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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: grouper

Grouper All’Amatriciana—A Simple and Special Recipe

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


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


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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Redfish Classic At Crystal River, Fla. Sept. 18-19, 2015

by on Jul.14, 2015, under Ozello to Crystal River

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – Plantation on Crystal River – a hidden gem located just 80 miles north of Tampa – has partnered with Sodium Fishing Gear, One Rake at A Time Foundation and many others to host the inaugural Plantation Redfish Classic on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Plantation on Crystal River’s Adventure Center and Dive Shop.”Plantation on Crystal River is the premier angler’s resort in Citrus County and after hosting a number of fishing tournaments for other groups and participating in many tournaments ourselves, it was just natural to want to start a tournament we can call our own,” said Paul Cross, Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop manager.

Make it a weekend with rooms nights starting at $119 per night for all tournament participants and their families. Hotel guests can take advantage of the lagoon-style pool, complimentary lawn games and even dock their boat on the 1,600 feet of seawall for easy launching the morning of the event. Events throughout the weekend include the Captain’s Dinner on Friday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. offering light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, Plantation Redfish Classic from daylight to 5 p.m. and Awards Banquet at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 – and while redfish is the primary quest, there will also be categories for trout and grouper.

Registration fee for two anglers (including a boat captain) is $225 and includes two swag buckets, entry for two to the Captain’s Dinner, tournament fee, entry for two to the Award’s Banquet, two tournament t-shirts and free boat launch. Prizes will include first, second and third place for largest redfish, trout and grouper ranging from $3,000 to $100.

A portion of all proceeds will go to benefit the One Rake at a Time Foundation which cleans Lyngbya, a harmful blue-green algae, out of Kings Bay through the dedication and hard work of local volunteers.

Other sponsors include Young Boats, Home Depot, Unfair Lures, Nick Nicholas Ford, 96.7 The Fox, Citrus 95.3, Lecanto Veterinary Hospital, Homosassa Marina, Yamaha, Corona Light on Draft, and Bimini Bay Outfitters.

For more information about the Plantation Redfish Classic, Plantation on Crystal River or to make a reservation, visit PlantationonCrystalRiver.com or call 800-632-6262.

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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Crystal River Fishing Report, 9/3/12, from Capt. Dan Clymer

by on Sep.03, 2012, under Ozello to Crystal River

With a couple days back on the water after another fantastic fly fishing trip from Wyoming, the fishing/scalloping back home is great. It truly has been a banner year for our Citrus County scallop season, and being this late in the season; it appears there’s no slowing down. The grass flats just South of Gomez Rks off Crystal River continues to produce as well as the flats just West of St. Martins Keys. The size of the scallops has been very impressive and the meat inside has coincided with the larger size as well. Get them while you can with only a couple weeks left.
On the fishing side, I had great grouper trip from the shallower 17ft to 30ft range, despite the full moon which usually makes the grouper bite difficult. Spending the time to catch good quality palm sized pin fish will definitely put the odds in you favor. I fished both high profile rocks and under cut ledges and the two types of structures produced equally as well. After a good catch of gags bottom fishing, we spent a little time trolling and picked up a couple on plugs. These have been the first grouper of our early approaching fall season I have caught trolling and even a surprise Goliath grouper grabbed a plug. The recent winds and storm activity has helped with the floating grass situation and allowed trolling for most areas I fished particularity to the North. The trolling will continue to improve in the coming weeks. On the inshore scene, the red fishing has picked up considerably. The outer keys and spoil islands have been the hot spots and have a variety of baits. One day it’s live pin fish and the next it’s cut mullet or lady fish, so leave the dock prepared. One surprise catch this week I’d like to mention is my good friend and fellow Captain Clay Sheidler, lucked upon a 7lb bone fish using live shrimp while red fishing out of Crystal River. This is truly a rare catch and it just proves you just never know….

Capt. Dan Clymer
(352) 418-2160

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July 1, 2012 Fishing Regulation Update: Scallops, Grouper, Snapper all open!


Just a reminder:

The recreational season for bay scallops opened July 1 and lasts until September 25.  Good information at

The season for gag grouper opened July 1, and lasts until October 31.

The season for red snapper is now open until July 17 due to an extension by the FWC.  Foul weather conditions caused the FWC to rethink the previous closure date of July 10.

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The recreational red grouper bag limit in Gulf of Mexico state waters (excluding Monroe County) will increase Dec. 30 from two to four fish, followed by the Jan. 1 season closure of shallow-water grouper in Atlantic state waters.

The red grouper bag limit increase is one of several fishery management changes made at the November Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting in Key Largo.
Management changes in 2012 will also affect gag grouper season, which is currently closed to fishing in Gulf of Mexico state waters (excluding Monroe County) and will continue to be closed through March 31, 2012. (This includes the regularly scheduled annual closure from Feb. 1 through March 31 in Gulf state waters.)

Both measures will help the state achieve consistency with federal red and gag grouper management efforts.

Federal managers are working on a plan to further protect gag grouper, which is overfished and undergoing overfishing in the Gulf. The FWC will revisit state gag grouper management efforts in February 2012, once federal rules are solidified.

Season closures for red and gag grouper, as well as other shallow-water groupers, are also nearing. In Atlantic state waters, including Monroe County, the season closes Jan. 1 and reopens May 1. Shallow-water grouper season closes Feb. 1 in Gulf state waters and reopens April 1.
Shallow water groupers in Gulf state waters include gag, red, black, yellowfin and yellowmouth groupers; scamp; and rock and red hind. In Atlantic state waters, it also includes tiger grouper, coney and graysby.

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Grouper.”

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Crystal River Grouper Trolling Report, Capt. Dan Clymer, 10/25/11

by on Oct.25, 2011, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

It’s my favorite time of year! Besides the great inshore fishing, our shallow water gag grouper fishing has really kicked off. Now is the time to start trolling your favorite grouper locations and reel in some hefty gags. The water temperature is in the upper 60’s, the floating grass is going away and the fish are aggressive. On my most recent charter, we targeted the 12ft to 16ft range and had outstanding action. Trolling over holes with ledges and scattered low profile rock piles, we had our limit in short order and released several others. On many occasions when a fish was hooked, there was a larger one following, a quick cast and we had an instant double hook up. The grouper were averaging 8lbs to 20lbs and these are real quality fish. I suggest staying south of Crystal River and preferably west of Homosassa. The water to the north is extremely dirty and I had no action what so ever. However, once the water clears, the intake canal area “barge canal” will be outstanding. The Rapala CD 14’s and x rap 20’s have been the hot plugs. Experiment with colors, but the dorado, orange and chartreuse and silver color combinations usually get the job done. Good luck

Capt. Dan Clymer
(352) 418-2160

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Confused About Grouper and Snapper Regulations? Read the April 2011 Issue of Sport Fishing Magazine


I am.   And I usually stay in touch with regulations more than most folks.  There’s a good article, “Sea of Turmoil”, in the April 2011 issue of Sport Fishing Magazine.  Editor Chris Woodward does an excellent job of explaining (in plain English) the regulations that are affecting anglers on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

No matter your stance on this issue, this is an article you should read!

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Just a Reminder-Gulf gag grouper recreational harvest in federal waters closes January 1, 2011


The recreational harvest of gag grouper in Gulf of Mexico federal waters off Florida will be prohibited beginning Jan. 1.  Federal fisheries managers recently announced a temporary rule that closes Gulf federal waters to recreational fishing for gag grouper for six months while they develop long-term measures to improve gag grouper populations.  Gulf federal waters extend beyond nine nautical miles from Florida’s shoreline.

Gulf state waters (from shore out to nine nautical miles) will remain open for recreational gag grouper harvest until Feb. 1.  However, people on federally permitted for-hire reef-fish vessels may not harvest or possess gag grouper in state waters during the temporary federal closure.

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Gulf of Mexico Grouper Regulations to Change, January 1, 2011


On December 1, 2010, the federal register will publish the announcement tomorrow announcing the reduction of the gag grouper quota to 0, which means no harvest of recreational gag grouper beginning Jan 1 and the commercial harvest of gag will be limited to 100,000 pounds until further notice.

The SSC will meet in December to reassess the stock assessment that declared the Gag Grouper overfished and undergoing overfishing.

The red grouper bag limit will remain at 2 fish per person, but the red grouper total allowable catch will be reduced, which will negatively affect the commercial fishermen.

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