Being prepared for cooler days on the water...

 Now that things are cooled off, it is time to bundle up and get out on the water. Some of the coldest days of the year have been where I have caught some of the biggest fish of my life. It is all about timing and preparation. Watching the weather is always my first step to planning any fishing trip. I try to calculate the weather, wind, and tides for the area and species of fish I plan to target. The weather patterns this time of year can be tough to predict. Checking multiple weather apps and stations will help you zero in on the true conditions. With generally having high winds this time of year, you really have to pick and choose your spots wisely. For winter time tides, always remember the strong winds can play a huge roll in the tides. N.E. winds will push all the water out of the bay and southerly winds will keep the water in the bay more than usual.

     Being protected from the elements outside is my next plan of action. Anytime you see me on the water I will be completely covered up with long sleeves, long pants, buff, gloves, hat, and sunglasses. Many of the amazing new materials they use for clothing nowadays help regulate your temperature and wick water to keep you dry. On cold days, I like to dress in layers. The first layer soft and moisture wicking. Second layer is warm and fuzzy. Then something that will break the wind and keep me dry. On super cold days I will even throw on my waders. Also a warm hat and a buff can do wonders. You can always peel layers off but, you can’t put them on if you don’t have them!

     Almost all fish are sensitive to high pressure systems but some species are more than others. Snook are one of my favorite fish to target right when the high pressure system is starting to roll in. Although it can be extremely harsh conditions with high winds, this is one of the times that they get really fired up! Some of my largest size snook and numbers come during this period. A day or two after the cold front hits the high pressure will start to let up. This is when I love to target redfish and trout on these brisk chilly days. 

     This winter remember to watch the weather, dress accordingly, be safe, and have yourself a great time out on the water. Tight lines and Tight knots to everyone!  Eric Henson is the owner of Casting Kayaks LLC. a guided kayak fishing company out of Sarasota Florida.  He specializes in inshore light tackle or fly fishing from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. To book a guided fishing trip with Eric check out his website www.CastingKayaks.com or give him a call at 941-504-134

Eric Henson

 Now that things are cooled off, it is time to bundle up and get out on the water. Some of the coldest days of the year have been where I have caught some of the biggest fish of my life. It is all about timing and preparation. Watching the weather is always my first step to planning any fishing trip. I try to calculate the weather, wind, and tides for the area and species of fish I plan to target. The weather patterns this time of year can be tough to predict. Checking multiple weather apps and stations will help you zero in on the true conditions. With generally having high winds this time of year, you really have to pick and choose your spots wisely. For winter time tides, always remember the strong winds can play a huge roll in the tides. N.E. winds will push all the water out of the bay and southerly winds will keep the water in the bay more than usual.

     Being protected from the elements outside is my next plan of action. Anytime you see me on the water I will be completely covered up with long sleeves, long pants, buff, gloves, hat, and sunglasses. Many of the amazing new materials they use for clothing nowadays help regulate your temperature and wick water to keep you dry. On cold days, I like to dress in layers. The first layer soft and moisture wicking. Second layer is warm and fuzzy. Then something that will break the wind and keep me dry. On super cold days I will even throw on my waders. Also a warm hat and a buff can do wonders. You can always peel layers off but, you can’t put them on if you don’t have them!

     Almost all fish are sensitive to high pressure systems but some species are more than others. Snook are one of my favorite fish to target right when the high pressure system is starting to roll in. Although it can be extremely harsh conditions with high winds, this is one of the times that they get really fired up! Some of my largest size snook and numbers come during this period. A day or two after the cold front hits the high pressure will start to let up. This is when I love to target redfish and trout on these brisk chilly days. 

     This winter remember to watch the weather, dress accordingly, be safe, and have yourself a great time out on the water. Tight lines and Tight knots to everyone!  Eric Henson is the owner of Casting Kayaks LLC. a guided kayak fishing company out of Sarasota Florida.  He specializes in inshore light tackle or fly fishing from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. To book a guided fishing trip with Eric check out his website www.CastingKayaks.com or give him a call at 941-504-134

Eric Henson

Kayak Fly Fishing

 

 

Please check out my blog and others http://riverbum.com/blog/ 

Please check out my blog and others http://riverbum.com/blog/ 

Kayak Fly Fishing

Posted by RiverBum Pro: Eric Henson on February 05, 2016

Kayaking and fly fishing can be a beautiful marriage. They complement each other in so many ways. Fly fishing for example, you must be extremely stealthy and you have to use most of your senses. Eyes, to engulf your surroundings and zero in on your target. Mind, to evaluate the wind, speed, and direction for the perfect cast. Then your body, to feel the load of the line bending through the eyes and then as it transmits the energy through the rod. Kayaking is nearly the same with a stealthy approach where you need to utilize your senses. Eyes, to see your surroundings and take the desired path. Mind, to process the wind, current, and speed to get you to your destination. Then your body, to transmit the power and energy through your paddle as you glide through the water. Both kayaking and fly fishing are a full body experience and I can’t think of a stealthier way to do both…

People kayak for many reasons. Some for the sport, exercise and health. Others to sight-see and to enjoy nature to the fullest. Many kayakers go to places where most boats or people can’t get to. I kayak to do all of these things and also for FISHING! Kayaks are one the most quiet/stealthy ways to move through the water with little disturbance. They can take you to places that you didn’t even know existed. There is no other feeling in the world like being in a remote area, where all you can hear is the wind pouring through the tree tops, birds squawking on the shoreline, and water as it pushes through the blade of your paddle. Just when you are wondering to yourself if anyone has ever been here before… a fish pushes out from the mangroves. Your heart starts to flutter and knees begin to shake as your mind starts to race towards a plan of action.

Similarly, people fly fish for many reasons. Some do it for the beauty and artistry. Others for a more primitive feel of fishing. Lots of people fly fish for the sheer challenge of it. I do it for all of these reasons and much more. There are so many motions that a fly angler goes through to landing that special catch. First picking the right rod, reel, and line leader for the task at hand. Then choosing just the right fly that matches the hatch of the area and the targeted species. Once you’ve managed to located the fish, now all of your primal hunting instincts start to kick in. You feel the direction of the wind in your face as you determine the direction of the tide for the perfect cast. You listen to the line as it loops back and forth, trying to sync your breathing. The line lays down onto the water and then the fly to follow with the slightest splash. The fish turns on the fly, you hold your breath as you begin to strip your line. Strip, strip, and BOOM! Fish On! A huge sigh of relief exhales. The sound of the screaming drag sends chills down your spine. When the fish finally makes its way into your net, you are filled with emotions that are indescribable!

The similarities between kayaking and fly fishing make for a fantastic joint venture. I believe that those who are drawn to fly fishing would definitely love the fun and challenge of trying it from a kayak. Look me up if you are ever on the west coast of Florida and I’ll show you how it’s done!

Tight lines & Screaming Drags!

Eric Henson is a RiverBum Pro, and the owner of Casting Kayaks LLC, Eric Henson has over 30 years fly fishing experience and frequents the waters of Tampa Bay down to Charlotte Harbor in Florida. His favorite targets are redfish, snook, trout and tarpon. Read more on Eric at his website and blog.

Website: www.CastingKayaks.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CastingKayaks 
Blog: castingkayaks.com/new-blog/


The Red Fish RUUUUUNNNN!!!!

  The last couple of days, there have been insane numbers of red fish!!! This is the time of year where they group up in large numbers to get ready to spawn, eating just about anything that is in their path! I cant even explain how sick it is watching these red fish exploding your top water! The explosions are so big that it literally looks like killer whales chasing the lure across the water. I had to swap out my top water baits to the Yo-Zuri Shashimi 3DB with thick circle hooks because, we had two separate Heddon spooks have all six hooks completely broke off! Every single fish was over slot but, It still sure was fun!  Yo-Zuri coming through as usual!:) We both lost red fish in the 40+ inch class due to hook failure! I have some great video footage that I will be posting soon... Don't worry clients my new kayaks are almost here:) Should have you guys on the water by next week:)

Early Bird gets the Worm!

       We headed out on the water about an hour before the sun came up. Paddling to our first spot was pretty interesting! lol! Due to the new moon it was pitch dark and the tide was extremely high. Basically paddled till we hit the spoil island. Then we sat quietly to listen to the water. Once we heard mullet moving and loud slurps of bait getting romped on, I new we were in a good spot!:) Not soon after I hear hooting and hollering... then I see Jimmy's head lamp come on. Huge red fish!!! My heart was pounding form all the excitement but, now I was ready for a bite!  The sun was just starting to reach the horizon, when all of the sudden my new Paul Brown lure gets crushed! Line was screaming off the reel as I watched the sunrise. Doesn't get much better than that! Finally as the fish got close to the yak, I saw that beautiful bronze body light up from the sun. Smiling from ear to ear I pick him up for a quick picture. As I go to release him, I realized that he hit the lure so hard it bent it in half! lol! Man! Well after that we posted up side by side, on the corner of this spoil island and caught so many red fish that we lost count! Boats were pulling up trying to get as close as they could to catch one but, we were the only ones catching fish!!!lol! Crazy! Some days are just like that!:) Another great day on the water!!!

Summer Days!

       The night before I checked the weather and it said rain ,rain, rain! I told Gabe and Elizabeth that we would just go for it! I figure I would check the weather radar in the morning and make the call then. I woke up, checked the weather and it looked good:) Deciding to take them north because of the boat races in Sarasota, turned out to be a good call. Not near as much boat traffic on the water! We paddled out about 7am. on the hunt for redfish where we had caught large numbers the day before. Both Gabe and Elizabeth had never kayaked and fish at the same time. They picked up on it really fast. As soon as we anchored up, Elizabeth had a little shark chasing her bait all the way back to her kayak. It soon stole her bait and headed off!lol! Not much time later Gabe caught a nice redfish with two spots on its tail. They ended up catching a couple of trout and lady fish before we decided to head to the next spot.. Leaving the spoil islands to head over to cove, I notice lots of mullet and ballyhoo getting romped on everywhere. After working the area thoroughly we ended up picking up a nice 24'' redfish on MirroLures lil johns soft plastic. Paddling towards the launch area, we seen someone wadding pick up a nice fish. Helping us decide to keep trying for more fish:) When we got to the next little cove, we spread to cover more ground. As soon as Gabe hooks up on a ladyfish, Elizabeth yells over fish on! I paddle over to see what she had and it was a nice redfish hanging from her line. We had thunderstorms in the distance all day but, now they were closing in all around us!  Making a dash for the launch, Gabe and Elizabeth started to race! Not sure who won but, they both beat me:) Taking clients out like them, make my job very pleasurable! They listened well, very respectful, extremely nice, and we just had a great day on the water. Thanks again for another beautiful day on the water:)

Mosquito Lagoon for the Kayak Fishing Classics tournament!!!

 I've been in Mosquito Lagoon several times but never in a kayak! If you haven't it is a must do! I had a tournament there this weekend so, we went up a few days early to do some prefishing before the Kayak Fishing Classics tournament. The first night we got there a front was moving in with 30 mph winds but, we had to check out the well known Haulover Canal for some night fishing. Heard the redfish and Black drum are so big that you can hear them drumming under the water. Didn't really believe it until I experienced it myself. Unbelievable! You could hear them everywhere!  It would make your kayak echo. Anyways unfortunately with the strong front moving in they weren't biting that night. We headed out the next morning to search the area. Still with 30-40 mph winds we decided to park one truck at boat ramp and one at another and drift down. We started seeing big redfish everywhere but, we were blowing right over them. Anchoring up was the ticket. Most of the fish were singles and a few were in groups of two. As I was drifting looking for reds I saw a school of about 30 redfish. All of them were hanging out in a large sand hole, so I anchored up. I immediately started tearing into reds! Most of them were small but, a couple pushing over 20 inches. They were beautiful with their bright blue tails and bronze bodies. We saw more fish after that but not many trout so we decided to call it a day.

The next day we decided to make a long paddle across the Lagoon to check out a spot where the tournament was won the year before. Saw a school of big reds on the way across but, the dolphins had them spooked! As we finally got across to the other side we saw tons of boats coming from one direction so, we paddled over to see what all the excitement was. As we came up to the boat we started seeing huge fish pushing on the flats and both boats had multiple rods bent ripping in fish. Heart was pounding! I was ready to catch some fish. We anchored up in the mouth of the little creek and started pulling in big trout after trout! I headed closer to the mangroves to get a cast at some sand holes I saw. Boom! FISH ON! I had to pick up anchor to chase him down because I was running out of line. The redfish felt like a 40+ inch red but only measured out at about 32. Still a really nice fish!!! We all were tearing the fish up. We even had a triple hook up between three of us.Two trout and one red. We didn't want to sore lip the fish for the tournament the next day so we moved on. Seeing lots of reds and plenty of big trout we thought we had a game plan for the tournament so we headed in.

Then tournament day!  The wind had switched, so we decided to go a complete different way. Eight mile stretch that we were going to try and drift down with a light tail wind. Parking one truck at one end and the other truck at the other. Half of the area I had never fished before. So, we pushed out at sunrise. Heading down the west side of the lagoon we were seeing huge reds pushing wakes everywhere. The big reds were very spooked. Especially with three kayakers chasing them in a foot of water! lol! I saw a pelican about 200yds out so I headed over to check out to see if he was scoping out some fish. On my way I picked up a decent trout and forgot to put the tournament token in the picture with the fish! : (  As I paddled up to the pelican he got scared and flew off. Seconds after that I started seeing huge redfish tails flagging in the air. My heart started pounding! I took a couple of more strokes and picked up my rod and casted as far as I could. Took two twitches and BOOM! Fish ONNN... Line was peeling out and all of a sudden it went limp! The fish straightened my hook! My heart sunk but, I cast again in the same spot. BOOM again FISH ON! This one wasn't as big but it was still a huge redfish! I get him in and he measured nearly 35inches. Made sure I got the token in the picture that time! lol! Soon after we had boats pushing us off the school. My friends wanted to push on, but, the wind was blowing in our face.We were only a quarter of the way and we were 3hrs into the tournament. I made the decision to stay behind and try to find the big school of reds again. As I paddled back I picked up a lot of small trout but, nothing of good size. Soon after I saw the same boats working the school of reds so I paddled up to them and started casting. Boom! Another nice red, almost 26inches. The upper slot reds were in the beginning of the school and the huge 40+ reds were in the back of the school. As I sat there and waited for them to come back by I started feeling a little weird and shaky. I still had almost three hours of the tournament left but, I was obviously dehydrated or had low blood sugar. I made the decision to be happy with what I had caught and headed in. Put my umbrella up and sailed in. I drank lots of water and some Sprite and started feeling better when I got to the weigh in. I ended up placing 8th. I would have placed in the top five if I wouldn't have forgot to put the token in the picture of my first trout!  But ,I was very thankful to place in the top 10 considering I fished in a place I had never fished and missed almost half of the tournament from feeling sick. Over all, It was one of the coolest experiences of my life with all the beautiful wildlife and, of coarse, huge redfish everywhere!  : )

Redfish Gone Wild!

    We started out the morning with just a little bit of time. Don want to sneak one last fishing trip in before his long drive back up north. The light wind was at our back so we slowly drifted on the look for reds. Don got a few nice hits from trout but nothing was sticking. Finally we came across a huge school of redfish! They were literally all around us. Don cast right in the middle of them and gets smashed  but It came unglued. The reds were pushing up wakes in like six inches of water, so Don takes another shot at them in the shallows. BOOM! FISH ON! Line starts ripping out. There goes Don on a redfish sleigh ride!lol! After finally wearing him down we get measurements. 30 inches and a fat one at that! Dons biggest fish ever. We were able to pick a couple of more off the school before Don had to head back to shore, for his return ride home. Nothing like a huge redfish to think about on your ride home:) I couldn't stand to leave knowing that those redfish were still sitting over there. So I paddled back over there and posted up. They were very spooky, so I lathered up the ol jerk bait with a little Pro Cure. Redfish cant resist it! Fish on! Fish on! More over slot reds:) Another great day on the flats!

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Perfect Weather and Big Fish!

      We launched out heading north because the wind was blowing from that way, and we wanted to ride it all the way back. As we got to our first spot, we started seeing groups of redfish ,of about 4-5. We began casting soft plastics and suspension baits at them. Next thing you know another charter captain decided to pass right where we were staged up at and spooked all of our fish. So we moved on.I started seeing lots of trout everywhere in about 4-6 ft of water. We threw soft plastics at them and started picking up small trout but, they were getting bigger each cast. Ended up catching a few nice slot trout and moved on for the hunt of redfish.  When we came up to where the reds hanging out I told Vick, to start casting in the sand holes. No more than five minutes he hooked into a monster redfish! After dragging his kayak around for what seemed for ever, he decided to get out of his yak to land the fish. Finally I got a net on him, and threw him on the measuring board. 30 inches! The biggest redfish Vick had ever caught.!:) There were a bunch more redfish but, they became very spooky after the big red dragged him all through them. We decide to head on to try and get Vick a snook to finish his slam. While on our way I seen some fish sitting in a hole that was in about a foot of water. I told Vick to cast and BOOM! He hooked a Huge trout well over 20 inches! Little bonus Trout, and also his biggest trout ever:) Paddling on we came up to the mouth of the creek and started casting but, no bites. We started trolling baits behind the yaks looking for a bit but, still no love! We ended up seeing a couple of snook but never got them to eat our baits. Still it was a wonderful day on good ol Sarasota Bay!

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Whitfield hold'n strong!

                    We launched out early that morning knowing the tide wasn't that great but we finally had a break in the weather. The tide was only moving one inch in a 6 hr. period:( So we paddled on our way. The water was calm as a lake so we decided to start out throwing top water lures. Matt had one blow up but, no love. I had nothing even look at at mine so I switched up to the ol jerk bait. Still not even a pin fish nibble! While we were drifting,I told Matt that a nice trout hole was coming up. Seconds after saying that, he threw out his jerk bait and hooked into a decent size trout. That gave us some confidence, that the fish might turn on. We paddled over to where we could see tons of mullet working the edge of the oyster bars. I stand up and start poling around on the look for redfish. Immediately I see one but it was to late , he was spooked. We decided to anchor up and start fan cast towards the mullet. Not long and boom FISH ON! The red was peeling out line like it was a monster.When we got him beside the yak was a healthy 24-25 inch fish but as big around as a football. Been eating good!lol!  Picking up anchor and heading towards the next group of oysters and mullet, I knew it was game on. I casted out,got nailed but it came unglued. I casted right back at the same spot and BAMMM fish on! When it hit ,I thought I hit bottom because it didn't move at first. Then I think he realize he was hooked and line started peeling out line. Thats when I knew I had a over slot redfish! We get him in,snap some picks and released him.Well the released wasn't very graceful because I didn't realize how heavy he was. He shook his head and he kinda feel into the water! oops! He swam off in a hurry! Now it was time to look for a snook. We headed back into the creeks. Soon as we entered one of them I saw a monster! I casted into the direction of him and I got smashed! As I saw the head come up I realized it was slightly a smaller snook than I had seen. None the less it was a great fight as they usually are. We had our snook and now it was time to start heading back. We picked up some more trout on our ventures back to the launch. It ended up being a decent day after all. Few fish,warm weather, and no wind! What else can you ask for!lol!

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