Creek Week Central Florida Fishing Report

Creek Week Central Florida Fishing Report

I paddle fished solo three times this week, at three different creeks- the creek week central Florida fishing report.

The Indian River Lagoon Chronicles is now available as a paperback book, either from me or from amazon…

Upcoming Events-
-Fishing Seminar, Kayaks by Bo, March 17. In case you missed the first one. Please call to make a reservation (321) 474-9365
-Mosquito Lagoon On-the-Water Show and Tell Seminar, March 18. Learn the Mosquito Lagoon by boat! See this link…

My charter cancelled at the last possible minute. Within minutes the kayak was tied to the car roof and I was heading to St. Johns county, to Faver-Dykes State Park.

Last time I was there the boat ramp was mud. Now there’s a real boat ramp with a dock!

The boat was launched into Pellicer Creek and pointed east. The water was dark, not moving. It was quiet and no bites were forthcoming. An otter and several raccoons were observed, though.

I reached Pellicer Flats, where slimy filamentous green algae was found in clumps. The oysters looked healthy but I did not see a fish, or get a bite.

As I returned to the creek the water was moving, an incoming tide. After three hours of nothing, the first bite surprised me and I missed it. The second bite prompted a drop of the anchor. For an hour action was steady on the plastic shad, seatrout and a couple reds, nothing big, but all appreciated after staring down the skunk.

I’ve lived in central Florida since 1984, had at least one paddle vessel that entire time, and had never been on Turnbull Creek. That changed Wednesday.

It’s a beautiful little creek, winding through cordgrass marsh, surrounded by oak woods. The wind was blowing hard enough that just a few minutes out the road noise from US 1 was gone.

My first bite was a seatrout about six inches long. My second bite was a snook about eight inches long. My third (and final) bite was a redfish about 12 inches long. So it took four hours of paddling but I got some kind of miniature slam, again on the plastic shad.

Deciding to keep it real local, I went to the Econlockhatchee. The plastic shad did not produce a fish. The fly fooled several fish- a stumpknocker, a redbelly, three bluegills, and a six-inch largemouth bass.

I was testing out a new (for me) mouse pattern I saw in Fish Alaska magazine, which is what the bass came on. It needs some modification but I think it will be good.

Another fly I’m working on is a foam caddis fly imitation. I’m tired of my dry flies sinking. A foam fly won’t need floatant, either.

the foam caddis fly

And that is the creek week central Florida fishing report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2018. All rights are reserved.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality

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The fly in question? A black redfish worm.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality

Mosquito Lagoon was long justly famous for its clear water and abundant fish- redfish, seatrout, black drum, and several other species. Anglers used a variety of techniques to catch these fish, but for kayaking fly fishers the main draw was the ability to sight fish the critters, even while sitting in a kayak.

The landscape began to change in 2011.

During the summer of 2011 an algae bloom appeared. It quickly spread. Soon the water in the lagoon became a sickening brown color. If you put your hand in the water, it disappeared. Unless a fish stuck a body part out of the water, you had no idea it was there.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

You can see the shallow water is not crystal clear. Again, the fly is black.

Winter came, and the bloom cleared.

It came back during the summer of 2012, and cleared again when winter came.

It came back during the summer of 2013, and cleared again when winter came.

It came back during the summer of 2014. Winter came. The water did not clear. It has been disgustingly dirty ever since. Friends of mine have said, “I can’t wait for the water to clear.” Well, yeah, but I think they’re being optimistic. None of the conditions that led to these blooms has been changed (and it’s a complex set of circumstances), so why should the water clear?

Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, but I think brown, dirty water is the new norm here. Adapt or get skunked.

The dirty water has had a cascade effect. Light cannot penetrate the water, so a lot of the seagrass has died. Seagrasses fed the entire ecosystem, so my fear is that the productivity of the system, its ability to produce finfish, has been seriously compromised. There ain’t as many fish, because there ain’t as much fish food.

If you kayak fish with a fly rod, there are fewer fish to find, and it’s gotten much harder to find them. What to do? What to do???

You could, of course, take your game elsewhere. Undoubtedly some fishermen have. Those of us who live here are loathe to take such a drastic step. No, we adapt. This piece examines how to do so.

In a nutshell, what the entrepid paddling hackle heaver needs to do is concentrate his (or her) effort at shallow spots that have lots of light-colored bottom. If you can wade there that’s a huge plus. Places that fit this description include Tiger Shoal, Georges Bar, and many of the spoil islands. There are many other places, and some time spent studying Google Maps will pay dividends when you’re out paddling.

If the water is low (0.5′ or less on this gauge that’s a really huge plus. The deeper the water is, the tougher seeing the fish will be. The converse is true, too. Low water is one of your biggest allies.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

What you look for has not changed.

What you’re looking for hasn’t changed. Tails, wakes, busts, laid-up or finning fish, concentrations of birds or bait, all can lead to a pay-off. My preference is to find an area that has fish, then abandon ship and do my hunting on foot. Your conversion rate will be higher by doing this.

If there’s any silver lining to the dirty water situation, it’s that the fish can’t see you either. On a recent trip I got three reds. My longest cast was about 20 feet.

For reds and drum you still want flies that sink. My favorite color is basic black. It seems to be visible in the murk.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

Black flies work well…

Your casts will have to be more aggressive. Any fly not in the immediate vicinity of the fish’s head will just not be seen, much less taken. Don’t be afraid to lay it on them!

Seatrout, frequently tough to sight fish even when the water was clean, seem much less abundant now. I have yet to figure them out. When that happens I will write another article.

While this piece is about the Mosquito Lagoon, the Indian River and Banana River Lagoons have the same problems. Indeed, the problems may be worse in those lagoons. Last winter the Banana River Lagoon had an enormous fish kill between SR 528 and the Pineda Causeway.

In the Mosquito Lagoon that hasn’t happened, and in the Mosquito Lagoon there are at least some seagrass beds that remain. All that having been said, there are still fish in both those lagoons, and they can certainly be caught on fly tackle. Again, look for shallow areas with light colored bottoms so you have a chance to see any fish that may be present.

Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon redfish

…but other colors will work too.

So while we can hope that the good old days of plentiful fish and clean water aren’t gone, hoping does not put fish on the end of the line. Get paddling, look for fish in those shallow spots, and some good things will happen. That’s Kayak Fly Fishing Mosquito Lagoon Redfish- A New Reality.

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.

Leader Strength Saltwater Fly Fishing

Leader Strength Saltwater Fly Fishing

leader strength saltwater fly fishing


This article discusses leader strength saltwater fly fishing.

Into my inbox the other day came the following email-

“What is your choice of LB (sic) test for your fly leader? Why have you selected that wt (sic)?”

My response was, “In saltwater I carry 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, and 60 pound fluorocarbon. I use all of them. You need a better question.”

Thinking about this, he did need a better question, but it’s an unsatisfying answer nonetheless. Let’s look at Leader Strength for Saltwater Fly Fishing.

As mentioned on my website, I use two piece big game leaders. On #6 and #7 weight rods my butt section is 30 pound nylon. That does not change. The tippets do. Since it’s winter as I write this, we’ll start there.

Keep in mind that any tippet you choose has to be a compromise between getting bites (thinner is better) and preventing breakoffs (thicker is better). Also keep in mind that what works for me may not work so well for you. Another thing to keep in mind is that windknot you just got cut the line strength 50 percent. Finally, not all fluorocarbon is created equal. My preference is Seaguar blue.

Historically, water in the local lagoons during winter was low and clear. Unless I was targeting big fish (over 20 pounds), the tippet would be a length of 12 pound fluorocarbon. There have been times when I couldn’t get a bite and thought I should lighten the tippet, but man I hate breakoffs.

If I were targeting big fish, black drum or redfish, I would up the tippet to 15 pound fluorocarbon. Again, I don’t want breakoffs.

If I travelled to where there were oysters or barnacles I would use 20 pound fluorocarbon.

To read the rest of this article on leader strength saltwater fly fishing, visit this link…


John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.



Florida Saltwater Flies- Packing for a Trip to Florida

Florida Saltwater Flies- Packing for a Trip to Florida

Here in central Florida we find many species of fish- redfish, snook, seatrout, tarpon, snapper, moonfish, jacks, it’s a long list. Since you’re traveling, you don’t have room to bring a ton of tackle. I hope the list below reflects an exercise in minimalism for Florida saltwater flies.

The fish you’ll be encountering eat three things for the most part- smaller fish, shrimp, and crabs. The flies carried should reflect this. Additionally, some attractor-style flies like spoonflies and poppers should be carried, too.

Try to fit all the terminal tackle into a single Simms Dry Creek Waist Pack . In the pocket of the pack put the following items:

– a couple of finger guards

– a Dr. Slick hook file 

– a stick of sunscreen for the lips.

Inside the pack put the following:

-fluorocarbon leader wheels in 12, 15, 20, and 30 pound test

– a package of Knot 2 Kinky leader wire . You never know when this might be needed

– a dehooker

– a Gerber Multitool  or equivalent

– a small bag with a half dozen small white shrimp flies for nighttime dock fishing. If you get a chance you will be ready.

– a one quart ziplock back containg a couple dozen synthetic minnow fly patterns, similar to Puglisi style flies, in sizes from #4 to #2/0, many with weedguards, some tied as bendbacks.

redfish flies



– a small Plano box jammed with flies, including-

*3 Dupre spoonflies

Jim Dupre's Spoonfly.

* a half dozen Merkin crabs, size #4, with weedguards

A gaggle of Merkins.

*several Clouser Minnows in various colors and sizes (#4-1), with weedguards

packing for a florida canoe trip

*several black bunny leeches, #2, with weedguards

The bunny leech or bunny booger, a deadly fly.

*several of each Son of Clouser and Mosquito Lagoon Specials, size #4

the Mosquito Lagoon Special

* several Borski-style Sliders, size #4, in various colors and weights, with weedguards

port canaveral and mosquito lagoon fishing report

* a few Trout Bites (a hot pink and chartreuse bucktail bendback), size #4

The Trout Bite on top, and a synthetic minnow below.

* a few Rattle Rousers, size #4

Rattle Rousers, weighted and not.

* a selection of poppers and gurglers

My version of Gartside's Gurgler.

With this kit, you could fish anywhere north of Key Largo and would be prepared for most of what you would encounter.

So we have discussed Florida Saltwater Flies- Packing for a Trip to Florida. In your Florida fishing fantasy, what different stuff would you bring?

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2013. All rights are reserved.

How to Tie a Gurgler

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The killer fly, a gurgler.

How to Tie a Gurgler

Gurglers, to the best of my knowledge, were invented by the late Jack Gartside. They are awesome, easy to tie flies that work of a wide variety of fish. Since I make them differently than Jack did, here are my instructions on how to tie a Gurgler.

First, you need to gather your materials. Use whatever color(s) you like.

how to tie a gurgler

Simple materials needed to make a Gurgler. Feel free to modify my list to suit your own needs.

-sheet of craft foam (available at any craft store)
-material for tail (in this case marabou, but it’s the tyer’s choice)
-tying thread (Danville flat waxed nylon for me) in Dr. Slick bobbin
-Estaz or similar product for body
-rubber hackle, sililegs, or what-have-you for legs if desired (for spider patterns or bass bugs)
-hook. For most of my saltwater flies I use a Mustad 34001 #2. For salmon I use a Mustad 36890, also #2. For freshwater applications it depends what the target specie is; i.e., for bass a stinger hook, #4 or #2, for sunfish an Aberdeen, #6 or 8, for trout and dollies a long-shanked, bronzed hook, #6 or 8, etc.

1. After placing the hook in the vise (I use a Regal), start the thread and wrap it back to the bend of the hook.

2. Using your Dr. Slick scissors, cut a strip of foam from the sheet of craft foam. Use the scissors to taper one end to a near-point.

how to tie a gurgler

Cut the strip of foam for the fly body. Wider ones float better but tend to rotate more. Taper one end to a near point.


To read the rest of these instruction, click here now…


John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.

Mystery Tackle Box a Winner

Mystery Tackle Box a Winner

An email came in that wasn’t spam! It asked me if I wanted a Mystery Tackle Box. Yes I did. The MTB came in three flavors- bass, panfish, and saltwater. Which did I want?
I wanted all three of course but I chose saltwater, then forgot about it. A few days later, though, a Mystery Tackle Box came in the mail.

Frankly I expected junk from a Chinese knock-off factory. Much to my surprise and delight everything in the box was something I could use, to whit:

-a package of Big Bite soft plastic saltwater baits, shrimp imitations;
-a package of Pintail soft plastic baits, jerk baits;
-a package of Mustad Power Lock Plus size 3/0, 1/8th ounce hooks;
-a Strike Pro surface plug, walk-the-dog type;
-a Hyper Striper jig, something like a Road Runner;
-a package of Knot 2 Kinky nickel-titanium leader wire.

Heck Yeah!

So, now it was time to see what Mystery Tackle Box really was. A visit to their website ( ensued. This is what I found:
Mystery Tackle Box is a monthly subscription service that introduces both beginner and expert anglers to new fishing lures and tackle. In addition to receiving fishing lures, you will also receive a “About Your Box” card that will explain a little more about each bait you received in your box as well as a unique link to our website to watch videos, read product reviews, learn different rigging options and much more information about each of the products in your box.

“Each month you will get a variety of quality fishing products from both large and small manufacturers. We do our best to send a variety of brands and products types in each box to ensure that you have the best chance of discovering and trying new products. We have product specialists who are experienced tournament fisherman reviewing each bait that we put in the box to make sure it is good quality.  Every box will have at least $20 worth of products and most boxes have $23-$27 worth of retail value.”

You can subscribe for yourself or as a gift subscription for someone else. The testimonials page on the website is full of glowing letters from folks who were happy with their boxes.

Check them out at and see if a Mystery Tackle Box subscription will work for you.


John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.

How to Tie the Electric Sushi Fly

How to Tie the Electric Sushi Fly

One year I visited the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, New Jersey. There, Massachusetts fly tier Mike Martinek showed me how to tie the Electric Sushi fly. It’s a great seatrout pattern in any size, but I use it for a variety of fish species in both fresh- and saltwater. My favorite color combinations include chartreuse-and-white and chartreuse-and-pink. A double-prong, hard monofilament weed guard is helpful for fishing areas with obstructions. The Electric Sushi sinks fairly slowly. The chartreuse color is very bright, so it’s very easy to keep track of the fly’s position while you fish it.

Hook: Gamakatsu SC-15 or equivalent, sizes 4 to 3/0.
Thread: White Danville flat waxed nylon.
Belly: white Awesome Hair. If you can’t find Awesome Hair, I think Hedron’s Wing n Flash and Ice Wing Fiber are almost identical products. The world of synthetic fly tying materials can be confusing.
Back: pink Awesome Hair. Of course the colors are up to the tyer.
Markings (not shown): Black permanent marker.
Eyes: 3-D molded eyes.
Gills: Red permanent marker.

1. Place the hook in the vise and wrap the thread to the bend of the hook. This is what the material looks like as it comes from the bag.


2. Pull enough material out of the bag to make a small ball of it.


3. Tie that small ball in at the bend of the hook, right across its middle. Pull the material back and wrap it in front with three or four wraps. The truly erudite tier will hit those wraps with a bit of cement.



4. Make another little ball of material and tie it in under the hook shank, above the point of the hook. Again, wrap it first in the middle, and then in front.



5. If you’re going to use a second color, tie it in now. All remaining clumps of material will be tied on top of the hook shank, one in front of the previous one, with the same technique that we’ve already used. Be sure to leave enough room to finish the head and tie in a weed guard, if desired.


6. In this photo the tying is finished, the weed guard tied in and the head whip finished. The fly does not yet resemble the finished product.


7. Use a bodkin to begin “pulling out” the fibers, always working from front to back.





Material will break free. Keep it for the next fly. Don’t throw it away!



Work the entire fly over, top, bottom, and sides. Get all the snarls out. Use your fingers, perhaps licking them to moisten occasionally, to shape the fly.


8. Once the fly’s shape is to your liking, use Zap Goo to glue the eyes on. Use a red Sharpie to add the gill spot. If vermiculations are desired (not shown), use a Sharpie to add them. Don’t forget to cement the head!


This Electric Sushi is ready to catch fish. And now you know how to tie the Electric Sushi fly!

John Kumiski


All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.

Brief History of the Johnson Minnow

Brief History of the Johnson Minnow

johnson minnow red

Reader Chuck at BellSouth sent me a question about my three favorite lures for blind casting in the lagoons. My response was:

-the Chug Bug
-the Johnson Minnow
-the DOA Deadly Combo

Chuck replied with the following:

“Thanks for tips!

“Would have never guessed the old Johnson Minnow spoon would make the list. But after doing some research on this lure, I now understand why it works well in Mosquito Lagoon.

“You might be interested in the history of the Johnson Silver Minnow and why it’s unique design makes it so successful.”

Silver Minnow is still shining after 73 years

The Johnson Silver Minnow, one of the most enduring and successful fishing lures of all time, was invented in 1920 by Louis Johnson, a retired Chicago foundry operator. The lake where Louis and his son fished was full of fish, but it was also weedy. So, with the practical style of many creative Midwesterners, he set out to develop a fishing lure that would not catch weeds but still catch fish.

The result was the first spoon lure with a weed guard, stiff enough to keep weeds away from the hook, but flexible enough for bass and pike to get hooked. In fact, his experimental spoon lures were made from silver table spoons with the handles cut off and a Scents hook and weed guard soldered to the concave underside. History does not record whether these first spoons were silver plate or genuine sterling, but the idea of having a fishing lure made of silver caught his imagination. Seventy-three years later, the Johnson Silver Minnow is still plated with real silver.

Like other spoon lures of the day, the Johnson Silver Minnow was designed to imitate the flashing movement of a minnow. Other manufacturers had long incorporated flashing spinners into the design of their lures, but Louis Johnson’s new lure was the first to integrate a guarded hook onto the spoon, and the first to use real silver for a whiter, brighter flash than chrome of polished steel.

Johnson didn’t work with his “table spoon” very long before the learned something else about designing the perfect weedless lure: hooks that faced up were less weedy than hooks that faced down or spun around from the lure’s action. Even a guarded hook would catch weeds occasionally if it was retrieved with the hook facing down. Johnson reasoned that if he could figure out a way to ensure that the hook would always face up, the lure would be almost completely weedless.

Putting his years of foundry experience to work, Johnson decided to forge a spoon of a special copper/zinc alloy that was thicker in the middle than on the edges. With its weight concentrated along its centerline, this created a spoon that would rock back and forth as it was retrieved, but always keep the convex face down and the hook facing up. Other spoons of the day were simply stamped out of brass or steel. They often just spun through the water as they were retrieved. In fact, much of the Silver Minnow’s weedlessness can be attributed to the way in which the downward-riding spoon itself acts as a weed guard — and simply rides over weeds much like a water skier rides of the waves.

By getting the lure to keep its convex spoon side down and it hook up, Johnson also unwittingly made the lure visually effective under water. When retrieved, Johnson’s Silver Minnow rocks back and forth through a 270 degree angle, flashing reflections downs and to both sides, but not up. Since fish almost always attacked a lure from below or the side, there was no need for it to be visible from above. That meant that the lure could produce more flashes in the right directions per retrieve than stamped metal spoon lures.

Yet another benefit of the rocking spoon-down motion was that anglers no longer had to worry about line twist or special swivels. Spinning spoon lures used without swivels twist fishing line, and contribute to backlashes and tangles. To this day, Johnson Silver Minnows are manufactured with a simple soldered wire eye. Line can be tied directly to the lure without fear of line twist. The one exception would be when using the versatile Silver Minnow for” pike or muskellunge. Since even medium-sized pike will often inhale the entire lure, it is wise to use the lure with a short steel leader.

The Silver Minnow’s rocking motion also helps control the sinking rate when cast. Whereas many spoons simply dive to the bottom tail first, the Silver Minnow gently drops horizontally, rocking in its characteristic motion. This gives an angler ample time to take up the slack after cast and begin the retrieve before the lure has had a chance to bury itself in weedy cover, or behind a log. This feature also makes the lure effective the second it touches the water. Many strikes on the Silver Minnow come as the just-cast lure is rocking gently toward the bottom.

Trailers and the Silver Minnow.

The Johnson Silver Minnow is a deadly lure when fished plain, but when it is combined with a trailer, it is especially effective in triggering strikes. In addition, the Silver Minnow’s unique rocking motion is not affective by a trailer like many other spoons are.

For traditionalists, a pork rind trailer of red/white or yellow/white is one of the best combinations. Adding a red 3-inch waving tail imitates the red gill rakers that would show on a wounded or distressed bait fish. This works like a visual “dinner bell” to a predatory fish, who would rather attack a slower, “wounded” fish than try to catch a fast, healthy one.

But red is not always the color of choice. Often some experimentation is needed to find out what color of trailer will be working on that day, in that lake, on that particular species of fish in that particular kind of cover. Newer plastic trailers are more convenient than the traditional pork rind, and can be carried in a great variety of colors with less weight and bulk. Soft plastic Silver Minnow Trailers in a variety of colors, are now marketed by Johnson Fishing for use with all Silver Minnows.

The Silver Minnow Today
The Johnson Silver Minnow is still manufactured in the same way it was in 1920 — by hand — and still plated with real silver for the brightest possible underwater “flash.” Originally manufactured in Chicago by the Louis Johnson Company, the lure was purchased by Johnson Fishing Inc. of Mankato, MN in 1974. In 1976, manufacturing facilities were moved to Johnson Fishing’s Bass Buster Lure division in Amsterdam, MO. The Silver Minnow continues to be one of the best selling lures of all time.

Gettysburg Times, August 11, 1993


And that is a brief history of the Johnson Minnow. The Johnson Minnow has been in continuous production longer than any other fishing lure in history. There just might be a good reason for that.

Thanks for the great response, Chuck- I was able to turn it into a blog!

John Kumiski

Shark Fishing for Dummies

Shark Fishing for Dummies: or the secrets of easy fishing

A Guest Blog by Capt. Craig Eubank

shark fishing

Part One

Just the title of “Shark Fishing” conjures great expectations of money-shot photos of big toothy creatures laid out on the back deck of macho fishing vessels or on the concrete docks of any-coast USA covered in blood and license plates. Obviously, we have seen way too many movies and made for TV dramas. It has become a part of our urban folklore. Most of us can quote the key lines from the movie “Jaws” and have seen “Shark Week” every year for, well as long as we can remember. Between choosing to watch “Air Jaws” or “Swamp People” it has become a tossup.

Sadly, it really is that easy. Not that I am saying that you can visit your local tackle shop, hit the fuel dock with your 21 foot Aqua Squirt, and head out with high expectation of catching a Great or even Medium White Shark; that scenario isn’t exactly realistic. But, for most of us that live on a coast with saltwater, shark fishing is pretty easy.

Now, I am speaking from fishing experience here in the fabulous Florida Keys. That’s all I have done for a living over the last three decades. I am not trying to over simplify things, but if you follow the few steps outlined here, you will find success and maybe establish yourself as a “Shark Guide” among your friends in short order.

First, you don’t need to run great distances and fish deep water. No need to tempt fate, dance with danger, or burn a lot of $6-a-gallon fuel! Start off staying closer to shore. Pick an area where the tide runs into a closed body of water. A channel or “choked off” area of water where at high tide bait, shrimp, fish will congregate until the next falling tide. Sharks are opportunists and can be lured into shallows as well as deep water. They feed constantly and have no fear. They don’t anticipate geographical constrictions or “choke points.”

Bring plenty of bait. Whether it’s blocks of commercial chum, homemade ground up fish by product (guts!) whole baitfish, or fish oil, if it smells, it’s what you want. The one thing movies portray that is accurate, is the need for smelly bait to attract predators. As far as technique, don’t over think it. Typical bottom fishing rigs will work well. Remember, sharks are generally opportunists. It could be dead bait lying on the bottom like a bottom feeder might pick up, or live bait floundering on the surface that attracts them. Sharks take advantage of the weak and easy. They are eating machines with no fear. Take advantage of this trait!

Once anchored, start spreading the news. In other words, put some stink in the water. Ladle in some fish goo, hang a chum block or three, cut up a bloody carcass (here in the Florida Keys we use Barracuda or Bonita) and hang it over the side. This is where you want to have a roll of green line or fairly heavy string in order to hang various baits. You just want the scent; you don’t want to feed them anything without a hook in it. Bluefish, cod, snapper, menhaden oil, even oats and vegetable oil will work. You just want to give them a taste of something, not actually feed them. It is the same as walking into a pizza shop and smelling the garlic. Your mouth waters, but they don’t actually give you something to satisfy your hunger until you pay J

Next, patience. It takes time to attract the right predator. Remember all the time you have put into the plan and implementation now is not the time to rush things. Let the stink do its work. Too many anglers and guides and so excited that the first thing they do is put a bait with a hook in it out in the slick before there has been ample time to build up an interest. Sort of like buying drinks for a lady and waiting all of 5 minutes before making a proposition. Not good form. Relax. Get a drink, tell a story, and tune in the radio. WAIT. They aren’t going away. Did you leave the pizza parlor without your order?

As your chum does its job, plan how you are going to cover the water column. You will need at least two lines, one on the bottom and one on the top. If the water is particularly deep, you may need up to 5 lines at various depths. Certain sharks feed at certain depths. There is quite a bit of overlap, but you want to maximize your spread. Bottom baits are easy using lead weights to hold them down. An old guide’s trick is to use your downrigger, put the bait back a hundred feet, wind it up in the clip and put it down just as you would off-shore. Right on the bottom. It will break away when struck and you won’t have the lead weight to deal with while fighting the fish.

Surface baits can be supported by balloons, bobbers, chunks of Styrofoam, or one of my favorites; a fishing kite! Yep, just like you would use off-shore for Sailfish. In a current, the kite will keep the bait, dead or alive, right on the surface and you will have the control to wind it up or let it out without messing with the kite. Try it, you will be tickled.

Mid-water baits require more attention. They are just free-floating and will need to be monitored, let out steadily or wound in and re-started on a regular basis. Without good action, you will tire of these baits and usually they just sit at a pre-determined interval and hope for the best. Not a waste of time since we never know what a shark will want from day to day.

So, you have you chum working for you, your lines are in place covering the entire water column, and all there is to do now is wait. Unfortunately, that is the one virtue of shark fishing that is the hardest to teach. Patience. There is always the feeling that you could be doing more. And having an enthusiastic angler will only increase this feeling. But, at some point you need to decide that you are doing enough but not too much. And then entertaining the client is your priority. Of course most anglers can be distracted by doing a bit of bottom fishing for other species. Smaller fish. Get out a spinner, put on some cut bait and entertain the angler with some basic bottom fishing. This is not only distracting until you get the big strike but you are also catching bait that can be used for shark fishing. Keep your live well running if you have one. If you catch a small bait size fish, put him in the well and use him for the kite bait or butterfly him and put him on a down line.

shark fishing

Relax and realize that if you wait long enough, tend your lines, you will more than likely get a shot at what you came for. There are still a lot of sharks out there, they aren’t smart, and you only need one to move you from zero to hero. Have confidence.   There are no guarantees, but the odds are definitely in your favor.

Next time we will discuss what you should do when you finally get that shark on your line!

This is part one in a series on shark fishing by Captain Craig Eubank, Owner/Operator of the charterboat “Absolut” in Key West, Florida

  • Aug., Sept. prime months for shark attacks in FL

See How Easily You Can Lighten Up For Black Bass

Lighten Up For Black Bass

A short time researching “fly rods for black bass” on the internet will find recommendations for bass rods between six-weight and eight-weight. And for beginners these are good recommendations. However, if you’ve been fly fishing a while, if you’re a good caster, and if you understand how to use your rod to fight bigger fish efficiently, you can use smaller, lighter rods than this quite effectively in many situations. Let us discuss the places little rods are appropriate.

I live in central Florida, and fish rivers and shallow areas on lakes with the fly. These places are made-to-order for a little rod. My own favorite is an eight foot three-weight equipped with a weight-forward number four floating line. With this outfit unweighted streamers, small poppers, and gurglers up to size 2 are tossed at likely targets when the wind is less than about 12 knots. When the wind comes up, or if I want to throw a larger or a weighted fly, then I go up to a nine foot five-weight. Either way, the leader is nine or ten feet long, tapered to a 10 pound nylon tippet.

Lighten Up for Black bass

Flies like these can be thrown with a small rod.

Why should you Lighten Up For Black Bass? Several reasons present themselves.
– It forces you to become a better caster. At first casting your typical bass fly* with the little rod will be difficult. If you stick with it will get easier because you will get better.
– You will present your flies with less commotion. The words “delicacy” and “black bass” don’t often appear in the same sentence, but bass can be spooked just like any other fish. A five-weight line makes considerably less splash than an eight-weight line does.
– You can fish longer. That little rod causes less fatigue than a bigger one.
– Those little bass became more fun. A ten- or twelve-inch bass on an eight-weight isn’t very challenging. Put him on a four-weight though, and Boom!- he’s a real fish.
– Those bigger bass are suddenly angling trophies. The five-pounder on the eight-weight was a nice fish. On the four-weight though, you have some serious bragging rights.

orlando area fishing report

If you fish in thick weeds or timber you will lose a few fish. I submit you will catch more overall though, because you will spook fewer. You will enjoy the ones you catch a lot more, too.

Try to lighten up for black bass. If you don’t take to it you can always go back to using your more conventional fly gear.

*You may want to down-size your typical bass fly by a hook size or two.

John Kumiski