PTTS #1 -Sunshine Network

The Professional Tarpon Tournament Series Week #1 will be airing on Friday, June 29th at 5p.m. on Sunshine Network. Team World of Beer starts the season off with a bang! Stay tuned for viewing party info, as we will be traveling to different World of Beer stores with free giveaways along with drink specials at each event!!

PTTS #1  – Friday -6/29- 5:00 p.m. , Sunday -7/1- 10:00 p.m. , Tuesday -7/3- 4 p.m.

Team World Of Beer Wins Professional Tarpon Tournament Series Title!!

With the 2012 Yamaha Professional Tarpon Tournament Series presented by Miller Lite season coming to an end, Captain Jim and his new sponsor – World Of Beer had an incredible season!!! The team consisted of veteran anglers Brad Bond and George Hunt along with the owner/founder of WOB, Matt Lafon and Jim at the helm. With new ideas and new rules the team took a much more aggressive approach to fighting and landing fish. Custom SICK RODS and Avet Reels with the dry drag system allowed the team to bring most fish boatside in less than 10 minutes, where the weight could be determined early and the tarpon were in good shape for release. This pattern shaped the team’s ideas and lead to bringing five contender fish to the scales throughout the series. With a 4th place in week # 1 , a few leader releases and a top 5 fish in week #4(that was later bumped out) WOB was shaping up as one of the top teams on tour. In week #5 , World Of Beer took home the trophy with a 174# tarpon and gave Captain Jim his 3rd victory on the PTTS. Qualifying for the elite Skeeter Tarpon Cup Championship, Team WOB was ready to battle against the top 25 professional tarpon teams in the world.  As the drama unfolded throughout the 5 hour tournament, World of Beer weighed the last fish of the season as time expired and took 4th place with a total of 207 pounds. 

2012 Yamaha Professional Tarpon Tournament Series presented by Miller Lite


   – Week #1 – 4th Place – 145# Tarpon – Overall Calcutta Champion – 3rd Place in Team of Year Standings

   – Week #4 – 95# tarpon in top 5 – bumped at end of tourney

   – Week # 5 – 1st Place Champion – 174 # Tarpon – Overall Calcutta Champion

– 6th Place Team of Year- Qualified for the Skeeter Tarpon Cup Championship(25 Teams )

   – The Skeeter Tarpon Cup Championship – 4th Place – 207# Tarpon total – Overall Calcutta Champion

** Captain Jim Huddleston is one of only 4 Captains to ever win 3 times on the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series!!!!

BOOKING NOW for Prime Springtime Tides!!

Hello to all Anglers ready for some Springtime Fishing-
    Well the season is creeping up on us quickly here in Florida. We have had unseasonably warm weather and has turned a lot of inshore species on and begin to feed well. With the water temps holding in the upper 60’s, the whitebait has even began to creep around the flats.The staple of our St. Joseph Sound fishery this time of year is the BIG speckled trout that roam the shallows and make for great sightcasting on these 4-6 pounders. Anglers are actually having best luck throwing artificials such as the Pumpkin Jig Slamrs and the “new” Paul Brown suspending baits from Mirrolure. Larger redfish schools are showing up around the higher tides on the full and new moons. These schools of bruisers will have 100-300 fish as they push up towards the mangroves as the tide floods. The ole’ linesiders seemed to have fared well this winter and are starting to sneak out on the grassflats outside bayous and rivers along our coastline. The larger trophy snook will usually be caught(and released) in June/July. And Finally, the fish we all wait for year round to catch – The Silver King – TARPON!! The mild winter may lead into an early entrance from these huge gamefish that invade the west coast of Florida. Prime tides are filling up for the month that I spend down in Boca Grande-“The Tarpon Capitol of the World”. I will be down there from mid-May to Mid-June and this is the prime time for catching these incredible fish. As we sightfish to giant schools of tarpon up in the harbor, it is an adrenaline rush to see these monsters crush a freelined crab or threadfin right behind the boat!! As late June approaches , I will also fish the waters off Clearwater to Anclote as schools swim just off the sand bars. Well, I hope to see you all out here enjoying our great fishing and taking home a memory of a lifetime. Be sure to book your charters now, as the best tides/dates are beginning to fill.



Winter Fishing Report

What’s Hot- With the dramatic decline in water temperature over the last week, inshore species will seek out warmer pockets of water on the cooler mornings. Speckled trout, redfish and sheepshead will be most tolerant of the mid-fifties water and can be caught with patience from anglers wanting some tight lines. When trying to locate gamefish among the shallows, key in on southern facing shorelines with higher treelines. These flats will radiate heat and hold larger numbers of fish. More often, the water will be cleaner, as it will be protected from strong north winds.

When fishing our coastline following a front, slow everything down when it comes to presentation. Freelining shrimp with a small split shot above the hook always works best. This method will keep the offering on the bottom longer-where the fish will want to feed. With artificials, crawl the lure along the sandy pockets where it will create mud puffs and draw attention. Bucktails, plastic worms and grub tails will imitate the smaller meals that the trout and reds want. By keeping the rod tip high and using an 1/8 ounce jighead, these lures can be worked very slow to cover more area.

Speckled Trout Season- As the prime trout season gets under way, be sure to practice proper catch and release. Always have a good de-hooker on board for releasing unwanted fish. By handling these trout less, the survival rate goes way up. The protective slime coating on a speckled trout helps them to fight off diseases.

West Marine Seminars- Spring 2012

Here are my Springtime Seminars which all take place at the West Marine in Tarpon Springs at the corner of U.S. 19 and Tarpon Avenue . The dates all fall on Wednesday nights and start at 6:00 p.m. At all of the seminars, anglers are invited to recieve 10% off anything in the fishing section. Free pizza, drinks and giveaways are offered at the events!! I invite everyone to come and maybe learn a new tip or technique.               

~January 11th– Winter Flats Fishing Tactics, 25th– Tackle Maintenance ~ February 8th -Tailing Redfish, 22nd – Sightfishing 101 ~March 7th – Transition Fishing for Inshore Gamefish, 28th – Tarpon Fever~ April 11th – Nearshore Spring Fishing, 25th – Snook Season Tactics

Upcoming Holiday Seminars

Below are  my upcoming West Marine seminars for the Fall season. All sessions will be on Wednesdays and start at 6:00 p.m. at the Tarpon Springs store- located at the corner of U.S.19 and Tarpon Avenue. Anglers at each seminar have the opportunity to get 10% off anything in the fishing section. In the month of December , there will be giveaways that will include a half day charter with Capt. Jim. Please come join us for these informative classes. All events will include pizza, drinks and Fish Tales!!  

***HOLIDAY SPECIAL***- Buy one 1/2 day gift certificate package get one free 1/2 day charter( valid Jan. -Mar. 2012)-  Holiday package includes a Charter, T-Shirt, Lure Package and  Koozie. ~Must be purchased before Dec. 25th. ~

October- 26th – Nearshore Grouper Fishing – Learn to catch that keeper Grouper and not burn a lot of gas.                                              

November-  9th – Transition Fishing for Inshore Gamefish – Find out what methods work best for fish moving into the backcountry  23rd – Cobia Fishing 101 – Learn to catch cobia on the flats with artificials and livebait                                                                                                                                                  

December 7th– Power Plant Fishing – Come find out some tips and tricks to fishing power plants in the winter months.- Free Holiday Giveaways!! 21st – Catching Gator Trout – Find out what methods work best to find and catch that “Gator” Trout during cooler months. Free Holiday Giveaways!!

Fishing Report October 2011

What’s hot- With the water temperatures dropping into the upper sixties, many larger speckled trout have moved inshore and the cool water will also bring the grouper in closer to the beaches off good hard bottom. The shallows of north Pinellas county are holding good numbers of fish where sandy potholes are mixed in with rich turtlegrass. Artificials are beginning to work well, as anglers can cover large areas while drift fishing. Pumpkin slammers are working well when rigged with an 1/8 ounce weedless jighead. Pearl colored tails will symbolize the whitebait that is covering the beaches. Bucktail jigs and shallow crankbaits will also work well with this type of presentation. As for using livebait, a smaller sardine rigged with an adjustable cork can be popped at the surface to entice the larger female trout that have moved in. These breeder-sized specks will also hold in dropoffs along the flats on lower tide levels. On higher tides, work inside the no-motor zones where these fish will move up and take advantage of the small feeding window before the tide falls again.

     As the grouper inch towards shore a little, anglers looking to hook into a keeper before the seasons ends will want to concentrate on aggressive looking rockpiles in the 20 foot depths. In this range of depth many stone crab lines are found and can often give away the best areas, as crab is often caught better on natural hard bottom. Live pinfish will work best to catch the larger gags. When fishing in shallower terrain for grouper, work off the structure and allow the chum to pull these aggressive fish away from the rocks to increase the landing ratio.    

Season Closures – Gulf Grouper- Closes Nov. 15th

                                  – Speckled Trout- South Region – Closed Nov.- Dec.

Fall Fishing Report

 With water temperatures starting to cool a little, Fall fishing patterns are starting to emerge as inshore gamefish start holding on spoil islands and deeper mangrove shorelines. Snook are making their way off the beaches and are using the islands and potholes along grassflats as they make the transition toward the backcountry for winter. Redfish have schooled up and are jumping on most any bait or lure thrown under a mangrove bush. The two most significant species that symbolizes Fall is the Spanish mackerel and speckled trout that are moving closer towards the mainshore.

 A livewell full of bait is great for finding hidden fish along any given shoreline. Most bait being caught is a little on the small side, so using these for a search tool works great. Any mangrove point or oyster bar that has moving water is a good spot to anchor up and throw out a few of these smaller baits. The moving water will take the wounded bait along the trees and work as bird dog to find fish. While fishing the spot, look for any baits that get popped or eaten further down the edge. This becomes a sure indicator of gamefish willing to eat and may give away the location of the whole school.

Most snook have started to move away from the beaches and are beginning the track towards their winter homes. When this first happens, the bite for these linesiders can slow dramatically compared to the summer bite that anglers are used to. Some extra time must be spent looking for them this time of year. Once located, the best thing to do is take note of where and how they are staged up with the structure that is being used. This becomes a great indicator of where other snook will be found over the next month. With the gin clear waters off St. Joseph Sound, downsizing leader is a must in order to get most snook to eat. Twenty-five fluorocarbon leader with 2/0 hooks have worked best, as long as the reel’s drag is not too tight to create excess friction and break the line. Freelining greenbacks has worked well and lets the baits swim naturally through a given strike zone without the restriction of a cork. Medium baits have outproduced the larger ones, as it is an easier meal to chase down.

There has been a steady increase of larger redfish from Clearwater all the way up to the Hudson area. These reds have usually been the most consistent bite throughout the months of September and October. With the incoming tides, the schools will push upon to a shallow flat and feed aggressively on crabs and small pinfish. A tail-hooked shrimp will allow anglers to cast way ahead of a school without scaring them. This low profile bait works well because it will crawl along the bottom where the reds are searching. These bronze bruisers will get into such as bottom-feeding mode that often times a live bait swimming towards the top of the water column will go untouched. Once the tide starts to peak out, the mangrove trees are prime hunting grounds to find these gamefish. Any depression or pothole along a shoreline that lies in the shade is a key spot to try. Whatever bait or lure that is used, must be placed inside that shade line to receive a bite. With all of the new scented baits on the market, it is great to use an artificial if pinfish or mangrove snapper are tearing up fresh bait. An 1/8 ounce jig head rigged with a new penny soft plastic shrimp has been producing well in the trees. On the grassflats leading up to the mangroves, a copper-colored weedless Huddlespoon has worked great as a search tool for finding those schools of redfish.

Deeper grassflats just inside most passes in north Pinellas county are starting to hold good numbers of speckled trout and spanish mackerel. As long as the tide is moving swiftly, the bite has been on. Small sardines and select sized shrimp under a cork worked with the boat are getting great action in the first few hours of daylight. Some larger speckled trout have been moving in around Fred Howard Park. Work the edges of the sand holes while drifting with the tide or wind. The mackerel have been crashing the schools of small glass minnows. A small silver spoon tossed into the action is a sure fire bite.

Fireman John/St. Joseph Sound 911 Ceremony

I wanted to thank Dave Wolf ,Bob Schorejs, Fireman John and the others who joined me in releasing 10 wreaths out to sea that had the names of victims who had family members and friends in the community that passed in the 9/11 tragedy. Bagpipes played after the ceremony as we left the beach with the wreaths. It was great to be a part of this event and celebrate these people’s lives. We will never forget – We will always remember!! USA

Note-  The next day(Monday, Sept. 12th) Fireman John was in a boating accident in Clearwater and taken from us. He was a great fisherman and friend and was always there to help anyone in the fishing community. We know he is casting his jigs again with his good friend Captain Mel in a much better fishin’ hole!! We will all miss you!

Tampa Boat Show

I would like to invite anyone at this weekend’s Tampa Boat Show to stop by the Shadow-Caster Marine LED booth #141. I will be helping out and showing off the newest intense underwater lights that can be seen on my new 25te Shearwater. These lights are unbelievably bright and attract fish species of all types.