Tales from my fishing vacation.

I am Ready to get back to work after a fabulous fishing vacation. <br />
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I needed a break and had to use or lose a trip I won at the Florida Outdoor Writers Convention last year. It was the end of scallop season plus my Friend captain Tommy Thomson said the redfish and trout we biting. What’s a guy to do but pack up, use the trip and get some new scenery? Merry Beth and I went up to Steinhatchee, Florida to take in the Nature Coast sights.<br />
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We spent our first day scalloping with fisherman friend David and his wife, Kathy on their air boat. Yes, I said air boat; now this is unusual but fishermen know how to get the job done and David knew exactly how to get a mess of fresh scallops. The shallow draft rig allowed us to run in shallow waters that were very productive; because most boats could not get there. While most folks snorkel for scallop dinner we waded. It was so neat to see the blue eyed scallops scurry thru the grass and into my small dip net. Merry Beth even had to jump in and join the fun. We spent a little more than an hour gathering our eight gallon limit of delicious morsels; then enjoyed the ride back over the shallow grass flats observing the abundant redfish schools. We saw sharks and all kinds of activity. Our first day was worth the trip!<br />
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We then checked into our accommodations at the beautiful Steinhatchee Landings Resort. It is a very old Florida village and the resort utilizes that cottage theme. It was time to shuck our dinner but I was tired and took advantage of the many signs and hired a couple to shuck ours while we showered for dinner. They charged $6 dollars a pound for the job and it was well worth the money. We took our catch to Fiddles restaurant as they prepare your catch. We had broiled scallops and a sautéed dish with pasta. They did a great job for about ten dollars each, with salad and side. My grits we great but afterwards I saw they would add cheese for fifty cents more. Nice way to end our first day.<br />
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We spent the next two days casting top water Mirrolures for redfish and trout with Captain Tommy abroad his eighteen foot, Shypoke flats boat. It was different to fish lures again since I live bait so much now, but we had a ball. Merry Beth caught most of the reds and Tommy and I caught trout the first day. It is so odd to be in such shallow waters in the Gulf, one to three feet of water on grassy flats a mile off shore. The waters are shallow for miles and miles up there; they say it drops a foot per mile.<br />
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Thursday we went North and caught twenty trout the first hour. Then found a big school of hungry redfish dropping off the shallow grass on the falling tide. They came right at us and Merry Beth made the perfect cast, just ahead and past the cruising school. She retrieved it and they fought over it until one got the hooks. She played it carefully because these fish want to dig their heads into the bottom and pull your hooks out. We got some great photos and went to look for the school gain. They got lost in the deeper waters. We rode south and located a huge school of bigger reds as they came ashore on the incoming tide flow. We saw them at least a mile off. They settled down to forage and chewed up some food off the bottom; we could see five to fifteen tails reaching skyward waving to us as we moved into range. I mean total tails exposed, flagging us in. It took me four hooks up to keep a fish glued on; Merry Beth caught one her first cast. My fish just dug in and rooted the hooks out; I finally removed the center hook and it helped me hang on. Check out the photos we got.<br />
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It’s raining as we return home and this will add a lot of rain runoff to our fishing systems. Baitfish could move around and we do have plenty of fish so if the food moves gamefish will be hungry; great news for us fishermen. I have plenty of refresher work with lures if we do lose the minnows. This could be the start of our Fall fishing? I saw mackerel are already down to the Tampa Bay area. Doc, from Goofy Jigs, reported pompano around the St. Pete. area. I am anxious to get out and see how things are shaping up here in Charlotte Harbor and the Boca Grande area. It’s time to set up your fishing dates before it gets cold. Let’s Go Fishin’ soon; Captain Van Hubbard. <www.captvan.com><br />

Captain Van Hubbard

P.O. Box 146
Placida, FL 33946

941-468-4017

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