Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pontoon boat improvements

Do you have a pontoon boat or a deck boat? Pontoons boats are great for families. We enjoy taking the kids and grandchildren out on the lake or the gulf for some pontoon boat excursions. Sometimes we leave the kids behind, and just the fishermen go. Of course, I'm usually included on these fishing trips.

Fishing trips on a pontoon boat is the ultimate in comfort. Pontoon boats are especially nice for flats fishing. There's plenty of seating for several anglers, and there's usually a platform on most pontoon boats. This is a great spot for landing large fish, casting, and throwing a net for bait.

If you use a pontoon boat a lot, it's going to show it's age sooner or later. Instead of putting the pontoon boat in the boat shop, why not do the jobs yourself? You can make simple repairs with minimum skills. And if you want to make improvements to your pontoon boat, you'll save a mint by doing the job yourself.

There are all kinds of improvements you can do to pontoon boats. Think new seats, new tables, a fridege or plug-in cooler, and a grill.

To read more about pontoon boat improvements, go here:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Florida Fishing: Flats Fishing near Port Richey

I love saltwater fishing, especially Florida fishing. We just returned from some flats fishing in the gulf near Port Richey, and I'll share a couple of fishing tips. If you're in the area, rent a boat and travel the short distance to the mouth of the Cotee River. You'll find a small island, sand bars, and stilt houses. All these areas hold fish.

A couple of saltwater fishing tips: We found the best methods for tarpon fishing and cobia fishing was to drift a live finger mullet ot pinfish. Most folks will tell you to use a pinfish, but we had better luck with the live mullet. The pinfish were a lot easier to obtain, however, as they're everywhere!

The mangroves are another place to target, especially for mangrove snapper, reds, and trout. These fish aren't too picky about baits, either. For hot-weather trout, fish early and late in the day, before the weather heats up.

Flats fishing in this area will reward you with some great scenery, too. The water is crystal clear over the grass beds. don't let the clear water fool you! You'll think you're in two feet of water even though you might be in eight feet. Saltwater fishing in Florida represents some of the best flats fishing anywhere!

To read more about Florida flats fishing, go here:

Boating Safety

Many fishermen own their own boats and spend a considerable amount of time on board. As with just about any type of vehicle, there are inherent dangers in operating a boat. And because you're on the water, the dangers are often unique to boating. One of the biggest dangers is boating during a thunderstorm. To learn how to be safe while boating in the presence of a storm while saltwater fishing, especially one that includes lightning, go here:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Save money on your next fishing trip!!

If you're planning a trip to your favorite fishing spot, you have to have somewhere to lodge, right? Of course, if you're going on a guided trip with lodging included, you don't need to read this - unless you'd like to save big bucks on hotel stays for vacation or businesses purposes. If that's the case, continue reading.

My family and I do a lot of traveling, and we've discovered a great hotel chain that we can always depend on for comfort, cleanliness, and great amenities, all at unbelievably low prices!

The secret is La Quinta Inn and Suites and La Quinta Inns - two branches of La Quinta Hotels. To learn all about La Quinta Hotels, including ways to get discounts, read this article. You can use the money you save for a new fishing rod!

Here's the link:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to cook shark meat

Have you ever eaten shark meat that tasted somewhat simmilar to the inside of a tennis ball? If so, that's because the person cooking the shark didn't prepare it correctly, or either it wasn't cooked properly. Chances are it was the former to blame for the rubber-like consistency.

Sharks are practically all muscle. Their skeletons aren't made of bone, but of cartilage. To make the shark fillets or shark steals tender and fit to eat, those strong muscle fibers have to be broken down.

The article about this will give you the proper steps to ensure that your shark meat is flaky and tender. Cooking tips will also be provided. Click the following link, or click the appropriate title to get the info:

Southern Cuisine: How to Prepare and Cook Shark Meat

Southern Cuisine: How to Prepare and Cook Shark Meat

Throw a low country boil

A low country boil is a wonderful southern tradition! It's a great way to share delicious food, good times, and catching up with friends, neighbors, and family. Best of all, there's not a lot of work involved for the host and hostess. Preparation, cooking, and cleanup are a snap.

To get some ideas for your next low country boil, click the appropriate title. If you want to make your own cocktail sauce for your boiled shrimp, find that title and click it!

Easy Entertaining Tips: Low Country Boil

Easy Entertaining Tips: Low Country Boil

Southern Cuisine: Crab Stew

Southern Cuisine: Crab Stew

Southern Cuisine: Holle's Oyster Stew

Southern Cuisine: Holle's Oyster Stew

Southern Cuisine: Holle's Buttermilk Hushpuppies

Southern Cuisine: Holle's Buttermilk Hushpuppies

How to Catch a Big Redfish - with Fishing Video

How to Catch a Big Redfish - with Fishing Video

Fishing tips for catching big reds

Most of you seasoned anglers know that to catch a big fish of a certain species, you often have to employ different strategies and tactics than you would for a small fish of the same species. This is certainly true of reds.

Reds, red drum, red bass, spot-tail bass, channel bass - whatever you want to call them - are great fun to catch, but the big ones can be wily. They didn't get that old and that big by being dumb.

This is a great article with saltwater fishing tips for beginners to understand the low-down on big reds. And after you catch your red and fillet it, use my recipe for blackened redfish, found below. Here's the link to the article:

Southern Cuisine: Blackened Redfish

Southern Cuisine: Blackened Redfish

Easy Oyster Recipes, with My Secret Sauce Recipe

Easy Oyster Recipes, with My Secret Sauce Recipe

Easy Oyster Recipes, with My Secret Sauce Recipe

Easy Oyster Recipes, with My Secret Sauce Recipe

Southern Cuisine: Buttermilk Fried Shrimp

Southern Cuisine: Buttermilk Fried Shrimp

Charter Fishing and Party Fishing Boats: Know Before You Go

Charter Fishing and Party Fishing Boats: Know Before You Go

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fishing tips: Best flounder baits

I love flounder fishing! In fact, I think it's my favorite angling of all. There's really not a lot of work required in catching one of these flatfish, and they're superb on the table. With a few saltwater fishing tips, you'll be well on your way to dining on some great grub!

What's the best bait for flounder? That largely depends on who you ask. For example, in North Carolina and in the Chesapeake Bay, many flounder fishermen use strips of cut bait to entice their prey. In Georgia and Florida, however, I've never seen this bait used for flounder.

Among my circle of flounder fishermen, we prefer live shrimp, finger mullet, and mud minnows as our choices for natural baits. I've caught the largest flounder - the real doormats - on finger mullet. Of course, these aren't always available. Live shrimp are effective, but they die so quickly that they're sometimes aggravating. Also, smaller fish species will often eat the shrimp. If you have a nice stout finger mullet on, you'll decrease your chances of catching undesired fish.

Mud minnows usually work well, also, but not as well as the mullet. One problem with buying mud minnows is that some of them are really too small to entice a decent sized flounder. Try to pick out larger mud minnows if you have a choice.

For artificials, I've had the best luck with ledhead jigs. I use a red ledhead paired with a pink or white soft grub. Some fishermen tip the hook with a small bit of shrimp, but I don't.

To read more about flounder fishing, go here:

Cast nets

If you're an avid saltwater angler and can't throw a cast net, you don't know what you're missing! Catching fresh bait is a must for serious saltwater fishing. You're passing up some of the best baits you can find! And best of all, they're free.

When the mullet are running, it's easy to fill your bait bucket with finger mullet just the right size for those trophy reds and flounder, along with other fish species, by cast netting. Of course, you'll also have the chance to haul in some big mullet to use for sharks and other large fish. If you enjoy fried mullet or smoked mullet, you can catch plenty in even a small cast net.

Also, some cast netters overlook the fact that they can catch shrimp with their cast nets. The small ones can be used for bait, and the larger ones can be fried, boiled, or grilled. There's just nothing like eating really fresh shrimp right out of the ocean!

If you want to learn to throw a cast net the easy way, click the link. There's a video included:

Saturday, April 3, 2010


We've all had those slow days - times when we couldn't entice a single fish to bite, no matter what delicacy we offered the finned critters. It's almost like the fish are suffering from an extreme case of lockjaw. You might be able to awaken their appetites, however, with chumming! Check out these saltwater fishing tips for chumming.

Chum spreads small bits of blood and bait through the water as it travels on the natural currents. It can reach a lot of fish in a relatively short amount of time. When it does, fish often go into a feeding frenzy when competing with others members of their school, and they throw caution to the wind, making them much more likely to bite your hook.

You can purchase chum or make your own, and you can chum effectively from a boat, a pier, a bridge, or even if the surf.

To learn more about chumming and how to make your own, go here:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beach seining

Have you ever pulled a seine net at the beach? If not, you're missing out on some great fun, along with the opportunity to catch your own REALLY fresh seafood!

What might you catch while seining in the Southeastern salt waters? There's no telling! We've caught large shrimp, small sharks, redfish, seatrout, whiting, catfish, mullet, flounder, stingrays, croaker, spots, horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, skates, and lots of mminnows.

On our best hauls, we filled coolers with extra-large shrimp and big mullet, along with buckets of big blue crabs. Sometimes we cooked our catch right on the beach! Believe me, the taste of seafood just out of the water is amazing!

This is a great activity for the entire family and can easily be incorporated into your beach vacation.

To get the specifics on seining, along with some great deals on seine nets, go here:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crabbing - Fun for the whole family!

Crabbing is a great activity for the entire family. Just about anyone can do it successfully with a little practice. Even kids will enjoy it, and catching their own dinner will give them a great feeling of accomplishment.

You don't need any expensive equipment to get started. Some cord, some bait, and a dip net will suffice for basic crabbing. A long handled net will work best, but my grandkids have caught plenty of crabs with dip nets from the dollar store. For bait, use a chicken part. I've found that the backs work best - probably because they have so much fat.

Simply tie the back onto the cord and toss it into the surf, the bay, or the tidal creek. Let is "sit" until you observe a tug on the line. Then SLOWLY retrieve the bait. When you see the crab, scoop it up in the net! For this type of crabbing, I've had the best luck at high tide.

If you'd like to crab from a pier, dock, or bridge, you'll need a crab trap. These range from cheap net traps to metal pyramid traps to large crab boxes. The traps are baited with chicken parts of dead fish and then tossed into the water. Check the traps every so often.

To read all the specifics about crabbing, go here:

At the bottom of the above article, you'll also find links for tips on killing, cooking, and eating your catch!

Fishing Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe, FL

This area of the Florida Panhandle provides some awesome fishing! One of the best spots we've found is under the big bridge between Port St. Joe and St. Joe Beach.

As you're leaving Port St. Joe and heading toward Mexico Beach, turn right onto the dirt road just before crossing the bridge. The road will take you underneath the bridge to the tidal creek that empties into the bay. Wade out into the bay and cast into the deep channel with finger mullet, mud minnows, live shrimp, or artificials.

This is a great spot for flounder! They lie on the bottom near the fast current of the channel, waiting for bait to swim by. I've also seen some large reds taken here, using the same angling methods.

Crabbing here is often excellent, too, and it's a good way to keep the kids entertained. Our kids have caught coolerfuls of large blue crabs along the bank without even using bait! They just walked along the narrow beach, watching for the crabs. When they saw one, they scopped it up with a long handled net.

A word of caution: Don't wade out too far! The current in the channel is deadly.

Another good spot to fish is the Port St. Joe Marina. Fish an hour before and an hour after high tide for the best results. Catches include flounder, trout, and mangrove snapper.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things I've Caught on the Pier

The great thing about saltwater fishing is that you never know what you might catch! The ocean is full of fascinating creatures, and many of them seem to like hanging around a fishing pier.

Of course, I've caught lots of the ususal species: flounder, trout, pompano, reds, blues, whiting, ladyfish, sharks, spots, black drum, needle fish, pocupine fish, puffers, snapper, stingrays, skates, grouper, sheepshead, and jack crevalle, but my husband and I have also caught or at least hooked other fish not usually caught from a pier, including cobia, tarpon, and barracuda.

And then there were the strange fish. I caught a big silver fish years ago that looked like it had run head into a brick wall. It had a sharply slanted face/head. After some research, I discovered that I had landed a "lookdown," a member of the pompano family.

Johnny once caught a really ugly fish that had the head of a toad. Its pectoral fins looked like wings, and under each fin, this fish had little "legs." It took us a while to find out that this was a Sea Robin.

Another strange species we caught were ribbon fish, also called cutlass fish. These are long, very skinny fish with a terrible mouth and teeth. One day they came through and attacked everyone's bait, so for a while, that's all anyone was catching.

We've also caught large whelks, starfish, octopuses, crabs, and sea turtles, usually when fishing with cut bait.

Once when fishing at Mexico Beach in Florida, we caught a cormorant - diving bird. Releasing this guy from the hook was no simple feat! Hubby caught a seagull once in North Carolina, and he thought the frightened bird would peck him to death before he could set it free.

Saltwater fishing is rarely boring, and it often proves to be educational, as well!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ready for the trout run?

We're almost out of the cold embrace of winter, and spring is only a few weeks away! Are you ready for the trout run? The speckled trout, or the spotted seatrout, will soon be out feeding voraciously in shallow water. They'll be searching the bays, inlets, and tidal creeks for crustaceans and minnows.

Specs are fun and easy to catch, and they're one of the tastiest fish in the ocean. The average size in the South is around two or three pounds, but there are also bigger seatrout around - the gator trout.

There are several great baits to use for speckled trout, including some in the natural bait and the artificial bait categories. The best natural bait is live shrimp, hooked through the horn. Small mullet are also excellent for specs.

Read all the details of spec fishing here:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sheepshead: Notorious convicts

Atlantic sheepshead are often called "convict fish," and this nickname is very appropriate. Not only are they dressed in skin with the black stripes of prison garb, they're also theives. They'll steal your bait in a flash!

Sheepshead are usually found around rocks, pier pilings, and bridge supports - anywhere barnacles can cling to and grow. The sheepshead eat the barnacles from the structures, so this is the best place to find the finned burglars.

The best baits include fiddler crabs and sand fleas. Some anglers have good luck with small pieces of shrimp, while others use barnacles attached to their hook with small rubber bands. Personally, I've had the most success with the sand fleas - the fresh live ones. These are easy to catch in the surf or at the edge of the tise line.

Put a sand flea on your hook and bob it around a pier piling, or toss it uner the pier and slowly retrieve it, bumping it along the bottom. When you feel a tug, don't try to set the hook. Just continue winding in your line.

To read all the specifics about how to catch sheepshead, click here:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

How to catch sharks

Sharks used to be considered "trash fish" by many serious saltwater fishermen. In the last couple of decades, however, shark fishing has become a big business. People pay big bucks for a charter and guide to take them to where the monsters are, in hopes of tangling with one and landing it.

You don't have to hire a guide or boat to catch big sharks. In fact, you can catch them right from shore or from a pier! Several species of sharks are found all along the Atlantic and gulf coasts, and they're easy to catch.

Get all the tips here:

Take a kid fishing!

Do you have kids? Do you take them fishing? There's just no better way to spend quality time with your son or daughter than by enjoying the great outdoors while on a fishing adventure!

Sure, angling is a lot of fun, but it can also be educational. Just think of all the things you can teach your kids while fishing!

To get more ideas and specifics, click here:

Need some tips on teaching a kid HOW to fish? Visit my website:

The secret to great fried fish

Fish is a staple around out house! And fried fish is a real treat. My fried fish are awesome. Would you like to know why? One of my "secrets" is using buttermilk. It gives the fish a wonderful flavor and helps the coating stick to the flesh.

As an accomplished Southern cook, however, this isn't the only trick up my chef's sleeve, however. The others involve the coating mix and the right oil at the right temperature.

Reading to get cooking? Get the specifics here:

Pier fishing

Are you heading to Florida this year for a well earned vacation? If so, most coastal Florida towns have public fishing piers. On many of these, the piers pay an annual license fee, so you might not even have to purchase a fishing license to fish legally from a pier.

Piers are great places to fish because most fish species are attracted to structure. If the water's clear enough, you'll actually be able to see fish swimming around the pilings. Some species, like sheepshead, will actually be feeding on barnacles that grow on the pilings.

Want to learn all the details about successful pier fishing? The following article is about North Florida, but the same tactics would work just about anywhere in the Southeast.

Read here to learn more:

free bait for surf fishing

Surf fishing is a great way to pass a few hours at the beach. You can toss out a line and then relax in your lounge chair while waiting for a tug. If you're a serious angler and the water's warm enough, you might prefer to stay in the water.

Surf fishing is totally relaxing, and it's inexpensive! You won't need any fancy equipment - just a rod and reel and some bait! And you can easily catch your own bait for free.

Fishing in the surf can also be very rewarding. There's no telling what you might catch! Anywhere along the Southeastern US coast, you might catch flounder, redfish, black drum, sharks, pompano, seatrout, whiting, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, croaker, or other species.

To learn more, click here: