Jeff used to write fishin stories for the Website
when I first started building the site.
 I am trying to get Jeff to write again, as I enjoyed his style and fishing thoughts,
Hopefully one day again.
Fishin Frank



       The Jeff Calkins Report     
 I have been fishing Charlotte county for 30 years.
 As a boy no ditch, creek, or water-way was safe.
 Fresh and salt water both have been My targets. 
 It has been many years for me with Fishin Franks.

 Now I teach people fishing on the water or in the store.

 Remembering that the basics should not be over looked,

 where is the best spot, for the tide & weather conditions.

                            Rigging up for each fish or each spot can be tricky.
                  weather your choice is learning how to use, live bait or lures, or even a little of both.

                        I am most happy, opening peoples eyes, to the wonder of the simple things that make it all work.
        I really enjoy instructing, To me the difference is simple. "give a man a fish or teach him?"
which works better for you?  
                                                                                                                               Jeff   941-625-3888 ask for me.

Fishin instruction trip,
On your boat, this allows you to learn, if you are doing it, you are learning it.
 I have rates for
1/2 day 4 to 5 hours
                   3/4 day 6 to 7
   full day, Iron man day light to dark? 

What an instruction trip consist of,

        Step #1 check your tackle, Rods, reels, line, Terminal, this is top make sure.
                       your tackle is suited for the fishing you want to learn, You don't want
                       a grouper rod for Trout or a Trout rod for Grouper.

                   #2 look at your boat to see what type of water it can access.
                        "will it go on the flats" or are we fishin deep water spots, both are good.
                          quite often this is a great trip for people who have deeper Vee-hulls,
                           I will show you where in the Harbor you can go to catch fish, not on the flats.
                           or if your boat will run shallow, You might want to learn how to fish the flats or Mangroves.

                   #3 Going over the different types of fishing, you are interested in learning.
                         Maybe how to find & catching live bait, cast net throwing or Sabaiki  jigging,
                          when to use live or will dead bait be as good or maybe better.
                           What the best way to rig your bait for the fish & for the spot.
                    #4 Different types of bait to use artificial, Top water, Jigs, soft plastics,
                           Different ways to rig, and which lures to use when.

                   #5   Navigating our area, Charlotte Harbor & the river can be intimidating,
                          where do you start?  You will learn the land marks, & the names of the local places.

                    #6  How to locate good fishing spots,  When the best times to fish are,
                           what are the best tides, and what to try during the year as the fishing changes.

                    #7  This is the most important one of all.
                            Having a  relaxing, fun, enjoyable, day on the water,  with-out the frustration.
                                                        and catch some fish.


 This is my
 fishing partner,
 and Good friend                   



Here are some stories from my boating & fishin adventures.                                                                                       



   Hello fellow fisherpeople,

It has been a while since I have written anything. In fact the first thing I have wrote this year.

     I finally bit the hook and took a family friend of Cindy's fishing out in Placida.

He had not been fishing in Florida before. I do not think he believed everything I was telling him,

but he did get hooked up with a nice redfish.

     It is always a pleasure to take someone out who has not been here before.

To here them say how beautiful it is reminds me of, not why I moved here, but why I stay. (I was five when we moved here.)
It has gotten a little harder to find the "beautiful", around our area, but I can still do it. You just have to get up early.

     So, if you can, call a friend and go fishing.




  A day in the up-river woods , with a side dish of fishing

            Hello to you all,

So far this year, compared to the rest of the country anyway, we are not doing to bad.
A couple of frosty nights, But it is a warm balmy 78 degrees with a breeze blowing, Just about as perfect as Florida can get.
 I do not know to many places I could go in February in a t-shirt and shorts. Although if you know me you might argue that point.
My dress code does not really change much until the thermometer hits about 30 degrees then it is time to look for a jacket.

             Friends I have talked to up north, however,
have gotten quite agitated,    while I am walking in the woods
in my sandals & they have mukluks on in the house .

Cindy my ever faithful companion & trusty sidekick,
"Note" Cindy Should have been referenced as the "First mate"
& she takes exception to the Tonto reference previously made
decided to take advantage of the balmy weather, And
Check in on some of the woodland locals....

Squirrels, gators, Frogs lizards the whole gang from
the ole neighborhood, These are a few recent photos
 taken while checking in on our pals.


If you know me aside from my constancy of attire, I just can not go to the woods without a Fishing pole.
So after making sure all was good with the locals,  It was time to fish.

   The goal today was Snook anything would do but I had a goal.
  Looking into my arsenal I figured my best bet would be to choose a lure

     with the same stained appearance of the bait fish in the area.

  The bomber long A 16 xacho seemed to me to match the bait.

  Engage the engine trolling speed. off we went dragging our Bomber

  as close to the shore line as possible. It really did not take long

  maybe 15 minutes, and tap, something tagged to lure.

  a swing and a miss, then wham this Snook was trying to

 rip the rod from my hand,
 He gave a good account of himself,
 some nice jumps and a run for the roots of a tree,
 which would have done credit to the squirrels we saw earlier.

To no avail I WIN ! He is in the boat for a couple of quick pictures. 

Have you noticed that a Snook will swipe at a bait to stun it
 before trying to eat it, here is a perfect example of this.

Not one hook inside of his mouth. this was a "stunning hit".
if I was not trolling, I would have stopped the bait so he could
have had time to bite the plug. but I guess he was just hungry
enough to hit it twice. it doesn't pay to be greedy,
 even if your a fish.


                             To give you a size perspective this is a 6 inch lure this is almost a 30 inch Snook
                                        It always blows me away by how blue the tongue of a Snook is.

                  Have you ever taken a picture of a really big fish and had it come out looking malnourished
                 or just really a lot smaller than it was. 
                 We took two photos of the same fish. Looks smaller in my photo, than in Cindy's.
                                 If you are taking photos. Try taking a couple of each way.
                 You'll always find one you like better than the other, 


                                               Same fish different angles make it appear larger For Cindy,
                          once again this is a 6 inch lure, looks really small in this photo, against the fish.

     My first Snook of the new year caught & released up the river,
 The right Color and size lure can make all the difference check your water colors
        and as they  say Match the hatch
                And a thank you to my little bomber buddy for enticing m First Snook of 2011.

              So call a friend, and go fishing.


The Jeff Calkins Report
Friends, pictures &
The forgotten Files.


September 18 2009

This last Monday morning, my fishin buddy Cindy and I, hooked up the boat. Heading to the Placida ramp. We arrived at the ramp about 8:am. kind of a late start for me, but the high tide was not until 9:am so there was no hurry. We headed south toward, the islands along the east side of Gasparilla sound. Knowing the morning bite would not be strong on the open flats. Cindy and I passed over the tailing flats to get right up against the islands. I was looking for mangrove trees with leaves heavy overhead cover this is where redfish live. All this month the water has been so high the branches of the mangroves have been  floating. Which means the water goes back 10 to 15 feet under the trees. Arriving at the spot, just at high tide. Trying to catch the start of the outing tide.  

Cindy was rigged with a chartreuse jig head with a live shrimp. Myself I tail hooked a live shrimp using a 3/0 gold hook, rigged free line. I have been fishing this area over 20 years and it just does not get old,
Warm and sunny with a few scattered clouds, along with a steady barometer. this had the makings of a great day.

Cindy started it off by catching the first of five oversized redfish, Not be to completely outdone I brought a few oversize reds to the boat for a quick hello and release. Then news of the weird I caught a Sheep head 15 inches, then again slightly smaller Cindy brought in a nice slot fish.

 No sooner did she have her slot red, I hooked another keeper Sheep head. With dinner cooling in the box, Cindy and I decided to go snook hunting.

My way of snook hunting is to motor up wind from an island, then let the wind drift you along the shore line. When you see a cut-in, nook, cove whatever you call it stop. So you can cast a few times into the cove, I use my Stick-it pin. this stops me and is quiet. using this technique, We boated a half dozen snook and decided to call it a day. After all it was just past noon.

Fishing can be great in the heat of the summer look for the shade. It work for me and Cindy
Thanks Jeff.


September 11 2009

Sorry no report this week. My dog Abbey had to have surgery this week so I have been taking care of her. She seems to be fine now. Next week I will be back on the water. An have another fishing trip to share with you


September 05 2009

Myself with a couple of friends took a trip up the Myakka river fishing, Hog island and the cut-off, The tides are really high right now in the early am hours I like getting out as early as possible, for this is the way to find Shallow water Reds. 

Shrimp under bobber or as I would call it. "My fish locating rig" Cast the bobber at the edge of the mangroves. Then by giving the rod tip a sharp jerk "pop i14 to 15 inches. 10 inch size limit so these were good size harbor snapper. Small redfish and 2 keeper red fish. The fishing stayed good until the sun topped over the trees then the bite was over.

Out early, back early, A great way to start a day.






A photo memory


                                                                                                                           Jose First Redfish  




Soon to come Pictures from Friends. Please check back Thanks Jeff.
         P.S. Frank is a little slow.



The Jeff Calkins Report
Friends, pictures &
The forgotten Files.



This Fishing Trip October 02 2009

                       Pitch Black, that's what it is like out at four o something or other. But that's the time to get started if you want to beat the masses. As I hook the boat up one of my other friends arrive. This makes three, and we're ready to head for the ramp.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

         The ride to the ramp of choice is about forty five minutes from the house with gas stop included. Hopefully you will already have your cooler packed. This can waste valuable time. I lost someone once like that at a store.

         The truck backs down and the boat slips in, and I get it, the hole thing. The boat becomes something more than just a boat. It becomes the trigger for release. The release of stress and any other things that are cluttered up in your head that need to get out. I love that feeling, I get it every time I put the boat in the water. If you don't feel it, you probably should put the boat back on the trailer. You have no business being on the water. Sell the boat and spend the money on massage therapy..



 There is a faint hint of daylight on the horizon as we make our way out of the basin, and head for the back country. This ride takes about fifteen minutes, by the time we get to one of the spots, it is now the break of dawn, and before I can stop the boat, lines are hitting the water.

          The water is not the clearest that it could be today, but that should change by the end of the month. The fishing this morning starts off slow, but as we drift the mangroves, casting our shrimp up as tight to the mangroves as we can. We start to hit into a good area, there are some overhanging mangroves, and bang fish on! Cindy is hooked up. It's a trout, not huge but a nice one, she lets the trout go. We keep drifting the mangrove edge, Jeff my other friend that's with me, hooks up with a nice snook, twenty nine plus, snook is in season here and it is the fish of choice to keep right now. However Jeff is quick and the snook is in the cooler before I can get a picture off.



  We keep drifting and after what seemed to be a long time I finally get banged by a little snook. He appears to be in the eighteen to twenty size, but I get someone to take a picture because after all, proof is proof. It is not long before another hookup is made and we all hook up with some nice fish.          


 Moving to another area I try another bait that I like a lot. It is no special lure by any means, but I seem to have good success with it. Today is no exception, a very nice upper slot red. However the tide is turning and it is time to get moving. The back islands are no place to be stranded.

     We finished the day fishing with quarter sized pins at the trestle and man were the snappers destroying those pins. Several snapper in the fifteen inch range were caught. I believe we ended up with eight or nine.
 The fishing is getting better with every passing day, as the rain stops the water will get clearer also. If it is one good thing that I can say about this craphole economy that we're in, it's that the fish are benefiting from it. So if you can afford to GO FISHING......GO !!!!..     


 The end of a great day. Clean the boat,   Get a couple of, last minute pictures, "just for proof".   Now this is good eating, on the menu
                                                                                                                                                                 tomorrow night.


      Wrapped and ready filets for later                               Jeff   Mc Masters  29 inches yah buddy                                                         








     Well, I guess It has been a while since I've written anything. I think probably two months at least.

I have to say it is quite hot outside, and next month the wind will stop blowing. Think it's hot now.

All I can tell you is, go out as early as you possibly can, bring all the water you can, cause it's only gonna get warmer.
If you plan on staying any length of time.



We finally said the hell with it
 and went fishing last Wednesday morning,
we left the house at six thirty,
 and put the boat in at Port Charlotte Beach complex.
Taking off from the beach is close to the house,

and for as hot as it is, that's probably a good thing.












            By the time we got to where we started fishing it was seven thirty,
but already it was eighty six  with a humidity level of seventy percent.
It felt like a hundred out.

 Soon enough though Cindy hooks up with a fish,
and it is pulling very nice, yes very nice, no catfish here, no headshake.
It was a real nice Ref-fish, just a couple of inches too long, that's all.
 We like to call this variety a torpedo.

 Then I get wacked, and it's my turn.
 Nothing like the pull of a fish
 on the end of your line,         nothing.
 My fish was one inch shorter than  Cindy's,
 still not a legal keeper, and two or three pounds lighter,
 if you could not already tell by the picture. Still over the legal limit and had to be released.   


              So the short side of this is, we caught and released three nice redfish and kept one for the dinner plate,


 I thought that I would share to you, the way that I fillet a fish, maybe it will help you.

              First thing I like is to start out with a cold fish, not frozen solid, but on the way.
I'm going to set the fish on it's belly and put the knife tip in the back of the fish on either side of the dorsal fin and flicking out the scale.


     Now the knife will go in with a jigsaw motion I can go the length of the fish, when I reach the anal fin,
I push the knife tip on passed the fishes spine, and out the bottom of the fish,
with very little resistance, down till it is next to the spine.


             Continue the jigsaw motion on down through the rest of the length of the fish,
 with the knife blade coming out right next to the tailfin. Repeat on the other side.


     Now stand the fish back up on it's belly.
 I put the knife in the cut that I just made
 and lay the blade horizontal and slide it
 down the length of the fish.
 You should be able to feel the ribs in the front of the fish
 and then the knife should drop passed the spine and out the      Bottom of the fishes body.




              Now I take the knife tip and put it in the front of the fillet pointing the tip down towards the spine and ribs.
With the blade facing away from the center of the fish, I can push the tip out of the fish and then follow through with that motion.
 Repeat on other side.


             Next, I take the knife and put the tip in the by the front of the fish by the ribs.
Laying the blade down horizontal against the ribs and turning it outward,
the fillets will release now as the blade comes out of the fish.


              Put the knife in the front of the fish again. This time the blade faces the tail of the fish.
 With the jigsaw motion you can go down the length of the fish cutting the rest of the fillet off the fish.
 Repeat on the other side.





       You should have two nice looking fillets,
  with the skin on now.
 Sharpen the knife.
 Now grab the tail part of the fillet
 with the tips of your fingers.
 Push down firmly

 put the knife in front of your fingers  with
 the blade pointed away
 using again the same jigsaw motion
 you should be able to saw the blade away from you,
 separating the skin from the fillet.









          All you have to do now is bring the meat in and rinse it under cool water and dry it off on the counter with some paper towels.
 It is ready to cook now or store for later.


If you are going to freeze it,
 use the vacuum seal method ,
Your fillets will keep much better without air.





I hope they taste as good as mine..........!






The Jeff Calkins Report
Friends, pictures &
The forgotten Files.



Trolling for snook " It's a River thing"

            Well it is good to see that the weather is ready to finely change. I do not think that I will complain about any cold weather this year! It seemed as if this past summer was plenty humid.

            The last time I wrote, I said that the fishing would change by the end of the month. Hang on, here it comes. We took a ride up one of the rivers in our area on Wednesday to partake in a little fishing trip. I had a friend with me that I have not H had on the boat since last season.

            We started out at about nine thirty in the a.m., a late start for me. The ramp that we put in at is private and they do not open until nine. It is a gorgeous day out though and my attention quickly turns to fishing. Lures are tied on, tossed in, and we begin. So many people do not troll, but I find that trolling is very effective at locating fish over a big area. When we locate fish, we will then stop and work the area with either live or more artificial baits. My favorite would be live bait.

            This area has escaped the wrath of our past hurricane seasons and looks much like it did twenty years ago. The orchids have already bloomed, but there are still blooms of all kinds on almost every tree that overhangs this river system. I believe that we trolled for about fifteen minutes before we got our first hit. There is not much room up here to fight a fish. The river is a little wider than most creeks, and there are allot of obstructions above and below the waters surface. This first hit was just that, a hit, and broke off, just that quick, wow.

            We probably had four fish hooked before we got one in the boat. Usually losing them when they would go airborne on us. If you have ever had a snook go in the air for you. You will not forget it to soon. Your lure sounds like rattlesnake. However we were able to boat a couple of snook. The first of which was a hair below the legal twenty eight inches with the tail pinched. #$*~?!! could be heard in the background, as the fish was released back into the river, but you know it is not worth the boat.


Normally we would work this area for more fish, but this was also a trip to find out how far up the fish have moved so we troll on. We have several more hookups, but are unsuccessful at bringing them in the boat for a closer  i.d.. Our second boated fish was a keeper sized snook, and I was almost quick enough to catch him in the air, not quite though. He or she was twenty nine inches and was quickly put in the live well.



            It was a challenge  to keep two baits in the water trolling without tangling up in the sides of the river, and drive the boat at the same time. Almost like a full time job. The objective was met though. Finding out that the snook are on the move, and the next time we go, we will have a more successful results. This type of fishing is going to get nothing but better as the weather gets colder. and the view is gorgeous....


                                                               Like I said before. If you can go. GO FISHING !!!!!!




The Jeff Calkins Report
Friends, pictures &
The forgotten Files.

November 2nd 2009
Fishin the low tides

           Wow what a difference a week makes. I believe we are into the fall weather patterns. Which means we will have to deal with lower than normal tides from now into the winter. This time of year I will leave the open harbor to the heavier fiberglass boats in favor of more protected waters, as you can see from the pics that we are in pretty calm water.

 for a day that was forecast for ten to twenty mile an hour winds. We fished the incoming tide  so that we  would  not have to worry about the dropping water level. Usually we would fish until the motor is in the mud, but I have found out that if I put a rubber band around my stickit pole at the water line, I can tell how fast the water is going in or out. A lot easier for me rather than constantly looking for that one spot along the mangroves, or maybe the mangroves are to far away to reference. We had no problem catching jacks, they were on the smaller side, but very aggressive and fun to catch. We also caught a few small rats, as Gregg would say. We did catch two keeper sized reds that were delicious, we ate them Saturday eve.

           So donít let the fall winds keep you off the water. Just take a little time to plan where you go.



     One Foggy Day in February

                 Man , It seems like the last time I wrote,  it was a hundred years ago.
   I also seem to remember writing something like,
  ( I don't think I'll complain about the winter, after the summer we had.)
  What the ~#%* was I thinking. After consistent temps in the thirties for the better part of January.
  February with forties as our low temps and low sixties as our average highs.
        UNCLE, that's all I can say, UNCLE...

                 January was the low point so far at 27.5 degrees at my house.
 Good thing the wind wasn't blowing that morning. This week promises a thirty something degree day.
 Hopefully by the time mid March arrives, the temps will stabilize.
 Until then, roll the dice and go fishing when you can.
 It is times like this when I'm glad that I am not a guide.

     We went out Tuesday for the first time in a month.
 That's right a month,
  I could not stand to see the boat sitting in the
  carport any longer. We started out early in the a.m..
  It was foggy as hell,
  when we dropped the boat in at the navigator ramp,
  in De Soto county, visibility was about a 100 feet or so,
  I put a new lure on dropped it in and started down river
  towards the bridges.
  I was    looking at the fish finder as we trolled,
  hoping to see some sort of sign that there was fish activity.
 However I did not, we did kick up a couple of large ladyfish,
 which made me wonder if anything was under them.
 It wasn't enough to make me stop and fish it though.




      It did feel good to be on the river, even if the fish were not turned on. We only saw two boats the whole day,
  and by the looks of them, they were not fishing. Looked more like scouting to us.
 Maybe looking for a camping spot. All I can tell you is I sure hope that the weather turns a little more in our favor.
 It seems like it wants to, maybe better weather is not far off.












 This Gator was laying up, and did not want to move, not that I blame it a nice warm spot in the Sun is hard to beat,
 I have looked for one of those myself, But it is very good to see wife life enjoying the quiet of the river.



                 I guess for this time, this is all I have to tell. Hopefully the next time I write I'll have some good fish pics for you. Until then, go fishing, be safe though and dress warm. UNCLE, already...