Thursday, November 10, 2011


Put the new bay boat on the trailer and headed out of Jax towards Sanibel. Finally made it, just in time to catch a West coast sunset- a little something different for an East coast boy. What a nice change.

The next morning it was time to find some fish. One of my main sponsors asked me to come down to host three anglers for an inshore tournament. Only one day to pre-fish, no pressure....

Water levels were low and visibility was bad, not the best conditions to chase reds across the flats. We ran 20 miles North to Charlotte Harbor. After spending the morning drifting over miles of flats with no results- my girlfriend and I decided to change the plan and just have some fun. We ran out of Boca Grande Pass and saw
schools of Spanish and Jacks crashing baits across the surface. We quickly tied on a couple of MirroLure top waters and for the next hour, had all the action we could handle.

We decided to anchor up close to shore and take a dip. Man, that salt water feels good. The boat doesn't look bad from the waterline either.

These beaches are famous for a variety of shells, so we decided to take a look. We weren't disappointed- I don't know all the names of every shell, but they were all cool, we even found an intact sand dollar.

After another swim back to the boat we decided to run on the outside home. Feeling the breeze and watching the birds...

On tournament day, my crew decided they wanted to just have fun, and not necessarily go after the win. So we did! The fish were chewing, and they weren't picky. Top waters, spoons, twitch baits, all caught fish. After sight fishing all day, the mission of fun was definitely accomplished.

Long day of fishing- time to put the boat on the trailer and head North. We have the Full of Bull tomorrow and 5 hours of road ahead. Lots to do...
Oh yeah, we won the tournament too...
Livin the Salt Life.

Slimy 5's,

Capt Don

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fishing the St John's for Reds

Every year from labor day to Halloween, I run charters chasing big bull redfish in the St Johns River. Even though my heart is in the blue water, these trips are pretty special. It's got everything you could want in a great fishing trip- lots of big fish, easy to get to, fun to catch, etc.

Countless memories... From kids catching their first fish, to Grandpas catching the biggest fish of their lives, happens each Fall on my boat. This year was no different- from annual regulars who return every year, to a group that has never experienced the tug of a bull red on the line, it feels more like a reunion of family and friends out on the water for me than fishing charters, this time of year.

This year's run was average- with afternoons of 20+ fish from 25-50lbs common. Throw in a few teenage black drum and that makes for an awesome day on the water.

I use heavy tackle in order to respect the fish, and ensure a healthy release. 30lb mainline tied to a 60lb leader. Use half of a fresh blue crab on an 8/0 Eagle Claw circle hook, soaked on the bottom. The reds are in huge schools, so 3 to 4 fish hooked up at once is a regular occurrence.

Talk about fun! It's usually a trip where even the oldest anglers act like kids again. These trips bring me back to my roots and keep me grounded.

Watching the sunset every afternoon on the St Johns and taking people to catch reds until their arms hurt from reeling- is my Salt Life.

Slimy 5's

Capt Don