Greetings to all my friends throughout North America! I want to thank all of you for consistently sending me fishing and hunting reports which help me tremendously decide on what trips to take. I am going to start posting some of them on my blog for others to enjoy and assist them in planning their trips and a selection of outfitters as well. Eventually I will have a sectionof this blog just for these reports but for now, they will come in the form of posts.
What better place to start than in my own backyard of Miami Beach and the fishing report for the past week as reported by Jackie G from West Marine and the charter boat Blue Waters II, (this was one of the first charter boats I fished from when I moved to Miami so many years ago!)
Jackie says that the fishing was excellent this weekend and on Saturday they enjoyed two Sailfish releases along with two good sized Blackfin Tuna, (check my blog for a great Blackfin Tuna Recipe). The Blue Waters II also had lots of action with Large Kingfish (King Mackeral) while on the troll.
On Sunday they the action was all Kingfish, Barracuda and some very large Bonita taken while fishing live bait between 90 and 150 feet of water. There are still Cobia to found following big Rays and on some of the inshore wrecks.
It seems that the warmer summer weather periods have arrived and you can bet I will be out there fishing and diving a lot this summer, provided these old bones hold up a bit longer!
If you would like to offer some fishing or hunting reports (and shamelessly plug your website as well) for your area please just email me via the contact link on this site and I would love to pass along the information and your link to a preferred outfitter, guide or Charter Captain.
Bayside Marketplace, Pier 5, Slip 14 Miami, FL 33132
Phone 305 373 5016 | Fax 305 899 8567
This is time of year that I love! Turkey Season is in full swing, the weather is amazing in most parts of the country, and with the warmer temperatures, lots of little critters are beginning to hatch and provide food for the elusive trout. This is also the time of year I travel up to Southwestern Wisconsin, from my home in Miami, and visit my good friends and enjoy a combination trip of hunting Wild Turkey and wading Tainter Creek for Trout. Lets not forget to mention great company and home cooked meals. I am so fortunate to have a good friend who not only has a fair amount of Wild Turkey on his land, but a gold medal Trout stream, Tainter Creek, meandering right through his property as well.
Many of the streams I fish are located in what is known as the Driftless area and although this area extends into certain regions of the states adjoining Wisconsin, it is primarily located in the Southwestern region of Wisconsin. It is known for the river valleys incredible prairies and just about every other type of vista you could imagine, a glimpse of what this area was like before the glacial period. This area is what has incorrectly become known as Coulee Country, generally meaning high hilled valleys with many streams running through them. I love coming to this area, as even if I go home empty handed, (which I’ve never done!) it is just such a beautiful area to visit and accessible to so many hunters and anglers throughout the Midwest. This area gets a lot of weekend fly fisherman from the Chicago area, as well as Minnesota and Iowa. Although there are a great many very accomplished guides and outfitters for trout fishing the Driftless area, it is also a place you can explore on your own.
I enjoy exploring Tainter Creek for trout, it is a considerable long stream located in Crawford County near the city of Vernon. It’s important to know the regulations in this area as parts of many of these creeks and streams traverse public land and others go through private land. The Wisconsin DNR has done a fantastic job of improving the habitat and has worked well with land owners to put into place various features such as specific plant growth and soil management techniques along with what is known as “Lunker Structures,” which are simply long boards similar to a pallet which create shade and are an excellent habitat for trout.
The Brown Trout reigns supreme in this area and is actually an imported species brought to the United States from Germany as this species was most adaptable to the warmer waters and reduced oxygen levels. This fish averages about 12 to 18 inches but on occasion can reach up to 26 inches! The other abundant species is the Brook Trout which need more oxygenated waters and colder streams to live. On ultra-light tackle both these fish are amazing fighters. Look for Brook trout more towards the headwaters of the streams where conditions might provide a colder more oxygen rich habitat.
Now that you have arrived at a stream with potential, don’t hesitate to scout the area, but do so stealthfully, remember that these fish will be found primarily in shaded areas such and the deep pockets found where the moving shallower water drops into deeper pockets. It is vitally important that you use a good pair of polarized sunglasses, not only for protection from the sun but to better be able to see your quarry as well.
The tactics for success when fishing this area are relatively simple and similar to many other fine trout streams in the Driftless area, but we can go over some basics anyway. If fishing with dry flies for trout, cast upstream just above those pockets we have previously mentioned, or where you have seen fish rising and allow the fly to be carried downstream. Keep the slack out of the line to be able to strike if your fly is picked up. Remember that dry flies are imitating the grown up version of the insect, if you choose to fish nymphs you are imitating the underwater life stage, the larval stage of the insect to be more precise. This is the basic difference between fishing dry flies and nymphs. If fishing nymphs, fish downstream, let it sink and allow the moving nature of the stream to carry the fly downstream. If you are proficient casting with your fly rod, try to work the areas where fish is likely to lay in wait, such as Lunker structures and the areas carved out under the banks by the moving water. If you are a spin casting kind or person, then light line and spinners will work well, and to be honest, before I was taught to fly fish this was how I caught many Brown trout in the Driftless area of Wisconsin on Tainter Creek.
The bottom line here is that the Driftless area of Wisconsin not only holds a healthy population of Trout, but is an incredible trip filled with scenic vistas, a variety of wildlife and some of the nicest folks you could ever meet. If you’re coming up for some trout fishing from Chicago or other parts that this region draws, it might be advisable for your first trip to hire a guide when Trout fishing the Driftless area, as these outfitters and guides can save you a lot of time and energy and make this tip one you will remember for years.
Can you smell it? All across the country hunters are patterning their shotguns, checking their decoys and are driving the wife and kids crazy by constantly listening to their audio cd’s while practicing to get the tones and cadence of their favorite calls. Spring Turkey season is in full swing! Bad calling technique and decoys that couldn’t fool Wyle E. Coyote can do more harm than good on a hunt so you better get started now to have it all down pat before that first gobble is heard just before dawn on opening day. The Wild Turkey’s proclivity to let you know where he is gives the shrewd hunter an occasional advantage, but only if he or she knows what to do next.
Calling a Turkey to bring him closer to you, or coaxing him to give away his position is probably the most enjoyable method of Turkey hunting, and since this incredible bird is gifted with incredible eyesight, calling the Turkey is probably the best way to get into position for a shot. Combine this with proper decoy management and you have a great chance of harvesting a nice Tom. Remember, it only takes one bird to let you know what direction he is, and then you will have to judge the distance for yourself. When the birds are silent it can seem as if you are all alone in the woods as they can go completely quiet when alarmed.
Turkey’s breed primarily in the spring months of April and May, during this period they can become extremely vocal and learning the differences in each sound can tell whether your quarry is a Tom, Jake or possibly even a hen. One of the first things I was taught when using my calls was what type of sound to imitate to elicit the desired effect. Sitting in the dark an hour or so before dawn during Turkey season is very exciting and when the sound of a mature Tom breaks though the darkness it will be something you won’t ever forget!
Turkey’s can be located using a variety of calls; you can imitate a hen, or the unmistakable call of a big Gobbler or even those sounds such as crow and owls. The sounds of thunder have also been known to cause a Wild Turkey to give away his position. These locator calls are a hit and miss situation and usually work best in areas that you know Turkeys have been seen in sufficient numbers. Locator calls are used to identify position not to bring birds in.
With so many calls on the market, its hard to figure out what might work best for you, but the bottom line is know how to properly use the call before taking it into the field. I prefer the box call as it is easy for me to use since my attempts to use a mouth or diaphragm Turkey call have similar results to Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem. However, the diaphragm calls give the hunter who can properly use them, are great bit of versatility. The problem with a box call is that there is motion involved and the hunter will need to put down the call in order to lift his shotgun.
Turkeys make a number of different sounds depending on what they are doing at the time; it can range from a series of purrs, clucks, yelps or a combination of sounds. Remember on windy days your sound will be limiting in the distance it projects and trying to hard to increase volume might through off the proper sound. Cadence is also of great importance and it’s usually a good practice for novice hunters to merely try to match the sounds of birds they can hear. Combine this with some life-like decoys set out at a know distance such as 20yds and you are just about ready. In some areas, the use of decoys may actually hamper your hunt as the birds have been pressured greatly and are wise to the decoys. But all in all, 1-3 decoys depending on the circumstance should suffice, and by the end of the day you may have an incredible dinner that the whole family will enjoy and a great story to tell around the table.
Around this time of the year, especially up North people are emerging from their long winters, birds are singing, flowers are blooming and kids have traded their galoshes for Tennis shoes and tee shirts. About this same time, parents are now waking up on Saturday mornings to the lovely sound of “Mommy! I’m Bored!” Last year I wrote an article about Geocaching, and how it is a great way to spend time outside with your child, get a little exercise and have some fun. This year I decided to come to the aid of the many single moms I encountered last year valiantly trying to enjoy a day of fishing at some local ponds while have little idea of how to make it an enjoyable and successful affair.
Here is the skinny on how to teach your child the ins and outs of fishing; this is called fishing 101 or the sunfish academy. This is basically the easiest methods to catch small fish such as pumpkinseeds, bream other sunfish type fish. Go to your local sporting goods store such as Dick’s, Bass Pro Shops or the local bait shop, here you will see an assortment of fishing rods and tackle that you can buy all for probably under 40-50 dollars. Look for a light spinning rod and reel combo that can handle 6-10 lbs test line, it will say something like this right on the rod itself. I suggest a spinning reel because you will invariably be taking out tangles, snags and other inherent problems due to the line and reel not playing well together, and a spinning reel will probable be the easiest to deal with. The reel should be filled with 6 lb test line, 8lb test or 10 will work as well. This refers to the breaking strength of the line. This should cost in the vicinity of $30 for something that will last a season or two.
Next let’s deal with the tackle. I have seen many singles moms placing rubber worms on hooks that could catch world record Muskies or the biggest baddest Bass in the lake, forget it, if you are merely going out to have a good time match the tackle to the target species. Buy a small box of hooks, anywhere from size 6 to 10 should work fine. Remember 6 to 10, not 0/6 or 0/10 as these are probably as big as the fish you are trying to catch. Now that we have the hooks, let’s get a few floats or bobbers to attach about 2-3 feet above the hook. When you are fishing you can adjust this to the proper depth to keep the hook and bait off the bottom or to dangle at a depth a few feet below the surface. You can adjust this from time to time to see what depth the fish prefer, but for the Sunfish, keep it off the bottom or just a foot or two under the surface. Pick up a package of very light split shot as well, these are little lead pellets about 1/16th of an ounce in weight that will help keep the bait down, especially on a windy day. The hooks, bobbers and split shot should be about another 5-6 dollars.
Its now time for the bait, for sunfish and other small species, you can’t go wrong with worms, available at almost any bait and tackle shop. This is probable the easiest for a single mom with no experience to deal with, if you are hesitant to touch the worm, just lay it on a board cut it in half and find a way to thread it onto the hook. Other baits such as leeches, waxies and a host of others may be a bit much for the single mom to deal with without any experience. You can also try a small bit of corn meal dough the size of a pea if there is no way you will get close to live baits. But I think worms are the way to go to get enough action to keep the youngster occupied.
You are now ready to fish! Just find a likely area, you can find plenty of places via the internet or just by driving around a lake and seeing where others are fishing, but don’t forget to give other fisherman plenty of room. Now with a bit of practice you will be able to cast the line complete with bobber, hook, and bait, (split shot optional) a few yards from the bank and begin the fine art of fishing. If you see the bobber or float begin to do a little dance on the surface it could mean something is investigating your bait. If the bobber submerges or starts heading off across the lake, then gently lift your rod and twitch it back to set the hook. Your youngster will now be giddy with excitement anticipating his first catch. If you were the kind of mom who wouldn’t bait the hook you may also shy away from unhooking your child’s fish. It must be done and a great way to teach catch and release. Just lay the fish in a wet rag and wrap it up so you can get a grip and immobilize the fish, then merely pull the hook in the opposite direction that it went in. A cheap pair of pliers is especially handy at this point.
I hope this little introduction will help get you and you kids out by the lake and give you the enjoyment that I had fishing with my dad when I was a small boy. If you are a single mom with no fishing experience this article is really all you need to get started, and I’m sure you and the kids around you will begin to build some incredible memories. Please feel free to send us pictures of your adventures and any other information that will assist others in teaching their kids to fish.