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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: florida sportsman

Florida Sportsman West Central Florida Fishing 4Cast–Capt. Ray Markham

by on Mar.03, 2016, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Moderate weather has been the norm of late. Even with mild fronts making it down to the Suncoast, it’s not been cold out. Water temps are back on the rise and there is the first push of pelagic fish at hand. Go fishing!

OFFSHORE/ NEARSHORE

For anglers looking to put some meat in the box, Spanish mackerel are beginning to show up on the beaches and near most passes from John’s Pass south. Keep your eyes peeled and your ear to the ground; because now that we’ve seen some Spanish come over the gunnels you can just about expect kingfish to start to show on offshore wrecks. We have a mild front that should come in some time on Friday bring some wind that will kick up seas and dirty the water, that will put a king in the mackerel action but once it clears and the water cleans up, look for some kings and Spanish to show. If you head out of Tampa Bay and follow the Egmont Key Ship’s Channel all the way out to the Whistler, somewhere along the way you’ll find a good show of bait. That’s where you’ll want to look for kings. Time’s Square is another good location for early arrivals of kingfish.

It’s almost tournament time again and the 25th Annual Suncoast Kingfish Classic is just about a month away. The long-running tournament promises to bring out some of the best kingfish anglers in the southeast. Slated to run April 7 through 9 at John’s Pass Marina, the tournament is a favorite local event that draws some of the top kingfish anglers in the country to vie for the $20,000 first place prize. A discounted early entry fee for those who get in before the April 1 early entry deadline may be incentive enough for those who are already checking their rod guides, changing line, and twisting up some leaders to prepare for kingfish season. If you’re around April 28-30, the Old Salts will be cranking up their mack daddy event, the 2016 Old Salt Spring King of the Beach Tournament where anglers will be fishing for some big jack…no not crevalle, but $50,000 for the top angler in the Madeira Beach event. This big buck tourney has been known to draw big crowds to enjoy the festivities and witness some big kings being weighed in.

If bottom dropping is your bag, anglers working shallow to 50 or 60-foot depths are finding it slow going and have reported some red grouper, catch and release red grouper, and some tasty grunts. To elevate the lowly grunt the Old Salts have come up with the Great American Grunt Hunt slated to run down the road May 12 & 14….details to follow.

INSHORE

Spring is just a few weeks away and lucky us! We will be springing forward with our clocks March 13 so we will have sun setting an hour later after that date. A variety of things have been going on inshore. Snook season reopened on Tuesday with the expected lackluster start. Water temps have been slowly climbing with the recent warm weather but on opening day in the ICW near John’s Pass it was 68.5-degrees. Not really cold but just warm enough to get a few fish to eat in that area. We caught several under slot fish near there.

Redfish action has been good, with good numbers of fish bending rods in the upper Tampa Bay region and in the ICW near Dunedin. Spoil islands and mangrove shorelines in the area are producing reds in the mid-slot on live pinfish and cut baits. Tampa Bay anglers are scoring with the Eppinger Rex Spoon that is about the size of white bait that’s on the flats and around the Sunshine Skyway. Steady action in Terra Ceia with trout and reds has been the norm. A few flounder continue to mix up a day’s fishing there. Bluefish in lower Tampa Bay are keeping anglers on the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers busy as well as the Spanish mackerel. Gotcha Jigs, Diamond Jigs, and Clark Spoons are the top meat getters for mackerel there. Bigger trout are coming from Sarasota Bay waters just inside the passes. Capt. Rick Grassett’s anglers have been tossing an assortment of flies for ladyfish, jack crevalle, trout, and redfish in that area. Grassett’s night trips for snook have been productive with good numbers of fish being caught on fly around dock lights and bridge fenders.

For those who just love to eat fish, there’s none better than a pompano, in my opinion. For anglers targeting them, they are getting several fish per day around the Gandy Bridge, and in the Fort Desoto area near Bunces Pass. Pass-A-Grille can also be a hot spot for pomps at times. The original Doc’s Goofy Jig continues to be the top lure for pompano but anglers fishing live sand fleas and fiddler crabs find fishing productive for them as well.

FRESHWATER

Bass anglers continue to show some big bass being caught from area ponds. Bedding bass around lake perimeters are hitting an assortment of soft plastic lures. Lizard and eel type imitations and just about any of the creature baits that are available are getting the most attention. Crappie fishing continues to be good on Lake Tarpon. With the warmer weather, though, the schooling action could break up. Continue drifting for specks with Missouri minnows or crappie jigs suspended at different levels to find the schools and concentrate on those areas.

News Channel 8 Outdoor Expo & Boat Show this weekend!

Come out and join us at the WFLA News Channel 8 OUTDOOR EXPO & BOAT SHOW at the Florida State Fairgrounds March 4, 5, and 6th for some great family fun. If you want to learn some secrets for catching more fish on artificial baits, I’ll be on stage speaking Friday night at 6:30, Saturday at 5:30, and Sunday at 1 P.M. on a variety of inshore fishing topics using artificial lures. This is where you want to be this weekend if catching more fish is what you want. Some of the top guides in the area will be there to share. Come early and enjoy all the fine speakers and check out what’s new in the fishing game. The biggest names in fishing will be on hand giving seminars and answering questions all weekend long. The list of fishing celebrities includes Capt. C.A. Richardson, Mark Nichols from D.O.A. Lures, Capt. Geoff Page and Capt. Rick Murphy, Capt Scott Moore, Capt. Billy Nobles, Capt. Glenn Taylor and many more. All kinds of boat manufacturers, fishing tackle distributors, and lure manufacturers will be on hand along with many other great outdoor companies to assist you in catching more fish. Reel Animals and Bull Bay Rods Pro Staffer Miss Chasten Whitfield will also be there helping kids learn to throw the cast net and tie knots so bring the whole family out to the News Channel 8 Outdoor Expo & Boat at the Florida State Fair Grounds March 4th, 5th and 6th! Details: http://wfla.com/outdoors-expo-boat-show/
Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655

Email: ray.markham@gmail.com

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Florida Sportsman Expo Set for Fort Myers, FL, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2015

by on Jan.14, 2015, under Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

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The Florida Sportsman Expo is back at the Lee County Civic Center in Ft. Myers on Jan. 31 – Feb. 1, 2015. If you love the outdoors, you do not want to miss this show! For the 23nd year, Florida Sportsman Magazine will be hosting the extremely popular Florida Sportsman Expo at the Lee County Civic Center in Ft. Myers over the weekend of January 31, 2014. Visitors will be treated to a huge array of indoor and outdoor events for anglers, hunters, boaters, off-roaders and gun enthusiasts. For those who have attended the Florida Sportsman Expo in the past, they will be delighted to find this year’s Expo greatly expanded over previous years. Each day brings fishing seminars from the area’s ‘s best angling experts. The Riggin’ it Right Academy has room for up to 60 anglers to take turns sitting at tables with all supplies and tackle while Florida Sportsman staff gives hands-on instruction on properly rigging baits and lures. Those interested in fly fishing will receive free fly casting and fly-tying instruction. Learn how to effectively throw a cast net or fish from a Kayak. Hunters will enjoy seminars by some of the most successful outdoorsman in the area and this year, for the first time ever, you can buy, sell and trade firearms. On display will be Boats, RVs, ATVs, Airboats and much more, with special show pricing. Additional deals will be available on fishing gear, tackle, electronics and accessories.
Ask FWC Officers about rules and regulations!

Ask FWC Officers about rules and regulations!

A partial list of the seminar topics to be covered include: • How to catch more and bigger grouper • Targeting smoker kingfish • Secrets of slow trolling live baits • New techniques with GPS & fish finders • Night fishing for monster snook • Sight fishing for bull reds • Targeting inshore snapper • Best plastic lures for the flats • Top methods to fish bridges & piers • The ABCs of Kayak fishing • Tampa’s latest hot spots “It’s a great chance for everyone from beginners to experts to learn new tactics, pick up added skills and take advantage of show specials”, says new Expo Director Dave East, who’s also the Boating Editor for Florida Sportsman and host of the Florida Sportsman Best Boat TV series. “If you love the outdoors, you don’t want to miss this show” There will be prize drawings each hour for all attendees, sponsored by The Sportsman Channel. Another free drawing is sponsored by Fishing Nosara where an attendee will win a 7-day, 8-night vacation adventure to Costa Rica for some fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking and more. A trip of a lifetime valued at $5,000 – FREE for just attending the Expo. Editors from Florida Sportsman will also be on hand to greet visitors, plus listen to your comments and story ideas. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will display exhibits of interest to boaters and hunters as well as the Florida Sportsman Grand Slam Tank, a 500-gallon mobile saltwater aquarium. Kids will be kept busy and win free prizes with the FWC’s “Fish ID” contest. “Everything’s included in the one low admission price” notes East. “It’s going to be a fun day on both Saturday and Sunday for everyone who loves the outdoors”
Tickets at the Lee County Civic Center box office are $8 for adults and kids 12 and under with parents are free. Show hours run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 1.
For a discount coupon and more details visit www.FloridaSportsman.com/Expo.
Learn techniques from the professionals!

Learn techniques from the professionals!

Lee County Civic Center 11831 Bayshore Road North Fort Myers, FL 33917 For directions: http://www.leeciviccenter.com/directions/

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Cupid’s Crabby Cupcakes (Or…Get Some Tonight!)

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Recipes and Food

Luckily, St. Valentine’s Day 2014 doesn’t fall on a weekend fishing day, giving each of us the opportunity to spoil our sweethearts with a special home-cooked meal.  And what’s better than delicious, easy-to-prepare, crab cakes?

Chefs’ interpretations of crab cakes range from the ordinary to the sublime.  Many consider that if a crab is passed over a lump of doughy bread, a crab cake is created.  Others, like me, insist on fewer binders and lots of crab.  After all, there’s probably no seafood that deserves less “doctoring” than crab.  It’s sweet—just like your sweetie.

I’ve seen recipes for crab cakes made with all varieties of these “beautiful swimmers”, but it’s the common blue crab that tops my list.  Pasteurized blue crab meat, lump or claw, is readily available at supermarkets and specialty seafood shops.  Live blue crabs, yours for the boiling and picking, are often available at coastal fish houses.  And if you’re in the mood to catch your own, a dip net and a chicken neck tied to a string tossed from almost any Florida seawall will soon provide you a bucket of crabs.

I’m convinced that one of the reasons that crab cakes served in restaurants have a considerable amount of bread and binders is due to ease of cooking and presentation.  Cakes with lots of crabmeat tend to fall apart and get messy, for the chef and the establishment’s reputation.  Some restaurants refrigerate their crab cake mix prior to cooking, and then dust the cakes with flour or breading before dropping them into a deep fryer.  The result is usually a fried crab-flavored bread ball.  Others, who emphasize that there is crab in the recipe, make patties and more properly sauté them in a little bit of oil or butter.  These taste better, but depending on how much crab meat is included, almost always fall apart on their trip from the skillet to the plate.

In my personal quest for the most tasty and photogenic of all crab cakes, I’ve found that baking them in muffin pans helps maintain a consistent shape and crisp exterior, even with a high crab-to-binder ratio.  Lightly packing the crab cake mix into a hot pan will give you a head start on a crispy exterior.  If you still have Grandma’s cast iron muffin pan, use it.  If not, the heavier the pan, the better. You’ll notice that the recipe included here has very little bread, just a few spices and veggies, one egg and a bit of mayonnaise to hold it all together.  Don’t overwork the mix, taking special care to fold the ingredients together rather than mash them up into a paste.

Crab-picking time (or crab-shopping time) aside, my Cupid’s Crabby Cupcakes are a quick fix, even on a weekday night.  Served with a simple green salad and a glass or two of dry Pinot Grigio blush wine, you’ll be the hit of your Valentine’s Day festivities.

Cupid’s Crabby Cupcakes

1 pound lump crabmeat

1/4 –cup minced scallions (green part)

2 tbs. chopped parsley

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1/4-cup plain breadcrumbs

1/4-cup mayonnaise

1 large egg

Canola oil spray

Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees and then heat muffin pan, lightly greased with canola oil, for 10 minutes.  As the pan heats, gently mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl, using a rubber spatula.  When the pan is hot, quickly spoon the crab mix into the individual compartments, lightly compacting it with the back of your spoon and taking care to keep the top level.  Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, and then cool for 5 minutes before removing and serving.  Makes 4 cakes.

Spicy Sweetheart Sauce

1/4-cup mayonnaise

1/4-cup sour cream

2 tbs. finely chopped chipotle chiles*

1 tsp. finely chopped garlic

2 tsp. chopped cilantro leaves

Juice of a small lemon

Mix ingredients in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, allowing flavors to blend.

*Best found canned, in adobo sauce, in the ethnic foods department of your local Publix Supermarket.

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Shrimp ‘n Grits–To Cheese or Not To Cheese?

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Recipes and Food

To Cheese…or Not To Cheese?

In his or her kitchen repertory, any southern cook should have the successful preparation of grits.  Not fancy grits, but just plain grits.  Many don’t, and I suspect that’s due to the fact that they can’t boil pasta or cook rice either.  All are simple chores, and the success of many a meal depends on mastery of those subjects.   Essentially hominy (corn kernels processed using an alkaline solution like lye), grits come in several variations.  At most groceries, you’ll find all sorts—coarse and fine-ground, yellow and white–even “instant”.  “Real” grits need to cook slowly for about 20 minutes and I avoid “instant” grits at all costs.

In many parts of the American South, grits are considered breakfast food.  In fact, northerners often confuse grits with cream of wheat and apply sugar and milk. More likely you’ll find them an accompaniment to eggs, bacon and sausage in our southern states, but in Florida, much to the initial surprise of my Eastern North Carolina-native wife, we eat grits with fish and seafood.

In recent years, shrimp and grits has become a standard menu item in many establishments and homes.  The dish is simple to cook and a hearty main course on a cold winter night.  And it can be varied with regards to whether or not to include cheese or the type of meat to include.  Cheese can add richness to the grits, but some chefs feel it overpowers the taste of the shrimp.  Others go to great trouble to include elaborate combinations of cheddar, Parmesan and even cream cheese.  The choice is yours, but I’ll stick with simplicity and use extra-sharp cheddar—if I use cheese at all.   As for meat, “salty” is the key.  It’s hard to beat store-bought bacon, but you can easily substitute Cajun-style tasso or Italian pancetta to give your version of shrimp and grits a regional or continental touch.

Shrimp and grits can easily become a standard main dish at your dinner table, taking simple ingredients to new heights.   Serve with a salad or slaw and a buttered biscuit and you’ll find that, along with compliments about the meal, guests and family will be asking for a repeat performance.

Basic Shrimp  and Grits

6 cups water

1 tbs. salt

1/2 tbs. freshly-ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups yellow grits

1/2-stick butter

2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, lightly dusted with flour

1-pound bacon

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 cup thinly sliced scallions

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

In a large saucepan, bring the salted water to a boil.  Then, add grits and pepper and stir for about 30 seconds.  Turn down heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed.  If the grits are too thick, add some more water (or milk) and continue to cook, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in butter and cheese.

Fry bacon in a skillet until crispy; drain and crumble.  In the reserved grease, sauté shrimp until pink, just a minute or two, and remove to a holding plate.  Don’t overcook your shrimp! Then, add parsley, garlic and scallions to the hot bacon grease and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until the scallions are transparent.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl.  Stir in all the other ingredients, serve immediately– and enjoy.

Serves 4 to 6

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Shrimp Créole–It’s Not Just For Christmas

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Recipes and Food

Christmas dinner at Chez Thompson isn’t always traditional.  We like to cook, and roasting turkeys or rib roasts just doesn’t present much of a challenge any more.  So, you’re likely to find more complex recipes featured on our holiday table.  Paellas are good, as is bouillabaisse, but one of our favorites is Shrimp à la Créole.

A good Shrimp Créole, as it’s translated into Inglés, depends on the quality of the ingredients.  Of course, Florida shrimp are the best and you can find them almost year-round, so that’s not a problem.  But don’t cut corners with the single most-important ingredient–the tomatoes.  Fresh ripe heirloom Créole tomatoes make the very best Creole, but they’re not available canned and can even be hard to find outside Louisiana.  In warm months, fresh tomatoes from Ruskin, south of Tampa, work well, but when it’s cold you’ll have to rely on canned product.  Don’t be fooled by the propaganda you hear on the television from large factory canners.  Accept only canned tomatoes that come directly from San Marzano, Italy or are labeled “San Marzano style”.  These flavorful plum tomatoes are simply the best, and luckily there are now some American farmers growing them.

Shrimp sauce piquanté was the original name for shrimp créole and my version is spicy, with just a hint of cloves and allspice, as the name implies.  None of that bland tomato-soup-like stuff that’s served in second-rate eateries for me.  This version will warm you from the inside out!

Shrimp Créole

2/3-cup canola oil

1/2-cup flour

1-3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

1/3 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup copped green pepper

4 tsp. minced garlic

3 tsp. minced parsley

1 28-ounce can/box crushed San Marzano tomatoes

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 tbs. minced chives

4 tbs. dry red wine

4 whole bay leaves, crushed*

6 whole allspice*

2 whole cloves*

2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

4 tsp. lemon juice

2 cups water

2-pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
There’s an old expression made by Cajun cooks:  “First, make a roux”.   Based on a misconception that a roux is difficult, that very statement turns many folks away from making this recipe at home.  In fact, in Louisiana you can actually buy a jar of ready-made roux.  But really, folks–it ain’t rocket science.  Just keep stirring and be sure not to burn the flour.

In a heavy 6 to 8-quart pot, heat the oil and gradually add the flour, stirring constantly.  Cook the mixture over medium heat and stir until the medium brown roux is formed.  It should be the color of peanut butter.  Remove the roux from the heat and add the fresh vegetables and parsley.  Mix well, and then return to low heat and cook, stirring constantly until the vegetables begin to brown.  Mix in the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and then add the chives, wine, seasonings, and lemon juice.

*Wrap the bay leaves, cloves and allspice together in a packet of cheesecloth before adding to the sauce.  This eliminates crunchy surprises at the dinner table.

Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil.  Stir in the water and bring back to a boil.  Then, reduce heat to a simmer for 45 minutes.  About 10 minutes before dinner, bring the sauce back to a boil, add the shrimp and simmer until ready to serve.  Serve over parboiled/converted rice.  (Feeds 4)

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Using Nautical Charts (and Variations)

by on Nov.19, 2013, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS

NOAA has recently (2013) announced that printed nautical charts are being discontinued.  However, there are many options for printed charts, mostly geared to fishermen, as well as electronic versions of charts embedded into the systems of GPS and combination GPS/Sonar units for boats.  If you’re looking for a good fishing chart that’s detailed enough to give you some aid to navigation, try the ones from Florida Sportsman or from Waterproof Charts.  And if you’re not satisfied with the detail on your onboard GPS unit, consider upgrading to Navionics charts.

Boat U.S. has a good article about the use of navigation charts.  Take a look at “Chart Reading 101” by Don Casey.

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Florida Sportsman Expo Slated for Fort Myers Feb. 1-2, 2013

by on Nov.04, 2013, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS

The first Expo for 2014 takes place Feb. 1-2 in Fort Myers at the Lee Civic Center.

2012 reversed the trend in prior years of dropping attendance and exhibitor participation with big gains. We’re working hard to build on this momentum with increased ad budgets and aggressive promotional efforts. Our event program is still like a three-ring circus with simultaneous presentations each day at five stages along with demonstrations, free fly-casting lessons at our 100-foot indoor pond, free lessons at the cast net pit, our popular offshore and inshore Rigging It Right tables, a drawing each day for a free 42-inch flat screen TV, prizes at the Kids Casting Pond, and of course rows and rows of exhibitors showing the upcoming line-up of tackle, gear, boats and accessories for 2014. Come and join us.

Doug Kelly, Director
Florida Sportsman Expos
Doug@FloridaSportsman.com

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Florida Sportsman’s Statewide Kayak Challenge, October/November 2013

by on Oct.02, 2013, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS

Florida Sportsman’s Kayak Challenge Rules

DATE: October 1, 2013 to November 30, 2013

PARTICIPATION: Open to all Florida Sportsman Forum members fishing in Florida state waters. Registration: cost is $25.

TARGET SPECIES:

Inshore Species: Redfish, Seatrout, Snook, Flounder
1- Grand first place prize: Longest aggregate measurement of 3 different species
2- Second place prize: Second longest aggregate measurement of 3 different species
3- Third place prize: Third longest aggregate measurement of 3 different species

Offshore Species: Jacks, Dolphin, Grouper (excluding Goliath), Snapper, Mackerel , Tuna, Wahoo
1-Grand first place prize: Longest aggregate measurement of 4 different species
2-Second place prize: Second longest aggregate measurement of 4 different species
3-Third place prize: Third longest aggregate measurement of 4 different species

Notes on scoring:

  • Anglers do not have to catch all included species to win an aggregate category.
  • Anglers cannot win more than one or the Top-3 prizes.

MEASURING FISH

The challenge’s winners are determined by fish length. Fish must be whole, non-mutilated (gaff hole is okay for offshore species). Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules and regulations are in effect as it pertains to which fish are legally able to be kept. If a fish is illegal to keep or you don’t plan on keeping it, it must be alive and free from any stringer, especially when photographed.

Measurements are made at a granularity of ½ inch. If the fish is larger, but does not make the next ½-inch mark, it will round down. If the fish is larger than the ruler, the maximum length of the ruler will be accepted for the length.

If you use a soft ruler such as a sticker ruler or tape ruler, assure that the ruler is on a flat surface and measure the fish on top of the ruler. Do not place the ruler on top of the fish.

Tie-breakers of fish measuring the same length go to the person that caught the fish first. That’s why it’s vital not to edit the photo in anyway before posting to the forum. IF IT IS EDITED, WE CAN’T ACCEPT IT. Make sure your camera’s time and date are set properly before taking any photos of catches. The photo’s EXIF data will determine when the fish photo was taken.

Length is determined when it’s in a natural lay position. A “natural lay position” is one in which the fish is centrally located on the ruler without any bending or manipulation of the fish to artificially extend its length measurement. Again, a paddle craft must be present somewhere in the photo.

FLORIDA SPORTSMAN TOKENS

Florida Sportsman will create a printable “token” that will be sent to you via email. Anyone who registers before the October 1 start date will receive their token on September 30. Anyone who registers after October 1 will receive their token immediately upon payment. Print out this sheet of paper before fishing. Be sure to include this “token” in any fish photo submitted.

ONLINE POSTING

Each angler in the tournament must be a member of the Florida Sportsman Forums.

When posting a catch, find the thread entitled “Inshore Kayak Challenge” or “Offshore Kayak Challenge.”
We’ll make these threads stickies at the top of the Paddlecraft Kayak Member Catches Forum. Anglers may update and upgrade their fish as they catch better fish throughout the tournament. But to keep the thread from becoming too large, just edit your first post where you posted photos initially. (As an example, you posted a picture of a redfish on November 4, and then on November 10, you catch a bigger redfish. Replace the existing photo with the new redfish catch.) Keep all your catch photos in one post within the thread.)

Up to 2 photos will be allowed for one entry to qualify all rules criteria, but they must be submitted in the same day, (One to verify the catch on the water by kayak and one with an accurate measurement.) The tournament token must be present in both photos.

Anglers may not intentionally hold back catches until the end of a tournament. In good faith, fish should be checked in within a couple days of the catch (72 hours is the max). No comments or replies will be allowed on the photo posts to keep things simple and organized. Please post the date the fish was caught and length of fish next to your photo.

SCORING

Participants may only use digital cameras for photographing fish. A scoring photo must show the entire fish on the measuring device with the unique Florida Sportsman token present. The measuring device must be in clear view so as to leave no doubt of the fish’s position across all the markings, and that the markings of the device are true. Photographs should be taken from above the center of the fish at maximum resolution. The judging committee will review the photos to verify reported results. The fishing vessel must be shown in the background of the photo.

REGISTRATION

The angler must register and pay for the tournament before uploading photos of catches to the forum. Registration fee allows anglers to participate in either the inshore OR offshore portion of the tournament. Kayakers are eligible for only one of the top-three prizes, inshore or offshore. The tournament officially begins at 12:01 AM on October 1 and ends at 11:59 PM on November 30. The day before the tournament begins, a “token” will be emailed to all participants. Anglers should print it and take it with them fishing, making sure it shows in all fish photos. Your last fish catches must be posted before December 1.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AND PAY.

>Click here to print and sign your waiver.

After signing the waiver: 1) Mail to Diana Matthews at Florida Sportsman’s office: 2700 S Kanner Hwy, Stuart, FL 34994 2) Email to Diana Matthews at Diana@floridasportsman.com, or 3) Fax to Diana Matthews at 772-219-6915

COST

Entry fee is $25. This tournament is not a money-maker. The tournament entry covers the costs of shipping prizes to winners and costs associated with tournament, such as flyers or measuring devices.

PAYMENT

The best option is to pay online via PayPal when you submit your Registration Form. A second option is to register online and send a check to Diana Matthews at the Florida Sportsman office (Address: 2700 S. Kanner Highway, Stuart, FL, 34994). On the memo line of your check, write “Kayak Challenge” and the name of the participant.

FISHING METHODS

All fish must be caught via hook and line. Artificial or natural baits are acceptable.

VESSELS

The use of any kayak, canoe or paddleboard is acceptable. Wade fishing, if tethered to a paddle craft, is also acceptable. No motorized vessels may be used, including the use of a motorized vessel to transport (a.k.a. mothership). Using a paddle craft with a trolling motor is not allowed–we want all crafts to be motor-free!

LOCATION

The statewide tournament covers all state waters that are open to fishing. For offshore kayak fishermen, anglers must stay inside of federal waters. This levels the playing field for anglers fishing on the west coast.

MEASURING DEVICES

Anglers must use a commercial off-the-shelf ruler. Homemade (read that as: hand-drawn) rulers are not allowed.

PRIZES

CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL PRIZE LIST FOR INSHORE AND OFFSHORE CATEGORIES.

Prizes will be mailed to the address listed on the tournament entry. A Winner’s Certificate will be mailed along with your prize.

Grand Prizes

“Big Fish” Weekly Winners

Starting on Monday, October 7th, the angler with the largest fish caught during that week and posted to the appropriate “Inshore Kayak Challenge” or “Offshore Kayak Challenge” forum thread wins a prize pack from Unfair Lures! Sixteen winners total will be decided on October 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th, and November 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th. That means one inshore and one offshore angler wins each week. Kayak anglers can only win one prize, even if they catch the largest fish more than one week.

PROTEST

All protests must be made in an email or PM to the Tournament Director:

Bob Bramblet (bonitabob) – Tournament Director bobbramblet@gmail.com

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Tampa Florida Sportsman Fishing Expo, September 14-15, 2013

by on Aug.16, 2013, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

For the 21st year, Florida Sportsman magazine will be hosting the extremely popular Florida Sportsman Expo at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa over the weekend of Sept. 14-15, 2013.

Visitors will be treated to a huge indoor three-ring circus of events for anglers, hunters and boaters. Each day brings fishing seminars from Tampa Bay’s best experts along with a 100-foot indoor cast pond, a kids’ casting pond and free prizes, hands-on rigging tables set up for 80 people at a time, free fly- and net-casting lessons, the newest lineup of tackle, gear and boats for 2014 plus exhibits of Burmese pythons, a 500-gallon fish tank by Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and much more.

“It’s a great chance for everyone from beginners to experts to learn new tactics, pick up added skills and take advantage of show specials on boats, tackle, gear, gadgets and accessories,” says Expo Director Doug Kelly, who’s also a Florida Sportsman Contributing Editor. “It’s also a perfect opportunity to save big on Christmas presents for your favorite anglers and hunters.”

An added attraction each day is a free drawing for all attendees for a 42-inch flat screen TV donated by The Sportsman Channel. Editors from Florida Sportsman will also be on hand to greet visitors along with many Tampa Bay TV, newspaper and radio personalities.

“Last year we had over 100 exhibitors and expect to have a jam-packed hall again this year with rows and rows of goodies,” Kelly says.

On display will be a super-charged swamp buggy, a fully rigged airboat, inshore and offshore boats of all sizes, and five seminar stages going on simultaneously. Featured speakers on just the Rhodan Inshore Stage and the Cortland Offshore Stage include PowerPoint presentations by outstanding authorities such as Capt. Rick Grassett, Capt. Mark Nichols, Capt. Gary Burch, Capt. Dave Pomerleau, Capt. Terry LaCoss, Capt. Jim Lemke, Capt. Sergio Atanes, Capt. Chris O’Neill, Capt. Jason Prieto, Capt. Lynn Zirkle, Capt. Billy Nobles and Jimbo Keith.

A partial list of the seminar topics to be covered include:

  • How To Catch More & Bigger Grouper
  • Targeting Smoker Kingfish
  • Secrets of Slow-Trolling Live Baits
  • New Techniques with GPS & Fish Finders
  • Extreme Tactics for Monster Snook
  • Sight Fishing for Bull Reds
  • Targeting Inshore Snapper
  • Best Plastic Lures for the Flats
  • Best Live Baits for the Flats
  • Top Methods to Fish Bridges & Piers
  • The ABCs of Kayak Fishing
  • Best Tactics for Pass Tarpon
  • Tampa Bay’s Latest Hot Spots

A favorite show attraction is the Riggin’ it Right Academy sponsored by Fins Tackle. Groups of up to 80 anglers at a time take turns sitting at tables with all supplies and tackle while Florida Sportsman staff gives hands-on instruction on properly rigging the baits and lures that work best around Tampa Bay.

In only a few minutes you can learn how to effectively throw a cast net in the cast-net pit with Capt. Terry Sturgeon. Those interested in fly-casting will receive free instruction at a 100-foot indoor pond hosted by the Suncoast Fly Fishing Club. Learn all that’s needed to get into kayak fishing with renowned authority Peter Hinck. Capt. Larry Finch discloses little-known tricks to better fish piers, bridges, jetties and beaches. Kids have their own events at a hookless spin-cast pond hosted by the Golden Triangle Fishing Club with free “can’t-lose” prizes provided by Zebco. There’s even a free kids’ face-painting booth by renowned artist Tony Ryals, the famed quadriplegic who paints using just his mouth.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will display exhibits of interest to boaters and hunters as well as the Florida Sportsman Grand Slam Tank, a 500-gallon mobile aquarium. Kids will be kept busy and win prizes with the FWC’s “Fish ID” contest.

“Everything’s included in the admission price,” notes Kelly. “It’s going to be a grand day on both Saturday and Sunday for everyone who loves the outdoors.”

Tickets at the Florida State Fairgrounds box office are $8 for adults and kids 12 and under with parents free. Show hours run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15. For a discount coupon and more details visit www.FloridaSportsman.com/Expo.

#   #   #

Press Contact & Interviews:

Doug Kelly, 727-724-4949

Doug@FloridaSportsman.com

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Garlicky, Lemony, Buttery—The BEST Shrimp Scampi–Sportsman’s Kitchen Archive (March 2012)

by on Aug.16, 2013, under Recipes and Food

Garlicky, Lemony, Buttery—The BEST Shrimp Scampi


Archived, from Florida Sportsman Magazine, March 2012, Sportsman’s Kitchen

Shrimp are likely the most versatile seafood.  According to Bubba Gump, they’re good boiled, fried, sautéed, or served with grits.   They even make good fish bait.  And they’re available year round.  Buy your shrimp from a reputable seafood shop that isn’t hesitant to let you smell their product.  Good shrimp, although likely frozen aboard the boat soon after being caught, don’t have a ‘fishy’ smell and should smell like the waters from which they came.

There’s no comparing properly prepared shrimp scampi to what many restaurants serve.  Shrimp soaked or poached in garlic butter can be good, but there’s more to scampi than just a quick swim through a sauce.  When garlic, shallots, butter and lemons mingle with that of fresh Florida shrimp, the explosion of flavor is hard to describe. Here’s my recipe, along with one for a nice companion Caesar salad:

Shrimp Scampi

3 shallots, peeled and chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3/4-cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

2 cups dry white wine

6 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 -cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Combine the shallots, 4 cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a mini-food processor or blender.  Process to make a smooth paste.  Pour 6 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining crushed garlic into a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the garlic sizzles, add about half the shrimp.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and sauté until seared, but not fully cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the first batch of shrimp to a holding dish and sauté the second half.  Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil and the garlic-shallot paste to the skillet and cook until the paste is so thick it almost sticks to the bottom of the pan.  Then add the white wine, lemon juice, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and 4 tablespoons butter.  Bring the sauce to a boil until its volume is reduced by half.  Finally, whisk in the remaining butter, add the shrimp and cook about 2 more minutes.  Don’t overcook the shrimp!

This recipe feeds 4 hungry fishermen if served as an entrée over linguine or fettuccine. Or a few shrimp, each on a piece of thinly sliced French bread toast, make an excellent appetizer.  In either case, garnish the servings with chopped parsley.

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