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Archive for October, 2017

A Chili Change-Up….Try Seafood Chili

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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Out there in “food land” there’s an ongoing debate: “Should chili have beans?” With or without, I think there are arguments for either recipe. Chili on a cold winter day should have beans. Chili on hot dogs should not. But how about meat? Having vegetarians at your table is a good reason to consider meatless, so why not a compromise—with shellfish? And beans.

 

While cooking everyday chili can be easy (from a can or from the Publix deli), really good homemade chili takes some time and energy. That’s especially true if you are using it as the basis for a delicious seafood meal. Seafood, wild-caught or store-bought isn’t cheap so why not pair it with your best culinary effort?

 

This 4-step recipe involves making your own chili stock from several varieties of dried peppers, adding some spices and vegetables and then finishing with a medley of fresh shrimp, scallops and mussels.

 

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Chili Stock

 

4 cups vegetable stock

3 dried chipotle chilies

5 dried New Mexico (Hatch) chilies

3 dried ancho chiles

1 clove garlic, whole2

2 cups water

 

Carefully, with rubber gloves, remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Add, with the garlic, to the water and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let cool about a half-hour. Then blend to a smooth consistency.

 

Spice Blend

 

1/2 tbs. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. mustard powder

pinch ground clove

pinch ground cinnamon

 

Mix the spices thoroughly.

Vegetables

 

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 15-ounce can, red beans (drained)

1 onion

1 bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 cups corn kernels

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Dice the onion , bell pepper and mince the garlic. In a large pot, with the olive oil, cook the onion, bell pepper and garlic until transparent. Add the spices and tomato paste, stir and cook another 3 or 4 minutes. Dump in the chili stock and the can of tomatoes, with their juice. Then add the corn and beans and bring to a low simmer.

 

Seafood

 

2 pounds mussels

1 pound medium-to-large shrimp

1 pound bay scallops

1 cup white wine

 

Peel and devein the shrimp and remove any beards from the mussels. Put the mussels in a pan with the wine, cover and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and scallops to the simmering chili and when the mussels are open, add them, with the wine. Cook about 4 more minutes or until the shrimp and scallops are done.

 

Add salt to taste and serve with chips or a corn muffin.

 

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Heads Are Optional—A Great Recipe For Whole Grilled Fish

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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If black sea bass grew to six feet long, I’d quit swimming in Gulf or Atlantic waters. These guys are fierce. Luckily, we rarely see them over a foot long in the Gulf and a four-plus pound Atlantic version is considered a “trophy”. Bag limits vary, too. You can keep 100 pounds of 10-plus inchers in the Gulf, but only 5 13-inch plus fish on the eastern side of the state.

All too often, black sea bass are considered by-catch by anglers targeting larger reef fish. They seem to inhabit the same reefs as grouper and grunts, and are often found inshore over live bottom in the 6 to 10-foot depth. And slot-sized specimens are worth keeping for dinner. They’ll attack almost any bait you offer, especially soft plastics or jigs tipped with shrimp or squid. They can be pesky, and all too often are overlooked. However, I don’t think there’s a better tasting fish available. Yes, the soft white fillets are small, and it takes a bunch from the Gulf to make a great fried fish dinner, but frying isn’t your only option. My advice: fire up the grill, gas or charcoal, and cook them whole.

Or almost whole.

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Grilling whole fish can be tricky, and members of the grouper family, like black sea bass, have “big shoulders”. That means one end of the fish cooks more quickly than at the other. Allow at least one fish per serving, and after scaling and gutting your catch, take a pair of kitchen shears to the pectoral fins. Trim them off, but leave the tails and dorsal fins intact. Cover them with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning off while cooking. I like to leave the heads, for drama—and for some of the best-eating meat. Score both sides of your fish with a sharp knife and put a sprig or two of your favorite herb in the body cavities. Dill or rosemary work well. Generously salt the fish with sea salt and brush with extra virgin olive oil just before you put them on the grill.

Eating these small fish, in fillet form or whole, is not an exercise in big forkfuls of meat. If served whole, there’s some picking involved and to some of your guests, getting used to their dinner looking them squarely in the eye can be off-putting.

Just remember–heads are optional.

 

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Grouper All’Amatriciana—A Simple and Special Recipe

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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Summer’s over. And what a summer it’s been—at least in terms of tomatoes. Produce counters overflowed with rich-tasting Burpee’s Big Boys as well as plump Romas. As a result, prices were so reasonable that sliced tomatoes were an everyday option on many Floridians’ supper tables. Just a simple splash of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper were all that was needed for this southern favorite. But there is an option to fresh tomatoes, and that’s especially true in Italian cooking, even at the height of the summertime “bumper crop”.

 

That option, canned tomatoes, span a range from watery and bland to rich and luscious. The best ones come from Italy’s Samo Valley, and they are distinctly (and legally) labeled “San Marzano”.   Open a can, take a whiff and you’ll know why they’re favored, year-round, over fresh tomatoes in many cooked Italian recipes.

 

Sugo all’amatriciana is a staple of Italian cooking. A combination of tomatoes, basil, garlic and cured pork, it’s an easy dish to prepare and can be served over pasta or, in the case of this recipe, as a sauce for your favorite firm white fish.

 

Grouper All’Amatriciana

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1- 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes, whole and peeled

4-ounces cured pork (pancetta), finely chopped

4-cloves garlic, chopped

1/2-teaspoon crushed red pepper

4-tbs. fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil

4-6oz. portions grouper (or other firm-fleshed fish)

peanut oil

Zatarain’s “Wonderful” seafood breading mix

 

While you’re crisping the chopped pork in the olive oil in a saucepan, drain the tomatoes in a wire-mesh strainer while crushing them with a fork. When the bacon’s cooked, add the tomatoes, garlic, pepper, and stir. Cook about 5 minutes over low heat, taking care not to dry out the sauce. If it gets too dry, a shot of good red wine will help thin it out. Finally, add the fresh basil to the sauce.

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Easy Peasy Seafood Pizza

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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Over the past 50 years, pizzas have, in my opinion, moved from the sublime to the ridiculous. A simple “tomato pie” topped with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni is now hard to find, and pizzas topped like cheeseburgers or peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches have made their way to “pizzeria” menu boards.   Don’t get me wrong, I like fancy pizzas as much as the next guy, but…

 

So how about a fancy pizza that’s easy to prepare and one that will excite your family and friends when they come to your dinner table?

 

Pesto Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Seafood

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First, make some pizza dough in your food processor, let it rise twice. Next, crush basil, garlic and pine nuts and olive oil with your mortar and pestle. Then, dry some San Marzano tomatoes in your food dehydrator and soak them in extra virgin olive oil for a day or so. Finally, when it’s time to cook, form the dough into a 12 to 16-inch round.

 

Just kidding!!! Here’s my simple method with easy ingredients:

 

Buy a pre-made pizza crust (I like the 2-for-$2.99 crusts at Trader Joe’s.) or some pizza dough at the Publix bakery (In either case, buy several–I keep pre-made crusts in the freezer for last-minute meals).

 

Pre-heat your oven to 450-degrees. Form the dough, if necessary, and put it on a lightly oiled pan. Top with a layer of store-bought pesto, followed by chunks of mozzarella cheese and some well-drained store-bought sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil).   Sprinkle with some sea salt, a few crushed red pepper flakes and some dry oregano.   Cook until cheese melts and the crust starts to brown, 10-15 minutes.

 

At this point, the choice of seafood is yours. I like 40-50 count shrimp, peeled and deveined. You might consider bay scallops, sliced sea scallops, clams, squid rings or even thin slices of pre-grilled octopus. The final cooking time is up to you and depends on how long it takes to cook your seafood. 10-minutes should be sufficient, and you may want to finish the cooking under the broiler, to add color.

 

Give the pizza a few minutes to cool after it comes out of the oven and then top with some shaved Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chopped Italian parsley. Then, hide the empty jars and packages—and take credit for all the “work” you’ve done!

 

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Keep Seafood COLD, Not Just COOL — For Safety’s Sake!

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Cedar Key, Recipes and Food

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When fishing, there’s never enough ice. Of course, keeping drinks and lunch cool is important, but “cool” doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to the safe storage of our catch. Once boated, both shellfish and finfish begin to degrade quickly. There are, however, a few tricks to remember.

 

The first thing to do is to get your ice as cold as possible. If you plan a fishing trip, throw a small bag of ice in the cooler the night before. Pre-cooling the cooler will temper it, and ice will last longer in the next day’s heat. Then, as close to your point of departure as is possible, fill you cooler completely with ice. And, if possible, put a couple reusable frozen ice packs like the Arctic Ice Tundra or a handful of frozen bottles of water under your store-bought ice. That will prevent some melting and your ice will last longer.

 

Second, once your catch starts coming aboard, drain any water off your ice, add a few quarts of salt water to create a super-cooled slurry, and put your catch into the ice right away. Don’t leave fish on the deck to die, as just a few minutes in the hot sun can make a big difference at the dinner table.

 

Finally, with regards to seafood safety, use an appropriate cooler. Unfortunately, the better coolers are the most expensive, but they do hold ice longer. Know that white coolers reflect sunlight and stay cooler while dark ones absorb heat, and any cooler kept in the shade will work best. And if you already own a dark surfaced cooler, consider covering it with a white towel.

 

 

Island Hotel’s Hearts of Palm Salad

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Here’s a cool recipe that’s perfect for a hot summer day. It was originally created by Bessie Gibbs at Cedar Key’s Island Hotel in the 1950’s. The current owners of the hotel, Andy and Stanley Bair, shared it with me. It’s simple, and flexible. The key to its unique flavor is the dressing, the hearts of palm, and the chopped, sugared dates.

 

Seasonal greens and fruits (sliced kiwis, grapes, strawberries, melon chunks)

Sugared dates, chopped

Hearts of palm, cut into bite-sized pieces

 

 

 

 

Dressing (serves 4-6)

 

Thoroughly combine the following and re-freeze. Put a scoop atop the assembled salad just before you serve.

 

1-pint vanilla ice cream

1-pint lime sherbet

1/4-cup peanut butter

1/4-cup mayonnaise

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Mister Crab–or in French, Crabe Monsieur

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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Translation: “mister crab”

 

If you’re looking for a tasty simple-to-prepare summertime meal with a fancy French name, this recipe’s for you.

 

I’ve been lucky to spend some time in Paris (France, not Texas or Tennessee!), where simple and tasty croques monsieur are the focus of lunch at almost any street side café. Simple, and usually served with a lightly dressed salad and a glass of wine, this French take on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich can’t be beat. This version, with the addition of crabmeat takes it to yet another level.

 

Mister Crab (serves 6)

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6-thick slices of crusty sourdough bread

Unsalted butter

1/2-pound shredded gruyere (not “Swiss”) cheese

6-thin slices prosciutto (not “boiled”) ham

2 cups whole (not “skim”) milk

1/2 –cup crème fraiche or heavy cream

2-tbs. all-purpose flour

pinch salt and pepper

1-pound cooked lump (not “claw”) crabmeat

pinch sweet paprika

pinch cayenne pepper

pinch dried tarragon

zest of one lemon

2-tsp. chopped chives (half for garnish)

1-tsp chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

 

 

This recipe involves several steps, and the use of quality ingredients is critical. Don’t skimp on the bread, the ham, the cheese and especially the crabmeat. Like most French dishes, what goes in makes a difference!

 

First, generously butter both sides and toast the bread slices in a skillet. Second, make a béchamel sauce by constantly whisking the milk, cream/crème fraiche, salt/pepper and two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat until thick. Third, combine the crabmeat with the paprika, cayenne pepper, tarragon, lemon zest and chives and about half of the béchamel sauce. Assemble the open-faced sandwiches beginning with the ham, a generous serving of the crabmeat mix and then a layer of the shredded cheese. Finally spoon some of the reserved béchamel sauce on top and place in a hot, 425-degree, oven for about 10 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

 

To serve, sprinkle with chives and parsley and plate alongside a simple green salad. And don’t forget the wine!

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Yet ANOTHER Shrimp and Grits Recipe!

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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If you want to start an argument about southern seafood, just mention “shrimp and grits”. Yes, while there are differing points of view on hushpuppies (sweet or savory; with or without onions; with guava jelly or not) and coatings for fried fish (flour or corn meal), none seem to be more argued about than the “proper” way of preparing and presenting shrimp and grits.

I’m set in my ways, and until recently and I’ve prepared my shrimp and grits per the recipe in my 2013 Sportsman’s Kitchen column, but without the cheese. Personally, I’ve always thought the concept of cheese grits was brought south by carpetbaggers who didn’t appreciate grits, white or yellow, in their natural state. But that’s neither here nor there. The bottom line is that I’m always willing to expand my horizons and try a different version of a recipe.

Here’s a new and more aromatic twist on an old standard. The addition of small tomatoes and a cubanelle pepper make it an attractive and tasty offering at your next seafood dinner.

And yes, I like it with the cheese!

 

Shrimp and Grits 2.0

 

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1-1/2 pounds, medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (Peel them yourself and reserve the shells)

1- bay leaf

1-tsp. dry tarragon

1-clove garlic, crushed

1-cup white grits

8-oz. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

Hot sauce (Tabasco or Cholula)

1/2-stick unsalted butter

1-medium cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped

1-large shallot, minced

1/4-pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

2-scallions, thinly sliced

2-strips crisp bacon, chopped

 

First, make a shrimp stock by bringing the reserved shrimp shells, the garlic, bay leaf, tarragon and two cups of water to a boil, then reducing heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain out the solids and boil the remaining liquid, reducing it to about a half-cup. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the grits slowly, stirring until well mixed. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. When done, add the cheese and mix thoroughly. Add salt, ground black pepper and hot sauce, to taste.

While the grits are cooking, sauté the shrimp in the butter, taking care not to overcook. Set aside.

Over medium heat, cook the shallot, scallions and cubanelle pepper in the shrimp stock until soft.

To serve, spoon the grits into individual bowls and top with the shrimp and the vegetable mix. Garnish with the chopped bacon.

(Serves 4)

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Go Bananas OVER Bananas–The BEST Banana Pudding

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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So…? What’s the deal with bananas? They’re rumored to bring bad luck to fishermen and boaters, but they sure do taste good. They’re also easy to transport, each coming with its own zipper-like packaging. And if you’ve watched old-time pirate movies, you know that even women were at one time considered bad luck, too. Hopefully we’ve now gone beyond silly superstitions. I, for one, have caught lots of nice redfish and seatrout while munching bananas (with girls) on my boat.

Closer to home, and the kitchen, bananas play an important role for many southerners—in the role comfort food. And with the exception of maybe a serving of grits or a plate of mashed potatoes, there’s no better way to comfort your soul than with a bowl of warm banana pudding.

I suspect there are many approaches to making banana pudding. The worst is often served on restaurant buffets where “banana” likely means that a banana was simply waved over a bowl of vanilla pudding. It’s got to have bananas, folks! Somewhere in the middle is a version made with bananas and vanilla wafers, but with instant pudding mix. And at the apex of the pyramid lies the “real thing”— cooked vanilla custard with lots of bananas and vanilla wafers.

The tropical flavor of bananas makes banana pudding the perfect dessert for almost any seafood or game dinner, or as the perfect get-well dish for a sick fishing buddy. Add some crushed pineapple, per my friend Ann’s recipe, and you’ll get a double dose of fragrance and tastiness.

 

Classic Banana Pudding (With A Twist)

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The Custard

 

1/2-cup sugar

1/3-cup all-purpose flour

1/4-tsp. salt

3-egg yolks (beaten)

2-cups whole milk

1/2-tsp. vanilla extract

 

In a saucepan, over low heat, or in a double boiler, mix the sugar, flour and salt. Whisk the milk, vanilla and egg yolks together in a separate bowl, add slowly to the dry mix, and stir constantly for 10-12 minutes or until thickened.

 

The Meringue

 

3-egg whites

1/4-cup sugar

 

Beat the egg whites until very soft peaks are formed, then add the sugar and beat until dissolved and the peaks are firm.

 

The Assembly

 

1-box of of Nilla vanilla wafers

5 or 6 ripe bananas, sliced

1-cup crushed pineapple, drained thoroughly

 

Line the bottom of a 1-1/2 quart baking dish with a layer of vanilla wafers, banana slices and a sprinkling of pineapple. Add about a third of the custard, and continue with at least two more layers of wafers and fruit, ending with a top layer of custard. Top with the meringue and bake at 350-degrees until the peaks are browned. Garnish with some more vanilla wafers and serve warm. Or if there are any leftovers serve them cold for breakfast the next morning!

 

Serves 4. Or maybe 2. Or sometimes just 1.

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It’s All About Umami–The Fifth Taste!

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Recipes and Food

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Unless you’re an avid “foodie” you may not have heard about umami, one of the five basic tastes, along with sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. It’s hard to describe but “savory” or “meaty” seem appropriate.   And you’ve likely experienced umami when you’ve eaten soy-based sauces, smoked fish, mushrooms or Asian foods. According to food historians, the popularity of ketchup is based largely on umami!

From the standpoint of a food chemist, umami has lots to do with glutamates and their relationship with other tastes, especially salty and sweet. From the standpoint of a person taking a bite of food, it’s what makes food “yummy”, sometimes with a tingle on the back of the mouth and throat. That’s the reason monosodium glutamate (MSG) is often added to food in restaurants (not just the Asian ones!) where taste is what brings return customers. And, by the way, there’s a new school of thought that MSG doesn’t create the dramatic allergic reactions once attributed to it. Now you’ll find recommendations that MSG, like other things that make food and drink taste good, sugar and alcohol for instance, be consumed in moderation.

We’ve all seen the ubiquitous menu item, “ teriyaki fish” in restaurants. That’s just the (usually unimpressive) tip of the iceberg with regards to umami-flavored foods. Simply taking a slab of fish and soaking it for 20 minutes in store-bought teriyaki sauce is the easy way out. My advice is that you spend a bit more time with your preparation and kick your food up a notch, using simple Asian ingredients like miso, sake and mirin. All these ingredients combine to make a tasty marinade for seafood, and a savory glaze to finish.

 

Miso Marinade and Glaze

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1/2-cup mirin (sweet rice wine)*

1/2-cup sake (rice wine)*

4 tbs. red miso paste (made from fermented soybeans)*

1 tbs. sugar

3 tbs. vegetarian oyster mushroom sauce *

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil *

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbs. ginger (finely grated or paste)

2 tbs. sesame seeds

 

Combine all the ingredients, reserving half the sesame seeds for garnish. Marinate firm-fleshed fish (swordfish, tuna, king mackerel, wahoo or cobia), shrimp or sea scallops for about 20-minutes. Don’t soak it too long. While the seafood is grilling (gas is good; charcoal is better), reduce marinade into a glaze the consistency of heavy cream. Spoon or brush the glaze onto the seafood just before serving and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

 

*These ingredients are available at Asian specialty groceries, but are becoming more and more present on the shelves of larger supermarkets like Publix.

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Coexistence–Getting Along With Others During Florida’s Bay Scallop Season

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, Horseshoe Beach, Ozello to Crystal River, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee

Big Bend Action Spotter, Florida Sportsman Magazine

September 2017

In last month’s Big Bend Action Spotter, I wrote about getting away from the scalloping multitudes by fishing in places likely less “infested”. This month, let’s consider coexistence!

 

I know lots of anglers who simply give up saltwater fishing in the Gulf of Mexico during Florida’s recreational bay scallop season, which ends this month and includes the busy Labor Day weekend. Many head to the Atlantic side of the state, even to freshwater rivers and lakes. But there are options and complete abandonment of the Gulf isn’t necessarily one of them.

 

Know that for the most part, scalloping goes on in water that’s three to ten feet deep. At the deep end of that range, there are scallops, but only hardy divers with big lungs can get there. Deeper than that, it’s pretty much snorkeler-free. Sea grass flats, especially our big one that starts just north of Anclote Key off Tarpon Springs and ends at St. Marks, can run to the thirty-foot depths, depending on water clarity. And just like the three-foot flats, the deeper ones are peppered with patches of sand and live spongy bottom. Add to that some wrecks, rocky outcrops and ledges, you’ll have a good mental image of what the Gulf’s floor look like.

 

It’s those scattered bottom structures in the ten-foot-plus depths that should be of interest to fin fishermen who want to avoid the last of the 2017 season of “scallop madness”. All summer long, vast numbers of baitfish and yummy crustaceans have been flourishing, all while hiding from predators who lay in wait along the edges of sand patches, behind rocks, under ledges and among wreckage. And, depending on late summer rains or storms that might cloud the waters, it should be clear enough away from shore for you to visually investigate the bottom. Spotted seatrout, flounder, black sea bass, red grouper or mackerel are all good targets and you might even be able to bring home a gag grouper–if you’re in Dixie, Levy, Citrus or Hernando county state waters.

 

From Hernando County, you’ll have to run past the scallopers to get to the deep flats. Reaching the end of the Bayport and Hernando Beach channels drop you into water that’s too deep for the average snorkeler to access. Just beyond the three-mile limit, you’ll start to see good patchy bottom, as well as some big rocks.

 

If you depart Crystal River’s main channel, head northwest from Marker #1A towards the Duke Power channel and look for the “Hump”, a shallow rise in the bottom. It’s a good spot to try for trout before you head farther west to the two Crystal Artificial Reefs. They lie just south of the point where the Duke Power channel takes a turn towards the old Cross Florida Barge Canal channel. These “Fish Havens” are decades old, but still offer some relief and potential for reef fish and pelagics.

 

Cedar Key isn’t necessarily a scalloping destination, but you can find some deep, clear water there. I’d recommend you head south out the Main Ship Channel and drift the grassy top of Seahorse Reef for trout. Then, if you want deeper water or more structure than turtle grass, head west to the live bottom near the Kingfish Hole.   Staying south of the Cedar Keys archipelago will keep you in cleaner water than heading north towards the mouth of the Suwannee River, where the river’s outflow can muddle things.

 

The Suwannee’s darker waters will eventually dissipate and clear up between Horseshoe Beach and the Pepperfish Keys. The water will stay gin-clear beyond Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach in Taylor County. After navigating through the scallopers from any of those ports, you’ll be able to find lots of good, active grass flats, as well as lots of unmarked rock piles, some only as big as a small boat. You’ll find plenty of trout over the grass, and if you find your next “super secret rock pile” expect red grouper or big flounder to be the winning catch that day.

 

Water clarity to the south and southeast of St. Marks can be iffy. It all depends on recent rains and the dark water flow from the St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina rivers as well as the many creeks that flow into the Gulf along the Jefferson and Wakulla county coastline. If the water’s clear, there will be lush grass beds and a good trout bite. If you’re looking for reef fish or pelagics that chase bait over rough bottom, search northern Apalachee Bay. It’s the boundary of Florida’s natural Karst geology so there’s plenty of natural structure in the 12 to 20-foot depths. There’s no structure much better than ledges, rocks and small seeping springs when it comes to successful fishing—and there are plenty of them, some undiscovered, there.

 

Moving to deeper flats and the potential of inshore species as well as reef predators and pelagics, you’ll need to change your tactics and tackle. I suggest 3/8 to 1/2-ounce jigs to get to the bottom, and I’d put my money on chartreuse as a good color. Pair jig heads with a D.O.A. 4-inch Shad swimbait (Glow, with a chartreuse tail, is my favorite.) And consider using spinning combos larger than your usual 2500-4000 class gear in these deeper waters. If a grouper or a king mackerel unexpectedly comes to dinner, you’ll be glad you brought your 5000-class tackle!

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