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Upper Tampa Bay, Neil Taylor


What’s happenin’ in the upper stretches of Tampa Bay?
Here it is: The onslaught of Fall. Things are going berserk. Pompano, mackerel, drum, ladyfish, jacks and cobia at the bridges. Redfish on the flats. Trout: Just a little early, you can still expect to catch one or two quality speckled drum out there.
When and where? Not as critical to be out before sunrise anymore, the bite is getting way better into the center hours of the day. Action? Follow hoving birds and explosions for easy action. Go shallow for redfish, make long casts and cruise that lure more aggressively. You will see results when you get it right. The long hot summer coming to an end, it’s time to look to upper Tampa Bay again.
How? Take your pick. I use lures. The 12 Fathom Mullet is king. Trips this past week yielded about three dozen redfish on the mullet in this part of the Bay (over 70 fish total, on lures, mostly the mullet but also the Buzz Tail Shad). If using lures: Do you have the right rod? No time like the present for making changes.
Why? If you don’t like fishing: Why do you live here? Well, I guess: You can enjoy the beauty without fishing. Read that again, “You can enjoy the beauty without fishing.” You, not me. I’m going fishing.

As always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor Owner and guide:  www.strikethreekayakfishing.com

(Cell) 727-692-6345


Owner and site administrator:  www.capmel.com

Lower Tampa Bay, Neil Taylor


I have been asked to not stop sending this particular message: Catch a legal snook: Let it go. Let’s rebuild this trophy fishery. We have plenty of other options for take-home fish, why shoot yourself in the foot and limit your own future? It has been a hard month. People killing snook to make art? Not good. Just not good. Every fish let go that escapes to adult size is going to become a large female breeder. Every fish kept kills our future.
Flounder just never got going this year. South shore is usually the best. It just never happened. If they’re there, I haven’t experienced it.
Redfish are decent but not great. Lots of upper slot fish, some juveniles and still a number of way overslot fish around to be caught.
Speckled trout: Better but still not what we “know is coming.” It is going to be speck-tacular. One or two more cold fronts and it will be on track to one of the best Florida trout winters we have ever had. Pity, we couldn’t pick on and bash trout and protect the snook instead…. They repopulate constantly. Last year’s 13 inchers? Wow, what a great stretch we have ahead.
Pompano, mangrove snapper and both Spanish and king mackerel are pretty solid targets. It’s October: That’s what we have. And enjoy it. Throw in jacks, ladyfish and bluefish and you have a real party! Pompano have remained the best story of 2017. I have never seen pompano action this good before .

We caught two cobia down here. It is that time of year.

Want to know what’s going on off the Skyway piers? To get detailed reports, check The Skyway Report on capmel.com. Written by Paul Bristow every week, he keeps you on the heartbeat of the Skyway bite. Get out and enjoy the easy action on the Skyway Piers!

The lower Bay just continues to be great opportunities. Again, in a battle that is never really over: The great work of FWC officers to target felony netters and keep an eye on other recreational offenders has led to better fishing for us all. Their continued efforts to catch felony netters are making the south shore region return as a great fishery again. But help them out: Keep your eyes peeled for illegal activity and make a call if you see poaching, 888-404-FWCC (3922). Your tips will help make cases and you could be eligible for a reward.
As always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor Owner and guide:  www.strikethreekayakfishing.com

(Cell) 727-692-6345


Owner and site administrator:  www.capmel.com

The Kayak Report


Wanna go fishin’? No time like the present. Literally, things are in Full Fall Mode. The water’s just right. Air temperatures are just right. Fish availability is fanastic. It is a great time to go.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for”.

The endless heat of summer is letting up just a little. The afternoon thunderstorms have disappeared, the sun is less intense and traveling a lower path through the sky. The water and air temperatures are reaching an equilibrium. Winds are light. Baitfish schools are everywhere: And everyone wants to get out on the water!

Waving goodbye to the “dog days” of summer, October has started out with great results with a lot more of the month left to go! On this coast of Florida and around the Tampa Bay area, October is notorious for great redfish schools and heightened action. The actual action has matched the expectations. For five straight hours one day last week, it was “on”. Right into the midday hours, every spot we stopped produced redfish. Other days had more moderate action but the real excitement is in what was seen more than what was caught. On the low and rising tides, redfish and sheepshead were both feeding in the areas that started to fill in with water. Sixty, seventy, maybe up to eighty tails waving on the surface as these fish went nose-down-in-the-mud for a crab or shrimp.

We are blessed with great redfish stocks and things are going to be strong not only all fall but through the winter as well. Speckled trout will reach peak as soon as we start getting real cold fronts.

The flounder will be here all winter and will be mentioned (with photos) in future reports!

This is the reward for battling through all the hot summer months right here. Happy fishing to you!


Pompano action: Still very good and likely will remain that way for at least a few weeks. We have been routinely catching 25 per trip, which is good output. Trout: Wait, just wait. It’s OK but we are just weeks away from absolutely stunning action. Drum and cobia: Possible. Cobia, less likely, drum are still sucking on bridge barnacles (if that gives you any hint)
Kayak Fishing Skool is Thursday October 26 at the 8th Avenue Pub in Safety Harbor.

Call to book a trip if you want to get in on the fun.
As always: Be careful out there!
Neil Taylor Owner and guide:  www.strikethreekayakfishing.com (Cell) 727-692-6345  LivelyBaits@aol.com Owner and site administrator:  www.capmel.com

Poachers are common thieves. See a poacher, report a poacher!

If you suspect a wildlife or boating law violation, report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Reward Program: 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Cell phone users can reach us at *FWC or #FWC, depending on your service provider.
Most cell phones allow users to send text messages directly to an email address. You can text Tip@MyFWC.com; standard usage fees may apply.

Supply as much detailed information such as the location of the offender, the boat description, number of people on board, clothing, vehicle information and give the dispatcher your phone number. Do this discreetly. You do not want to have direct contact with these people.

John Kumiski, Mosquito Lagoon


Tough Week Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report

Thank you for reading this tough week Mosquito Lagoon fishing report.

Show and Tell Seminar October 21

Hurricane Irma badly damaged many of the dike roads in Merritt Island NWR. The standard show and tell seminar can’t be held. We’re offering the On-the-Water Show and Tell Seminar on October 21. For more information or to register, visit this link: http://www.spottedtail.com/mosquito-lagoon-on-the-water-show-and-tell-fishing-seminar/

Save the Menhaden! Right NOW! PLEASE!!!

Menhaden (pogies, bunker, and many other local names) convert plant matter into animal matter by filtering the water (cleaning that water in the process). They are a vitally important baitfish for a large number of fish that anglers like to catch.

I attended the menhaden hearing in Melbourne on October 10. It was surprisingly well attended. Almost everyone there wanted a very conservative approach to menhaden harvesting. Leave the fish in the water!

The deadline for written comments was extended to October 24, 5pm EST.  I have written a letter to Florida’s ASMFC commissioners and to Megan Ware, the Fisheries Management Plan coordinator, expressing my thoughts about how this resource should be managed. I posted it here- http://www.spottedtail.com/blog/menhaden-letter/. Please feel free to copy and send it yourself, or use it as a jump-off point for composing your own letter.

Omega Protein harvests over 100 million pounds of menhaden a year for the reduction fishery. They had 150-200 allies at the hearing in Virginia, have lots of political power, and could easily take the day when it the ASMFC comes to final action November 13-14.

If you don’t write today, don’t complain tomorrow.

Please write and send a letter right now! This is important! Protect your fishing future!


FISHING! (finally)

Monday was adventure Monday for Tammy and I. The original plan was to fish the ditches along Biolab Road. Couldn’t happen- the road is closed. So she took me to a drainage ditch through a neighborhood, somewhere on Merritt Island.

Almost immediately I caught a ciclid on a small pink Clouser minnow. I did not know they had gotten this far north.

mosquito lagoon fishing report

Cichlids on Merritt Island.

We launched kayaks and floated down the ditch. Baby tarpon rolled. I cast a tiny gurgler, got a couple bites, and stuck one.

mosquito lagoon fishing report

Tiny gurgler, tiny tarpon.

We ended up getting six tarpon between us and were finished at noon. Quite a lovely morning, and always a good time with Tammy.

mosquito lagoon fishing report

Tammy’s tiny tarpon.

Wednesday morning found Scott Radloff and I launching the Mitzi at Haulover. The water in Mosquito Lagoon, like everywhere else in central Florida, is high and in most places dirty. We found some clean water though, and actually saw a few fish. I cast a DOA CAL shad at one and was rewarded with the only bite we got, resulting in a 20 inch redfish. That fish was the only thing that stood between us and the dreaded skunk.

Thank you, little redfish.

Friday morning we met Bob and Andrew Dowgialo, a father-son team, at River Breeze. In addition to the 15-20 mph breeze, clouds dropped rain on us now and again. A long, tough day resulted in exactly one butt-hooked pinfish. Ouch.

Saturday morning we tried again. The rain was gone. The wind was not. A long, tough day resulted in one dink trout and one ladyfish. Double ouch.

In two days we saw maybe a dozen redfish, a handful of trout, a black drum, and three snook. Both Bob and Andrew worked very hard and did not complain, for which I was very grateful.

This reporter will be very happy when the water level drops.

And that, dear reader, is the tough week Mosquito Lagoon fishing report! Thanks for reading!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

Sarasota, Rick Grassett

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 10/15/2017
A fly angler fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action catching and releasing snook and tripletail on flies in Sarasota Bay and the coastal gulf recently. Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, fished a couple of days with me during the past week. We were hoping to find false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf, but saw only a couple of schools that were up and down very quickly so we didn’t get a shot at them. However with stone crab season now open, tripletail have more structure available and a few small ones have moved in. Frank caught and released several on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. We also fished Sarasota Bay one afternoon and he had some action catching and releasing snook on the same fly.
I was one of the instructors for a CB’s Saltwater Outfitters “Orvis Fly Fishing 101” clinic on Saturday. Students were given an introduction to fly casting basics and had an opportunity to cast with premium Orvis fly tackle. There are still some spots available in CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing school on Sat, Nov 18, 2017. The school will cover fly casting basics, line control, shooting line and the roll cast. The comprehensive course, designed for beginning and intermediate fly casters, will focus on basics but also work with intermediate casters on correcting faults and improving casting skills. Cost for the school, which will run from 8:30 AM to 2 PM, is $175 per person and includes the use of Orvis fly tackle and lunch. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 or info@cbsoutfitters.com to make reservations.
With the water temperature still in the low 80’s, baitfish are plentiful but widely scattered in the coastal gulf. The first cold fronts of the season, which should be arriving within a few weeks, should school baitfish more tightly making Spanish mackerel and false albacore easier to target with a fly and move more mackerel, albies, cobia and tripletail into our area.
Look for action in the coastal gulf to take off in the coming weeks. There should also be good action with trout and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is picking up due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option. You should still find juvenile tarpon in canals and creeks and adult tarpon in upper Charlotte Harbor and some areas of Sarasota and Tampa Bay.
Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
(941) 923-7799

The Skyway, Paul Bristow


Windy weather was the story at the mouth of Tampa Bay this past week, but many different species continued to bite at the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers.  Spanish mackerel remained on a good bite and continued the trend of feeding more heavily later in the day.  Jack crevalle schools also continued to run along the piers and were sometimes joined by blue runners and ladyfish.  Action from mangrove snapper and gag grouper was fast at times, but anglers had to catch numbers of short fish before icing a keeper.  Some nice spotted seatrout were a bonus bycatch of anglers fishing the artificial reefs for snapper & grouper.  Sharks of many sizes and species have remained active and a few pompano continue to be taken in the shallow approach sections to both piers.

Windy days at the Skyway Piers can produce very strong action from Spanish mackerel.  Wind and waves often confuse baitfish schools and disrupt their swimming patterns allowing them to more easily picked-off by the speedier mackerel.  Gotcha lures and spoons continued to be great producers.  Gold spoons were particularly effective this week – perhaps because of the slightly stained water caused by winds.  Visitors continued to use bubble floats and popping corks about 6 feet ahead of their lures to attract fish and gain casting distance.  Some folks experimented with streamer flies and striper poppers behind a float as well and many had success using this method.  Early and late in the day time periods were the best bites (regardless of tide) and the period right up until sundown remained the strongest.

Gag grouper were very aggressive, with many anglers landing 10 or more fish in an outing.  Of course many of these fish were short of the legal length required and were released to fight again.  Diving plugs and free-lined pinfish or blue runners were the top producers.  Although most anglers fish the outgoing tide for gags at the piers because of the easier artificial reef access, it is important to note that reefs along the closed (bayside) portion of the piers get less fishing pressure and hold some giant fish.  To target these reefs, look for a fairly strong incoming tide to pull your plug or live bait offering through the closed pier span and out to the bayside reefs.  It takes a little bit more time and hook sets are trickier, but oftentimes these fish are much more aggressive.  Indeed, some of the largest gags taken every season at the piers come from anglers willing to put in the extra time & effort required to fish these areas.

Sharks of a variety of sizes & species have been plentiful all year long and that trend has continued as we enter the fall.  Several large bull, lemon and nurse sharks have been reported over the past week.  Some visitors this past week asked about the landing, photographing and release of large sharks at the Skyway Piers.  The best method is to fish the areas from around the dumpsters back towards the tollbooths on an outgoing tide.  The larger fish are then slowly walked back towards the rock retaining walls at the base of the piers during the fight.  Serious big game tackle is required and a fighting belt helps a great deal.  In addition, having a group of anglers is critical when running down the pier and handing the rod & reel down to the base of the bridge.  Some groups have a long tailing device that allows them to get a rope around the tail when landing time is near.

Much easier for beginners seeking to catch a shark at the piers is the pursuit of smaller species like blacktip, bonnethead and sharpnose sharks.  The rod & reel outfits for this game are inexpensive and the terminal tackle required could not be simpler.  The best way to approach this for those just getting started in saltwater fishing is to consider an outfit you might use for large bass or catfish in freshwater.  Light wire leaders and hooks in the 3/0 – 5/0 size range are perfect and for bonnethead sharks you can often get away with 30 lb. fluorocarbon.  Bait selection is also easy for these smaller sharks as they will feed on a wide variety of offerings.  Freshly cut pinfish, sardines, herring, ladyfish or jacks are always a good option.  Live or freshly frozen shrimp are particularly effective for bonnetheads.  This simple fishing approach is one great way for parents to entertain their children at the piers.  One other nice factor in pursuing these smaller species is that they do not have a length limit and this makes them a great option for cooking marinated shark steaks on the grill.

The Meatheads of the Week








Officers Brady and Rice were conducting offshore patrols in federal waters near the Madison Swanson when they observed a vessel actively fishing in the closed area. The officers conducted an inspection of the vessel and issued the operator of the vessel a federal citation for the violation.


Officers Brady and Rice were conducting offshore patrols in federal waters when they conducted an inspection of a vessel that was actively fishing. During the inspection, the officers discovered the vessel was in possession of greater amberjack during closed season and in other than whole condition.




Officers Alsobrooks and Hayes received information about a suspect who killed an eight-point buck in violation of deer depredation permit rules. The officers located the suspect and conducted an interview. The officers found that the deer had been killed and removed from the property without being tagged. The officers seized the deer and a bow. The suspect was charged with violation of deer depredation permit rules.


Officer Forehand was on water patrol on the Apalachicola River when he saw a small boat occupied by three subjects. He noticed there were no fishing poles on board the boat. As surveillance was being conducted, one of the occupants placed electrical wires into the water and it was determined the suspects were using an electric shocking device to take fish. The vessel was stopped and the shocking device was seized. The three suspects were cited with taking fish by an illegal method.


Officers Fletcher, Burkhead and Hayes responded to the Apalachicola River near the Jim Woodruff Dam about a complaint that three suspects were using a net to take freshwater fish. When the officers arrived, they saw the three suspects placing a seine net into their vehicle. The officers stopped the suspects and found they had taken 59 panfish, seven black bass and three striped bass. All three suspects were charged with taking freshwater game fish by an illegal method.




While patrolling the Apalachicola National Forest several weeks prior to the opening of archery season, Officers Raker and Nelson observed a vehicle parked in a manner that suggested its owner was hunting nearby. After some time, the officers decided to try to locate the individual. The officers followed foot signs from the vehicle and then along a fire break and located a hunting stand, but no individuals. While searching the area, the officers located the individual’s bow, a bloody arrow, and eventually the owner of the vehicle. The individual was dressed in camouflage clothing and when interviewed, he told the officers he shot a buck and was searching for the deer. The individual was also found to be in possession of marijuana. The individual was cited for hunting out of season and possession of marijuana.




Officers Corbin and Pifer were conducting water patrol during the late night/early morning hours when they made the following cases. The officers stopped a vessel in the Destin Pass with one individual on board returning from a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. During a fisheries/license inspection, the individual was found to be in possession of 15 dolphin fish, five over the limit. Officer Corbin issued the individual a citation for the violation. The officers conducted a fisheries/license inspection of two individuals leaving the Destin east jetties and found one of the individuals to be in possession of an oversized redfish. Officer Pifer issued the individual a citation for the violation. The officers stopped a vessel in the Santa Rosa sound which did not have the required navigational lights displayed. During the stop, the officers learned the individual on board purchased the vessel three months prior and failed to transfer the title into his name. Officer Corbin issued the individual a citation for the violation.


Investigator Molnar and Officer Pifer were on routine land patrol when they observed two individuals fishing at a local park. During a fisheries/license inspection, it was determined that one of the individuals harvested an undersized redfish. Officer Pifer issued the individual a citation for the violation.


Officers Maltais and Nichols responded to several complaints of bears getting into garbage in the Casa Loma community. The officers contacted five homeowners whose garbage cans were targeted and knocked over with household garbage bags pulled out and torn, with contents spread out. The homeowners were given bear informational brochures explaining the importance of securing their garbage cans. The homeowners were issued non-compliance notification letters.


While on land patrol, Officer Trueblood received a tip called in to Wildlife Alert about individuals keeping undersized pompano. Upon arrival to the reported location, he observed several men, women and children fishing from the beach in Destin. After observing the individuals fish and place fish into a nearby cooler, the officer proceeded down to the beach and conducted a resource inspection. A number of unregulated fish were observed and five undersized pompano. Only one person within the group had a valid license. Officer Jarvis arrived on scene to assist. The officers addressed the undersized pompano and fishing license violations with the appropriate action. The illegal fish were documented as evidence.




Officer Lewis was patrolling in Milton when he observed a truck being driven erratically. He turned around as it went out of sight behind him, but by the time he caught up to the vehicle, the driver had crashed into a tree and fled the scene on foot. After calling in the registration, he determined that the driver had an outstanding warrant. Several other officers arrived to assist as well as the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Corrections and Florida Highway Patrol. FWC Pilot Tolbert assisted at the scene with a helicopter. After several hours, the suspect was spotted by a resident and was soon apprehended. He was arrested on outstanding warrants and additional charges will be filed by other agencies.




Officer Travis saw a subject on Facebook posting photos of taking deer by illegal method: using a rifle and suppressor. After three days of monitoring by officers, the subject returned to his residence with a car and immediately left with a truck and flatbed trailer. Officers followed the subject and later observed a deer in the trailer being pulled back to the subject’s residence. A traffic stop was made and through observations and interviews they proved the deer had been shot in the head with a firearm. The subject admitted to killing the deer with a .22 rifle and suppressor. The suppressor permit was in the name of the subject’s wife. Officer Travis issued a citation to the subject for taking deer by illegal method. Division of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has become involved regarding the suppressor permit.




While Investigator Molnar and Officer Pifer were checking fishermen at a park at Santa Rosa Beach, they approached a couple sitting inside their vehicle. The female was crying and acting erratically. Concerned for the female, the officers contacted the driver. The driver stated the vehicle belonged to him and gave consent for Investigator Molnar to search it. A baggie of methamphetamine and a syringe was found in the center console. Both subjects claimed ownership of the contraband. They were both arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The female was additionally charged with resisting without violence.


Officer Jarvis and Lieutenant Clark responded to two different complaints of a bear in garbage in the Forest Lake community off Highway 30A. Contact was made with both homeowners. The community was recently canvassed providing informational brochures regarding securing food attractants, including garbage cans. Both homeowners were issued non-compliance notification letters.




Lieutenant Allen attended Tyndall Air Force Base “National Night Out.” There were approximately 400 people in attendance. During the event, he talked about black bear issues on base and hunting and fishing regulations.









A captive wildlife investigator identified an individual who was in possession of a fox without the proper license. Additionally, the fox was housed in substandard caging and in poor sanitary conditions. The owner was cited and the fox was transferred to a properly licensed facility.




Early Thursday morning, Officers Christmas and Sweat received calls about the illegal taking of a deer. When they arrived at the location, they located a shot seven-point buck. A spent .22 magnum shell was located at the edge of the highway. A tag number and a vehicle description were obtained from an employee of the property owner. Later that morning, Officers Christmas and Sweat, along with assistance from Jacksonville Sheriff’s officers, located the shooter hiding in his grandmother’s closet. Three other suspects were located and interviewed. One Marlin .22 magnum rifle, a magazine with two rounds and a flashlight were seized as evidence. All four suspects gave verbal and written statements admitting to the crime. Several charges are pending.




Officer Mobley responded to a complaint of two shots being heard near a residence. Upon arriving at the location, fresh blood was discovered in the nearby planted pines and further information was received that there was a pickup truck in the vicinity when the shots were fired. Officer Mobley canvased the neighborhood and discovered a vehicle at a residence that met the description. After interviewing the owner of the pickup truck, it was determined that two occupants had shot a doe with a rifle and had processed it. Charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office for unlawful take of doe deer.




Officer Drew responded to a complaint of trespass on private property. Upon locating the empty vehicle, the officer could hear movement in the adjacent woods. Officer Drew located two subjects picking palmetto berries with a pair of hedge clippers and a bucket of berries. Both individuals were given a notice to appear for trespassing.






Officer Davenport spoke to approximately 25 hunter safety attendees at the Mayo Public Library. The topics covered ranged from lawful methods, wildlife management areas, private property and other laws associated with hunting in the State of Florida.




Officers Boone and Johnston attended a local community neighborhood watch program with the Sheriff of Suwannee County. During this program, both officers answered questions from the attendees, giving information to better prevent violations of fish and wildlife state laws from occurring in their neighborhood.









Due to Hurricane Irma, a spillway in Lake County has had an influx of black bass. On separate occasions, Officers Scrambling and Morrow have checked the area for resource inspections. Both found multiple subjects in violation for over the bag limit, too many oversized bass and illegal method of take.




Officer Dias was conducting surveillance on several subjects fishing from the bank at the Moss Bluff Lock and Dam and observed one subject catch and retain several fish. Officer Dias believed the subject might have exceeded the daily bag limit for black bass, so he contacted Officer Seiler who took over surveillance. After observing the subject catch and retain several fish, Officer Seiler made contact and conducted a fisheries inspection, which revealed 11 black bass, 3 of which were over 16”. The defendant was issued a misdemeanor citation for taking over the allowable daily bag limit of black bass, and issued a written warning for possessing more than one over 16″ in length.


In the early morning hours, Officer Dias was on patrol around Forest Road 14 in the Ocala National Forest, when he observed a truck driving slowly with an LED light bar illuminating the woods. The truck continued to slowly move through the area to Lake Mary. Two subjects exited the truck and shined the shoreline of the lake. The two subjects started walking down a dim forest road shining lights in a manor capable of disclosing the presence of deer. One subject had a rifle slung over their shoulder. During the subsequent traffic stop on the truck, he found a scoped Savage Axis 30-06 loaded to capacity in the front seat, skinning knives in the back seat, and a spotlight and flashlight on the dash of the truck. A warrant check on the driver revealed an active warrant out of Lake County for failure to pay child support. The driver was also charged with felony driving while license suspended. Based on Officer Dias’ observations and material evidence, both subjects were charged with attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light. The driver was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail.




Officer Jones was patrolling at night when he observed a vehicle driving toward him flashing its lights and failing to stay in its lane. During a traffic stop on the vehicle, the officer smelled alcohol emitting from the driver. After administering field sobriety tasks, the driver was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and transported to the Putnam County Jail.


Officers Jones and Bernard were on patrol when they heard Palatka Police Department Officers yelling “shots fired” over the radio. They responded to the scene and Officer Jones was the first to arrive at an officer involved shooting. Officer Jones helped maintain the scene until Officer Bernard and more backup arrived. They held a crime scene perimeter while the crime scene was processed.




Lieutenant Tye and Investigator Douglas were working the statewide alligator hunt at CS Lee Park, when they watched as two subjects loaded a boat and placed an alligator on the tailgate of their truck. The alligator clearly did not have a CITES tag in the tail. A Seminole County Deputy pulled into the parking area and one of the subjects walked over and got the CITES tag but just kept it in his hand. Lieutenant Tye and Investigator Douglas watched as the subjects finished loading up and pushed the alligator back in the truck, closed the tailgate and stepped away without putting the tag on it. The officers approached the subjects and Lieutenant Tye asked where the CITES tag was. One of the subjects showed her the tag in his hand and told her he was just about to put it on the alligator. The alligator hunt permit holder was issued a notice to appear for not tagging his alligator immediately after harvesting it.




Officer Edson was patrolling the Tiger Bay State Forest during the archery hunt when he conducted a resource inspection on a subject and discovered a crossbow in the subject’s vehicle. The subject admitted to using the crossbow and informed Officer Edson he had been hunting with it the entire morning. The subject was charged with hunting with a crossbow in a wildlife management area (WMA) during the established archery season.


Officer Edson was patrolling the fishing piers of New Smyrna Beach when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject fishing near the North Causeway. During the inspection, A bag containing a redfish and two mangrove snapper was discovered in the subject’s cooler. The subject informed Officer Edson those were the only fish in his possession. Further inspection of the cooler revealed a separate bag located under the ice. In the bag was another redfish. The subject was charged with over the bag limit of redfish and fishing while license expired.


Dispatch received a Wildlife Alert complaint about a suspicious vehicle parked at Mary Farms Road off State Road 40. Officers Edson and Sapp responded and located a beige truck parked in front of the gate on Mary Farms Road. The vehicle was warm to the touch and was unoccupied; however, there was a plastic bow case and hunting related items in plain view on the front seats. Two subjects were located down the road. Both subjects were carrying compound bows and were wearing full camouflage. Neither subject possessed a quota hunting permit. Each subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for failure to use designated entrance and each a citation for hunting in a quota-required area with no quota permit.









Officer Norris responded to a Wildlife Alert at the El Jobean Fishing Pier. He found a man in possession of 17 mangrove snapper, all of which were undersized. The man was cited for bag limit and size limit violations.




Officers Pettifer and Godfrey were conducting boating safety and resource inspections in Tampa Bay. Upon spotting an anchored vessel with several people on board actively fishing, they stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The subjects made several statements that indicated they were possibly in possession of undersized fish. Upon inspecting their catch, the officers located two undersized cobia. The two subjects admitted to catching one cobia each. They were both issued citations for possession of cobia less than 33-inch fork length, along with multiple warnings for boating safety and license violations.




Officer Hazelwood and Lieutenant Spoede were patrolling offshore when they stopped a recreational boat for a fisheries inspection. Initially, the two men on board stated that they did not catch anything. However, during the inspection Officer Hazelwood found an 8-inch red grouper that had been used for bait. Appropriate citations were issued.




Officers Babauta, Davidson and Klobuchar were on land patrol in east Manatee County concentrating their efforts on illegal deer hunting activities. They witnessed a subject trespass on private property with two firearms in his possession. When the officers attempted to stop the subject, he tried to get rid of both firearms by hiding them in a field. During the inspection, the officers located both guns and discovered that the subject was also a convicted felon. Furthermore, the officers also found that the subject was in possession of drug paraphilia and methamphetamine. The subject was ultimately charged with three felony violations, four misdemeanor violations and several infractions. He was arrested and taken to Manatee County Jail. The firearms and drugs were taken and booked into evidence.


Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the Bridge Street Pier on Anna Maria Island, witnessed a subject fishing from the pier and performed a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the subject had caught and kept several undersized spotted seatrout. The subject was cited for possession of undersized spotted seatrout and must appear in court for his violation.




While on land patrol in Tierra Verde, Officer Bibeau observed a wade fisherman that was actively fishing from the shore. During a subsequent resource inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of a 15-inch gag grouper. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper.


While on foot patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Bibeau approached an individual that was actively fishing to conduct a fisheries inspection. The subject was found to be in possession of a 9-inch gag grouper and was issued a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.


While on foot patrol at Gandy Beach, Officer Martinez approached two subjects that were actively fishing from the shoreline to conduct a resource inspection. The first subject stated he had no fish, but Officer Martinez noticed a bucket next to the second subject. Upon further inspection, a grossly undersized gag grouper was found mixed in with other fish and beer cans. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for his violations.


While on foot patrol at Gandy Beach, Officer Martinez approached a subject who was filleting fish, asked if he had any other fish and was directed to a pot with numerous fish inside. It was discovered the subject had his entire bag limit of mangrove snapper, all of which were undersized. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.


Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees were on water patrol near Gulfport when they observed a vessel violate a slow speed zone and approached the vessel to conduct a stop. As the officers got closer, they observed numerous spear guns and other fishing gear. After addressing the speed zone violation, the officers found one subject to be in possession of a cobia that was well undersized. The subject was cited for the misdemeanor violation and later admitted he didn’t measure the fish because he feared it was too small.


Lieutenant Wells, Investigator Prouty and Officers Smith, Hughes, Alvis and Pettifer conducted a three-day patrol on the Offshore Patrol Vessel Gulf Sentry. The officers patrolled from Pensacola to St. Petersburg. They focused on shrimp boat inspections on the first day and issued a warning for an improper turtle excluder device (TED). On the second and third day, the officers inspected several commercial fishing vessels. The officers issued seven criminal violations to three different commercial fishing boats. Some of the violations included interfering with the duties of an officer (throwing filleted fish over the side as the officer approached the vessel), undersized snapper, using reef fish for bait and using shark for bait.


While on foot patrol at the Tierra Verde Bridge, Officer Bibeau approached an individual that was actively fishing from the shoreline to conduct a fisheries inspection. A 16-inch gag grouper and an undersized sheepshead were located inside a bait bucket. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for the undersized gag grouper and a warning for the undersized sheepshead.


While on foot patrol at the Structure C Bridge, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals actively fishing from the seawall. The male subject placed small fish on a stringer. After a fisheries inspection, an 11-inch gag grouper and an undersized sheepshead were located on the stringer. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper and a warning for the undersized sheepshead.






Captain Carpenter and Lieutenant Ruggiero attended a bald eagle webinar which was designed to educate stakeholders (conservation organizations, utility industry, consultants and government) on recent rule revisions, eagle program changes and the current permitting structure. The webinar also covered key actions in the draft species action plan. Stakeholders asked questions about state/federal coordination, the future of the nest database, species action plan development/finalization process and appropriate contacts for future inquiries.









Officer Payne was on land patrol in Fort Pierce near the area of the Belcher Canal spillway and observed two male subjects cast netting fish on the freshwater side of the spillway. Further observation determined that neither subject had a rod and reel and were fishing exclusively with the cast net. Officer Payne contacted the subjects and determined that several fish were illegally harvested with the cast net and were in a bucket nearby. Two largemouth bass and one black crappie, among other unregulated fish, were observed. Both subjects were cited for the violations.


Investigator Patterson booked a subject into the St Lucie County Jail on an outstanding warrant. The warrant had been issued because of investigations involving gill-net violations in St. Lucie and Indian River Counties. The charge for the arrest was: carriage of prescribed nets across Florida waters, a violation of Section 379.2423(2), Florida Statutes, a major net charge.






Lieutenant Rogerson attended the monthly Sheriff’s Office Citizens Observation Patrol (COP) meeting in Port Saint Lucie. He was invited to attend and provide information to the volunteers. Information was primarily related to their water patrol efforts on the North Fork of the Saint Lucie River. This waterway provides access to many private residences. COP patrols conducted are high in visibility and are meant to deter crimes from occurring. Other items discussed were methods and ways they could assist FWC with monitoring vessel traffic and violations they observe and forwarding that information for planning of future law enforcement patrols.


Officer Arnold attended the National Night-Out for Crime, held at the Port Saint Lucie Police Department. The theme for the event was “Giving Crime a Going Away Party.” It was well attended by the community. There were K-9 and SWAT demonstrations, fingerprinting and tours of the police department. Officer Arnold provided the public with information regarding wildlife laws and regulations, as well as boating safety regulations and common violations encountered.









Officers Arbogast and Kleis were conducting local panther zone enforcement when they observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed (72 MPH) in a 45 MPH zone. The officers conducted a vehicle stop and noticed the odor of alcohol emanating from inside the vehicle. There were several alcoholic containers and one that had recently spilled onto the floorboard of the vehicle. Officers observed what seemed to be cannabis inside of a container used as paraphernalia in plain view, in a cup holder, in the center console. Field testing later confirmed that the substance was cannabis. A quick investigation showed that the operator had no signs of impairment. Officer Kleis found a wallet, containing the operator’s Identification card. Officer Arbogast explained to the operator that, “this is only an identification card, not a valid driver’s license.” The operator quickly responded, “yes, mine has been expired and I am working on it.” Further investigation revealed that his driver’s license has been expired for 17 months and pending suspension for failure to pay a traffic fine. Driver and motor vehicle information system, DAVID results showed the operator having 13 prior driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSRs). The Officers placed the operator under arrest for knowingly driving with an expired driver’s license of more than 6 months, possession of cannabis under 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The operator was also cited for having open alcoholic containers and unlawful speed.


Officer Arbogast was at a local weir inside the Picayune Strand State Forest when he observed one vehicle without the proper day-use tag displaying from the rear-view mirror. A cooler and fishing equipment were seen inside the vehicle through the windows. During the encounter, one of the subjects acknowledged that he had fish in the cooler. Officer Arbogast observed one deceased tarpon without the proper tarpon tag. The individual was cited accordingly and the tarpon was submitted into evidence.


Officers Arbogast and Kleis were heading to conduct traffic enforcement in one of Collier County’s panther zones, when they observed a motorcycle operating carelessly, and nearly causing multiple accidents. The officers stopped the motorcycle, and detected multiple signs of impairment from the operator including slurred speech, odor of alcohol, and a lack of balance. The operator consented to field sobriety tasks, which he performed poorly. The driver was subsequently arrested for DUI and refused a breath sample. The officers then conducted traffic enforcement in the panther zone, and stopped multiple vehicles. They issued numerous traffic violations, and educated drivers on the importance of panther zones. Their traffic enforcement efforts were cut short due to a call to respond to a Burmese python complaint. Upon arrival, the officers observed a python near the front door. The python, approximately 7 feet in length, was captured and removed.


Officer Araujo was watching multiple fisherman one morning from a concealed location at Doctors Pass jetty and observed three subjects snorkeling near the rocks with spear equipment in-hand. One subject swam to the shallows towards a kayak, attempting to keep his spear gun under the water line. The subject moved his head around from side to side as if he was looking to see who was watching him. He leaned over the kayak and quickly lifted a snook out of the water into the kayak. The subject put his whole arm all the way into the front cavity of the kayak, as if he was pushing the snook up there to hide it. He placed his spear gun, dive fins, and mask inside the kayak. Officer Araujo approached the three subjects and read them their Miranda Rights. Each subject admitted to spearfishing but claimed that they had not shot anything. The subject that put the snook in the kayak continued to lie about its existence. Officer Araujo inspected the kayak and retrieved one snook with a clear spear hole in its side. The subject eventually confessed to spearing the snook and was cited for illegal method of take. All three subjects were cited for spearfishing within 100-feet of a jetty less than 1,500-yards in length.






Officer McKay and Lt. Robison responded to an Oceanside residence in Islamorada about a stranded dolphin in the seagrass shoreline. The dolphin was a lone pygmy sperm whale. Our officers kept the whale covered with wet towels and then assisted the Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Rescue staff remove the whale from the shoreline and load it onto a transport van. The whale was taken back to the group’s Key Largo property after it was sedated so it could be transported. Unfortunately, the whale died shortly afterwards. A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.






Officer Dube along with PIC Parrish partnered with a news crew with the Florida Channel from Tallahassee on a segment on the displaced vessels due to Hurricane Irma. Officer Dube teamed up with members of the United States Coast Guard’s Strike Force team as they conducted surveys at several marinas in the Marathon area looking for sunken vessels that were leaking fuel or hazardous materials. Officer Dube later took the news crew to survey the Boot Key anchorage for displaced vessels and conducted an on-camera interview about FWC’s efforts before and after the hurricane in addition to the effects that the hurricane had on the environment, wildlife and commercial/recreational fishing in the Keys.

Panhandle, Daniel Snapp


October started out with sunny skies and crystal clear water but the recent weather has set us back just a little. Strong winds has limited fishing pretty much to the protected bays and grass flats. The good news, it shouldnt be long and we can look forward to more fantastic October weather. Even with the unsettled conditions fishing has been pretty good. My clients have been doing well with trout and reds throwing artificial and when we could get out of the wind most of my fly fishing clients have managed to put some nice reds in the boat! 

Live bait is just about everywhere, the bays and flats are loaded and its a great time of year to catch just about any species and not have to worry about heat stroke! Once the weather settles down the King and Spanish mackerel bite should be on fire near shore and in the bays. Large schools of false albacore will make easy targets just off the beach and provide for some great drag screaming action on light tackle and fly. 

Flounder will begin to make their move toward the pass and just off shore providing some great table fare for those that enjoy catching and gigging them. 

Even with all the recent rain the flats are still clear enough to sight fish. In fact, a little cloudiness to the water can make chasing and getting close enough to those spooky reds a little easier. Sight fishing with light tackle or fly this time of year is awesome! If you find areas in the bay that are not loaded up with floating grass get out your favorite top plug and get to throwing. My clients have had a blast working over the trout and reds. Of course, if you are targeting reds and considering the recent weather and water conditions the old tried and true gold spoon” has also been working great! 

For those that may be turning their attention to the upcoming hunting season, please be safe and wear that safety harness every-time! I know way to many people that have had close calls to life changing injuries from falls out of their tree stands. In addition to the safety harness, please also consider using the safety ropes that allow you an attachment point going up and coming down so you are secured from the moment your foot leaves the ground. 

I encourage you to give me a call if you have questions about fishing in the Panhandle at (850) 832-4952 or for additional information about Grassy Flats Charters, please visit 


In addition, checkout Grassy Flats Charters” on Facebook for the most recent pictures and videosalong with Grassy Flats Charters” on Youtube and Instagram

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Captain Daniel Snapp

Grassy Flats Charters

Sight Fishing the Emerald Coast

(850) 832-4952

Nature Coast, William Toney


On the Big Bend we have officially received the tittle of The Endless Summer. Even though there is not much surf on this coast we have been an anglers dream with good weather and excellent fishing. The redfish bite is just the same as years before. Schooling redfish is just a part of Citrus county in the Fall. Look for jumping mullet and use gold spoons, soft plastics and live bait to see if the fish are there on the western facing points during incoming high tide. If there are no results after 15 or 20 minutes then move on. To be more successful in finding multiple hook ups with redfish I suggest don’t run your vessel like a bat out of hell spot to spot, but move slowly to new area with a low speed on the trolling motor or poll your boat. Pressuring the fish does not help you, fellow anglers or our environment. Somtimes the fish we are targeting are just a cast away from the achored boat.

 Trout fishing is very good, the best areas are the spotty bottom west of Mangrove point, the yellow bottom outside of Fish Creek and west of St. Martins Keys, then on the south side of marker 14 of the Homosassa channel. A popping cork with a soft plastic underneath about 18 to 20 inches will get the bite. Best colors have been glow, borbon and watermelon redflake. Look forward this Sunday to some fresh stone crab claws at your local fish house. Incoming tide will be in the morning this weekend.
Capt. William Toney is a full time 4th generation fishing guide from Homosassa. Experience some of Florida’s best inshore fishing and beautiful unspoiled backcountry. His boat is a custom built 23 foot Tremblay and uses G-Loomis rods with Shimano reels. Trout, redfish and shore lunch are Capt. Williams specialty’s but many other species are caught or targeted.

Mosquito Lagoon, Tom Van Horn

Digital image

High Water Fishing Report, October 10, 2017


Since Erma arrived on September 11th the weather has been windy and wet. Right when things start to settle down, another squall blows in.  All this rain and wind have made fishing tough.  On the lagoons, water levels are high and the water is dirty.  This is the same for the beaches with high surf advisories and on the St Johns River where another ten inches of rain was added to the headwaters last week to an already cresting river.  Besides the high water, there is a significant amount of infrastructure damage to launch facilities and debris floating in the water. Fall is typical a great time to fish on Florida’s Indian River Lagoon coast, but not this year. Hurricane season is upon us, and Mother Nature is reminding us who is in charge.


So, what do serious anglers do when they can’t go fishing?  Well first they think a lot about fishing, and then make good use of the down time to refresh their equipment and tackling projects like in my case, upgrading my electronics on my boat from my 5-year old Hummingbird 990 side imaging to the new Hummingbird Helex 9 SI.  It’s not that my old unit was not function well, it was simply the fact my 5-year old unit was obsolete.

Like all major projects, replacing my electronics has been on my mind for some time.  I began relying on my side imaging sonar several years back when alga blooms made site fishing in our area difficult on Mosquito Lagoon.  Once I got a handle on what I was looking at I learned to locate large redfish and black drum in deeper water.  I began to find these larger fish in places I had completely overlooked for years.  I also started getting the attention of other flats guides who wondered how I was finding these fish. Over time I began to rely on this technology to locate fish in deeper water and at the same time expanded my ability to put my clients on trophy fish.


Once purchased and received, I learned my new Helex 9 SI was too big to fit in the location where the old unit was mounted. I had room on the top of the console to mount the new unit, but this created another problem, how do I fill the hole in my console were my old Hummingbird was flush mounted? Well thanks to a company called Boat Outfitters in Orlando, the solution was not only easy, but it was very affordable. BoatOutfitters.com is a retail division of Teak Isle Mfg. The marine industry leader for OEM fabricated plastic parts, Teak Isle supplies over 200 of the marine industry’s leading boat builders with custom fabricated accessories. They have reputation for quality products and innovative designs allowing them to grow into the largest single end user of King Starboard® in the marine industry.  If they do not have what you need in stock, they will custom build it for you. In my case they had a Starboard Glove Box to perfectly fit the hole in my console.  If you need to order any boat parts, check out Boat Outfitters first at https://www.boatoutfitters.com.


Water is still dirty and very high. It’s going to take a while to get cleaned up as long and the rains continue. Look for any cleaner water or where the water is moving for your best chances.  Focus your attention on areas of water outflow and in close to the shoreline for best results.  The current weather forecast is looking better, so be safe on the water and catch-um-up.


As always if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.


Good luck and good fishing,


Captain Tom Van Horn