Artificial lure fishing…Read More
Kayak fishingRead More
Fishing for black drum out of a kayak.Read More
This particular day I had been pre-fishing for an inshore slam (snook, redfish, trout) tournament. The tide was pretty high and still coming in so, I started out working the mangroves for snook. It didn’t take long before I had both snook and redfish blowing up on my top-water lure. As the tide rolled in, it became harder and harder to reach the fish because they had pushed so far deep into the mangroves.
Since I had already caught 2 out of the three species I was looking for, I decided to make my way out to a deeper flat to try and catch some trout. As I paddled up to the flat, I a saw an enormous school of white bait that went on for nearly a hundred yards! While I was jigging for trout, out of the corner of my eye I saw a large tarpon roll. I reeled up as fast as I could and bombed a cast in that direction. Soon as the soft-plastic was getting ready to hit the water another tarpon rolled. Mid roll the tarpon saw my bait hit the water and bent like a pretzel to inhale my bait. All of the sudden I went from jigging for trout on light weight tackle to having a 70-90 lb. tarpon jumping like crazy on the end of my line! It was probably a good thing it came unbuttoned soon after because my set-up was no match for that large of fish…
After finding all three species and miscellaneous tarpon, I decide to make my way to the shore line to head back towards the launch. On my way back, I saw a group of dolphins cruising down the shore line tearing through bait and mullet. They were actually playing with their food by blasting full grown 5-7 lb. mullet back and forth to each other. I ended up stopping on the shore line to take a couple of casts and to let the dolphins go around me. After they passed me, I see fin a pop up and charge the shore line coming directly at me. I was on a corner where the land elbowed so, there was nowhere for this large fishy to go. The water was pretty tannic from all the rain the previous day. So, I watched this large grey fin swim right up to me and stop. I thought to myself I better give this dolphin a little poke to let it know I was here… Well that’s when all heck broke loose! First off it wasn’t a dolphin, it was a 10 ft. BULL SHARK! Soon as I poked it, JAWS came out the water snapping at me and then it was like an explosion in the water as flipped out to get away. I’m thinking the dolphins had scared it up against the shore line and it had nowhere else to go…
Moral of the story is to be careful while on the water. Always be aware of your surroundings. You never know what you are going to run into (literally)! Hahaha! Tight lines and Tight knots to all! 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 941-504-1349
Black Drum fishingRead More
As you probably know, Florida is one of the best fishing destinations on earth. It is unique with beautiful lagoons, lush grass-flats, long rivers/creeks, deep blue-green coastal waters, and lakes/ponds in just about every direction you look. There are many ways to fish on them: by boat, by foot/wading, or by canoe, but my personal favorite is by kayak. I love the freedom of being able to put my kayak in just about anywhere and leave as little imprint on the environment as possible. Plus, they are super stealthy and I can get to places that many people can’t get to… I want to give you guys my three top places to fish in Florida and why…
1st- Tampa/ Sarasota, FL
I choose to live here because of our beautiful Gulf waters and the amazing fishing. Besides Sarasota winning best beach in the world just about every year, it is home to some of the best tarpon fishing in the world. We also have some of the most beautiful, lushest grass-flats that I’ve seen anywhere. And our water clarity is pretty good all year. This makes for an outstanding inshore fishery for snook, redfish, trout, and tarpon. Because we are on the central gulf coast, it does take a little bit to get into some deeper waters for offshore fishing. But there are plenty of nearshore reefs on the way out with lots of great fish to be caught like grouper, snapper, cobia, kingfish, etc…
2nd- Mosquito Lagoon/ Indian River, FL
This place is a very unique fishery. It is home to some of the largest trout and redfish I’ve ever seen! It isn’t really tidal driven like most saltwater areas, so the wind and rain play a huge part in the water level and clarity. If you are any type of fisherman whether fly or conventional and like to catch redfish and trout, this place is literally a dream come true. If you put your bait anywhere near a fish over there it is going to get crushed!
3rd Florida Keys
This place is an incredibly beautiful chain of islands that has the best of both worlds inshore and offshore. Literally pick an island, head out in any direction and you can find just about every fish Florida has to offer. They are well known for their tarpon and bonefish fishing. I also love that it still has that old Florida feel.
Be adventurous and go check out what all Florida has to offer. Also please respect and take care of our water so that everyone can enjoy. Tight Lines & Tight Knots! 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 941-504-1349
Fly fishing can be one the most exhilarating things to try if you are an angler and desire a novel experience or a new challenge. It is pretty much the most intimate fishing experience that you can have. From tying your own flies for your next catch to casting a fly rod, the whole experience could most definitely be considered an art form.
First, you pull just enough line to cast and give it a good stretch so that you have less room for error once you reach your target. Once you find the fish you are looking for, you get into the best possible position for hitting your mark. While you are casting, you breathe as you feel your line loading through the rod and you listen to your line starting to form tight loops. Then you release your line as it rockets through the guides of your rod and lays down ever so softly just in front of your target. You begin to strip your line as the fish turns its head with its pectoral fins out, and rushes over, mouth wide open to inhale your fly. Boom! Fish ON!
One more good strip set as you begin to feel your line peeling out through your hands until it is tight on the rod. Then you palm the spool for just the right drag while you feel the sheer power of the fish. You look at the backing of your line hoping that you have enough just as the fish’s will starts to break. You reel reel reel and then the fish decides to go for another run! Finally, you get all your line back as you see fish getting closer and closer to you until the fish rolls over on its side into submission. When all of this comes together it can be one of the greatest fulfillments in fishing.
This is one of my favorite times of the year to fly fish. As the water clarity continues to improve and air/ water temps are cooler, sight fishing will be key. The fish are easy to see but it is also easier for them to see you so you need to have a good plan of execution. Also this time of year the fish are starting to feed on smaller things which is a great for fly fishermen. I like to throw crustacean type patterns now, although they will feed on smaller bait fish patterns as well. Sometimes the wind can be a bear this month so don’t be afraid to hit the backwaters. The fish will be making their way back there anyway if they aren’t already there.
Snook- These fish are really starting to feed heavily to get fattened up before winter. Look for them near the mouth’s of creeks and rivers. Once you have located them, get ready to hold on tight! They will eat just anything that crosses their path. If you see them busting baits near the surface, start out by pitching top water lures like the Yo- Zuri 3DB and be ready for crazy aerial assaults.
Redfish- This is a great month for redfish. The large schools will slowly start to break into smaller pods and don’t be surprised to find large fish by themselves. You can also find them hanging around the mullet schools. My bait of choice in this situation is Yo-Zuri’s new Inshore Series in the mullet pattern and it is great for covering lots of water. Play with the speed and retrieval twitches until you figure out what speed they are eating that day.
Trout- Big trout are here! They have been on fire in the deeper potholes in the 4-6 ft. range but, don’t be surprised to see them creeping in the shallows as well. Most of my big trout lately have been caught on the Monster 3X X-MOVE 4 ¾ with 1/16- 1/8 oz. jig head. Once you catch one or two, I would stay close to that area because there will probably be more.
I hope everyone enjoys the cooler air and beautiful waters. Be Safe! Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all!
When it comes to fishing, learning to properly land your catch is critical. We all have a great story about the huge fish that we almost landed… but there’s no photographic evidence (or dinner on the table) because we lost it while trying to get it into our boat. Learning to land your fish can be the difference between a good and a great day. There’s nothing like catching the fish of a lifetime and as soon as it gets next to the yak, it comes unglued… This usually happens when you try to lift the fish into the boat with your rod or you try to grab it with your hands next to the boat. There are many different types of tools that you can use to land certain types of fish in different types of situations. The two main tools that I use to land fish are a good landing net and lip grippers. These two tools can improve your game and help you successfully land more fish.
Landing Net- This is the number one thing that I depend on in tournaments when it is most critical to land the fish. When picking out a net decide on what size fish is the average that you will be targeting. The last thing you want on your kayak is a huge clumsy net that is always in the way of your paddling or fishing. For inshore species I like to use the EGO Slider 2 17” or 19”. Reasons why: First, it has rubber mesh that is easier on the fish and is extremely easy to remove the hooks from (no tangled mess). Second, it has an extension handle that makes it easy to use for reaching out on kayaks or when using a fly rod with a long leader. Third and most of all it floats! : ) People ask me all the time what if I catch a huge fish? Trust me I’ve landed 40+ inch fish in this net. Most of the time if you get a large fish’s head in a net it will break it will and give up, giving you complete control of the fish.
Lip Grippers- I use lip grippers on an everyday basis! Either to land a fish or after just to remain in control of the fish. A lot of times I have a bungee tied to the grippers so I can let the fish rest in the water (to lessen the stress put on the fish) while I decide to get out a measuring board, camera, etc… They have many different varieties out there from floating ones like Fish Grips to ones that you can actually take weight measurements from like a Bocca Grip. None-the-less, they all work great for keeping control of your fish.
Until next time, keep control of your catch and land the fish of a lifetime! Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all!
This can be one of the hottest times of year where the outside temps and water temps are at their highest. The fishing can be RED HOT as well if you plan your trips out right. I like to get out on the water earlier and finish up before the hottest part of the day.
REDFISH- They are really starting to heat up large schools of redfish growing just about daily. You can find these fish in the shallow grass flats early in the morning and then look for them cruising the outer edges once the sun gets up over head. Remember to be stealthy because if you scare one, you have scared them all. I like to target them with top water lures like the Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil first thing in the morning. Then I switch up to soft plastics like the Monster 3X X-SWIM or suspension baits like Mirro Lures Mirrodine.
SNOOK- My favorite place to target these fish is with a fly rod off the beach close to the passes as they start to migrate their way back to the flats, creeks, etc… The set up I primarily use for this is an 8 wt. St. Croix rod, TF 70 3-TAND fly reel, Teeny’s 8 wt. kayak series fly line, with a Seaguar fluorocarbon leader 30# tippet. Look for groups of smaller fish close to the shoreline with larger fish lurking around I a little deeper water. I’ve been catching some nice snook on River Bum’s purple tarpon toad early in the morning and then switching to gotcha flies later.
TROUT- Look for these fish to be hanging on the grass flats in deeper pot holes around the 4-7 ft. range. Most of these fish are in schools averaging about the 15-19 inch range but, perfect if you are looking for dinner. I always like to start throwing top water plugs like the Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil because they are a blast on top water!. Then I move onto soft plastics like the Monster 3X X_MOVE.
So this summer beat the heat! Not only do we need to take care of ourselves from the heat like staying hydrated but, also take care of the fish… If you are practicing catch and release, spend a little extra time to reviving them. “Quick tip” Fish can be a little sluggish on hot days so don’t be afraid to cast out an ole trusty piece of cut bait. It might just do the trick! Till next time… Be Safe, Stay Hydrated, and have fun! Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all.
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 them a call at 941-504-134
Tarpon fishing from kayaks!Read More
Moon and tides play a huge part in catching fish. Not all of us can plan our fishing trips around the tides and moon but, when you can it will definitely benefit you. Once you learn them/figure them out, it will increase your fish catching odds.
Lunar tides are caused by the magnetic attraction of the earth and moon. The moon tries to pull everything closer to it and so the water moves depending on the location of the moon. Since the position of the earth and moon are always changing, the water is always moving. The ocean is constantly switching from high tide to low tide with two high tides and two low tides. There are generally about 12 hours between the two high tides.
Spring tides occur when the moon is in it’s full or new moon stage. This is when tides are at their strongest with extreme high and low tides. (Spring tide has nothing to do with spring the season.) Neap tides occur when the moon is in it’s quarterly stages. These tides can be very weak with sometimes not much movement at all. Needless to say there are other variables for tides like the winds. When we have strong north east winds it can help blow all our water out of our bay causing extreme low tides. Same with strong south west winds keeping our tides higher.
Taking this all in consideration. When you can, try to plan your trips around the stronger tides. Fishing in a general is better around the full and new moon tides. When the tides are ripping the fish have more oxygen running through their gills making them friskier. There are a lot more bait pouring in and out with the tides. Even on land when there are full and new moons there is a lot more activity in nature. Also another thing to look out for is when the moon is setting and rising. Almost everyone knows sunrise and sunset can be some of the best fishing. The moon rise and fall is just as important as the sun rising and setting.
Hope this helps answer some of your questions about tides and fishing. Understanding the tides can be critical to your safety on the water as well. Be safe out there on the water and respect your fellow anglers. Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all!
Springtime is here! All the fish and their surroundings are going through a huge transition. As water temps heat up, grasses begin to grow, and bait begins to pour back into our bays. The grass flats will come to life! Fishermen and women will shed our winter clothes and break out our warm weather gear in search for hungry fish.
SNOOK- They will be pouring out the mouths of creeks and rivers. Look for them scouring the flats eating just about anything that crosses their path. This is one of my favorite times of year to throw top-water plugs like the Yo_Zuri 3DB. There will be full blown aerial assaults on top water plugs with fish so fired up they will literally come out of the water to nab the baits.
TROUT- Our huge gator trout will start to thin out inshore but, there will be plenty of nice size trout on the grass flats. Anywhere you can find good moving water with grass flats littered with deep potholes, you should find as many trout as your heart desires. Suspension baits like the Mirro Dine are a great baits to cover lots of water until you locate these fish. Don’t be afraid to work these lures with fast twitches. If you don’t plan on keeping these fish, I like to put single hooks on them to help preserve their soft mouths.
REDFISH- Look for these fish to be schooled up. Sometimes you will find two to twenty of them but, don’t be surprised to run into schools with over fifty of them. As much as you may want to start plugging away at them… Watch them for a little while to see what their pattern is, and then start working them. My first bait I like to throw at them is top-water lures and then soft plastics like the Monster 3X X-MOVE. What ever baits you decide to throw, make sure to get it out in front of them. Once they see you or your fishing line bounces off them, you will be playing cat and mouse all day!
Good luck! Be safe and respectable to your fellow anglers! There are plenty of fish in the sea for everyone! Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all!:)