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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Keaton Beach to Fenholloway

Updated Steinhatchee Guides List, October 2014

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Sep.30, 2014, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee

Looking for a good fishing guide?  Here’s a recent list from Steinhatchee:

Big Bend Guides, Members of Florida Guides Association

Capt. Pat McGriff  (Keaton Beach)

(850) 584-9145

One More Cast Charters

onemorecast@gtcom.net

Type of Fishing : Inshore

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Capt. Bob Erdman

(352) 356-2554

Something’s Fishy Charters

captainboberdman@yahoo.com

Flats, Inshore, Nearshore, Light Tackle, Backcountry

Trout, Redfish, Flounder, Cobia, Black Bass, Spanish mackerel

Steinhatchee, Jena, Deadman’s Bay

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Capt. Brad Riddle

(352) 318-2138

FIN ACTION CHARTERS

captainbradriddle@cox.net

Inshore, Inshore, Nearshore, Flats, Artificial Lure, Live Bait, Group, Private, Scalloping

Trout, Redfish, Black Sea Bass, Pink Mouth Grunts, Spanish Mackerel, Cobia, Flounder, Sheepshead

Steinhatchee, Big Bend Area

River Haven Marina Guides, Steinhatchee


Captain Steve Kroll’s Pepperfish Key Charters (352) 322-4085
USCG licensed Captain Steve Kroll is your host and guide for a great day of near shore and flats fishing, or scalloping, on the beautiful Big Bend region.

On The Mark Guide Service
Captain Mark Lord, a Florida Flats Fishing Guide, is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, with years of experience fishing and guiding in the Steinhatchee area.

Sea Hag Marina Guides, Steinhatchee


Captain Randall Hewitt 386-208-3823  http://www.hookedonreds.com/

Captain Steve Rassel 352 359-5902 http://www.lastcastras.com/

Captain Scott Peters, Jr 352-356-7502 http://badtothebonefishingcharters.com/

Captain Rick Davidson http://bitemefishing.wordpress.com/

Captain Brian Smith 877-852-3474 http://www.bigbendcharters.com/

Good Times Marina Guides,  Steinhatchee


Capt. Mark Brady (contact thru Good Times Marina, 352-498-8088

Capt. Steve Hart, (352) 498-0299

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Steinhatchee/Taylor County Scallop Report, July 23, 2014

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Jul.23, 2014, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee

The first month of Florida’s 2014 recreational scallop season has been a busy one at Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.  Scallop season is always the busiest time of the year for these Gulf ports, with record sales at marinas, busy motels, waits for tables at restaurants, and busy boat ramps.  Rental boats are sometimes available on short notice, but for the most part, they’ve been reserved for months.  The same goes for lodging.

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rentalboat-5

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Scalloping isn’t hard work.  About all you need to be able to do is snorkel in 3 to 6-feet of water and to scoop them up by hand.  This year, you’ll spend a bit more time catching your 2-gallon (in the shell) limit, but the scallops ARE there.  Scallopers leaving from the Sea Hag, River Haven and Good Times marinas seem to be having the best luck to the north, off Clay Creek, Fishermans Rest, Big Grass Island and Piney Point.  And unlike last year, the scallops are close to shore in very clear water.

The best time to scallop is during the lower phase of the tide, and while the sun is overhead.  The sunlight draws the scallops to the top of the grass, making them easy to spot and the low tide makes reaching down for them from a swimming position easier.

For a general look at scalloping, take a look at “Bay Scallops, The Gulf of Mexico’s Tastiest Treat“.

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Citrus and Taylor County Scalloping Guide Available, Summer 2014

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Jun.25, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Steinhatchee

The new Citrus County guide features completely updated boat ramp and marina locator that Florida Sea Grant has published for the last several years.


And don’t forget about the companion, the Taylor County scalloping guide and marina locator map.

Both guides feature historically abundant scalloping areas, boat ramp and marina locations, rules and regulations, and recipes!

Readers can order one free copy of each brochure by emailing us at info@flseagrant.org, or calling us at (352) 392-2801, or downloading the whole thing at  https://www.flseagrant.org/fisheries/scalloping/

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Gag Grouper Season Opens Soon! April 1-June 30 in state waters off of Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Mar.26, 2014, under Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee

GPS Boundaries: Franklin-Taylor Regional Season

Location Longitude Latitude
Indian Pass 85 degrees 13.76 minutes west 29 degrees 40.71 minutes north
Offshore Indian Pass 85 degrees 13.71 minutes west 29 degrees 30.32 minutes north
Offshore Steinhatchee 83 degrees 34.52 minutes west 29 degrees 31.62 minutes north
Steinhatchee River 83 degrees 24.53 minutes west 29 degrees 40.03 minutes north

Gag Big Map Lat Long.

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Boat Ramp Parking Expanded at Keaton Beach in Taylor County

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Mar.25, 2014, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway

Taylor County, on Florida’s Big Bend, “gets it right” when it comes to access to the Gulf Waters.  The public boat ramp at Keaton Beach is one of the best, easily accessed with good facilities and parking.  Now, with the addition of a huge new parking lot for cars and trailers, just across CR361.  In the past, when the parking lot filled, boaters were forced to park alongside the roadway, often as far away as a quarter-mile.

The Keaton Beach Public Boat ramp is at the point where CR361 turns south towards steinhatchee
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2014 Steinhatchee Community Fishing Tournament, March 15

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Mar.10, 2014, under Cedar Key, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

The 13th Annual Steinhatchee Community Fishing Tournament is coming up on March 15.  With a relatively inexpensive $30 entry fee, this popular tournament attracts anglers from all over Florida’s Big Bend and Nature Coast.  The event is co-sponsored by the Taylor County Tourism Council and the Steinhatchee Community Projects Board.

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Cross City’s Historic Putnam Lodge to Re-Open in Early 2014

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Jan.17, 2014, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee, Suwannee

Ed and Beverly Pivacek are excited about tourism in Dixie County and the Florida Nature Coastline.  As a result, they’re re-opening the historic Putnam Lodge in Cross City.  Licenses have been obtained and it will open its doors for business by early February, with its kitchen and restaurant likely opening by early March.  If you’re heading to Steinhatchee, Horseshoe Beach or Suwannee on a fishing (or summer scalloping) trip, this will be THE place to stay inshore of those ports.  Ed can be contacted at (813) 390-4489.

Putnam Lodge “Then”
Putnam Lodge “Now”

Here’s some history:

Putnam Lodge, built in 1927-28 by the Putnam Lumber Company, is part of a bygone era in Florida’s forestry history. Here, beside the old Dixie Highway, Putnam Lodge, part of the “company town” of Shamrock, accommodated tourists, transients and company executives and clients. The lobby and the dining room of the 36-room lodge were decorated exclusively with the still preserved, artfully stenciled “pecky cypress,” a now virtually extinct lumber product. In its day, the Putnam Lumber Company, founded by William O’Brien, a timber magnate of Irish descent, and associates including E. B. Putnam, employed hundreds at its two state-of-the-art sawmills in Shamrock. The mills annually produced and shipped worldwide millions of feet of “deep swamp tidewater cypress” and “dense Florida longleaf yellow pine” lumber, products that are now rare because the old growth trees are gone. Shamrock provided its residents and employees with comfortable homes, a commissary, a store comparable to “any city department store,” two schools, two hotels, the Shamrock Dairy Farm, and an ice plant producing 18 tons of ice daily. The lodge is representative of a time of local timber supremacy and economic prosperity.

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New Buckeye Artificial Reefs Coordinates Off Steinhatchee, Keaton Beach in Taylor County, FL

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Jan.14, 2014, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee

From: Geoff Wallat, UF / Taylor County Marine and Natural Resources Agent
During this past summer and fall, Taylor County deployed 2 new artificial reefs on the
permitted Buckeye Reef site. This site is approximately 26 nautical miles off Keaton Beach. The
first reef deployment consisted of 120 constructed concrete cubes. The cubes were placed in
patches of 4 cubes per patch, for a total of 30 patch reefs. The center coordinates for this
deployment are 29  38.879 North, and 83 54.767 West. The additional patch reefs were
spaced at approximately 200 feet between each patch, in a cross pattern. The cubes extend out
North and South, and East and West from the center coordinates. This deployment
was funded by a cooperative grant agreement funded bythe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) with a match from the Taylor County Board of County Commissioners

The second deploymentent consisted of concrete culvert pipe and concrete material, donated by the local Florida Department of Transportation. Total weight of this deploymentwas 75 tons. This second deployment was made possible by the contributions of local Taylor County organizations and private citizens. The collective group included the Florida Departmentof Transportation (Cindy Dunkle), the Taylor County Tourism Development Council (Dawn Taylor), the Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club(Lou Graf, Richard McDavid and Jay Peacock), theTaylor County Reef Research Team (Jody Courtney and Mike McKinney), and land ownersGeorge Edwards and John Taliaferro who permitted the group to stage and load the materials. The coordinates for this reef are 29 38.441 North, and 83 54.748 West

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Both artificial reef coordinates will be posted to the Taylor County Extension  webpage, at
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Artificial reef systems have shown to have positive impacts on natural fish populations
by providing additional habitat for marine life. The artificial reefs support new reef
communities of marine life, which serves to promote the conservation and management of
several relationally important fish species such as gag grouper and red snapper. The artificial
reefs also provide increased angling and diving opportunities, which have positive economic
impacts for local businesses in Taylor County
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Sand Trout/Silver Trout Invade the Flats of Taylor County!

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Nov.12, 2013, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee

The waters at Steinhatchee have cooled (to the high 50s) and cleared!  That means “silver” or “sand” trout have invaded the 5 to 6-foot flats between Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.  These fish are better fighters than their spotted seatrout cousins and are actually better to eat.  Generally, they’re smaller, but we’ve seen some 18-inchers come to the docks.  And, in my opinion, they are better table fare, as they have no “protein deposits” (worms).  Silver trout are also easy to catch, with most anglers using simple jig head/grub tail combinations, worked slowly along the bottom or under corks.

It doesn’t take a big boat to fish the flats at Steinhatchee–especially on calm fall days.

Trout are also showing up in the local deep-water trout holes.  Anglers have caught a few spotted seatrout in Dallus Creek, north of Steinhatchee and in the river holes near marker #26 in the Steinhatchee River.  In those places,  plugs (MirrOlure TTs or Paul Brown Devils) or live shrimp moved slowly across the bottom work well.

The silver trout invasion should last a few more weeks, and the deep-water trout fishery will last through the winter month.

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Keaton Beach Marina, Motel and RV Park Under New Managment, November 1, 2013

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Nov.05, 2013, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee

Great news from Keaton Beach in Taylor County!   Keaton Beach Marina and Motel is now under the management of Steinhatchee’s Sea Hag Marina.  The Sea Hag has long been the “gold standard” for Big Bend marinas, and this move will certainly help bring things up-to-par at Keaton Beach.  Changes may be slow for a month or so , but you can count of the addition of fuel to the services at Keaton Beach, as well as  upgrades to the Ship’s Store and the general upkeep of the marina, the motel and the adjacent RV campground.

Aerial View of Keaton Beach, FL

If you’re not familiar with Keaton Beach, you’re missing some pretty good inshore and offshore fishing.  Located about 18 miles north of Steinhatchee and about 20 miles from Perry, this coastal community is small–but the fishing is BIG.  Some of the most unspoiled coastline in the U.S. lies to the north of town, offering some excellent seatrout and redfish angling.

Keaton Beach has an excellent public launching ramp that’s at the end of a short canal leading to the main channel.  And the soon-to-be-upgraded marina is on the west side of the canal as you motor to the Gulf.

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