Sunday, July 12, 2015

Second Shift Slammin'

"The draw to the salty surf grows with each sunrise over the white sandy beaches."

The move to second shift not only gives me a chance to work with a different group of guys, but also gives me the opportunity to sneak in an offshore quickie...SCORE! 

As the first period of red snapper season draws to a close, I made sure to take advantage of any chance to get in the gulf. 

I'm not just a fan of the tasty red snapper fillets. My wife loves the amazing sashimi and other dishes that I have created. It's a serious bonus when the Mrs is all about it!

The first day went everything but as planned!

Marty Mood and I hit a few spots that showed little to no life at all...odd!

The 4th spot that we hit looked like it was going to be a dud. We threw out a bunch of chunk bait and Marty hooks up. What I thought would have been a red snapper proved to be something else...

The skying mahi mahi was a very welcomed surprise! 

Who would have thunk it.

I'll be damned, the day is not going to be a bust after all! 

The last spot only coughed up this mahi, so it was time to return to a spot that we passed without fishing.

I was cutting up a small but legal king to use as chunk bait when something off of my port side caught my eye...

HOLY $#%@, MAHI!

After a quick flip with a chunk of mackerel, ROUND TWO!

Watching the amazing aerial display of my first mahi mahi instantly carved a smile in my grill that would not go away!

It's amazing to watch these fish turn colors in front of your eyes!

That day ended with zero snapper, but 2 nice mahi mahi...I'll take it!

On to the next...

Having to be at work at 3pm gave me a nice window to hit the water before work. I decided to hit a different location that provided red snapper earlier this year. When you know of a good spot, you don't have to waste time searching.

 My Humminbird 698 HD SI said my coordinate was just short of two miles away. No problem with my Old Town Predator 13!

On the way to the spot, the king mackerel would not turn down a cigar minnow tipped duster rig.

It didn't take long to get my 2 fish limit of kings while heading to my snapper spot.

 Once I arrived to the spot, I knew it was on like Donkey Kong!

Fish were suspended from 25-40 feet, OH YEAH!

A handful of chunks mixed with a herring tipped circle hook triggered a feeding frenzy...which included my chunk!

Fish number two followed suit! 

A quick limit of king mackerel and red snapper before work made the paddle back a hell of a lot nicer!

On to day 3!

A fast approaching storm left Marty Mood and I questioning our decision to continue on to the spot that proved to be loaded with red snapper. 

The end of the rainbow highlighting our destination gave us a sign to continue on...good thing we did!

We battled off and on wind and rain. Once we each caught our 2 fish limit of red snapper, we headed in. The wind got crappy making paddle back to the beach quite the chore!

Well, we closed the first period of snapper season the way you would hope. We caught our limits, saw a lot of fish, and had a ton of fun with plenty of laughs! The second period starts in September and runs through the end of October. 

This week I saw fish over 30", and make no mistake...


See ya on the water!


Rods: Shimano Tallus, All Pro Rods, Shimano Terez
Reels: Shimano Thunnus 6000 Ci4, Shimano Stradic FJ 3000 & 5000
Line: 50lb Power Pro, 50lb Seagar Fluorocarbon leader
Lures: Duster rigs w/ cigar minnows, and fresh caught herring/cigar minnows on 6/0-8/0 circle hooks
Kayak: Old Town Predator 13
Electronics: Humminbird 698 HD SI
Paddle: Werner Paddles 240cm "Hooked" Cyprus
PFD: Kokatat Bahia Tour
Accessories: YakAttack (GearTrac, Rod Holders, ScrewBall, Predator Mounting Plates, etc)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Decisions Decisions

The one down side to living in Navarre Florida is that it really tests the fisherman's decision making skills. I mean think about it...
How the hell does a guy decide between sight fishing redfish in skinny water, casting topwater for big trout, or venturing offshore for pelagics and reef dwellers?
 This puts an angler in a predicament...make a decision. Unlike work, school, or home, this is one decision you don't mind having to make.
First up was an after work session consisting of hitting a flat before the sun going down, then to dock lights under the cover of darkness. It didn't take long to get a slot redfish to crush a Spook Jr. in bone color.
Not long after the sun disappeared behind the trees, certain dock lights activated a vicious feeding frenzy. While approaching the first set of lights, you could hear the trout ambushing baitfish in between paddle strokes. The spotlight on the water consisted of baitfish skipping along the surface followed up with angry swirls breaking the silence. Catching a 20" trout on the first cast set the tone for the next 2 hours. Oh yeah!! 
23.75" on a PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammer
Big fish of the night went 23.75". Catching 20 fish in less than 2 hours is an awesome way to decompress from work.
Now, it's time to hit the gulf!
The first trip out was a dud to say the least! A few bonita and a sweet sunburn was all I had to show for the first offshore trip of 2015. The dolphins must have felt bad because they put on a show for about 20 minutes. Normally I dislike dealing with dolphins but they acted like they were shaking their heads playing around with me.
The decision about where to fish on the next trip was easy.
It's red snapper season and the seas looked great!
Marty Mood, Benton Parrot, Elizabeth Saylor, her son Matt, Marty's neighbor, and I went out in full force after the "endangered" red snapper. The fish took a while to cooperate but we ended up getting on them. Cutting up the bonita and chunking him over the spot made the snapper rise up in hurry. They couldn't resist! 
We all caught fish and had a blast doing it!
 Catching a limit of red snapper and a king mackerel provided plenty of eats in the Bekolay house.
Smoked king mackerel

red snapper sashimi

The decision for next time around will be pretty easy as long as it's during snapper season.
See ya on the water!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Exploring New Flats

Life as a Florida resident has been everything I thought and hoped it would be!
The seafood is great, the people are great, the weather is great, and well...
the fishing is pretty damn amazing!
The downside of moving to a new location for the angler is pretty obvious.
All of the spots that you took the time to learn are a thing of the past...time to find new ones!
I do a lot of my homework on the internet when it comes to scouting.
For flats fishing, being able to read the bottom and surrounding areas can make a huge difference in finding fish!
I had a set of flats eyed up that I researched over the winter. Now it's time to find out what they're about!
Just as I had hoped, my topwater caught the attention of a pesky little flats fish.
Not a gator trout, but a fish none of the less.
I caught a few more smaller trout before I had a blow up of something bigger.
This fish missed the lure the first time, and I seen him come out of the water the second time as he
found his mark...
Mr. Psycho Redfish!
29" redfish

I was hoping for a big trout, but I'll take a little sleigh ride from a red any day!

It didn't take 10 more casts when I heard the ever-so-famous "roar" of a red blowing up on a topwater lure. Time for ride #2...

27.5" redfish

 I ended up with 3 reds between 27.5" and 29", and 6 trout up to 17.25"
Not too shabby for new grounds!
Until next time...
~See ya on the water!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

One of Those Nights

W/SW winds paired up with the incoming tide perfectly, giving the fisherman "angler arousal"
Bait was of plenty, flickering in the gleaming light cast down from the bridge from above 
And just like you would hope, the Florida bull reds were thick and they were hungry
It was going to be one of those nights!
It's always a good sign when the first light that you approach from under the bridge has a hungry red searching for anything to destroy. Within 75 yards from the shoreline, you can't help but to get excited! A quick cast with my PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammer tipped jig and it was engulfed within seconds of hitting the water.

I paddled to the next light expecting to see a big red log cruising in the light. Not only is there one big red log, there were a few of them looking to pulverize anything in their path. This fish puked up gobs of bait as he was head shaking next to the Predator 13.

The conditions were a little sporty, sort of like a washing machine. My bow kept leaving the water with random swells. No joke, my Werner "Hooked" Cyprus was vital in not wasting my energy since the blade is rock solid. Any other blade that would flex would have been a pain to get from one light to another!
I don't know if I went one light without seeing or catching a fish! My first 7 casts yielded 6 fish, can't complain with that!

Over the past few weeks we have experienced warm temperatures which made our water temp sky rocket! My last time out I was in GoreTex bibs and a paddling jacket, fighting off cool water. This time, the water and air temps were in the 60's. Much better!!!

I ended the night losing count at 15 reds between 34" and 38.5". The bite started to slow down was the tide topped out. Even when it was slow, you still could catch them consistently. When an angler heads to the bridge for big Florida reds, you pray for a bite like this. The bait was everywhere, the water was moving, and the fish were was just one of those nights!
~See ya on the water!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bull Reds in Between the Busy

Fishing these days has sadly been...well...on the bottom of the priority list.
MAN, it pains me to say that!!!!
It's not that I've lost my touch or passion, it's just part of "adult life".
We've all been there. One words sums it up...BUSY
I've been busy at work.
POC for an Air Force Promotion Ceremony
Busy building furniture
Pottery Barn Benchwright Series...I should say "Bekolay Series"
Busy in the kitchen
Healthy Cast Iron Cooking
Busy with the dogs
Oakie (left) and Goose (right), my two Italian Greyhounds
And busy living it up!
Marids Gras...Bourbon Street photobomb by Ms. Purplehead

Luckily for me, the forecast faired quite nice in between the busy!
Time to hit the bulls at bridge!
It didn't take long to get on the board. You gotta love it when the timer on your camera goes off just as the fish clinches up and squeezes the hell out of your hand!

The bite started out slow, but picked up as the tide started moving out paired with an east wind.

I threw one style of bait all night long...
Here is a tip for you...Swinging Hammers are not just meant for bass!

Gear used on this trip:
Kayak: Old Town Predator 13 (green camo)
Paddle: Werner Cyprus 240cm "Hooked Series"
PFD: Kokatat Bahia Tour
Clothing: Kokatat Whirlpool Bibs, Kokatat Full Zip Gore-Tex Jacket
Rod: All Pro 7' APX Heavy Spinning
Reel: Shimano Symetre 4000
Lures: PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammers, 1/8oz-1oz jigs
Accessories: YakAttack

As the night came to a close, the total ended up at 12 reds up to 38.5".
Not a bad way to get back on the horse, or should I say "bull".
~See ya on the water!