bunch of fish with it, Then threw it as far as I could out into the Harbor. For some one else to find and try, So looking realistic is only half the battle, but I was right, it caught a lot of fish, forgetting the 12 years it took to do it

 I attended my first tackle show in 1985 a dealer long since out of business in Jacksonville and I had the same problems as I do now. Where to start and what's the difference between nuclear Chicken, Electric Chicken and Texas chicken? No it is not a new trend in fast food, it is color pattern names for lures, It is one of the many reasons to go to buying shows so you can see what the lures look like.

I am a hard body kind of guy, I can say with a grin I guess which mean I prefer lures made of hard wood or plastic, Top water style or diving crank baits I have just done better with them. My Dad like spoons, and a huge number of people are into Soft body baits or soft plastics, thousands of colors and hundreds of body styles I would need a store as big as Tampa it's self to hold them all.
In-line spinners off set spinners, the list goes on. And not to forget jigs, Jig heads with rattles or with out, Circle hook or “J' hook weed less or standard. Stand up or bouncing or swimming styles.

I am confused again, so many choices Sizes are easier, 3 to 3 ½ inch lures are the ones which catch the most fish. Larger lures for big fish only as the smaller fish can not get them into their mouths. Hard to say if a lure can be too big. After all we have some monster Fish here. I just bought some lures that are over 18 inches long and must weigh a couple pounds.

 We did make a Purchase of Livingston Lures, a Little on the pricey side but the lures do have a cool factor, they produce sounds, Yes they emit sounds to attach fish, pro shark anglers use under water Speakers to call the Sharks in, and these lures do the same thing. But a lures which makes it own sound to attract fish is cool.

Then we have Spool tech lures. Which has a built in leader So there is no heavy leader exposed, and replaceable tails, and is quickly becoming a Snook catching favorite. But the retractable leader is cool.

 Baker lures this brand I picked for price pint and finish of the lures, the baker will give a mid point price and they have an interesting Holographic color patterns and action, which I think they are going to catch fish,

 Which brings me to the Savage Lures, We bought some huge ones 16 inch long lures for Tarpon and Goliath grouper, Now this lure is almost perfectly life like, add a little scent to it and just let it swim in the tide, My advice Hang on to the rod, when a fish hits it it will be a monster. We also have the life like Soft Plastic fish from 6 inches to the monster 16 inch.

 Looking at lures to try and picture what the action it has has gotten easier over the years, I spend many hours in a swimming pool or in the harbor under water watching lures fall towards the bottom, or having some one retrieve them past me. If you can figure out where the weight of the lure is. At the top it will tip over, when falling. Weight at the bottom it will drop, Round bodies will wobble going down.

One thing I did discover while under water looking at lures I found out why top water lures have different colors on the top or back of the lure than it odes on the bottom, A top water lure floats on the surface so I could not understand why the part not in the water would be a different color, when you are under water looking up you see three images of that one lure. In the middle you see the bottom of the lure on both side you see a mirror image of the back or top of the lure. So you really see more of the top color than you do the part actually in the water by refection.

 So buying lures can be over whelming, There is 60 million people going to fish here in the U.S. This year I figure out of that some one will like the new lures I bought.

 

01/24/17

Fishing Tourist dos and why we do what we do.

 I thought about this as we begin to approach tourist season right now we are in Show Bird season, and the Birds for the most part have figured out how to cope with the changes in fishing styles,
How ever as a Tourist myself once working selling fishing tackle all through out Europe and other places I found it too hard to learn new waters, new fish, new lures, new styles, Over whelming is an understatement,


So I started just doing what I knew how to do.
I would get to a place put a jig on my rod and cast it out letting it go to the bottom, watching to see how fast the line stopped moving giving me an idea of how deep the water would be. If the water was 10 foot or more I would use a Jig or rat-L-trap so I could get deeper maybe even bounce the bottom for some fish. If that did not work I would then changing to a crank bait. Floater diver style with a lip on it, I would cast the middle column of the water maybe finding a different type of fish. If it was slanting sun, like either morning or evening time, a top water lure is always something I would try. And fresh or slat water I would start with a jitter bug. OK very old school but very effective and then switch to maybe a Zara spook or Skitter walk.

If the was structure like a bridge or a dam I would cast along the edges of it or around each piling trying to find fish which would be living there with the protection of the structure as a house.

 Structure fishing fishing is looking for fish which might live there. Or at least hang out there, Open water fishing is hoping that you and fish fish are passing that spot at the same time. Well fish in open water are always moving, So you can watch for birds diving on them or splashing on the surface to find then or I like looking at a chart and trying to find bottom contours which would be used as a path way for fish. Like a deeper trough. Something which would bring fish to that spot. Another thought would be between two reefs, many fish will feed on one reef then go to the next reef to feed there. So find a place where they would pass by.


The color of the lure is about the color of the water, dark colors for darker waters, Pink or chartreuse or slightly stained water and brighter colors silvers for clear waters. Why do I choose colors this way, well the water if dark will dye the color of the bait to the same darker colors, shades of brown or gold. Clear water the exact same bait fish or fish for that matter will be a much lighter shade of colors instead of gold/brown maybe copper and bright white belly. One other thing is that a dark color lure in dark water creates a much more distinct shadow or presence, it is very hard to see silver colors in dark water they are very hard to detect where as brown or gold are more distinct.

So I would go to place and do what I thought would work to catch fish, with my lures and my techniques, And to say with a bit of bragging I quite often out fished the locals, If I did not catch anything then I would check out what the locals were doing.
 

But you say I have fresh water lures so they will not work when I get to Florida, Horse hockey I say the phenomenon the Storm Twitch which out sells and out catches any lure in the last few years, was never designed for here, point of fact it was designed for the Canada bass fishing market, But who told the fish. Snook love it, as do everything else. I bring this up because we did not know it was such a great fish catching lure here in Florida until we tried it. So maybe your favorite lure will be the next big thing in catching fish. I should warn you if our favorite lure is an Erie-dearie maybe not I have tried and tried to catch a fish here on one and no luck, weird it works almost everywhere I have ever been,

Well I know we humans understand fresh water and salt water did any one remember tot tell the fish what they were? Think about it I can take a worm on a hook here and a bass or blue gill will eat it, and a little secret so will flounder and sheep head. But back to it. There are NO worms here in south Florida we do not have dirt we have sand tiny rocks and which worms can not eat so these fish grow up never seeing a worm but they still eat one, And a Bass spinner bait looks way more like a squid than anything I can think of in fresh water. So bring your favorite lure and look at the water the way you would up home and do what you know how to do. Not what you think you should do, because you are in salt water now.

 
I would add that it might have been using lures which were not popular in the place or country I was in and sometimes a new lure or style of lure the fish have not seen, is the best thing. Sometimes new color line or a new style of lure will come out the fish have not seen and bam, bam, bam the fish just strike the heck out of it and after a few months it slows down to just a good lure but not the phenomenon it was the first few months.


Fishin License Yes you have to have one every where any where you fish. There are a couple of exceptions if you are a Florida resident, but someone from out of state needs one. Yes even if you won a house here, Houses are part of your “Toys” it is where YOU are registered that counts.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of how to travel and fish, or maybe just confused you in which case stop by our store here or in fort Myers and one of my Crew and explain and help guide you into the wonderful fishing available here in South west Florida

Fishin Frank

 

 

 

01/25/2016

 

Shrimping this is the time and this is the place, or better put I will tell you the places.

Shrimp migrate out of the Harbor each year to go out and live in the deep waters of the gulf, and now is the peak of the shrimp migration. The Shrimp now average about 5 inches long as they head out of the passes. Each night yes night time if you were food for everything on the planet including us would you travel during the day? I wouldn’t I would do like a shrimp bury in the sand until the cover of darkness then move on. Funny thing about Shrimp is they know day light is dangerous but they are attracted to light. And a shrimp is not a very strong swimmer so they move out of the Harbor on the out going tide, So to catch your own fresh shrimp dinner you need a strong light, and a net. We on the west coast use dip nets. A car head light hooked to a battery, I would get a spare one for your car and an extra boat or car 12 volt battery. The battery is heavy so if you are going out on the pier like Plaicda I would bring a cart. Use a two line Electric wire and tie one end to your light, wrap it in black plastic tape so the ends are covered the an Aluminum Pizza pan or even a tin foil cover so the light shines down, Not up into your eyes. The wire will hold the light If your are on a boat, you need a stick to hold the light over the water and away from the boast a couple of feet. The light shinning down into the water will attract the Shrimp to it and then you will simply dip them up and put them on ice in an ice chest with ice Even if it is cold out use ice to keep the Shrimp fresh. Shrimp laying on top of each other insulates them and they get hot and will go bad, So spread them out over the ice or better yet mix them in with the ice.

Brown Shrimp is what you will be catching yes the same shrimp you use for bait, brown shrimp coming from the Harbor do not have the iodine that the Pink shrimp or ones caught in the gulf will have So they are sweeter tasting, Yes quite Yummy. The Shrimping stays pretty good until at least the end of March. Every Pass from Venice to Punta rassa has Shrimp moving out each night. The best passes are Captiva and Boca Grande. Keep in mind Boca is not a place to Anchor your boat, for Shrimping where you need to anchor do it behind the Phosphate docks or close to shore. Never anchor in the middle of Boca Pass.

you need to be in a pass or very near a pass, on a out going tide, So plan to be there just before high tide So you have time to get set up and find a good spot.
For Pier fishing Placida being so close to gasprila pass is a good place. Lots of water flowing out.
Now consider how high the pier is off the water. If the handle on your net is 6 or 8 foot it might make it to the water if you lay on your belly. For the piers I suggest an 18 foot net, Figure 8 feet to the water four feet to where you hold the net and the extra is for you to reach out, this will give you a good chance at catching the ones right at the edge of the light. From a boat a six foot to 12 foot net is fine

keep the light close to the boat and you don't have to reach so far.

 

It is not allowed to drag a net for shrimp any more with out a special license. And hanging a net is difficult to keep up right way easier to just use a long handle dip net.


 

 

 

 

 

05/24/16

Tarpon season or should I say lack of Tarpon season,
This year we have seen a rise in people who had dreamed of Catching a Tarpon for years coming to Charlotte Harbor to catch Tarpon, and a big decrease in People who came regular each year for them.
The tarpon are here and the Fishing is been OK this year, There are always 2 things the fishing and the Bite its self, or if you prefer the Fishing and the catching. The going fishing part has been hampered by winds and some rainy days over the last month, better weather in much of the north and windy rainy weather here. The good part of that there is almost always some where to hide in the vastness of Charlotte Harbor. The Tarpon bite has been and continues to be mixed, luck is a huge factor this year and the tarpon gods are sending their blessing more to the beginner. Hook up after hook up to people who just put on a bait, toss it out and wham Tarpon on! For us veteran anglers it has been more of a struggle, Lures which is my way of Tarpon fishing had an up-set last year and this year, the Rapala Sub walk has beaten the D.O.A. Bait buster for number one hook up lure with tarpon. 2016 is the weird year, weather politics, you name it weird. The D.O.A. Bait buster is still strong and I doubt the Rapala thing will last, but for right now it is king. Here is the catch to that, Anyone can use a bait buster, even if all you do is cast it out and reel it in, It will give you a great chance at hooking up a Tarpon. OK proper use of the bait buster is to Cast it out let it sink and then big lift to the rod, slowly reel in when the line tightens, again big lift to your rod tip. It is a lot of work. I some times will just put the bait buster 6 feet below a bobber set it over the side as it is too long to cast and then drive away from it and just let the waves bounce it. So how ever you decide to use your bait buster simple and easy and not expensive most often about $5.oo

Now the Rapala, is much more difficult, it is like using a top water lure below the water, yes you walk the dog with it. Waling the dog with a lure is like tapping your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. You have to keep the tip of your rod working side ways creating a jerking action while reeling in the slack at the same time. What this is about is as you jerk your rod tip side ways to the lure away might better describe it. Them move the tip forward you create slack them sharply jerk the line causing the front of the lure to be thrown to the side the nest jerk throws the front of the lure to the opposite side, which give the lure a slashing action. This making slack and whipping the line tight is hard to master. But once you understand it and get good it produces great action and fish fish have a hard time resisting it. When done on the surface with a Zara Spook or Skitter walk the walk the dog action, makes a lot of noise, splashing and bring a lot of attention to its self. Under water the walk the dog action with either a MirrOlure catch 2000 or with a Rapala Sub walk is a very noisy lure. The side to side action creates a tremendous disturbance and really gets the fishes attention. The Rapala Sub walk is the only one which is big enough to get the Tarpon to bite. The idea big bait big fish, if you use a smaller lure you will catch more but while you are fighting a Mackerel or what ever that could have been when the Tarpon you were waiting for hit.

 

This month is going to be the Month of Big tarpon sighting of 175 or Larger fish are common, not so much the hook up on these big fish, but spawn is going to settle down and then the Tarpon will be hungry. And Hello hook up time.
A last word about the Rapala sub walk, it comes with two treble hooks, you will want to flatten the barbs on the front treble hook, Yes crush them flat. Then replace the back treble hook with a VMC single hook made to replace treble hooks. You can not replace the front treble hook and get the proper action from the lure, the lure is designed to have the weight and the drag of the treble hook on the front, the rear hook is not a problem to replace with a single hook and the lure will retain the proper action. But after you flatten the barbs on the front treble it is safer to use and believe it or not you will bet a much improved hook up ratio.
Have fun the tarpon are up in the holes on the Harbor, and working the beaches, all worth it to see 6 feet of glimmering sliver trying to jump to meet the sun.

 

 

 

08/25/2016

To Fish or not to fish that is the question, weather it is nobler to wait for cooler weather or to brave the heat of the summer. Good question it is a summer time thing out there. Good news is that we have a couple of morning that are not excessively hot. Almost comfortable and such is September. September is the month we hope brings a bit of cooler morning and milder night time temperatures.

Here is a brain tease do tropical storms help. As I write this there is a tropical disturbance in the gulf and by the time you read this it will be hopefully a distant memory like Storm What storm, Tropical storm are the fall signal which helps bring a balance tot he temps mixing the atmosphere and helps get rid of the stored up heat in the ground and the water. At least in my mind, Years when we have had a fall with tropical storms the fishing has gotten way better, much sooner that years with out.
Now I had a fall where all I lost was my house, my store, and my belongings so I understand what a storm can do, But I am not talking hurricanes just a few days of heavy cloud cover, rain and wind. This can bring down the temperature faster and flush out of the harbor many of the summer time algae growth and restore a new heath and balance to the Eco system of Charlotte Harbor.

 

Now by all indicators the fishing should be horrible and it is not. It is really pretty good, not great mind you but good and this month of September is going to be much better. The river has fallen a foot a day for the last week and the storm could bring water levels up for a final big flush out. September has some good over night out going tides which will help clean out the waters. The gulf temp is running about 4 degrees over normal but a tropical system could drop that temp below normal in a matter of days. Sharks are thick in front of Cape haze over to Bull bay, The Pompano are in Boca and Captiva Passes, trout are just in-side the bar on the east side,, And the Cobia are back.
Red fish are making a splash on the east and west sides of the harbor and Bonita chunks are the bait of choice, OK yes I just said Bonita chunks. That is a line I have never said 2016 continues to be the year of the weird. But I thought about it and Bonita chunks are stinky, bloody, nasty everything a Red Fish would love. So there ya go.

 

 

Tropical storms are head line news but not all bad, unless they turn into a major storm, so while we need to be wary of storms, but not afraid. My storm kit for real people, Buy an extra battery for your car, and then go to an Auto parts store and buy a cheap LED light from the clearance rack, attach an alligator clip to each end. A normal car battery will run the led light a at least a month, providing light in your house, and you need a battery any way. Water is a problem a person needs to drink a gallon of water a day, So 4 people 4 gallons a week. You can fill the bath tub with water and I would buy a water filter with a 1 micron filter, you can get them cheap on line. And a solar charger for your phone. NO the phone will not work but they have flash light apps. That will work. Possibly a gps that may work. Then buy a Radio, with a hand crank charger AM & FM . AM signal is the key AM broadcast and you can get a signal for info. Digital signals are Very short range. Food I am a Mountain house food dealer, and Consider a family of 4 for a week 2 meals a day, 4x2=8 x7= 56 x4= 224 meals a month. So I bought the cans of food, 10 meals each and the cans are safe to eat for 40 years, here is the rub you have to add water, So again a water filter, most water sources may still run even at a trickle. But really not that safe to drink, filter it boil it than you can cool to drink. Stocking up on D batteries and fish lights is a good idea but a car battery can do so much more, storing 40 gallons of water is a lot of space, think before you react to what you hear on T.V. The sky is falling, be prepared. Every day.

Now that I have talked about fishing storms and the good and the bad. I reflect that in every day it is the extremes which makes things bad, too hot or too cold, too windy, too much talking and yelling, and not enough listening and forgiving, This time of year is the start of the Florida Fishing season, and it is looking like a much better year than last year. So all ahead full steam. The Cobia have come back into the Harbor and near gulf what an exciting time to be fishin in Florida

 

 

 

10/23/16

 

Well another month and this time of year we see the Air temperatures fall and think wow the crappie or if you fish Salt water the Sheep head should be biting. It take 4 times longer for water to heat or cool than it will land and water is many times slower to heat or cool than air. But lets use 4 times as a basis.

So 4 hours of night time cooling only has a 1 hour of effect on the water and that will only go down a foot or so. The deeper the water the more dense it is and again takes longer to cool. Surface to 2 feet is about the same by the time you get to 6 feet it is twice as long to cool or heat than the surface water so 8 times longer. So what does this mean and why is it important, Well it might not be important but to effect the fishing it would take 4 days of cool weather to drop the water temp two feet below the surface. When over night the air temp could change. So one cool day OK but we need four days of cool weather to bring on the sheep head or Crappie Bite to full effect.

So lets say it does get cool enough to bring on the bite. For Sheep head that will mean finding a pier or bridge to fish, although many docks the more piling the better are just right for holding Sheep head.

The piling are loaded up with barnacles and the sheep head have teeth which can crush the out side of the Barnacle funny but they don’t eat the shell or hard part they want the soft worm inside the barnacle. Yes inside the hard outer crusty very sharp exterior of a barnacle is a worm. And often even though the Sheep head like to eat them it is not the barnacles they are after.
Picture all of those barnacles one after the other growing on a piling. In-between each of them is a space like an apartment building for tiny fish, Crabs, even Shrimp, Yes a multitude of tiny creatures live in between the growing barnacle and oysters. Fish like sheep head and many others glide up and down looking for a snack when one of these little creatures gets caught UN aware.

 

So Favorite foods for sheep head including Sand fleas, Fiddler crabs or any tiny crab for that matter. Barnacle in-sides, Clam and Oyster meat. Shrimp Funny with shrimp they like it better if you peel the shell off like you would if you were going to eat it. You would think with the way they like crabs and such with the hard shell, they would prefer Shrimp with the outer shell, but nope peel the shrimp tail and you will catch more sheep head. Last bit on sheep head is that they can be caught on the bottom but they are not a bottom feeder or a surface feeder for that matter they like to feed in the middle. So I use where ever possible a 3 way rig. The sinker on the bottom with the hook and bait off to the side, and if I cast the rig I place a tiny bobber or float at the top of the rig to keep it off of the bottom. If I am on a pier I let the rig down until the weight is on the bottom and the hook is a foot or so off the bottom right next to the piling.

 

 

Just a bit here for you Fresh water people, A little know fact Crappie in Florida like Pepper trees. I am not sure way but I think it is because the limbs and the roots make a tangle mess under the water where ever a pepper tree is hanging over the water. I sort of reminds me of what an old Christmas tree after the needles had fallen off would look like. And that is what Crappie like heavy or tangled cover to hide and or spawn in, when fishing a pepper tree I use a bobber for the Crappie because of I cast a free line minnow into the branches it will tangle up and no way to land the fish. I can float a minnow right up to the branches under water and when the float goes down set and pull hard to have to get that fish out of all of the tangles or lose what truly is one of the best meals ever. Tasty just plain tasty. And to that off with for their size a Crappie is a great fighter. #6 hook with a live minnow hooked just in front of the eyes, I use a very skinny or to be exact a Quill float, Quill floats get their name from the first ones were made from porcupine quills. Ever once in a while I can still get the real quill bobbers.
The skinny style is great for Crappie as the float is very easy to pull down and shows every movement the bait makes. It pints at the bait.

 

OK so that is a bit about the weather and as the cool weather and water approaches that will trigger a spawning season for both fresh water Crappie and the slat water sheep head,
Good luck on your hunting and Wow the cool morning are just heaven, Enjoy the Florida winter to

 

 

 

08/26/2015

Peace River We all know the Peace river is here, but do you know how cool it is? Lets start at the 41 bridges. Now the real mouth of the river is in a line from Ponce DE Leon park in Punta Gorda across to Hog Island. So the Gilchrist bridges or 41 bridges as we call them are really a little over 4 miles up river.
To get to where the river is fresh all year is about 17 miles up where Horse Creek enters the Peace river
or 22 from the mouth of the river. I thought I would throw that in as I get this question a lot, most people do not under stand the Peace river is 104 miles long and in the past a Major trade route for goods, before stage coaches and wagons, I guess I should say before roads, heavy goods were transported by barges. Now we use interstate Hwy but back then a lot easier to put a couple tons of stuff on a boat and push it.


Now lets get to the fishing, Snook fishing can be done on most of the peace river, Zolfo Springs and Wauchula have for part of the Year some very good Snook fishing. Even Tarpon can be found up the River.

Back to a trip up the river, Starting at 41 you are in a full on Salt water environment, as you pass the bridge for I-75 you are into a Mangrove environment, still salt water now once you pass Harbor heights you will see saw grass, This is where the transition starts, this is a true brackish water environment. Now watch the shoreline as you head up river at Harbor heights take the right fork and you will see the plants are changing more ferns, and the trees are different the Mangroves thin out and the Cypress tress begin to be more common, Watch Island 33 you will know which one this is as the channel marks stop here, you have been seeing the typical Red or green markers now in front of you is a marker with red and green on it, half and half. That is the Charlotte county line. And the channels markers stop here this is also the first place with less than 4 feet of water, you have been over holes deeper than 20 foot on your way here but in front of you is a shoal which extends all the way across the main channel of the river and at high tides there is 3 feet of water at lower tides less than 2. Now you can take and go around the back side of island 33 and while there is not much more water the bottom is soft and you will have no trouble making it through. In front on the main channel the bottom is much harder and may ding your prop. I always use the main channel as I run a flats boat and only need a foot of water to run comfortable. Once you are past island 33 hold to the out side bends of the river and there is not really any shallow places, until you get past the camp ground. And that is only shallow if you are not thinking out side of the bends, which means you must picture in your head an “S” follow the curves,
The fish will also hold on these out side bends. Near the shoreline and You could cast a lure like a Rat-L-trap or a Bomber at the shore or I prefer to troll these bends in the River. These bends get deep quick and it is a good idea to idle over a bend to see where the deep starts, Pick a tree on the shore as your guide. When I troll I am less than 5 feet from the bank so a certain tree is a good reference point to know where the deep part of the hole is.

Now the only tricky turn is at the water treatment plant, you will be running along and then find your self in a bay. The river had just taken a hard right which you will not have seen and now you are in the bay where we in Charlotte County get our drinking water from. I would take a few minutes to fish here.
In the water treatment bay there are often tarpon, and the Snook tend to lay up along the shore line on your right hand side, I like to anchor out in the middle and try for some of the giant Gar fish which live here not uncommon to find gar over 4 feet long. A shiner under a bobber with a 4/0 wide gap/ Kahele hook is the trick to fishing for them or catching them. If you are a Fly person, use a 2/0 hook with a piece of red ribbon, I would make the ribbon at least 4 inches long, I like 6 inches then I shred the last 3 inches. This works the gar go to attack the ribbon and their teeth get stuck in the shredded part.

Now lets get back to the river come out of the bay and make a hard left and around the island you will see the bridge for hwy 761 go under the bridge and all the way to the left hand shore line. There is a sand bar which comes off of the main channel of the river, which is on your right, If you go straight ahead the Snook fishing is great on the left hand bank but it is a dead end. Wait to head up the river until to get right in front of the main channel coming from the right, that will take you to the Fort Ogden trestle, where it is deep and the fishing is good right around the pilings. You may only get a little ways farther up river from here, take this next ½ mile slow there is no deeper section, and often fallen trees in the water at or near the surface. You will make a left turn and there is a nice beach and some bug round Piling maybe, I am sure at some time long ago there was a bridge or something here this is the mouth of Horse Creek ahead of you there is what we call the narrows, great fishing for Snook, Bass, Blue gills, even some times Red fish, the main channel of the river goes off to your right but is really shallow less than a foot deep. This is where I will stop as this is about where you need to stop, I have not been up past this for a year so, I will make a run up there and then I will continue our journey
to Arcadia and Points beyond as a last thought there is a great park in Arcadia on Hwy 70 at the edge of town fishing is OK, for Snook and or Bass, but a really nice park and a cool place to just check out by Car.

 

 

 

03/28/16

Tarpon the Silver King our Spring time visitors, Strange how we locals know when the Tarpon are here, the secret? Yellow butterflies, Yes the little white with a light bit of yellow color butterflies are the tell tale for Tarpon, and Guess what we see little Yellow butterflies now,

How can the tarpon react so fast? Be gone one day and here the next? Lets do some math, I know we told our teacher we would never use it but lets just try some basic math, The Keys where the tarpon “winter” are give or take 110 miles from Charlotte Harbor, so a Tarpon swimming at 5 m.p.h. Would be here in less than two days, 10 m.p.h. Same day. I get that question a lot how do the Tarpon know when to show up and how can they be here so fast or gone so quickly. Know you know and a Tarpon can swim much faster than 10 m.p.h.

 

In the 1980's until the late 1990's we could count on the Tarpon showing up by the 2nd week of May maybe before but for sure by then, Now it is not uncommon to have Tarpon in March. Dec of 2015 Boca Pass had a bunch of Tarpon in it. The water was 85 degrees. This brings us to how the Tarpon know when to show up. Believe it or not Tarpon do not carry smart phone with a calendar on it or appointment App. So it is the water temp which will send them traveling. Here to us or away,

 

Tarpon start showing up here, as the water reaches 73 degrees. The Harbor and passes are full of Tarpon by the time the water is 76 degrees. Now the is a caveat to this and that is will the tarpon stay here? This is the caveat, the deciding factor is there food here. Some times when the Tarpon show up it is before the bait fish, like Thread fin herring or white bait, Lady fish, Mackerel, Tarpon come for the water temp and the Harbor but they stay for the food. No food No Tarpon.

 

The is another reason Tarpon show up here in Charlotte Harbor it is where they like to spawn, Small Tarpon would not survive the open water of the Gulf or Atlantic ocean. So until they get larger enough
they live here in our canals, creeks, rivers, where even a Small 2 foot size tarpon is a big Fish already. That limits the fish which would prey-upon them as Young fish.

 

The tarpon most of them come in from the South reaching Sanibel First while Some of the Tarpon come from the west or north the first ones here are from the keys. So the come in though Punta rassa Pass and head up the inter-coastal first major feed stop is Captiva Rocks. On the west side of the I.C.W. About mid way up pine island. Then it is into the Harbor, My favorite thing with tarpon is for a week they will stack up along the out side of the sand bar on the west side. Thousands of Tarpon all laying side by side in 6 feet of water. Slowing idling over those fish is an incredible sight, you just start to shake, something like buck fever takes a hold of you. Sadly they are almost impossible to get to bite.

 

Tarpon growing up here stay until they are almost 5 feet in length that is larger enough to travel the open waters of the gulf. What is weird is that every school of Small tarpon has a larger one 6 footer which stays with them all year, might be a baby sitter or maybe one too old to make the long journey from here to where ever. The tarpon here might be found in Mexico or in the northern Gulf states.

 

So getting to how to catch them, Live bait is the most common way to fish for tarpon Live bait fish like Thread fins or Greens backs free lined at the Tarpon, is always one of the most effective ways of hooking up. This requires casting a long way to get to the rolling fish. So most of us use an 8 foot heavy action Rod. Spinning tackle allows for more distance with the light weight bait fish. And the drags on the new spinning gears is more than equal to the task of stopping a 150 pound mad dashing, jumping fish.

 

Lures are a must often for finding Tarpon and the D.O.A. Bait buster has been and still is the king of tarpon hook ups, More fish are hooked up with a bait buster than any other lure. A neat trick is on the choppy days where it is hard to see the tarpon rolling Place a bait buster 5 feet under a bobber and cast it out and the waves do the jigging for you. Very very effective. Another new comer in the Tarpon lures but is a rising star the Savage gear Trout 6 inch UN-real action weather you are casting it or trolling it, It is called a Trout but looks way more like a mullet than a Trout to me when it is in the water.

The Tarpon are here in the deep holes of the Harbor and in the passes until may hits they will be moving from place to place a lot so you may have to look for them but from now until September game on Tarpon wise.

Have fun

Fishin Frank

 

 

 

Each year we have a Tent event sale, here at Fishin Franks were hundreds or thousands of people come to meet the people who make the tackle and this event draws some of the biggest names in the industry.

This year was no exception and it was a beautiful show. We try to make this a learning experience for the beginner or average angler and interesting enough for the professional, 2016 and El-nino tested the metal of our guest customers and factory people alike at 1:pm it was cloudy but the skies and the radar were angry that day, You all have lived in Florida and know when a big front is coming right before the rain hits the wind will blast down. And blast it did, the tents were trying to fly and people grabbing the tents to hold them down and the rain started coming down. I should have been paying attention to the guy across the street building an Ark, My first clue over looked as the rain continued many People headed in side the building, Mark Nichols the owner/President of D.O.A. Lures went to get his rain gear, and Mark found he had left it at home so grabbing a larger garbage bag cutting a hole in the bottom put that on and while Mark was walking up the heavens opened up. So here is Mark holding onto the tent leg so it would not fly away wearing a plastic trash bag, grinning from ear to ear laughing telling me this was the most fun tackle show he had ever been to. Class act Mark Nichols, Eric of the President of MirrOlure is a bit better of as his tent was against the building but the water was rising as it got to his ankles he just smiled and shook his head like only you Frank.
The Prize for most understanding or maybe #1 nut goes to Patrick Sebile whose tent collapsed just about 2 minutes after this picture was taken and he was standing in almost knee deep water casting a lure across the parking lot and just said this is cool I don’t have to use the casting tank any more. Plenty of water here in the lot. Each company gets a casting demo tank to show how the lures work so people who do not throw lures can see it ion action. And Here is Patrick casting his Sebile lures across the parking lot. By the way he sold a dozen or so of them while casting them in the rain across the parking lot standing in knee deep water during a thunder storm. Some time I think only at Fishin Franks

 

 

 

Looking forward to the fishing this month with the water temps just a little below average, the Fishing is going to be very good. For the past couple months the fish seem to have been holding just out in the gulf. Which is sort of weird with everything they should have been flooding the Harbor, it could be the extra rain or the Lighting or just God of the seas Poseidon messing with us.

This is not a bad thing as the fish are only 5 miles out you can still see land and it is really no different than being in the middle of the Harbor as far as distance from land. So even a Smaller boat can reach the schools of Bonita, Black fin tuna, Spanish mackerel, Jacks, and a host of other fish which are right out there for the catching. And the big question how do you catch them. OK well I would consider trolling to find the fish. Trolling a set of lures, can be the best way to find fish. Most boats have 4 rod holders two on the stern and two more in front of those. I have a couple of deep divers one that gose 20 feet down and one that would go 15 feet down, these are not really to catch fish more to attract fish, the ones I am going to use to catch are a Storm twitch stik and a Rapala 08 X-rap,
these small lures will get hit by Kings up to 20 pounds and the Bonita and black fin love them, another good bet is a skirted lure like a Williamson, smaller versions with a skipping head or a popping head.
I will troll until I see fish Boiling.
Yes Often you can see the fish boiling the surface feeding, and go to the school and cast the edge of the schools,, with small jigs or lures. Small is the key thing to remember under 3 inches long like a Pompano jig, or if I am casting spoons. I would switch from a sprite to a cast master type. The Sprite style is great but the body of a ¾ once spoon is too large, what the fish are feeding on are very small glass minnows and you need to match that, The cast-Master type spoons are much smaller in size and heavier. So a ¾ once is more the size of a ¼ once sprite, The weight is key for getting the distance when casting, and the smaller body style will sink a bit more. Letting you easy adjust the depth of you lure. Good lures crank bait style or lures with a lip, would be the X-rap 08 or 06. smaller but heavier for the size, I would also take a Storm Twitch Stik, which would be the absolute largest lure I would throw. Again it is about the lure looking like a glass minnow.
Never cast into the boiling fish, that would and could make them sound, which means dive deep under water and they may not come up again, So concentrate on picking off the ones on the out-side of the main school. I would cast 3 feet or more to the side of the main school of fish boiling and reel quickly, The fish are chasing frightened escaping prey. Stopping or pausing for a second when retrieving then reeling quickly again can be and often is key to getting the fish to hit. When a bait fish is being chased they will stop for an instant to see where the fish is that is chasing them and even if it still chasing them. Then dart off in a new direction. Mimicking this make for more hook ups.


 

There is also a lot of bottom fishing and you could drift or anchor up, so many choices. The one rule when fishing off in the gulf be it far out or close in. Do not let a storm get between you and the shore,
keep one eye on the weather, it is a simple rule, but harder to watch for when you are fishing. And if you do get caught in a storm keep clam and your bow up, Life jackets on. Better to be prepared, one weird wave and I mean it is 1 in 100,000 that would cause a problem, But I hope for the best and expect the worse.
Good luck out there have fun and be safe

 

 

02/10/2016

Snook or Snoek which is the Dutch word for Pike. From what I can find out. Who would have guessed there were that many of us Dutchmen here in South Florida to name a Fish?


Snook the trash fish which during the depression were hooked by gaff and sold for Cat-food. And not until some dumb Yankee filleted on removing the skin before cooking did anyone know they were good eating.

Snook are only found in the warm waters and while they may be found north of Tampa it is rare and a cold front could easily wipe them out. A true Game fish in Florida and if you are convicted of a Snook crime it is easier to get Murder off your record than a Snook crime.

How would you catch one, first thing I would do is not think about the boat Snook are shore huggers until they get to about 40 inches then many will cruise out to the reefs,
But for this we will think piers. Any pier that is in Salt water or Brackish water. Snook are ambush feeder and like to lay around piling waiting for food to come to them.


 

So Rod and reel for this I go Heavy 10 to 20 pound line class or better Yet a 12 to 15 pound class rod, 4000 or larger reel. I would like 30 pound braid or at least 20 pound mono line and for leader 40 pound test Fluorocarbon or more.

Rigging is simple I tie 3 feet of leader to my line and tie the jig head to the leader, the Jig head should be 3/8 once or heavier. I like Pink or bright Chartreuse colors. On the Jig head I hook a shrimp place the jig head in from the bottom of the head out the top So the hook is right above the horn on the shrimps head. The point of the hook pointing the same way as the horn o the Shrimps head. Then I break off the Horn from the Shrimps head. I do that because I have had a Snook on great fight then all of a sudden the fish got off and when I looked at the bait. The front of the Shrimps face was smashed and the horn was sticking out, I believe that the horn kept the point of the hook from going into the mouth of the Snook. So I break off the horn just to be sure.

 

Now how to use this rig is easy. Take your bait bucket onto the pier maybe 10 feet set it down and put the shrimp on the Jig head. Now you will want to start by going to the railing and place your rod just over the side. Tipping in the direction you are going to walk. So out towards the end of the pier. Now let the jig head with the shrimp fall to the bottom by opening the Bail. When the jig is on the bottom close the bail and slowly tighten the line by reeling in the slack line. Now lift your rod tip 6 inches and start slowly walking forward. By Slowly I mean if it is a wooden pier step on each board. If you are on a concrete pier, I would take half steps. This is a quiet thing walking a Shrimp for Snook so soft soled shoes are important, no flip flops either.
If there is people on the pier walking it is not as important as the fish are used to the noise already, But if there is no one on the pier quiet is really, really important.


 

I start my walk when I get on the pier with 10 inches of water if the pier is in deeper water start right next to the pier. By walking with half steps and I bounce my rod tip every once in a while just to give it a little action and noise or ripple under water for attention. Now here is another important thing thing I stop very 15 feet or so and again open my bail to let the jig head with the shrimp hit the bottom take up the slack in the line and then once again l lift my rod tip 6 inches and star my walk again this keeps the Shrimp in the strike zone, as the water gets deeper out the pier and when walking back to shore keeps your Shrimp from dragging on the bottom.

The Snook will by laying right next to a piling and when they strike your bait will try to get right back to behind the piling so the fight will take place in a five foot circle. That is why the heavy action Rod. You lull the Snook pulls, whoever pulls the hardest wins. This is not a play the Snook situation, This is all about holding on and keeping the fish between the pilings.

Walk out on one side of the pier and back down on the other. If there is someone fishing, life your bait out go around them give them ten to fifteen feet of courtesy room. Hey they have the right to fish unmolested same as you.

 

From Fishin Franks in North fort Myers in the Ingman Marine Boat dealer ship
Good luck
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

07/12/2016

I cast is the national trade show of the fishing industry and a new line of lures is out and in stock here at Fishin Franks. I am going to write about this as I had a lot of input with Rapala on bring this lure to market. It is time and I believe you will see many, many copies of this, lure from Rapala as you might have guess and it is single hook lures, The standard of fishing lures has been treble hooks, back in the 1950's and 60's lures had from 2 to 9 treble hooks on them, five and six treble hooks were common it got to the point that many states had lints on how many treble hooks could be on a single fishing lure.
Now a days two or three treble hooks are common.
In the modern world of educated anglers, we have figure out that a single rear hook gives you a better hook up ratio than all of those treble hooks. Now these lure have been specially designed for a single hook in the front and back of the lures. The black, white and orange lure you see herein the picture is a remake of the Ralapa twitch lure, they tried to just replace the trebles hook but when a lure is designed it is made with the weight and the water resistance of the treble hook figured into the action, So you can not just replace your treble hooks on your lures and still have them work properly. You can replace just the rear treble hook and the lure will work as well and you still get the better hook up ratio of the single hook by removing the rear treble hook and replacing it with a VMC “ILS” model in line hook. A normal hook has the eye at a 90 degree to the shank and these VMC hook are made to hang they way they should on a lure. Now I would flatten the barbs on the front treble hook which you must leave on as you do not need the barbs 95 % of the fish will be on the rear single hook, and it is safer is there are no barbs on the front treble for your fingers.

Rapala did an excellent job on these single hook lures and there are more style and shapes than I took pictures of these are two I really wanted the twitch lure is perfect for the flats or even schoolly bass,
It will work great in 2 feet of water or less on the flats for Snook, Sea Trout or Red fish. But letting it sink a bit and holding your rod tip low to the water you can get it much deeper.
The other is a “Sub-walk” you use it like a Zara-Spook but under the water not on top. Just deadly.
Hats off to Rapala for a more fish and user friendly lure. Hummm I am not sure of a lure that works this good and tricks so many fish into biting it is fish friendly? But it is a much safer for the fish and safer for my fingers lure and we have had. Oh and did I mention we have them on the wall, for sale even.

well another month of strange goings on in the Harbor

The Thread fins seems to have left the Harbor and not is not really unusual as the water is hot and fresh, with the rain and the rivers running normal type thing what makes a weird thing is the white bait has moved in, White bait is a hard scaled sardine common name would be green backs.
OK I know both the thread fin herring which is a soft scale sardine and the greens backs both have green backs. So how do you tell the difference, well the Thread fin has a bright green back with little black dots, and a long protrusion or I guess I should say the rear of the dorsal fin extends with what looks like a long thread towards the tail. And being a soft scale sardine when you pick up a Thread fin in your hand, your hand is cover in tiny fish scales. Where as when you pick up a real green back “Hard scale" sardine there is no scales falling off. The with bait or green back is also much heavier twice the weight of a Thread fin, and rounder of body. The back is a darker shade of green almost black. That should give you an idea of why so many lures are green back with a white belly.

Why would the green backs come into the Harbor if the Thread fins are leaving? Well they do have different habits The Thread fins like to be close to the surface, when you cross a bridge you may often see schools of bait which looks like small spot of rain hitting the water right on the surface. Green backs prefer to hug the bottom, I believe that is the difference. The River has slowed down and is back to around 600 cubic feet per second. So the water in the Harbor while still very dark brown is not fresh all the way to the bottom.

 

 

10/09/2016

Fishin Frank – North Fort Myers. And Charlotte Harbor

 

This is a tough one Red tides all through October and a Hurricane blew by. Add all this up and you get. A November which could go either way. The west winds of the bottom of Mathew blew the Red tide on to the beaches and into the ICW along much of the shore lines. While the interior of Charlotte Harbor remained unaffected by the Red tide as the Rivers were pumping millions of gallons of fresh water into the Harbor and Red tide needs salt water to live, the Red fish were one of the biggest losers of the Red tide. The big adult breeders were heading into the Harbor just as the Red tide was at it's worst. While I can tell you more survived than were killed judging by the schools of monster red fish in the Harbor along the bars on the east side and in front of Turtle Bay. Big number of spawning fish did die.
What will that mean? Well we will find out in about two years. We had a bad year last year with lower than normal numbers of Red fish, this year right now we have a huge population of Reds in the Harbor.

So if the fishing for Red fish two years from now is not that great we will know than why.

 

Snook continue to be the game fish all over the Harbor even right now with massive numbers of Red fish, Snook dominate the catching in the canals and from the Piers. Tarpon are a common catch right now as well, thousands of the Silver kings are feeding in the canals. The cool thing about this is both tarpon and the Snook will eat lures or bait, Snook are by far the easier ones to catch. A storm twitch or a bomber lure long a 15, even the Paddle tail shads are making the Snook for get caution and strike the lures with a vengeance.

 

The difference between the Snook fishing and the Tarpon fishing is the Snook are right under the docks and within two feet of the sea wall. Where as the Tarpon are more of a middle of the canal fish. So cast the same lures under the docks and then right along the Sea wall. After a few cast if you do not get a strike. Cast out towards the middle of the canal. When I cast for the tarpon I try to get the lure lower in the water more towards the bottom. If I am casting a paddle tail or jig, I will let it sink for a 3 second count before I start reeling in, this allows the lure to get deeper in the water holding my rod tip close to the water so while I reel in, I am not reeling the lure up as well as in. For the Snook it does not seem to matter so I can stay a bit higher less chances of getting the lure stuck on debris. So I will start reeling as soon as the lure hits the water keeping my rod tip up 4 feet from the surface of the water. This makes the lure come in just under the surface, and Snook love to hit up. The Jaw of a Snook is designed better for striking at food while it is in front of its face or higher up. Same for a Tarpon both fish can and do feed off of the bottom, but the shape of their jaws and where their eyes are it is easier for them not to feed on the bottom. Much different than a Red Fish whose is built for bottom feeding.


November should be a good month for bottom fishing in the gulf, after a storm the Grouper come in closer to shore and the Snappers will be closer as well. The Bonita and King mackerel are here for the month unless we get a major cold spell, which is unlikely. Mahi and Wa-hoo have both been off our coast. Now will the Red tide last and how can you avoid it, keep moving, and watch where the wind is coming from a switch in the wind will move the Red Tide. Just a week ago a guy asked me about the Red tide and it was very near shore and did not go out more than a couple miles, the wind over night switched from West to the coming out of the east and the red tide was extended out to 15 miles over night. So winds out of the west blow to the Red Tide to shore on this coast and easterly winds blow it out into the gulf. Another thing to keep in mind is that Red tide may not go all of the way to the bottom.
Often in more than 30 feet of water the surface or near surface water is deadly to fish with high concentrations of the algae, But the fish on the bottom are not effected at all.

Anyway best bets for this month is stay in the brown back waters of the Harbor for some great action with Snook and Red fish or in the Canals for Snook and Tarpon. If you are going out into the gulf you may have to put some miles between you and shore to avoid the Red tides. But I pray they are gone.

Fishin Frank


Fishin Franks B
ait & tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail Charlotte Harbor Fl. 33980  941-625-3888
Fishin Franks Tackle Shop 14531 N. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, 33903 239-634-1043

 

 

 

12/10/2016

 

OK lets talk where to go fishin I think as this is the first Month of the year lets start off in the gulf.
Grouper and Snapper King mackerel and many more type of fish to be had and here is a spot not too far off the coast. It is an old Barge that sunk 10.3 miles from Boca pass really a bit closer to Captiva Pass.

I would take two different types of Rod and reel set ups the 1st would be a 30 size two speed conventional with a 6 foot rod maybe a bit shorter and stout, with 65 to 80 pound test braid and 6 once sinker with a 60 pound floro carbon leader I tie on a 7/0 Circle hook VMC makes a good one. From the hook to the swivel I like about 3 feet of leader more or less is OK, I use a 150 pound test AFW Swivel I don't want shiny I like the dull finish, if I use a shiny black or Silver colored Swivel when I am fighting a fish other fish see the shiny thing and try to eat it, which often means they will bite through my fishing line. So dull finish is better for this. The swivel is used to keep the sinker and I use an egg sinker 6 once slid on to my line before I tie on the swivel Keeps the weight away from my hook.
For bait on this set up I like frozen Spanish sardines not too expensive and they really catch fish. Why because they are stinky soft oily nasty bait which everything likes to eat. One problem with Spanish sardines is that they are difficult to keep on the hook and tend to fall off if you are not really gentle, So I use a trick to keep them on the hook, I lay a whole Squid on its side then slice a cross section of it maybe ½ inch. The piece I cut when held up looks like a circle or thick rubber band. Now I take that and put it over the head of the Sardine and put the hook through the Squid and through the sardine coming out the other side and through the squid again making a keeper for the bait the hook is through both and the Squid is really tough and so the sardine stays on the hook. And I catch fish.
Now for the snapper I tend to use spinning tackle A 50 or 60 size reel with a 6 to 6'6” rod and 30 or 40 pounnd test braided line, with a 2 once sinker then tie the line to your swivel and again leave about 3 feet of 40 pound test floro leader to a 2/0 circle hook. This is my Snapper rig and for bait I put on a chunk of Squid which does work well, But I find that the fish prefer Shrimp Live shrimp have always seemed to be the best bait for Snappers and grunts but the fish will steal them right off your hook So again I go back to the Squid, Cut a thin slice of Squid and put that on the hook then Put the live shrimp on hooked through the head. The fish will whack the Shrimp and maybe get away with it with out being hooked. So if you feel the bite and miss the fish let it fall back down a bit and wait the fish will come back for the Squid which is still on the hook and tap tap tap of the bite and start reeling you got it, this time.

I understand you can use the sardine with out the squid collar, or just the shrimp with out the Squid back up or just a squid alone is very good bait, and if I am going after big fish with squid I use it whole and put the hook through the pointy end twice to keep it on and let the tentacles hang, this is a very good way when I first drop a bait down I like to use larger baits to see if the big fish will hit, once you get things going the smaller fish are quicker and more aggressive So even though the large fish are there they are not as quick as some of the smaller one.

As a last thought when I come up to a place in the gulf to bottom fish I get close to the mark and then stop the boat and turn the wheel hard to the left and then put the boat back 9in gear and slowly circle watching the bottom machine for signs of structure, as when a see something I toss a buoy over the back of the boat so I have a point to reference, a G.P.S. Is almost impossible to get right back on the spot a buoy gives you something to see. I would say the only other thing not to do is fall in love with where you drop the anchor. I try to anchor on my buoy and if I miss I might try and fish for a while but in the gulf if you are off a few feet you might as well be a mile away, So re-anchor to get on the spot meaning on the fish, Good luck out there and I hope you enjoy this spot
Barge wreck 10.3 miles off Boca on a heading of 226 degrees and it is in 48 feet of water,
for your G.P.S 26-26.755N and 082-22.755W
Fishin Frank


Fishin Franks
14531 N. Cleveland ave 33903 In North Fort Myers 239-634-1043
or the
Fishin Franks experience in Port Charlotte.


 

 

 

 

06/13/2016

Looking forward to the fishing this month with the water temps just a little below average, the Fishing is going to be very good. For the past couple months the fish seem to have been holding just out in the gulf. Which is sort of weird with everything they should have been flooding the Harbor, it could be the extra rain or the Lighting or just God of the seas Poseidon messing with us.

This is not a bad thing as the fish are only 5 miles out you can still see land and it is really no different than being in the middle of the Harbor as far as distance from land. So even a Smaller boat can reach the schools of Bonita, Black fin tuna, Spanish mackerel, Jacks, and a host of other fish which are right out there for the catching. And the big question how do you catch them. OK well I would consider trolling to find the fish. Trolling a set of lures, can be the best way to find fish. Most boats have 4 rod holders two on the stern and two more in front of those. I have a couple of deep divers one that gose 20 feet down and one that would go 15 feet down, these are not really to catch fish more to attract fish, the ones I am going to use to catch are a Storm twitch stik and a Rapala 08 X-rap,
these small lures will get hit by Kings up to 20 pounds and the Bonita and black fin love them, another good bet is a skirted lure like a Williamson, smaller versions with a skipping head or a popping head.
I will troll until I see fish Boiling.
Yes Often you can see the fish boiling the surface feeding, and go to the school and cast the edge of the schools,, with small jigs or lures. Small is the key thing to remember under 3 inches long like a Pompano jig, or if I am casting spoons. I would switch from a sprite to a cast master type. The Sprite style is great but the body of a ¾ once spoon is too large, what the fish are feeding on are very small glass minnows and you need to match that, The cast-Master type spoons are much smaller in size and heavier. So a ¾ once is more the size of a ¼ once sprite, The weight is key for getting the distance when casting, and the smaller body style will sink a bit more. Letting you easy adjust the depth of you lure. Good lures crank bait style or lures with a lip, would be the X-rap 08 or 06. smaller but heavier for the size, I would also take a Storm Twitch Stik, which would be the absolute largest lure I would throw. Again it is about the lure looking like a glass minnow.
Never cast into the boiling fish, that would and could make them sound, which means dive deep under water and they may not come up again, So concentrate on picking off the ones on the out-side of the main school. I would cast 3 feet or more to the side of the main school of fish boiling and reel quickly, The fish are chasing frightened escaping prey. Stopping or pausing for a second when retrieving then reeling quickly again can be and often is key to getting the fish to hit. When a bait fish is being chased they will stop for an instant to see where the fish is that is chasing them and even if it still chasing them. Then dart off in a new direction. Mimicking this make for more hook ups.


 

There is also a lot of bottom fishing and you could drift or anchor up, so many choices. The one rule when fishing off in the gulf be it far out or close in. Do not let a storm get between you and the shore,
keep one eye on the weather, it is a simple rule, but harder to watch for when you are fishing. And if you do get caught in a storm keep clam and your bow up, Life jackets on. Better to be prepared, one weird wave and I mean it is 1 in 100,000 that would cause a problem, But I hope for the best and expect the worse.
Good luck out there have fun and be safe

 

 

 

09/16/2016

Just to get ahead Fishin Frank

 

The Most famous Trash fish in Florida, The racing mullet, soap fish, Yes the Robalo, Sargent fish, Snook Yes this was a trash fish which grew through the ranks all because some dumb Yankee tourist decided one day the fillet one. OK strange thought and not provable but up north people fillet Walleye, and most fish where people in the south cooked them whole and many countries still today gut the fish and cook them whole on the skin, I was at a dinner in central America where the honored guest was the lucky one who got to eat the eye balls, OK by U.S. Standards gross, but to them it was real and offensive not to accept and I did with the best fake smile I could muster, Snook has a strange thing chemical or something between the skin and the meat so if cooked with the skin on gives the meat the wonderful flavor of dish soap. Yes while not exactly like taking a swig of the Dawn bottle on the sink pretty close. Snook during the depression was sold as cat food and that was kind of easy to catch, a stick with a gaff hook and stand by a culvert pipe and snatch them out of the water. It was in the late 1940's 46 I believe the first fishing laws were created and in1957 that the first Snook laws were enacted, Florida after WWII became a tourist state South Florida had something no one else had, A monster in shore Game fish that Jumped, pulled and was excellent table fare “really taste good”. The Snook could be caught from piers, bridges, or from a boat, the perfect game fish.

Side note it is harder to get a Snook violation removed from your record than attempted murder, yes this fish was so prized by early fishing guides, the laws are very strong. A Snook must bite the hook, you can not reach into the water and pick one out to keep, Here is why, when the water temps hits 60 degrees the Snook become lethargic, and stops eating, Snook start to die if the water temp is below 54 degrees and is deadly at 42 degrees, So Tampa is the far north of the Snook range, That is why there is no Snook Tournament trail fishing. Red Fish are in all of the Gulf states and up past the Carolina s.
Snook are a South Florida and there is no more until you get to south Texas. Snook range from south Texas to Brazil after that it gets too cold again, so a real temperate zone fish, Like Goldie locks not too hot or too cold.


 

The other great thing about Snook is that they hit lures or bait, and as a shore hugging fish may be caught from land, Jigs, Spoon, crank baits, soft plastics, the only lure I have not caught a Snook on is a Erie dearie. Jitter bugs to hula poppers to Sabile lures old or new Snook like them all.

Snook are strange in that after the spawning season which for most Snook on the west coast is May and June, but could start April and go on through October, many of the males which are sexual active at around 18 inches might turn female, yes in the span of 90 days a male Snook could turn female Not all Snook turn female which by reason not all big Snook are female although most are, the problem is that there is no way to tell the difference between male and female Snook they are hermaphrodites all of their lives they are a bit of both ale and female, How do they test which are which? Spawning season the females have eggs and the males sperm. And they are different colors, So to test the theory about the male to female they placed a bunch of fish in a test tank and over the course of 90 days many of the males turned to female. I would have thought it would take longer? Seems like a bigger deal than a 90 day switch over but oh well,, Another cool thing if a bunch of females get together and there are no males around several may turn male. Sounds an awful lot like a San fransisco thing to me. Too much?
Any way A female Snook caries around a million and a half eggs and may spawn with several males every few days. The Largest Snook was caught in Costa Rica over 53 pounds, the Florida record I believe is 48 pound-ish OK the BIG Final question why are they named Snook! And it is really pronounced Sn-oook with an oouk after years of people coming down from the land of Chinook the tone changed so why Snook from the Dutch name for Pike Snoek miss spelled and there you have Snook my fore father or mothers are responsible for the name. Hey with a last name Hommema I had to be Dutch.
Thanks for your time have fun and go eat the best tasting in-shore game fish of all a Snook or just catch and release and let your heart pound. P.S. I am of the belief we should not be able to keep a Snook under 39 inches as a male Snook lives about 15 years and a female maybe 20 lets not take the young and strong we should be taking the older ones. Just a Thought, How cool would it be to be catching and releasing 38 ¾ inch Snook all day rather than 25 inch Snook, let them all get through the Slot.
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

01/11/2017

Boys and Girls of Fish world lots of great things happening Big, Yuge, things. Goliath Grouper “Jew” Fish are biting in the canals and in the passes, these monster fish which can reach 8 feet long and 700 to 800 pounds are cooperating well. Goliath Grouper are one of a couple types of Grouper which grow up in the Shallow water of the mangrove trees than as they get larger move out towards the gulf to live there.

It was not too many years ago we first started finding/catching in our canals these small grouper looking fish, some less than 6 inches long, these fish which were Brown and with or red, or maybe yellowish and dark with spots, I took quite a while to figure out what type of Grouper they were, this was just before the internet and back then you had to use dial up. Let your parents explain that. Be, boop. whirl, had to throw that in for us old timers. Finally a book and it was the round fins of the Goliath which made the I.D. Possible. Males we would learn take 5 years or so to become able to spawn and Females about 6 years and maybe Goliath turn male to female or maybe not. What I do know or think I know is that they like to live once they are about 6 or so inches in the canals. And they stay in the canals until they are about 50 pounds just before they get 4 feet long these Grouper seem to move out of the canals and out to the passes. Boca Grande Pass is the preferred pass as the old Phosphate dock has lot of heavy cover for them and they like having a home. Open sand bottom is not where they like to be.


The difference between fishing for Snook and Goliath Grouper in the canals is the time you spend waiting with your bait under the docks. Both fish like to live under docks and If I am fishing in the canals I use a chunk of Mullet or lady fish with a large enough hook to hook the bait and have the point of the hook far enough out to hook the fish. If I am trying to catch a fish like this I flatten the barb on the hook as I know it is catch and release. Casting the chunk or bait under the dock as center as possible then it is a waiting game. Studies have shown much to my surprise that Goliath Grouper do not reduce the fish populations on the reefs like I and many other people would have thought because they are lazy. Most of their diet is crabs, shrimp things that they can just gulp down with out a lot of chasing, I add this so you would under stand a Snook is a top predator and will and does chase down it's food. Goliath will tend to meander over to the food, not run over to get it. So the waiting game is on.

Out by the Phosphate dock at Boca Pass the technique is a bit strange You need a boat to get here on the out side of the piling is where we look for these giant fish to play with or at the large round tie up bumper. Either one How we do it is to use a 2 or 3 pound fish with a 13/0 hook or larger with 200 pound test leader, sometimes I use a 10 once sinker slid onto the line before the hook. Big rod I like the Bill fisher 80 to 130 pound class and an International reel 50 with 100 pound mono on it. The Angler / fisher person sits in the front of the boat and the operator of the boat put the nose of the boat up bu the dock. Drop the bait to the bottom and as soon as the rod person feels the fish bite the boat is put in reverse and that helps pull the fish away from the liking and into more open water, this has to happen before the fish figures out what you are trying to do and decides to pull back. The driver of the boat never leaves the helm. As that fish is going to try and pull it back to the dock. So have back up people for the person on the rod, a 300 pound fish mad at you is going to really fight. Now at this point it is simple you pull the fish pulls who ever pulls the hardest wins. If the person operating the boat and the person on the rod work together you should be successful. Team work the Rod person gets the glory and the boat operator gets yelled at if the fish gets back into the pilings. Hummm So remember to congratulate the boat person as well when the fish is landed and the pictures taken.

Just though I would share a little of the unusual things that are possible here in Charlotte Harbor
From North fort Myers
Fishin Frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

01/05/11

Sunday we said a last good bye to Angel during an on the water ceramony, It was very nice around 30 boats showed up
The weather was cold & windy, Jeff was taking waves over the bow. So 30 somthing boats was a lot.
Angels family all got to be together on the boats we rafted up, & Jeff dropped flowers up currant from the family,
Then all the boats did a final pass by salute to Angel. A fitting tribute for a good friend.

I spent the weekend at Arcidia days, Got to ride an Elephant, and watch the Frisbe dogs perform.
Lot of good bands Dixie Highway was great, I over ate both days the food was good. lots of work over 100
vendors and 6 bands, plus lots of other stuff, It was my Job to get everyone where they were supposed to be and get them what they needed
So I was busy. Did I mention I rode an Elephant how cool was that.

Billy B. was out today said the rat reds are all over the place. they caught a couple of Sheep head along the mangroves
and had a good time with the trout on the open flat just north of Prirate harbor.

 

01/05/11

Some of the better fishing right now by reports is in gasprilla sound Catfish creek ,
 whidden creek for big trout and bull & Turtle bay For Reds,
lots of small Reds but thats a good thing, means there is a real furture for them.
 remember the in-line cricle hooks for those little bait gulpers

01/02/11

Two guys just came in for thier 2nd 3 dozen shrimp, P.G.I. canals
Trout sre biting live shrimp with a very small split shot. or just freeline,
 cast wait for it to sink stay sharp it is a lite bite you have to be ready or the Trout get a free lunch.

 

Hot lures ,for a great day Trout fishin
mirrorlure 17MR,
Love lures tandum jigs Pink or white,
D.O.A. terror eyes, Red head / white, or black back with belly,
Maverick golden eye 222 red /wth , This oldie but goodie making big comeback
 this year, which is nice to see as they are made in The U.S.A. "I like that".

 

Trout in front of bull small but lots of them,
over by the three sisters flats and the back of devil fish cut bigger Trout but not as many.
Sand fly has had trout around the I/C side ,
Nice Trout mixed sizes from alligator creek down to Pirate Harbor,
Inside Pirate Harbor lots of Small trout.

Redfish , Turtle bay back in the holes and out front by Gallergers lots of reports of 6 to 30 fish for the day ,

 

 

1-1-11

 Billy just got back from turtle bay he would not exzactly where ,
all he said was 30 red fish from 1 deep hole , live shrimp on a strike zone jig head.
 

The entrance to brunt store has lots of smaller trout, same thing inside Prirate Harbor,
 some of the biggest Trout are coming from the n.e. end of pine island,
I-75 has lots of silver Trout with some smaller spotted mixed in .
lots of Trout just inside alligator creek but deep and slow is the key to finding keepers.
Love Lures selling like crazy today

 

Ok all you crappie people can get your minnow rigs together this stable weather with no fronts
has turned the crappie bite on. the canals around the peachland loveland area are produceing
 some nice size fish, Up- in north port there are lots of crappie biting no as many reports of
 bigger fish but lots of them. The spi...ll way on the coco plum just north of toledo blade doing

 

 I was just talking to a young man, about 12 years old He got up this moring walked over to a canal ,
 he said I pitched a DOA shrimp up under the mangrove bush et it sit for a mnute then twitch it,
thought it was stuck lerked a little hard and the red fish fight was on. Thats a great way to start a New year,

Well I guess I am a lousy store owner ,
I do not have any big specials, or really any promotions to entice your business,
But if you are going Fishing today I hope it is with frineds or family,
I wish all of you, a Very Happy new year, with money & the time to enjoy it.

 It's quiet now after a crazy day, I was thinking about friends here and gone, And the one thing, I can say, is they enjoy life, I have been and still am surounded by the best people. I last year there were good and real bad times, But this is not a practise round this is life, Be happy, enjoy your job, your hobbies , f...rineds and family, I am so lucky this is what I already have. A real good life. Happy new year.

 

12/26/10

Fishin can be tough in this weather on my into the store this morning, I watched a couple of guys
 standing and casting lures in a canal, a strong gust a icy cold wind hit and they doubled time it to the car.
I did not see them catch anything, but a valiant effort was made.
Fronts can really mess up the catching of fish, but this cold weather makes the going to fish tuff.
Now like my dad said says just put on another jacket it beats sitting around the house.
On these windy days even fishing the canals & rivers can be challenging almost impossible
to keep the boat in position. If I was going to try for a saltwater day of fishing it would be with a bag of frozen
shrimp #4 gold hooks , 3 way swivels and some 1 oz sinkers, the tresses and piers at Placida should be loaded with sheep head
Tie the 3 way to your line , then tie the hook off the 2nd eye of the 3-way. at he bottom eye I tie the sinker about 30 inches below
the swivel. attach the hook with a 10 inch leader, cover the hook entirely with the shrimp so it can not be seen, I will usually peel
the shrimp and thread the meat over the hook. drop the rig on the side of the pier, facing the tide. let the sinker sit on the bottom
and keep the rig tight so your bait will be suspended 2 1/2 feet off the bottom, set the hook just before the sheep head bites.
"just a joke" but if you feel the slightest bump set the hook Sheep head are some of the most educated bait stealers there is,
I like to say start setting the hook before you leave the house and you stand a better chance of hooking up.
Last of all bundle up, try think warm thoughts.

 

 

Proud to say I am a PETA person
P
erson Eating Tasty Animals.
You didn't think I was becoming a wack job, didya?

12/18/2010

This is not about fishin But as we are all friends Capt. Angel is in getting surgey as I write, My thoughts
are with him and as I find out more I will post it.

12/17/10

Hey every one, I think it is morning ? I might have indulged a little last night at the F.F. Christmas get-together
 Food , friends, and My sister brought Egg-Nog, I had Capt Jerry's Rum. WELL I guess the out-come was inevitable.

 We had a great time, It is hard for all of us to be in one place at the same time, Between People who work at the store,
 friends who help -out, guides who work out of the store, and other who are part of Fishin Franks, one way or another
 there is over 50 of us not including Wives,
So once a year we try to all get together. good times, maybe the best of times

 

Watch it Daffy they are out in force.
Woke up this morning to gun shots, We are just off the peace river & it is duck season,
 For all of the anti hunters, keep in mind by the 1970's ducks were all but extinct.
The feds started the Duck stamp and the money was used to buy & maintain wetlands and the ducks came back 100 fold,
If you like ducks, buy the lisc & go hunting , You do not have to take a gun a camera will do.

I am going to take a minute to talk about Got-cha lures.
 this type of lure was originally called a jerk jigger,
they were used to catch fish suspended in deep water,
you would find the fish on the depth finder,
then meter out the lure to the correct depth
Working the jerk jigger with a light jigging motion,
up & down not reeling in just bonycing it in the school,
intill one got mad enough to bite.
 
Today we use the got-cha lures for casting,
I have not seen a lure out fish the got cha for Spanish Mackerel,
 or lady fish or even trout.
  25 years of selling Got-cha under different names it is still one of the best.

Cast the Got-cha plug out when it hits the water it will fall about 2 feet per second in salt water so if you are in the gulf,
 you  can time it to reach the school of fish suspended in the water, that you saw on the fish finder.
 If the fish are surface feeding start to reel just before the Got-cha lure hits the water when you cast.
Then give it a lifting jigging motion as you reel in at medium speed.
The only time I use a side sweeping retrieve with the Got cha is when I am fishing Spanish mackerel.
 then the darting action of the side sweep motion makes it hard for the Spanish to resist the Got-cha.

 

  click this picture to see the got-cha lure we have in stock.

 

 I was just asked why there are so many dead lady fish this year. The ones which died are the smaller ones,
 just not big enough to make it. If you were to look close you would see lots of dead pin fish , white bait & many other smaller fish.
 If their body is too thin the cold penetrates to their organs quicker.
The thicker the body of a fish the more protected it is. also the deeper the water the fish is in the more insulated from the cold.
 & Lady fish like being at the surface a bad habit in cold weather
Many of the Snook killed in last years cold was because they were too lazy to leave the flats
 as the water went down with the tide and the wind blew it out they tried to stay in the shallow pockets of water near the mangroves,
 and the water went to 28 degrees.
There were lots of dead lady fish, and millions of other smaller fish last year, but because the cold was so extreme for so long
 they mostly went un noticed because of all the bigger fish, they just did not get the attention. millions of pin fish died also,
 but it is harder to notice a 1/4 oz fish with a 10 pounder laying there.
 

 

 

12/14/10

Getting reports of dead lady fish in the canals, not many reports of Snook floating,
But tonight will be the night to watch, one cold night is bad but too many in a row is real bad.

Weird how Red fish are not effectuated by the colder temps,

It is easy to forget we live in a tropical paradise, "Key word tropical . it just should not be cold here.

SIDE NOTE---> "Best way to hear god laugh"  tell him your plans or how you think things should be.

 

12/13/10

Crappie guys are fishing and a few brave hearted, sheep head guys,, fishing at Placida
and they are catching fish not just colds.

Trout have been getting more regular at P.C. beach & lashley pier, a late day bite off bay shore pier
fishing with poppin corks & shrimp is doing good.

Canals are the biggest story with Black drum, red fish, Snook, all huddling up in the canals
getting the afternoon warm up from the sun,

Best bet if you want to use your boat try trolling in the canals, or just anchor up and fish under some of the bridges
there are fish to be caught, maybe just not where we thought we be going, change your plans change your tactics
you will preserver.

 

12/11/10

There are three really cool jobs to have where you can tell people anything
and it really dose not matter if you are correct

 1 weather man,-  self explanatory on this one.

2, politician or any government job, again pretty much self explanatory. although here
there screw up cost us lots of money. then they get a pay raise?

3 give fishing advice,  the fish did not cooperate, you were not holding your tongue
in the right place in your mouth, and the lunar activity in relationship to Jupiter,
caused a gravitational shift in the tides, of course this is why the double hooked swimming,
sinkin wap-belted-jigger did not catch fish.

The main thing we have in common, we do not have to be right and we still get paid

Hey you can not predict the weather, the fish did not cooperate, As for the politicians
well you just cant fix stupid. I guess that really make them not quite qualified for this category,
 

 lets just add instead Doctors lots of money to guess give you pills cut you up, and charge you lots of money
to be wrong.

My only complaint is that I picked the lowest paying one.
Damn I should have been a weather man.

 

 

12/10/10 Brenda F. wrote me with this. Josh and Tank caught 6 sheephead, 2 speckled sea trout, a flounder and
 a Red Drum in the back yard today (and a couple of pin fish) Sweet! Released all but the sheephead...which will be dinner very soon

Gulf of Mexico near shore reefs within 15 miles Have grouper , snapper, amber Jacks and a bunch of other fish
 Capt. Angel called in to check the limits on a couple of fish it is hot & heavy now.

PC canals have a lot of out of season Snook under the docks ,
 free line a tail hooked live Shrimp count to 20 reel it in cast again, three cast under the dock then move to the next one.
 If they were in season many of the fish have been in the slot

Crappie fishing is great, terrific, NOW, the canals by Peach land are full of big Crappie Minnows
 under bobbers are the bait of choice.

 Catfish creek today has produced some 4 to 7 pound redfish. I do not know what bait they used.
 We are going through a lot of mirror lure 17 but I can say for sure

PGI canals are loaded with red fish Shrimp with a #7 slit shot watch for corners where canals meet
 or holes Capt Andy M. on a charter today stopped counting at 50 Redfish,

 Alligator Creek reef Mangrove snapper if you anchor up and bottom fish with squid, or shrimp,
Gag grouper either bottom fishing chunks of fish or frozen sardines, 2 guys called they caught them trolling the stretch 6 along the edge of the reef.

 

 

 

12/09/10

it is rainy and cold even the crappie guys are not showing up this morning,
As bad as this weather is we do need the rain. I am not talking about the plants or
grass or even the flowers,
Rain is an important part of the oxygen levels of the water ways,
the simple action of rain drops hitting the surface of the water
raises the level of oxygen, and with the cooler to cold temps the water can absorb huge amounts,
 this helps as the water warms and starts to lose oxygen to the heat.
the other source of oxygen is waves,
the wind blows across the surface of the water as the wave break it adds oxygen
to the water, weather it is the gulf , Harbor , or a pond this is necessary for life in the water.
Take heart soon the weather will be nice again & the Fish will have lots of oxygen and ready to eat,
while this is uncomfortable For us.
 it is a necessary part of nature, and I promise the fishing is going to be unbelievable very soon.
Get your gear ready
It is almost time for some of the best fishing Florida has to offer.

 

 

 

12/07/10

I have not much to talk about salt water wise. but the crappie guys are loving this.
How long has it been since you went Crappie fishin, No not fishing a bad day just
heading out to a canal or lake and do some speckled Perch fishin, a couple of dozen minnows is
about $2.00 and if you are fishing in your home county with a cane pole, line hook bobber, you do not need a freshwater
license if you are fishing from land. So go get a stick put some line and a hook on it and have some fun,
and get dinner at the same time. I would not suggest the old tie the string to your toe trick right now as
you toe would freeze.

Here it is the new "BP Toxic Mullet" color, badonk-a-donk from Bomber lures

 

 

 

 

 

 


                                            Badonk-a-donk

 

12/01/2010

Welcome to the holiday season I woke up this morning with every thing blowing off of the decks.
the crappie fishermen & the Sheephead anglers are happy as this cold weather turns on both species,
that statement works on a couple of different levels, as it triggers their instinct to spawn, which makes them want to eat.
So yup they are turned on.
 

 

Back to reports

11/27/10

Big Spanish right of the beach as well as whiting
Pompano along the coast. lots of out of season Trout
Up here from the piers, Reds doing well from the north end of the 41 bridges

 

11/26/10

Lots of whiting along the gulf beaches, Pompano
hitting pink & white jigs, with or without the shrimp tippet.
Red fish in Turtle bay along the mangroves, and on the barrier bars.

  

 

 

11/25/2010

Accord to Capt Dwayne French
Red fish in the deeper pot holes of the flats, Shrimp on a Strike zone jig head worked slow
through the pot holes, Dwayne says the holes in front of the eagles nest are a best bet.
Rig the shrimp by removing the flipper from the very back of the tail and threading the
Shrimp onto the hook of the Strike zone jig head a 1/4 oz chartreuse. is his favorite right now.
 

 

 

11/18/10

Wind and water temps are changing every other day it seems like.
It is hard to predict what is going on.
The best bet still seems to be trolling, whether you are in the Harbor or the gulf,
trolling is the best way to find, the fish, once I have located them.
you can switch to baits or start casting at the fish. Pompano, and Spanish
Are both around, more reports of big kings and grouper in the near shore
3 to 15 miles out.

 

11/07/10

Trolling is still going great, inshore in the gulf,
But with the winds this last couple of days, I have had a lot of reports from
west spring lake trolling Bomber 14's sipk and the Si colors another
one I had been hearing is the Yo-zuri F-7c24 the lip is small so you
 need to let out more line to keep it in the water but it is catching fish.
If you need to be closer to the boat try a F-8

 

X-rap lures are the king of the Peace river, more fish than any other lures,
at this time the SXR-8 in the BBS on one side and the SXR-10 BNK on the other,
this is a two lure trolling, about 900 rpm's along the out side bends of the river
has been catching every thing from Blue fish, Tarpon, Snook, Jacks, Lots of reports
lots of fun. When it is too windy to fish the harbor we hear a lot about people trolling
and fishing the rivers, I find it strange that when the weather gets better,
 they go back to the Harbor when they caught so many in the river.
Another mystery of life as a fishier man.

 

10/*31/10

I guess I have to keep writing, there is so much fishing going on right now.
Trolling for grouper by the near shore reefs, by this I mean any reef within,
10 Miles of the coast. reefs in 30 to 40 feet of water, Helen's, Mary's, Tremblay,
Novak, pulling Rapala XRMAG-30 about 1500 rpms on the other side pull a XRMAG20
My best selling colors are the S, & the GGM, 8 different guys bought them all
were doing the same thing coincidence, conspiracy, maybe ?
well what ever sounds like a good bet to me.  34 inch grouper, Kings in the 50 inch range
what are you waiting for  X-rap Mag

 

10/30/10

Here is a weird one for you. I have been fishin here quite a while and have seen
big schools of blue fish out at Captive Pass , I have caught one or two here and there in the
Manchester waterway and over in P.G.I. but i have never seen hundreds or thousands
 like are here this year. whats up with this, I just got a call from P.G.I. he thought it was a school of jacks
bustin in the canal all blue fish. Up the peace river huge schools of blue fish. All you Jersey & Mass,
people if you want a taste of home now is the time the BLUES are here.

 

 

10/29/10

Red fish in lemon bay, & a big school of 20 to 40 pounds reds just off shore of Boca,
stretch 20 , 25 or 30, are the lures of choice right now they are a blast,
 yes way to big to be Florida legal but fun , fun, fun,
 

Mackerel kings, that is trolling for these big kings using a spread of stretches.
Lady fish and Spanish are in the Harbor now,

Tarpon are still doing great D.O.A. bait buster continue to dominate the hook ups.
from I - 75 to the holes in the Harbor the "Cold" cool front may start to push some of the Silver kings
south so get them while you can.

 

10 / 10/10

Fishing is great all over right now, the best fishing is in the near gulf. I believe the oil spill
has killed most or all of the bait/food for the fish and they are moving closer to the shore-
where they would normally be much deep at this time they are having to come closer in to find food.
Mahi, amber jacks, King mackerel, grouper, snappers, sail fish, permit,
The oil spill combined with the Global warming, where there is not as much water
tempeture difference between here and the Pan handle fish are not migrating the way they should.

In Charlotte harbor the fishing is great, Lady fish all over with Tarpon chasing them.
Red fish on the east, & west sides, Turtle bay and Bull bay, both have good schools of reds right now.
 

Fishing in Lemon bay has been very steady, small Snook, lots of trout, and enough Reds
To fill a day, Here in Charlotte Harbor Reds on the east side are mostly out by the bar,
Trout have moved into the flats by Pirate Harbor.
A lot of small sharks still in the area, along the gulf beaches.

 

Gag Grouper have been biting at both reefs in the harbor, Trolling a Rapala
you need to be down at least 6 feet, or more. Chum bags and sardines with a bottom rig.

Pompano in front of bull bay hitting good on small jigs, or bait 3 feet under a bobber.

Red fish on the east side have been in large schools cursing the length of the flats,
Where you find them one day, they will be a mile away the next, Keep looking
they are there.

 

09/16/10

Much to my surprise there is a lot of Shark activity in the Harbor.
and near shore reefs, Black tip, black nose, Bonnets, bulls,
all are still here plus many other species.
A bobber with a chunk of sardine or free line a chunk of fish,
and my crystal ball say "outlook good" for having fun catching Sharks.
Just One thing NO barbs on the hook, flatten the barb with you pliers and file it.
I like the bump from the barb but not the barb. You should only use a barbed hook.
if you want dinner. It is too hard on the fish to catch and release with a barbed hook.
It only takes a minute, and you will be able to preserve this terrific activity for generations
to come.

Ok I am done preaching .

 

09/09/2010
Another great week in Charlotte Harbor The upper Harbor
seems to be teeming with little runt reds, Yup they are too small to be called
Rat reds in you find yourself in a school of these little guys, try switching to
inline circle hooks with a piece of shrimp meat. For some reason these runt reds
really inhale the bait, We caught about a dozen and gut hook 2 of the 12 I did not have any
circle hooks with me. of the 2 one I do not think will make it. the other I am sure was fine.

I was fishing with family yesterday, There were schools of fish hitting the surface
all over the Harbor, There was even catfish, hitting the bait on the surface, along with Lady fish
Trout, and what I think was Mackerel, how weird is that.
In the creeks, we caught mangrove Snappers, Sheep head, and small Reds,
the trick was to use a slip sinker. free line would not catch anything.
Live shrimp, dead shrimp, rotten shrimp, even some old freezer brunt shrimp. worked fine.

 

 

Circle Hook Jig heads are the only legal jig heads you can use for Grouper and Snappers.
The state of Florida has determined you must use Circle Hooks,
 when ever you are fishing with live or dead bait, for Snapper and or Grouper,
So if you tip your Jig heads with squid or any other type of bait you by law ,have to use a circle hook.
Circle hook Jig head are the way to stay legal. This law is for anywhere you would catch Snapper or Grouper.
If you are in two feet of water in a canal, you must use Circle hook jig heads,
or in hundreds of feet of water, again you must have circle hook jig heads.
This is a little crazy, but the law is you must have circle hooks, So now Jig heads with circle hooks are a must Have.

Circle hooks  Get your Florida legal circle hook Jig heads at our on-line store.
or stop by Fishin Franks and see them for your self.