Captain Tips

Targeting Dolphin in the Keys Region with Capt. Randy Towe

The majority of dolphin fishing we do is trolling with lures or rigged ballyhoo. Weed lines are okay for dolphin, but we target the fish around birds more than anything.

We start our day by running out to a depth where we think the fish will be pushing through. That may be 400, 600, even 800 feet of water. When we get to the desired depth, we start looking for birds.

Targeting Red Snapper in the Northwest Region with Capt. Jeff Hagaman

Red snapper season opens on the Gulf Coast June 15, and runs through July 9. It’s a short window, but the fishing is fantastic. It’s pretty easy to go out to hard bottom, wrecks or reefs and catch enough red snapper for a nice dinner.

One of the best red snapper locations in my area is the pipeline that runs offshore from Tampa Bay to Louisiana. It runs from 30 feet of water on out into hundreds of feet of water, but the stretch that runs from St. Petersburg to Clearwater is in anywhere from 70- to 180-feet of water.

Targeting Tarpon in the Northwest Region with Capt. Jeff Hagaman

The tarpon arrive on my coast starting in April, and the fishing remains steady through the second week in June. In July we start fishing up in the bay, and that will be laid up fish that we typically fly fish. From there, we still have tarpon, but a lot of those are resident fish that are on the flats inside, or the smaller fish that remain in the canals all year.

Targeting Snook In The Southwest Region With Capt. Ron Hueston

Snook fishing has been tough in my region the last couple of years since the 2010 January freeze killed off a large portion of our snook population. Many of those fish were the mature, larger breeders, so we’ve had to wait for an entire new population to develop.  That all being said, the snook fishing is coming back strong a lot faster than we thought it would.

Targeting Wahoo in the Keys Region with Capt. Randy Towe

I like to use 50 or 80 pound tackle when targeting wahoo, preferably 50’s with braided line or wire line—something that is going to cut through the water. You want to get the baits below the surface, even just a few feet below the surface can make a big difference. You can use a downrigger or planer, and some guys even use wire lines, but I like a cigar weight.

Targeting Redfish in the East Central Region with Capt. Jim Ross

When we go after redfish in my region, we’re targeting specific groups of fish—either the slot-sized reds or the trophy reds. These schools aren’t in the same locations and they don’t mingle together, so you need to pick one and chase it. Slot fish in my area probably average around 23 inches, while the trophy fish average 38 to 45 inches, with fish over 50 inches common.

Targeting Cobia in the Panhandle Region with Capt. Pat Dineen

Mid-March through the first week of May is when we target cobia in this region. It’s primarily a sight fishing deal with the fish migrating along our beaches moving from east to west. We do get some fish on the deeper wrecks in the fall.
The best sight fishing cobia conditions are a southeast wind and a little bit of sunshine and a little swell which helps you spot the fish.

Targeting Sailfish with Capt. Jimbo Thomas

December through May is the main sailfish season in my region, with March, April and May the best months to target these fish, although we do catch them year-round. A lot of times in the summer we’ll load up on dolphin and come back in and put the kites out and do really well on them, so time of year doesn’t really matter.
Here in Southeastern Florida we do a lot of live baiting for sailfish. I start my day with a livewell full of baits, usually a mixture of threadfin herring, Spanish sardines and pilchards.

Hunting in the Northwest Region with Capt. Jeff Hagaman

It’s late September and time to get ready for hunting season. Fall hunting includes deer, turkey, hogs and small game, even coyotes. As for specifics, pigs are a nuisance, but they have seasons on public lands, while on private land you can hunt them all year. Deer will be starting the rut, and really be focused on feeding on acorns. The main portion of waterfowl opens in late November and that’s really popular in the middle fo the state.


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