According to Captain Chris Johnson, who is part of the Yamaha National Fishing Team and specializes in gulf/bay, offshore, reef/wreck, tarpon and shark fishing out of the 7 Mile Marina in Marathon, sailfish are appearing on the reef in increasing numbers. Whilst the most exciting event of the year for most people in Marathon will almost certainly be the forthcoming Christmas light boat parade, which promises elaborate light displays and carnival cruises, the city’s many offshore fishermen will no doubt class plucking a sailfish out of the sea and landing it in their boat as their own personal highlight if they are lucky enough to do so.
These impressive specimens can grow up to three metres in length and weight up to ninety kilograms, making them a catch that is well worth having. Their meat is relatively tough and consequently isn’t widely eaten but they are highly valued as game fish, partly due to the challenge that they pose because they often fight vigorously when they are hooked, diving and leaping repeatedly out of the water in a desperate attempt to free themselves and get away. This means that they can take hours to land and provide worthy adversaries for fishermen. Captain Johnson says that these fish are being caught by people live-baiting off the deeper reef edge and advises those seeking to catch them to use pilchards, goggle eyes, ballyhoo or small blue runners as bait.
Year after year, as I travel across the state looking for that perfect boating destination, I often find myself coming back to one small fishing community located in the heart of the Forgotten Coast. Carrabelle, Florida is not your typical tourist destination. Most people I talk to actually have no idea where Carrabelle is located or if they do, they quickly associate it with fishing. So during our last visit we set out to find other adventures -- adventures that could be enjoyed either by the entire family or by a couple just looking to reconnect.
The beauty of Carrabelle is found in its simplicity. There are no red lights (there’s only one in the whole county!), but there are great boat ramps, mom-and-pop restaurants and lodging, plus easy access to Dog Island and St. George Island. You don’t have to look far to feel like you’ve stepped back in time. For this trip, we chose a private beach house on St. George Sound, just a few miles from the center of Carrabelle. Not quite sure what to expect, we were elated to find a beautiful three bedroom home located directly on the beach and surrounded by towering pines. A private deck provided a priceless view of the sunset over St. George Island. This oasis delivered everything we needed to escape from our everyday lives.
Everyday Adventures A Florida Outdoors Guide is a great book to read as a whole or even to pick out sections to read before going on your own adventure. I chose to read the book front to back while car pooling each morning to work. Every morning I read aloud three to five areas. This passes the time while riding to work and gives great insight into trips we would like to take this summer.
The chapters are broken down nicely, then within each chapter are sections describing an adventure type or a destination. Terry Tomalin's writing is easy to read and very descriptive. The short sections make it perfect to give a taste of the adventure waiting ahead.
He also has very useful information, tips and contacts for destinations and the like. Terry Tomalin's book gets me excited to begin kayaking, hiking, biking, snorkeling and more. This book is great for beginning adventurers as well as folks who explore the great outdoors often already.
If you like the outdoors or want to start exploring different avenues to find your favorite activity, this book is a must read. Happy reading and happy exploring! Website
Members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have established several new restrictions and regulations this year. If you are going to be boating and fishing in Florida in 2012, you should stay informed about the new restrictions and changes. Here are some of the most important ones:
1. Floridians will no longer be allowed to capture tiger sharks or scalloped, smooth, or hammerhead sharks.
2. Until March 15, all bass caught in the Rodman Reservoir must be released.
3. People will not be allowed to release more than nine helium balloons in the air, and people will not be allowed to release any helium balloons with ribbons attached the them.
4. After February 1, 2012, anglers will be allowed to begin catching spotted sea trout in Northern Florida again, and the recreational bag limit for spotted sea trout will increase from 5 to 6.
5. Anglers will be allowed to catch spotted sea trout for six months out of the year (the beginning of June to the end of November). This is an increase from the previous three-month time frame.
6. After February 1, 2012, anglers will be able to catch two red drum fish per boating trip in Northeast and Northwest Florida. Those in Southern Florida will be allowed to catch only one red drum fish per boating trip.
Hopefully the rules and regulations that have come into effect this year will not jeopardize the popularity of boating and fishing in Florida. Some Floridians may have trouble justifying an exorbitant boat transport cost if they won’t be able to catch their favorite fish. Other Northern Floridians will likely be very excited about the increased opportunities to catch spotted sea trout.
Logan Baker is a writer for the Blog Content Guild who writes about outdoor topics