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Monthly ArchivesMonthly Archives: May 2013


A Great Week of Fishing





by Joey Nicotra

It’s no secret that the fishing has been on fire lately, as you can probably tell by the many photos being published on our Temperate Tides Facebook page lately. With last weeks great tides and weather conditions, I tried to get out on the water as much as I could, hitting all of my favorite spots around Pine Island. With all the fishing I was doing, I didn’t have the time to make individual reports, so I will combine last week’s trips onto one shortened post.

The first trip of the week was with Nick Castillo out of Matlacha Park. The day started at first light, casting to some rolling baby tarpon under a small bridge to the north; no takers. We continued north, working the mangrove shoreline and flats with gold spoons and weedless jerk shads. Nick was the first to score with a small trout and good sized flounder.


Then I got two 24″ redfish in a row before getting a small snook. As the action was peaking, Nick and I scored a double header – me with a snook and Nick with a redfish.


Later on, Nick hooked into a chubby 26″ redfish that put up a good fight. The action died a bit, and then the unexpected happened. Nick launched a cast to a wake on the open shallow grass flat and connected with a leaping, drag screaming, toothy fish – a barracuda!


This was the first time Nick or I have ever seen a ‘cuda in the backwaters of SW Florida.


The second trip took me to Pineland, where I fished solo. The morning started off very slow with only three small trout to show for a few hours of fishing. Then around noon, the action turned on big time. I ended up catching a nice redfish and about 10 snook, ranging from 17-32 inches in short order. Yes, 32 inches, my personal best from my kayak!


Against all odds, I even caught another barracuda!


Then on the way in, I saw a school of snook holding in a deep cut through the mangroves and managed to hook into one of the bigger ones measuring 26 inches.


Not to mention all of the fish were caught on topwater. It was a great way to end the day!


The next trip took me Tropical Point in Matlacha Pass. I started the morning with a bunch of trout. One cast even yielded a big trout AND a jack!


Two of the bigger ones were a 22 incher and this HUGE 27 inch, my personal best trout!


I worked my way north and managed two average sized snook and ANOTHER barracuda.


On the very next cast after catching the ‘cuda I hooked up to a good sized snook. Suddenly a huge wake came up behind the hooked fish and a 5 foot bull shark chomped my snook in half. He circled back around and ate the front half of the snook, including my lure, moments after, leaving only a shredded up leader. The rest of the day was slow after that except for two lower slot redfish.


The final day of fishing last week was a trip back to Pineland with my sister, Cassie. After trekking across some very skinny water, we found a deep hole holding a school of mullet. The first cast yielded a wild strike and the second cast connected to a big redfish. As we drifted and battled some wind, a couple casts from each of us got some hits from one persistent big snook in the pothole, but neither of us were able to hook up. Later on we came across a cove where I saw about 6 small cruising redfish being led by a huge one. I cast up ahead of the school and convinced the big 29 incher to eat.


A bit deeper in the cove a saw a lone redfish sitting in 6 inches of water. I cast my topwater just beyond him and he turned on the “clacking” lure and gulped it down in one fell swoop.


It was easily the coolest sight-fished redfish I have ever caught. The next hour or two of fishing produced another over-slot redfish, a small snook, and a small redfish to end the day.


I will be fishing a lot this summer and will try to be a bit more timely with my reports. Hopefully the fishing stays this great and the Temperate Tides team will keep you updated with some cool stories and pictures!


Firsts! Firsts! Firsts!





By Preston Haytac

The past few days for me have been full of firsts. It started off with me finding a great deal on a fly setup that I have been looking for in order to start my fly fishing journey. I ended up getting a nice TFO rod and Orvis reel for just under 200$, and after a crash course on throwing the fly rod from YouTube and a couple of friends I decided I was ready to go. On Monday I had wandered back in a Cape Coral canal and ended up finding a ridiculously secluded and fishy place that I felt was perfect for me to start learning how to fly fish. Unfortunately I didn’t have my fly setup at the time but after losing a huge snook I did manage one on topwater.

22" snook with my Bigfin snook shirt.

22″ snook with my Bigfin snook shirt.

Tuesday comes around and 15 MPH winds kept me out of my usual fishing grounds so I packed the fly rod up and along with my two new flies from Bass Pro and took the kayak out to my spot. As soon as I got into the cove I could hear snook popping all over the place and I was just hoping I could throw the fly without making a fool out of myself. Once I got the hang of it I started to notice some Mayan Cichlids following my fly. In an effort for my first fish on fly to be a snook, I kept it out of their reach until this little guy became my first official fish on fly.

1st snook on fly

1st snook on fly

Now that I had caught my snook I started letting some cichlids and gars eat my clouser minnow.

Mayan Chiclid

Mayan Chiclid



I was even lucky enough to get a second snook.

Second snook on fly

Second snook on fly

Feeling pleased with myself I started to get better and better at casting and was soon hitting most of the spots I aimed for. Between twenty and thirty yards away from me, on the opposite shoreline, I had been seeing some big shadows of fish laying up sunning themselves. Every once in a while they would crush some mullet, but being so far away (for my fly fishing abilities) I wasn’t getting my hopes up. With my longest cast of the day ,though, I did reach the outskirts of that opposite shoreline. Being very surprised with my cast I wasn’t expecting the hit from the upper slot redfish that I got. It was my first encounter with a big fish on fly, and I got owned. For the duration of the five minute fight the redfish was running with half of it’s body out of the shallow bottom. Mud was getting kicked up everywhere and since I had taken too much line out to cast I couldn’t get him on the reel. My fatal mistake came though when I let the slightest amount of slack out and the big red did one last head shake and spit the hook. Humbled, furious, and determined I kept at it and an hour later was rewarded by the king himself in the form of a little one pound tarpon that flipped, ran, and head shook to no end that marked another first for me on fly,

baby Tarpon

baby Tarpon

The rains came so I shot back to my launch site which happened to be my grandparents house. I waited out the storm, refuled, retied, and went back out to fish some shoreline where I would get my first snook on the actual kayak which also happened to be my biggest.

First snook on the kayak

First snook on the kayak

Around three I got a text from my buddy Nick Castillo wanting to know if Joey Nicotra and I would go Tarpon fishing that night. Of course I obliged and despite the iffy weather Nick picked us up at Tarpon Point. We needed to get some bait so we stocked up on ladyfish before heading out to the bridge. By seven we were anchored up and had the feisty ladies swimming under the bridge. For the next two hours it was pretty slow until I watched the bobber shoot down and the rod double over. I grabbed it as the tarpon started shooting towards the boat and we all thought it was going to shake the hook right away. Instead I got the line tight and after swimming within five feet of the boat the big Tarpon shot off into the open water and made a gigantic leap which I bowed just in time for. After a few more of those jumps he decided the bridge was his friend and with Nick driving and Joey manning the spotlight we took off after the fish. Once under the bridge the Tarpon tried to wrap around the pilings, but the combination of me pulling and the strong outgoing tide kept the fish at bay. We got out into open water again and began the work of tiring the beast out. This was definitely the biggest Tarpon I had ever hooked and I was determined on catching it in a timely manner so he could swim off strong and stay away from the sharks that are always lurking. A few times we got the fish close to the boat, but he wouldn’t relent. On the last attempt Nick went down to grab the fish by the mouth only to be greeted with a full on tail slap in the chest and face. The Tarpon had one last run in him, but he was beat.

Lucky Bigfin hat

Lucky Bigfin hat

Nick and I grabbed the lip of the 100 lb fish as Joey snapped a few pictures with his IPhone.



That Tarpon would end up being the last one of the night so we headed in around 11:30. After two days of fishing I was tired, hungry, sore, but also very pleased. I had many firsts and learned to appreciate the power of the Silver King no matter how big or small.

1 lb----100 lbs

1 lb—-100 lbs

My fly fishing journey started off with a bang and with so many more “firsts” to accomplish my addiction to fishing is only getting stronger.

Tight Lines!

– Preston Haytac


Tarpon Time

Zane Smith




By Zane Smith

Now that the water is warm and the fish migrations have began to hit Southwest Florida most of the area guides are getting calls for Tarpon fishing.  I went and served as a mate with a couple of my guide friends Capt Daniel Andrews and  Capt Josh Greer of XXL Sportfishing charters  on friday for a full day 12 hour trip. We started catching bait around 6:30 and headed out off of Sanibel in search of tarpon. When we got out there we immediately saw fish free jumping in about 20 feet of water and started to drift while free lining threadfin. We had about 15 fish start to greyhound (staying on the surface constantly rolling (Watch: Rolling Tarpon Sunset) about 15 yards off the bow and I pitched a threadfin to them which instantly got inhaled by about a 120lb tarpon. After a 40 minute fight we had him boat side and snapped a few pictures.

120 lb tarpon

Great clients from friday

Great clients from Friday

Zanes tarpon

Unless you find a pod of fish in the after noon the tarpon have been slim pickings, especially the last few days. The fishing has been best in the morning and about an hour and a half before sunset . We jumped several more fish later in the day and then landed another tarpon about an hour before sunset that was around 65 lbs. In the end we went 2 for 5 on the day. My general setup is 8 foot rods rated 15-30 lb with size 6000 reels spooled with 50lb braid, 6 feet of 60lb leader, and a 7/0 owner J-hook. All in all it was a fun day with some great clients. Hope to see you on the water and tight lines!



Dawn Patrol

Joey Nicotra




By Joey Nicotra

Early morning is hands down my favorite time of the day. Everything is just waking up and becoming active beneath the pink and orange sky. Mullet start jumping and wading birds start feeding on the calm shallow flats. Not to mention the fishing is best at first light during the summertime, before the strong sun forces fish to seek shelter deep in the mangroves. Unfortunately, it usually takes the motivation of catching fish to drive me to wake up at 5:00 AM to experience this time of day.

Today was one of those days, waking up before the sun and making the drive out to Fort Myers Beach to launch into Estero Bay. I arrived at the opening in the mangroves around 6:30 AM and was greeted by some roseate spoonbills sifting through the mud for some breakfast.


The plan for the day was to shoot across the channel and target snook on the rising tide along the mangrove island shorelines. There were, however, a couple of islands to my left, not far from the launch, that were looking particularly fishy. I figured I’d give it a few casts before paddling to my usual fishing grounds. Well, on my second cast, just off an oyster bar point, my topwater gets slurped up by this 27″ snook. Judging by the scars on its side, it looks like it survived a dolphin attack in the past.


Ecstatic from this great start to the day, I keep casting around the area. Not 3 casts later and my topwater gets nailed again. This time by a small redfish in about a foot of water.


I had only been fishing 20 minutes and was already two-thirds of the way to a slam! I kept casting around, drifting closer to the bank that sloped slowly up to the shore. Now I was floating in a mere 6″ of water and saw a swirl up ahead. I casted towards it and the wake of a redfish came charging for the topwater lure. Sadly, he swung just short of the hooks and darted off into deeper water.

Once I had thoroughly covered that side of the channel, I paddled across and worked a grass flat for the trout to complete my slam. It didn’t take long to find a few potholes and I managed a small 15″ trout on the topwater lure.

Happy with my slam, I moved to the mangroves to probe for snook with a DOA shrimp. I started drifting along and had about 4 hits from big snook in a 50 yard stretch of shoreline, and did not successfully hook a single one! I continued on, casting into every pocket of the mangroves I went by. I kept this up for about 2 hours, missing a couple smaller fish and catching a jack. Things were just not going right for me, as I could not keep a single snook on the hook! By 10:00 AM it started getting pretty hot out since there was almost no wind. The heat, coupled with a pretty high tide, seemed to push the fish far back into the mangroves, and the bite came to a halt. Another hour with no bites and I decided to call it a day.

Overall, the morning was a success. Although the snook did not cooperate as I had hoped, I managed to catch a slam in a new area. Interestingly enough, all of the fish I caught today went for the same topwater lure. A Heddon Super Spook Jr. with a chartreuse and white color pattern:





The key today was clearly getting out early and finding the fish while they were active. There is often a small window of time when the bite will be on, and you have to time it just right with the tides, weather, and time of day. Luckily for me, the best fishing action happened during the most beautiful time of the day!


The “Collective Grand Slam”

Joey Nicotra




By Joey Nicotra

Well, after a grueling semester of college and being away from Florida since Christmas, I was more than ready to get back on the water as soon as possible. After checking the weather and tides for Sunday, it appeared the day’s conditions would be a kayaker’s worst nightmare – strong winds up to 18 mph. Preston, Bryce, and I, however, did not let this keep us from venturing out into Matlacha Pass to catch some fish.

I arrived at the launch before Preston and Bryce and ventured out into the dark morning by myself, making a beeline for a nearby area known to hold tarpon this time of year. Once it became light enough to see beyond the end of my kayak, I sat poised with a topwater lure waiting for any rolling fish.  I saw two small fish roll ahead of me beyond casting distance and paddled over and began casting. Suddenly a small tarpon exploded just behind my lure. Two seconds later he missed just short again. Then he came back a third time and there was no doubt, he was hooked! After one long run and about 5 acrobatic jumps, I had the 30 lb tarpon boatside. As I fumbled for my camera in the low dawn’s light, the tarpon made one more leap, threw the lure, and gave me a big splash of water in the face before swimming off.

Preston and Bryce met up with me not 20 minutes later and we kept probing the area for another tarpon bite with no luck. We moved on up to a flat and began wading in about 2 feet of water looking for redfish.


After a good while of dodging camouflaged stingrays and having no bites, Preston suggested we start casting at the shoreline. Sure enough, I got this little snook on my first cast with a gold spoon.


Soon the wind picked up and we made the decision to duck out of the wind on the leeward side of a larger mangrove island.


By now the tide was rising and the flat behind the island was full of life. We saw a few snook cruising the shoreline, but they all refused our offerings of any and every kind of lure. That frustration was interrupted by Bryce’s drag screaming with a 24” redfish on the end of his line.

IMG_9834 IMG_9839

Since that redfish seemed to have really wanted the Unfair Lures Mullet, I started throwing one and was rewarded with a 20+ inch trout to complete our “Collective Grand Slam” (Grand Slam = Redfish, Trout, Snook, Tarpon).


Unfortunately, the big trout are the smart ones, and it somehow managed to unhook itself on my wading shoe…


Luckily, the last fish of the day was a beautiful 19” trout landed by Bryce on a gold Unfair Lures Rip-n-Slash.


The wind was by far the biggest challenge of the day and required a few modifications to the way we fished. First, we mostly waded in order to prevent our kayaks from drifting around and having to constantly adjust our positions in the areas we were fishing. Second, we had to use heavier, aerodynamic lures that could be casted upwind and cut through the wind. Lastly, we had to find areas that were sheltered from the direct force of the wind. This meant fishing a very limited area on the leeward side of mangrove islands and figuring out how to make the best of that area.

Heavy wind is easily one of the biggest enemies of kayak fishermen and poses a great challenge. Despite the difficult conditions, we had a great time on the water catching up and landing a variety of quality fish. I can only hope this day is a sign that this summer will be full of great fishing adventures and exciting new stories.