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This is the time of year when King fishing on the beaches and nearshore reefs is incredible. One of the more popular methods is drifting or trolling live baits. Pilchards, Threadfin Herring, Menhaden, Blue Runners, or even Spanish Mackerel are commonly used baits that can be caught in our area.
Kingfish are a member of the Pelagic family and unlike most of our inshore species, they are constantly moving. They are attracted to structure and are a sure bet to be around the scene of any feeding frenzy, particularly large bait schools. A good sign for locating Kingfish is finding their cousin, Spanish Mackerel. This holds true especially inside the bay.
Once you have located an area to target, set out a few rigs and begin to work the area. As mentioned above, live baits are normally the bait of choice, but large spoons, feathers, skirts, and even lipped plugs will get the job done. While trolling, I like to start outside the target area or structure and work the area in a “zig-zag” pattern until we find the bite. Always keep an eye out for activity on the surface. Whether it be birds or fish, sometimes that is the difference maker.
The Egmont Channel, stretching from the Port of Tampa inside Tampa Bay, all the way out to the Whistler Buoy, is a 20-plus mile artificial reef. The sheer walls of the channel, coupled with the FAD-like chains that secure its marker buoys, are a never-ending bait magnet. And where there is bait, there is kingfish.
This is an interesting area southwest of Pass-A-Grille aptly named for it’s steep drop-offs. Twenty-foot roll-offs are common out here and the bait can get soupy around the structure. This one of those areas that can be fishless one day and turn on overnight and hold big fish for many days. A good area to fish when it gets a little rough.
Between Boca Grande Pass and Anclote Key are countless patches of live bottom in 12 to 25 feet of water. Some of the areas are full of small ledges and breaks while others are as flat as a pancake. Most are interspersed with “kingfish highways” or roll-offs where the sand meets the rock in a defined edge. Slow-trolling big live baits like mullet, ladyfish, mackerel, trout and shad through these areas can be deadly. Anchoring on an edge and chumming can also be productive.
There’s something about a wreck that can attract and hold a large number of big kingfish. Maybe it’s the smorgasbord of forage available (from sardines to snapper) or the simple security of high relief. In any case, the Blackthorn/Sheridan, Tug & Barge, 10 Fathom, Betty Rose, Clearwater Wreck, the Gunsmoke, the Shrimp Barge and the Mexican Pride are all well-known wrecks that have all produced big kings in the past. Slow-trolling over the structure as well as working circles away from the numbers can be deadly. Anchoring up-tide and employing a chum slick can be productive but can bring you un-wanted attention as well.
Fishing a wreck and an artificial reef are about the same. The only difference is that most artificial reefs are scattered over a fairly large area. Knowing where each and every piece of structure is on a given reef can put you in front of kingfish that haven’t been worked by the pack. Spots like the Rube Allyn, the Indian Shores, the Tarpon Springs and all of the M reefs off Sarasota are unique but can be fished in similar styles. Map out the structure and work the water column hard with whatever bait is holding in the area.
Lobster Season is the envy of many a southerner, especially us Floridians. It is practically a state holiday and is an event that families have been safely enjoying for decades. However, there always seems to arise stories of accidents ranging from injuries and fatalities to damaging of the environment that give the holiday a bad reputation. “Its not the fact that the people come down to take the lobster that is the issue. Sure we don’t like the extra traffic but these people bring business, we want them — and there’s plenty of (legal) lobster. Its just that when they are disrespectful or aren’t knowledgeable — of the rules of the water, regulations of fishing and the proper ways of lobstering, we begin to resent their invasive presence,” says FL Keys local Don R. “People need to know what they are doing before they get down here”. These words spoken from a true local are what made us decide to write this article, so here it goes.
Don’t Make These 5 Lobstering Mistakes!
1. Don’t Lobster without Knowing ALL the Rules and Obtaining your Recreational Lobster Licence
Federal and State Laws regulate the size and methods of obtaining Florida Spiny Lobster. Therefore, know the rules and get your license. Harvesting rules vary depending upon which region or county you are in, so be sure to know which apply to you. Sizing Rules are universal statewide and require the carapace to measure larger than 3″ and for the lobster to be a non egg-bearing female.
Click the picture below for Official Rules and Licensing:
2. Don’t Lobster without Knowing Boating Laws and How to Safely Operate Your Vessel
Safe operation of a vessel is imperative to a safe and successful day of fun on the water. Any activity on a boat or on the water can be hazardous and proper caution should be maintained. This includes knowing how to completely operate that vessel, knowing your channel markers and waterways, being aware of where you are anchoring, knowing where all emergency gear is on board, knowing where all divers are at all times and being conscious of others and wildlife on or in the water. You never want to harm or put a loved-one in danger Finnes for disruption of wildlife habitat by use of boat can be costly so be aware and be safe!
Click the picture below to get your FREE Boater’s License from Boat US Foundation:
3. Don’t Lobster without Knowing How to Dive or Snorkel
Many aspects of lobstering are taken for granted by people whom frequently do it. These include the novices ability to properly clear their ears, hold their breathe, swim with fins and tools, etc. Be aware of this when lobstering with friends and novices. Before ever getting into the water in search of lobster they must feel comfortable with the basics. Don’t go let them go into the water without practicing first.
Click the pictures below for Freediving and Scuba Diving Courses:
4. Don’t Forget Any Gear
Depending upon your method of lobstering the amount of gear needed will vary. Regardless, you need to make a checklist and make sure you don’t forget anything! Lobster, Tickle Stick, Measuring Gauge, Lobster Bag, Fins, Mask, Snorkel, Gloves, etc. Make that list and check it twice.
Stop in and supply yourself with all your lobstering gear and Red Rum Apparel at any of these retailers.
5. Don’t Leave without a Plan
A well implemented plan is the key to a successful lobster season. The lobster can be anywhere, especially being that the recent Hurricane Irma created new places for them to live. The flats, the reef, the wrecks, the bridges, all equally fair game to those on the hunt. However each spot bears its own characteristics. Tide shifts, rip currents, etc. must all be considered when choosing a good dive spot. There will be some spots that are better than others. Lobster spot numbers are usually the prizes of those who hold them (meaning they won’t share). This leaves many people starting from scratch but that is not a bad place to be. For those of you who are experienced and know where to find them, please do so with safety and enjoy your season! For those looking for some hints on where to go, please read the following:
Where to Look?
The flats on the sides of the channels (if accessible) can be good places to start. The lobsters live in the grass and especially on any ledges in that grass. If you’re headed to the reef, look for isolated coral heads before actually approaching the reef. Lobsters congregate together so in an isolated head about 100 yards from a main reef you can sometimes find groups of between 4-6 of them. When looking in the reef you have to really get down and look under and in the rocks. Look for the antennas in pairs to distinguish because they also hang out in smaller groups or solo, in which case it will be that big, fat, juicy one. Bridges can be good at the right time and place, but are not recommended for beginners. This is due to the dangerous tide shifts and frequent boat traffic. Wrecks can hold lobster if they consist of debris. Usually whole wrecks do not host lobster that is easily accessible, you have to search the wrecks that are broken-up and that have debris.
Hopefully this article was useful to you! With lobster mini season in Florida rapidly approaching, it is imperative to make sure you don’t make any of these lobstering mistakes. Now go get ’em!
Red Rum has now added NautiGirl Beachwear to its team of retailers! This “One Stop Shop for the Sandbar Lifestyle” is located across from the Sundial Plaza in Downtown St Petersburg, FL. NautiGirl carries Red Rum’s Floral Hats, the full selection of Mermaid Performance Crop Tops for ladies, and the NEW 2018 Men’s Aquatic Performance designs including the Bahamian Hogfish Longsleeves. These shirts are all UV 30 sun-protective, quick-drying, and perfect for those sunny days on the water. Be sure to stop by today and checkout the NEW beachwear and store all the locals are raving about!
Red Rum Performance Aquatic Clothing is now available at Florida Freedivers. Florida Freedivers is the premiere destination in the Palm beach area for all your freediving, snorkeling and spearfishing needs. Florida Freedivers guarantees the best prices around and even offers a Price Match Guarantee. They also offer a variety of Freediving and spearfishing courses for divers of all skill levels. Bookings are made easy on the website. This dive shop has created a great community of divers who live the tropical lifestyle and are eco-conscious; and understand sustainability. That is why Red Rum chose them as the premier retailer of Red Rum in Palm Beach. You too can represent that lifestyle with Red Rum’s 2018 dive-inspired designs including the Bahamian Hogfish and Keeper of the Sea Shirts . These UV 30 sun-protective shirts are quick-drying and moisture wicking, making them great for being above and below the water. Men’s and women’s designs are available, check them out NOW!
The question is often asked, “where can I find some Red Rum gear”? Well the answer is quite simple. If you want the largest selection of our gear you can shop online at redrumintl.com. Delivery times are from 3-5 days with up 48 hours allowed for processing time. But if you need gear today, then we do have 29 Retail locations across the state of Florida carrying our products. All of these locations are listed on our website here, but we also have included the map for your reference below. Our retail locations consist of Bait and tackle Stores, Dive Shops, Marinas and Surf Shops, from Key West to Port Canaveral on the East Coast and from Cape Coral to Tampa on the Gulf.
We are constantly trying to add more stores to our retail army so if you can think of any that would be a good fit, please feel free to let us know!
These Stores Carry Red Rum Gear
Diving, Fishing and living the tropical lifestyle. This video is dedicated to the summers that fly by so quickly! Special Thanks to everyone who made it possible! Please checkout our Aquatic Sports products including UV Protective Shirts, hats and more at redrumintl.com
Special Thanks to:
Costa Morada Fishing Charters in Islamorada, FL Keys
(786) 687- 6007
No Doubt Fishing Charters in Key West, FL
Music By: J Boog – My Audio
Yellow Bait House in Key Largo is your one-stop-shop for all of your angling and fishing needs! Yellow Bait House Carries a full line of Fishing rods, tackle, live and dead bait and Red Rum Fishing Shirts. These include the famous Ruler Sleeve fishing shirts, Performance Freediver Shirts and Mermaid Performance Crop Tops. All of the Red Rum Shirts are UV 30 sun protective, fast-drying and keep you feeling cool in the tropic heat! Stop by today to checkout Key Largos best bait & tackle shop and get your hands on some Red Rum fishing shirts!
Captain Hook’s in Marathon Carries a FULL line of Red Rum Shirts & Hats! These include Red Rum’s famous Tropical Hats, Red Rum Stickers & Decals, Mens Fishing Shirts, and Ladies Crop Top Rash Guards, including the famous Mermaid design! The NEW Ladies Mermaid Crop Top Rash Guards have been a smash hit this summer! These long sleeve crop tops are UPF 30+ Sun Protective and quick-drying. They are truly the perfect shirt for diving, fishing boarding or boating! Our other most popular shirt design which will be in-stock at Captain Hooks is the Ruler Sleeve Grouper Shirts! These fishing shirts are also UV 30 Sun protective and fast drying.
These products are sure to add some swagger to your tropical lifestyle clothing collection! Stop by today and check out the new gear for yourself!
In addition to providing excellent customer service, Scuba Outlet in Key Largo is known for their selection of diving and spearfishing apparel including performance shirts and hats by Red Rum International! They carry the most extensive line of Red Rum gear in the Upper Keys including the famous grouper shirts and performance crop tops! They also sell other top quality dive, snorkel, spearfishing and lobstering gear and offer Scuba Diving certification classes. Their Key Largo location is the premier spot to stock-up on your dive and Red Rum gear and hats before heading south on US1 through the FL Keys this lobster season!
Stop by today to get your hands on some Red Rum and Gear-Up for Lobster Season!
Address: 106010 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037