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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: seatrout

Kevin’s Redtrout Shootout, Wakulla County, May 30, 2015

by on May.12, 2015, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina


It’s back! The Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear & Apparel Redtrout Shootout will take place May 30, 2015.

Cash rewards will be paid out to the top 10 teams weighing in the heaviest combined weight of (1) redfish and (1) spotted seatrout. With an entry fee of $75.00 per angler and a guaranteed cash purse, you and your crew will want to get registered today!

This unique inshore fishing tournament allows teams to launch their boat at any boat ramp, fish their favorite holes and then weigh their catch in at Jerry’s Bait & Tackle located at 664 Woodville Highway, Crawfordville, FL. Click here for map!

If all that sounds good wait till you hear the rest. We have everything from Banquets & Kick Off parties featuring live music. So be sure to take a few minutes and navigate the website to see what else we have in store for this years edition of the RedTrout Shootout.

Click here today to register!

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Big Seatrout Class (Spring Edition) with Flats Class TV & Mirrolure! March 7, 2015 Tampa

by on Feb.07, 2015, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Tampa, FL- Come join Flats Class TV’s, Capt. C.A. Richardson along with Mirrolure’s very own Eric Bachnik for a 3 hour “Spring Edition” Flats Class focusing on big Seatrout along Florida’s west coast! This presentation will focus on lures, locales, and strategies that consistently work for anglers looking to target Seatrout with soft baits and plugs. Generally these schools have a cost associated with them but Tampa Fishing Outfitters has made it possible for Flats Class to be available to you for absolutely “no cost” but reservations are highly recommended because seating is going to be limited!

When: March 7, 2015

Where: Tampa Fishing Outfitters, 3916 West Osborne Ave. Tampa, FL

Time: 9am to 12pm

Cost: Free… but you must register to reserve seat, call now 813.870.1234

“Learn What the Pro’s Know”… with two of Tampa Bay’s best trout anglers!

Big Seatrout Class (Spring Edition) with Flats Class TV & Mirrolure!

Tampa, FL- Come join Flats Class TV's, Capt. C.A. Richardson along with Mirrolure's very own Eric Bachnik for a 3 hour "Spring Edition" Flats Class focusing on big Seatrout along Florida's west coast!  This presentation will focus on lures, locales, and strategies that consistently work for anglers looking to target Seatrout with soft baits and plugs.  Generally these schools have a cost associated with them but Tampa Fishing Outfitters has made it possible for Flats Class to be available to you for absolutely "no cost" but reservations are highly recommended because seating is going to be limited!

When: March 7, 2015

Where: Tampa Fishing Outfitters, 3916 West Osborne Ave. Tampa, FL

Time: 9am to 12pm

Cost: Free... but you must register to reserve seat, call now 813.870.1234

"Learn What the Pro's Know"... with two of Tampa Bay's best trout anglers!
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Try Trout Piccata–The Lighter Side of Fried Fish

by on May.25, 2014, under Recipes and Food

By the time April rolls around, I’m ready to quit eating heavy cool-weather seafood like fried fish, shrimp and oysters and am interested in lighter fare.  And what better way to impress your family and friends is there than the simple Italian-American dish, fish “Piccata”?  Traditionally, this dish is made with thinly sliced and pounded-flat veal, but any delicate fish like seatrout, flounder or sheepshead are perfect choices in your Sportsman’s Kitchen.

Yes, the fish in this recipe is “fried”, but I prefer using the word “sautéed” to clarify that it’s not battered and boiled in oil, but lightly crisped in just a small amount of butter and olive oil, using only a very light dusting of flour.   Then, it’s served with a pan sauce of lemon juice, dry white wine and capers.  If you’ve not yet tasted capers, this is the perfect recipe to learn about these small pickled berries from the Capparis spinosa bush native to rugged Mediterranean countries.  They’re spicy and tangy, but not so much as to cover up the flavor of the fish.

Keep your meal on the light side with a side of crispy homemade potato chips and some light white or blush wine, remembering that springtime is the time to “lighten up”!

Piscine Piccata

  • 2 fish fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Flour as needed for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and dust lightly with the flour. Once the butter foams and begins to brown, add the fish fillets, turn the heat to high, and brown well, turning once, 4 to 5 minutes total.

Remove the fillets to a warm resting place, and add the wine to the pan. Scrape up the browned bits and add the lemon juice along with the capers. Reduce for half a minute, then add the last tablespoon of butter. Check for seasoning and acidity, then return the fillets to the sauce to warm. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Serves 2)

Homemade Potato Chips

There are a couple of tricks regarding the successful preparation of homemade potato chips.  First, use a mandolin slicer or very sharp fillet knife to make very thin, even slices.  Second, dry the chips thoroughly before frying in hot, 375-degree, canola or peanut oil.  And finally, don’t overcrowd the pan—cook just a few slices at a time, drain them on paper towels, and season with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

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Sand Trout/Silver Trout Invade the Flats of Taylor County!

by 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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Tender Is The Trout!–Florida Sportsman “Sportsman’s Kitchen” Article

by on Sep.21, 2013, under Recipes and Food

Seatrout lend themselves to several methods of preparation, but the southern tradition of deep-frying is likely a favorite.   And there’s no reason that fried foods need be greasy.  The use of light cooking oil, like peanut or canola, a simple breading and a hot fire will guarantee results that are crisp, flavorful, and surprisingly healthy.

You’ll have to make the decision whether or not you want to serve your fish as fillets or fingers, known as tenderloins in many areas.  I’d recommend cutting out the bones from smaller fish and then fingering the thick part of the fillet.  If you have big seatrout, picking out the sweet meat under the rib cage is worth the extra effort, so fry the fillets whole. Fillets are probably more appropriate as an entrée; fingers work well as appetizers or in po-boy style sandwiches.

While there are likely as many different types of breading and batters as there are fish in the sea, I prefer a simple coating made from cracker crumbs, plain flour and a dash of Cajun spices.  It’s easy to make and apply–simply dredge your fish in it just as you’re getting ready to fry.

No matter how large the pieces of fish you cook, it’s important that they are put into oil that cooks them quickly.  350 to 375-degrees is the optimum temperature.  If you don’t have a thermometer, simply touch the tip of a ready-to-cook piece of fish into the oil.  If it sizzles, go ahead and start cooking.  As you add additional fillets or fingers, you’ll cool the oil slightly, so it’s important not to cook too many pieces of fish at a time.  When golden brown, your fish is ready to drain on absorbent paper and serve.

If you’re serving your trout in a ‘formal’ setting, consider hushpuppies, Cole slaw and oven-fried potatoes as accompaniments.  This combination will likely earn you accolades comparing you to the best seafood restaurants in your hometown.  A more casual presentation (That means you don’t have to use knives and forks!) is a simple sandwich made with fried fingers, and dressed with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce.

Finally, remember that whether you serve your fish simple or fancy, the ‘secret’s in the sauce’.  Making your own sauces is a simple alternative to store-bought.  Try jazzing up your cocktail sauce with some hot peppers and remember that tartar sauce ain’t nothin’ but mayonnaise, chopped dill pickles and onion.

Foolproof Seafood Breading

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 boxed stack Saltine crackers (about 70 crackers)
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun spice

Pulverize the crackers in a food processor; mix in flour and Cajun spice.  Makes enough breading to coat about 2 pounds of trout fillets or fingers.

Tangy Seafood Sauce

  • 1 12-ounce bottle Chili Sauce
  • 1 7-ounce bottle Dat’l Do-it Datil Pepper Hot Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. ground horseradish
  • Juice of a large lemon

Oven-Fried Potato Strips

  • 1/2-pound Russet potatoes (per person)
  • Peanut or canola oil
  • Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cut potatoes into strips.  Dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Coat a cookie sheet with a light coating of oil.  Arrange potato strips in a single layer.  Bake about 45-minutes, turning strips at least once to ensure browning.  Salt to taste after baking.

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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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3rd Annual Cedar Key “Kayak Fishing Get-Together”, October 13-14, 2012

by on Aug.26, 2012, under Cedar Key

This should be a fun time–and for a good local cause.  Here’s complete information from Al Clements:
The 3rd Annual Cedar Key Get Together has officially opened registrations. Already we have 17 who have signed up. The date is the weekend of October 13, 2012.
As a result of the large turnout and fun in the past I am having to limit the total number to 60 for the Saturday Night Dinner and Drawings. The price for the ticket is $15.00 per person and that includes Dinner and the drawings and the Charity. Last year every person won a prize and we expect the same this year. We also gave a donation to the Cedar Key Help Fund.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this event let me fill you in. First of all this is not a Tournament. It is an open day for all of us to get to know each other personally. Fish where and when you desire. Me and several others know the area well and will direct you where to fish for the species you desire. If you have never caught a 50+ Lb Black Drum from a Kayak this is your chance. Cedar Key has the largest and the most HUGE Black Drum in the Gulf. Just put some crab on your Circle Hook and hold on for the Sleigh Ride of your life!!
Last year we had several bring their entire family. All had a good time and great experiences. I would like to hear from those who attended last year and what they thought about the event.
The Dinner will be at the Low Key Hide A Way in Cedar Key. It is right on the water and also has a Tiki Bar and great seating. We usually eat around 6:30 PM.
If you desire to be a part of this event please Email me at alclements1@cox.net. Let me know who will be in your party and give me your Name and your Handle on the Jax Site. The check must be written to me, Al Clements, so that I can purchase all the food. Any extra money will be given to the Charity at Cedar Key. This Charity provides money for transportation to Gainesville for those who are in need of Doctors Care.
When I receive your check I will Email a ticket to each person in your party. The Ticket MUST BE BROUGHT TO THE DINNER in order to be in the drawing. Last year only one couple forgot their ticket and that was me. I won Nothing!!!
Come for the Sun and the Fun in October and be a part of the best Red and Trout fishing on the Gulf Side.
Look forward to seeing those of you who came last year and also meeting new friends this year.
Any questions please feel free to Email me.
Note: If you want to bring someone and they do not have a Kayak you can rent Fishing Kayaks from Tom at Kayak Cedar Keys. His phone number is 352 543 9447

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2012 February/March Trout Madness Contest at Steinhatchee’s Sea Hag Marina–Enter Today!

by on Feb.04, 2012, under Steinhatchee

FEBRUARY-MARCH TROUT MADNESS going on at the Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee. It’s FREE! Weigh-in any trout at Sea Hag and win prizes. Largest trout by weight at the end of March wins Shimano Combo–Scimitar Rod with Symetre 3000FJ Reel. Weigh-in a fish today! Photo is of Pat Wilson, who won the 2010 event with a 6-plus pounder, caught at 4:30PM on the last day of the tournament on my boat. It ain’t over ’til it’s over!

Jim and Pat Wilson, from Panama City, with Pat's 2010 Trout Madness winning fish. Jim got to hold the prize, but Pat did the catching!

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It’ll Be a Happier New Year 2012–If It Gets Cold and the Seatrout Move Into the Big Bend Rivers!

by on Jan.01, 2012, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

I ended 2011 with some interesting fishing trips. Some were fruitful–others not.

The weather along the Big Bend has been unpredictable, at best. We had only one day of sub-freezing temperatures as the New Year approached and those temperatures only lasted until about 9AM! Water temperatures on December 31st never reached the mid-50s, hovering close to 60 in the mornings and reaching almost 70 in the shallows by late in the day. Essentially, this means the seatrout can’t decide whether to hunker down in the deep holes in the coastal rivers from Homosassa to St. Marks or to chase mullet and pinfish on the flats near the river mouths.

On the Wednesday following Christmas, I’d hoped to put my dad and my daughter on some seatrout.   It looked like we’d have a sunny day and that the fish might be in the Steinhatchee River.  However, much to our distress, the usual spots were vacant.  We did have some luck on the flats though, but not with trout.  In fact, we didn’t see a trout all day, just a few pesky redfish and a nice keeper flounder.  The following day I went over to Suwannee to fish with my friends Erik and Meghan (the ‘supermodel’) in their airboat.  We were hoping to find some fish in the backs of the big creeks there.  After about 6 hours of hard work and lots of running through about 6 creeks, I left and headed for home–with no messy fish to clean.  Erik and Meghan did head to to a popular spot later that afternoon and managed a couple of reds, a flounder and a trout.  Of course, they fished under one of the docks behind the Salt Creek Seafood Company and not in the creek holes!  On New Year’s Eve, I fished with Capt. Rick Davidson and after about 4 hours of hitting all our good spots, including the river holes, we finally found trout and reds in a small rocky area south of the river.  We managed about 15 keeper trout (keeping 6) and a couple of top-slot reds, including a tournament-class 7.5#, 26.5″ fish.  The fish were all in two feet of water and struck on MirrOlure MirrOminnow lures.  The ‘bite’ started about 2 PM and lasted until about 3:30 when the sun moved lower on the horizon, cooling things off.

Meghan, the 'Supermodel' gets her boots wet while fishing the backwaters of Sanders Creek, near Suwannee

Capt. Rick Davidson with a nice Steinhatchee wintertime trout

You can expect lots more seatrout to move into the rivers as soon as the water temperatures reach the low 50s or high 40s. Then, look for them at Steinhatchee near markers #26 or just downstream from the Sea Hag Marina in the ‘Suicide Hole’. Pat’s Elbow in the Withlacoochee River at Yankeetown is a a good bet, too, as are the Suwannee area creeks like Dan May and Barnett.

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Recreational, commercial fishermen to benefit from spotted seatrout management???


Thanks to successful spotted seatrout management, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted Nov. 16 to increase both commercial and recreational fishing opportunities for the popular fish.

“What we are trying to do is be fair in a fishery that is in abundance, and in some cases, way in abundance,” said Chairman Kathy Barco. “We are dealing with a success story.”

“At the end of the day, both commercial and recreational fishermen are getting something,” said Commissioner Brian Yablonski.

The decision came during day one of the two-day November Commission meeting in Key Largo.

Changes take effect Feb.1, 2012, and include:

  • Removing regional recreational season closures (removing the current February closure in northern Florida and the November-through-December closure in southern Florida);
  • Raising the recreational bag limit in northeast Florida from five to six;
  • Changing commercial seasons based on region – lengthening them from three months to five months in the northwest, southwest (June 1 – Oct. 31) and southeast (May 1 – Sept. 30) regions, and from three months to six months in the northeast region (June 1 – Nov. 30);
  • Allowing spotted seatrout to be sold 30 days after the close of the regional commercial season;
  • When there are two commercially licensed fishermen aboard, changing the commercial vessel limit to 150;
  • Redefining the areas where spotted seatrout are managed by splitting the state into four management zones instead of three.

The changes come after a 2010 spotted seatrout stock assessment indicated numbers were consistently exceeding the annual management goal across the state, and nearly double in the northeast region of Florida.

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