Reserve Today: (386) 503-6338

Photos & Blog

Sight Fishing For Schools Of Redfish

Winter has finally made its way south to Florida, with the chill comes gin clear water. The brown algae is dying off due to water temps dropping into the low 60’s and the redfish are fired up and feeding. Sight fishing opportunities start at 9am and continue till about 2pm. Polarized sunglasses and a casting platform make for the perfect combo for sight fishing redfish in the shallow flats. Redfish will eat just about anything put in front of them but artificial lures is the best bet. Slayer inc. paddle tails on a 1/8 jig head is my favorite combo

Image result for slayer inc paddle tails

Fishing Palm Coast with Captain Chris Herrera sight fishing for redfish using slayer inc. paddle tails

Fishing Palm Coast with Captain Chris Herrera sight fishing for redfish using slayer inc. paddle tails

Fishing Palm Coast with Captain Chris Herrera sight fishing for redfish using slayer inc. paddle tails

January Fishing Forecast

Well it’s the first of the year and I hope your new years resolution has something to do with spending more time in the outdoors. Grab those new polarized sunglasses you got for Christmas and hit the flats as the reds are schooled up and eating good! Actually they should be schooled up but with this rare warming trend we are still on a mid fall pattern. Red fishing on the flats isn’t an early morning ritual like in the summer; waiting for the sun to rise and warm the waters is your best bet. Although till things cool off try topwater plugs at first light since mullet are still the main food source for redfish.

Use the info below if we get a cold front anytime soon.

A low mid morning incoming tide is a perfect scenario as the sun heats the oyster beds and once the tide floods schools of redfish will sit on these hot spots for warmer water. Approach the school with stealth as not to alert the school of your presence before getting into casting distance.Fishbites paddle tails or flies are my choices for catching redfish. Once the school is on the move bomb a Sebile Stick Shadd out in front of the school twitch a few times and hook up!

 

Creek fishing for Seatrout is about as sure as it gets this time of year. Jigging for Trout in creek holes with a ¼ ounce Slayer Jig and Fishbites paddle tails will get the attention of every schoolie in the hole. Most Trout will be on the small side but if numbers is your game, creek hole fishing is the place. Small Reds also occupy the same creek holes and can be caught with live shrimp; small split shot and a Daiichi 82Z 1/0 circle hook.

 

 

Fly fisherman get great opportunities on landing the elusive Sheaphead on fly this month. Sheaphead can be found on the most oyster-laden flats during low incoming tides, these striped bandits will be foraging for oyster crabs so a crab pattern is the best fly for the job. If fly fishing isn’t your thing, live bait fishing with fiddler crabs and a fish finder rig vertically fished around bridges, docks and rocks will put the bend in the rod.

 

Tricks To Catch More Flounder

 

 

Top Flounder Rigs by Frank Bolin

The bright, reflective eyes of a TerrorEyz jighead piqued this toothy flounder’s curiosity.

Look close. You’ll notice them, despite their low-key attitudes, skillfully pitching baits into likely flounder haunts. For flatfish followers, nothing matches the thrill of dredging a hefty doormat off the bottom.

Veteran flounder fishermen know success depends on terminal rigging. There are many kinds of rigs used by the dedicated angler, but all retain one attribute: They get baits down to the bottom, where flounder chew. If a bait does not find bottom, chances are a flounder will never see it, much less inhale it.

Several factors deserve consideration when selecting flounder rigs. Water depth, current and bottom terrain are three significant variables. Bait size also plays a role. It takes more weight to drag larger baits, i.e., silver mullet, pinfish and croakers, to the depths. However, a fine line exists. Baits need to move freely across submerged terrain, not hold fast, overweighted, in one spot. Too much lead decreases strikes as much as using too little.

A simple and effective livebait flounder rig is the jighead. With various weights and hook sizes, jigheads make good everyday bait carriers. Simply pin your bait through the lips, toss it upcurrent and let the leadhead sink your livie into the zone. Nothing could be easier.

All types of jigheads do the job, but some do it better than others. I stick with leadheads equipped with light wire hooks. These thin-diameter hooks usually find something to grab between a flounder’s sharp dentures. Jighead color can spell the difference between banner and mediocre fishing. Brightly hued heads amplify flash. Chartreuse, red and orange are good choices. Opt for chartreuse in clear water. Go with red or orange in dark, tannin-stained or brackish water. The glitter-filled TerrorEyz jigheads from D.O.A. lures consistently entice flatfish when baited with mud minnows.

Jigs work best with smaller baits. Live shrimp, small finger mullet and mud minnows (killifish to y’all hailing from north of the Mason-Dixon line) make excellent jighead baits. For added attraction, try leaving the plastic tail on your jig in conjunction with live bait. Tails provide extra action and often invite a second shot if a flounder steals your livie. Mud minnows and chartreuse tails make perfect companions. This combo remains one of my favorites.

Baits pinned on leadheads offer distinct advantages for anglers pursuing flounder in slow current, shallow water and around oyster bars. Leadhead rigs allow constant, direct contact with the live bait. The slightest bait movements and subtle telltale flounder taps telegraph instantly up the line to the rodtip. Remember, when flounder fishing you must “feel” your bait to distinguish hits. Work leadhead flounder baits around docks, eddies and shoreline structure for best results.

Jighead baits do have some drawbacks. Perhaps the most disconcerting is a tendency for flounder to “taste” the lead and spit the hook before the set. This happens almost every time a flounder mouths a jig-fished bait for too long. They’re also tough to fish in strong current and depths over six feet. Once you need more than a 3/8-ounce jighead, it’s time to switch to a different rig.

Doormat chasin’, inlet fishermen normally employ standard, barrel sinker livebait rigs. This type of terminal tackle produces more fish in fast-water and deepwater situations in many Florida inlets and passes.

Flounder anglers are essentially inshore bottom bumpers. Often, inlet hotspots require from one to two ounces of lead to get baits down. This is where that old dependable standby–a standard fishfinder-style, livebait rig–outfishes everything else. Expert flatfish seekers bypass store-bought rigs, sporting needless hardware and steel leader. The best flounder rigs utilize mono leader and minimum paraphernalia. A more natural presentation is a must when targeting flounder weighing five pounds or more.

Do like the pros. Make your own fishfinder-style bottom rig. Start by threading an egg sinker onto the fishing line. Tie the line onto a sturdy barrel swivel. Size 7 barrels are a good choice. This size swivel is not overkill, yet it’s big enough not to slip through an egg sinker. Next, attach an 18-inch length of 20-pound leader to the swivel. Finish the rig with a livebait hook sized to fit your bait. Downsize your hooks for small baits; upsize for larger offerings. Use either a Palomar, improved clinch or Uni-knot for all connections on the fishfinder rig.

I’ve found this rig works in every type of flounder terrain provided it is not overweighted. When weighted correctly, the egg sinker and bait should roll along the bottom with the tide, maintaining steady contact with the bottom. A good rule of thumb is to use the lightest sinker necessary to reach the bottom.

While egg sinker rigs perform in most situations, it pays to vary the rig a bit in certain conditions. Bullet or worm sinkers provide a good alternative when using the fishfinder rig in shallow water or around rough terrain. Their streamlined shape allows you to snake the rig up, over and through scattered oyster clumps and shell bars.

Experiment with hook size and types. For smaller live baits such as shrimp and mud minnows, No. 4 or No. 6 Kahle hooks work great.

Remember that small hooks pack a big punch. Finger mullet require larger hooks. Offset bait hooks such as Diachi’s D87Z and Owner’s 5116 in sizes 2/0 and 3/0 are gaining popularity among the flounder league. VMC, Gamakatsu, Eagle Claw and Mustad manufacture similar models.

Expect to see more flounder fishermen switch to fluorocarbon leader. Most line companies now produce softer versions. They’re much easier to tie than the stiff varieties introduced several years ago. And the price keeps coming down, making it affordable for all anglers. Plus, there’s no denying the stealth factor offered by a nearly invisible fluorocarbon leader.

 

How To Tie The Bone-B-Que

How to tie bone-b-que cover image

The Bone-B-Que is the product of our own Biscayne Bay guide Capt. Dave Saddler’s (turtlegrasscharters.com) time on the water studying the habits of the giant bonefish that rove through the Bay. The Bone-B-Que started out as a modified bonefish slider and has evolved into a proven pattern not only for bonefish, but also for redfish, baby tarpon, permit, snook, seatrout and pretty much any species that enjoys a nice shrimp once in a while. From the longer tail that flutters in the current to the orange thread around the weed guard, every aspect of the Bone-B-Que is designed to catch the eye and trigger the feeding instincts of big Biscayne bonefish.

The Bone-B-Que is typically tied with size 5/32″ I-Ballz eyes to get the fly down to deeper bones in 12″-3ft of water, however it can be tied with bead chain eyes for shallow water tailers.

Bone-B-Que Materials:

Bone-B-Que Step 1

1.

To start, take your tan thread and start your wraps just behind the eye of the hook. Wrap back to the gap of the hook, stop when your thread is just about in-line with the barb, then wrap back towards the front of the hook. Place your I-Balz about 1/8″ behind the eye of the hook to leave enough space in front of the eyes to tie in your weed guard later. Tie in the eyes using figure-8 wraps then secure the eyes with about 10 parachute wraps between the eyes and shank of the hook. Let your thread hang behind the eyes.

Bone-B-Que Step 2

2.

Prep your craft fur for the tail by creating 4 sparse bundles and merge them into 1 thick bundle. To do this stand the fur straight up and make one clean cut as close to the base of the fur as you can. Use your fingers to pull out the underfur from the bottom and the longest fibers from the top of the bundle. Lay the bundle on your tying table. Do this 3 times, stacking each bundle on top of the previous. If the butt section of the thick bundle you just made is uneven, cut it to give it a straight edge. Wrap your thread back to the bend of the hook. Place the bundle on top of the hook where the bottom end is somewhere near the middle of the hook shank. Make a few tight wraps forward to tie in the bundle. To avoid bulk, trim the fur that pushed up when you made your tight wraps. Then continue wrapping forward to completely cover the craft fur.

Bone-B-Que Step 3

3.

Pinch the end of the tail and gently pull it tight. Then take an orange or yellow marker and make about six vertical bars on both sides of the tail.

Bone-B-Que Step 4

4.

Take two strands of Krystal Flash and fold them in half. Hold the flash on top of the hook where the ends meet the ends of the craft fur. Make a couple wraps over the flash in the same spot you started tying in the craft fur. When you feel the flash is securely tied in, trim the excess flash in front of your wraps.

Bone-B-Que Step 5

5.

To create the collar, tie in the tip of your rabbit strip in the same spot you started to tie in the craft fur. At this point it is a good idea to lock your thread with a couple of half hitches and advance the thread forward.

Bone-B-Que Step 6

6.

Take the rabbit strip and palmer it one full rotation around the hook. Secure the collar by pulling back on the rabbit strip and make some tight wraps over the front of the collar. Trim the tag end of the rabbit strip as close to the shank of the hook as possible.

Bone-B-Que Step 7

7.

Now take the crustaceous brush and pull back on the fibers so the wire is exposed. Tie in the wire in front of the collar. This is another good time to make a couple half hitches so the fly doesn’t come undone while palmering. Advance the thread so it’s hanging right behind the eyes.

Bone-B-Que Step 8

8.

Palmer the crustaceous brush forward until the brush is right up against the back of the eyes. The key to a nice full body is to brush the fibers back as you go and to make your wraps as tight to each other as possible.

Tie in the tag end of the crustaceous brush as close to the back of the eyes as you can while trying your best to not catch any of the fibers from the body in your thread wraps. If you have a pair of hemostats or hackle pliers it helps to hang them from the tag end of the brush to keep tension while you tie it in.

Bone-B-Que Step 9

9.

When the tag end of your brush is securely tied in, make a couple of anchor wraps around the eyes to hold the thread. Let the thread hang off the eyes and cut off the tag end of the brush as close to the hook shank as possible. It’s a good idea to use an old pair of scissors when cutting the wire of the brush. Next, use a bodkin to pick out the fibers of the body so they stick out naturally. Pull back on the fibers and make a couple of wraps with your thread behind the eyes and in front of the body. Whip finish and cut your thread behind the eyes.

Bone-B-Que Step 10

10.

Break the good scissors back out because it’s time to trim the body. Capt. Saddler likes to use the eyes as his guide when trimming. Press the blade of the scissors tightly against the eyes and make straight cuts across the top and bottom of the body. You can do the same for the sides however, Capt. Saddler likes to use curved scissors and follow the curve of the eyes to give the sides a little rounder profile.

Be careful not to cut any of the rabbit collar when trimming the fibers.

Bone-B-Que Step 11

11.

Using orange thread to tie in the weed guard is just something big oceanside bonefish seem to have taken a liking to. Grab your orange thread and tie it in directly in front of the eyes. If you have a rotary vise it helps to flip the fly upside down at this point.

Bone-B-Que Step 12

12.

Take a piece of Mason mono about 2 1/2″ long, fold it in half and pinch it at the bend. Place the mono over the top of the hook so that the hook is in-between each prong of the weed guard. Make 8-10 wraps over the two prongs, behind the fold in the mono. Next pull both prongs towards the eye of the hook and make 8-10 wraps behind the prongs so they stand straight up.

Bone-B-Que Step 13

13.

Finish your Bone-B-Que by whip finishing with your knots in front of the weed guard. You may notice vestigial fibers still hanging from the crustaceous brush. As long as they’re not suffocating the rabbit collar it’s ok to leave them as they’ll only add to the fly’s movement in the water.

Flood tide fishing video

Great video of fishing for redfish in the flooded grass. This style of fishing is only available August-October during the new and full moons. Flood tide fishing starts right at Matanzas Inlet and continues north to North Carolina.

 

Palm Coast Fishing report

It’s been windy but that has not stopped the fish from biting. Picking the right tide and the right spot has been the key to success as the feeding patterns have changed from spot to spot. Fishing the low tide has been fun as redfish are swimming with their backs out of the water feeding on mullet and shrimp in inches of water. Best lures are soft plastic rigged weedless as they normally have a soft water entry minimizing splash.  My favorites include gulp shrimp and Slayer inc. soft plastic paddle tails and jerkbaits. Live bait fisherman can use a live finger mullet, mud minnow or love shrimp. Rigs are as simple as a split shot and Daiichi circle hook that matches your live bait.

I have not fished for flounder but doesn’t mean they are not running as it is that time of year to go chase the doormats at the inlet. Live mullet on the bottom pegged to a jig head or fish finder rig are standard rigs for catching flounder. Bigger the bait gives you the chances for catching bigger flounder as small mud minnows will work but also will attract the smaller flounder.

20151115_124402_resized

20151118_110020_resized

20151125_115005_resized

20151115_120017_resized

20151122_150448_resized

20151115_121906_resized

20151113_102318_resized

Palm Coast Inshore Fishing Report

What a great day of fishing for Scott and John! Our plans were to fish the flood tide for redfish, looking for tails and using artificial lures. We had to wait on the tide so we killed some time in deep water where the bull reds were chewing live mullet pegged to the bottom.

After the tide started to come in quick, we left the deep water for shallow spartina grass flats that were starting to flood. We setup and waited as the water levels rose and the snails started climbing the grass blades, we finally saw our first tail. I quietly polled my Hellsbay skiff and gave Scott his first shot at a north florida redfish. This same scenario continued until dark.

20150925_144230_resized

20150925_184448_resized

20150925_134931_resized

 

Capt. Chris Herrera

www.PalmCoastFishing.com

386-503-6338

 

Palm Coast Inshore Fishing Report

What a great day of fishing with Tom and Patty Scott from Palm Coast. We had numerous hook ups and double ups to keep them busy for the entire trip. Most of the redfish were oversize and put up plenty of fight. Bait of choice was a live finger mullet and quartered crab on a 1/0 oz fish finder rig and 3/0 Daiichi circle hook.

 

20150922_105600_resized 20150922_111356_resized 20150922_110420_resized

20150922_105444_resized

Capt. Chris Herrera

386-503-6338

www.PalmCoastFishing.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Coast Inshore Fishing Report

What a great day Mark and his son Luke had with me fishing out of Palm Coast. We met at first light at Bings landing and shortly after meeting Luke, he expressed how he has been fishing four time for redfish and has not caught one yet. I assured him today we would break his non catching streak.

We started the morning off fishing the mid outgoing tide in the back of creeks looking for redfish that were on the move and feeding on the bait being flushed from the grass into the open creek. We immediately spotted some redfish movement and casted a live shrimp on a jighead that was immediately inhaled by a nice redfish.

20150905_072546

Mark was not to be out done by his son Luke and caught this nice upper slot redfish that we saw cruising into a deep hole. Mark used a quartered crab on a jig head that was inhaled in about 30 seconds when it hit bottom.

20150905_075224

As the tide dropped we left for another creek where we were able to score many more redfish and had a great time just watching the redfish put on a heck of a feeding show.

 

20150905_092417

 

Capt. Chris Herrera

www.PalmCoastFishing.com

386-503-6338