Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Runnin' of the Red's

Each year between November and December, the Red Drum, otherwise known as the Red Fish begins their journey up into the bays and bayous of Northern Florida to partake in their annual spawning rituals.  Red Fish are a dark red color on the back which fades into a white belly, with a characteristic eyespot near or on the tail.  A three-year old Red Fish typically weighs between 6 and 8 pounds.  Once a Red Fish reaches 27 inches in length, they become known as "Bull Reds"; its these that are the legendary catches.
Red Fish, have a slot limit, which means that any fish caught under 18 inches or over 27 MUST be released, so sadly if you happen to be lucky enough to land a Bull Red you cannot keep your catch.
In the Florida Panhandle the Bull Reds can easily exceed 30 pounds in schools of 30 or more members.  This area is one of the few places in the world, that this breath taking spectacle takes place.
When hungry, a Bull Red will eat just about anything, even an old smelly gym sock.
When targeting larger Bulls, I prefer to use 20 to 30 pound class set up, with a 4000 Penn Battle reel, I prefer this as it ensures a safe release of the fish as the fight does not tire the fish too much.    I have also noticed that after years of fishing the Running of the Reds, one of the easiest ways to ensure   landing a monster fish is to troll several lines though areas of vegetation and the swampy bayous.  As weird as it may seem to troll for Red Fish, it is the only way I've ever landed a Bull Red.

A 35in Bull Red caught in Pensacola, FL 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Florida Fishin'

Florida is a state known for its pristine beaches, sunny weather, and legendary fishing.  
Most people come to Florida during the summer months, to enjoy the beautiful beaches and try their luck on the catch of the lifetime.  Occasionally, one of those random tourist get lucky and manage some sort of miracle catch, but more often than not, they end up empty handed. 
That is usually because, tourist and even people that call Florida home often lack knowledge of actual productive fishing spots, that only the old timers and a few of their followers know.  Also, most people attempt to fish for the wrong thing in the wrong spot.  
Ive seen it more times than I would like to admit, poor tourist trying to catch a monster bull Mahi-Mahi while drifting the reefs of Miami.  It is literally impossible to catch a Mahi off a Florida reef no matter what time of year it is. Another common mistake, is attempting to catch billfish, like Marlin or Swordfish in shore; the only billfish you could hope to catch off a reef would be a Sailfish, and every day a Florida Sailfish sighting becomes more and more far fetched.  
My hope for this blog is to help at least one family, not waste an entire day out in the hot Florida sun, hopelessly fishing for a catch that just won't happen.  Every week I will have updates of what fish are running hot right now around Florida, and stories of legendary Florida Catches.