Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tarpon Fever will give you a Bad Attitude

It's slick calm out there.......and I'm not.    I don't have a charter today and Anna booked me a light tackle trip tomorrow.   Stewing about all of this as my coffee brews, a very nice lady called and  inquired about fishing out of MHC on Friday.......Anna says that I "hung up" on her when she scoffed at the idea of tarpon fishing.

By the way, I'm open on Friday if anyone wants to go TARPON fishing.   If you call, I'm not allowed to answer the phone anymore.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another great day

Capt. Chris was on the way over the the Pamlico Sound the other day to check out the tarpon and ran across a huge school of these big drum in the river, very cool sight casting. 
We got into the action today......

It's really difficult to take pictures while driving the boat, casting and retrieving as a whole pack of red wakes after your topwater bait.    These pics don't give justice to what we were into this morning........before putting a couple tarpon in the air and catching one of them.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Very fun day

It's a good year of tarpon fishing when you catch a couple of NC tarpon and say it was a "decent" day.  Over the past few years, that would have been exceptional, but it seems like this year, catches of a couple tarpon/day is more common than in recent memory.    We caught a couple today, along with several other boats, including Capt. Greg Voliva......one of the Down East tarpon guides and  Derek Kingfish  along with the Bull Pen, Henry "Big Dipper" and another boat that I didn't catch the name.  Also catching fish with other jump offs was Dan "Tag a Long"  and a couple other unidentified boats.   It was good to see 10 boats working together and all courteous, polite and generous.....and everyone getting bites.   It wasn't fast and furious, but a stead pick.....and a very fun day.

Pics from our last double header....and our first threepeat....buy a lottery ticket Wilbur.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tarpon Tease

First day out and it was "textbook".   Spent some time looking, found them and they cooperated, getting a couple quick bites, then turned on again in the afternoon.   Ended up getting 7 tarpon bites, put 5 in the air and caught 2.     Yesterday, back out there again and the tarpon were again just like out of the "textbook".   I never saw one........

Monday, July 23, 2012

3 scales......

Mid-day report

Capt. Brian had a two day trip, yesterday they did see 50+ tarpon but got run in by the storms, today between dodging storms, they narrowed down on the bite.  2 for 3 on the tarpon and a "handful" of old drum that they caught cruising around while they were on the prowl for silver......

ARG pics from Dad

 after the hunt....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pics from the last week

These pics sum up my crazy week, quite a diversity of shots.....  In Argentina we hunted two different duck lodges, always trying to improve on what we have to offer.....
 The "bird boys" below are pretty tuned in.  These guys are true professional guides, recognizing changing conditions and making adjustments to insure that all of our guests had the best opportunities for safe, comfortable, successful and authentic wild duck hunts, 
At the second lodge that we hunted, we saw some evidence of baiting....which is completely legal ....
....and very effective.....
Then a couple days of dove hunting, no they aren't blackbirds in the below shot, just thousands upon thousands of doves.....all you could ever want. 
From Argentina to Naples, FL  for a couple days of R and R with Anna........and her mom
With several pressing business meetings in Costa Rica, I slipped down there for a couple of days....after all was done with the lawyers, accountants, hotels and condos, I did find time to get out on the Dragin Fly to make sure that everything was running right.....yup, still raising fish

Plenty of billfish around, but with no tuna or dolphin for dinner, we stopped on the way home and did some bottom fishing, here are some representatives of the different species that we caught....they turned out to be very tasty. 

 Made it back to Miami yesterday, just in time to for a big fat Cuban wedding, Anna's cousin got married.  We made it back from the wedding just in time to catch a flight back to NC......4:00 am is going to come early.  
After several weeks on the road, thousands of miles by land, sea and air....from Montana to Argentina and several tropical latitudes in between......there's no place like home.
Look out tarpon, here I come.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nice note

 "I cannot begin to express how hard Capt. Brian worked to get us on a tarpon. This was our second trip with Brian Tarpon Fishing. This year, for 12 and1/2 hours, I believe he took Guiding ,Searching and Fishing to another level. Even though we didn’t catch any tarpon we did see some rolling and that makes it a success, at least for us. Tarpon fishing is a another ball game from any other fishing I ‘ve tried, but I believe one of the biggest obstacle to overcome is finding fresh bait. Fortunately, Brian had plenty of fresh bait. With just a little bit said, We will be back to fish with Brian and Down East Guide Service. This is our third trip with DEGS and the amount of information and techniques we’ve learned has helped us with other fishing in the same waters. Thanks Again for the great accommodations and experienced guides. We will be in touch!!!!!!!!"   
-----Jim E. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quick Trip

Finishing up on some business this morning, but got a few hours on the water yesterday.  We left the sailfish bite after raising a triple header, in search of some meat.  No tunas, no marlins, so we stopped inshore for some deep dropping and an assortment of bottom dwellers for dinner.
Pics to follow......maybe when I'm waiting on the next flight.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

tarpon fishing is fishing

Despite all reports that there are as many tarpon in NC's waters as anyone can remember seeing in recent history, it's still tarpon fishing......not always catching.  In fact, no matter where in the world you go, even at the best times to be there, tarpon are not always predictable and for whatever reason they sometimes don't bite, even when they are rolling all around the boat.  That's what makes them so frustrating.....and rewarding for those who have the passion to give them everything that they've got.  

Sure, anyone can go out there and throw a line in the water with some rotten bait and maybe get a bite, but to consistently get bites, that takes commitment and the lessons learned from countless hours of trial and error.  There is no magic bullet, no secret bait or rigging system, it's a combination of a lot of "little things" that makes the difference and separates the dedicated tarpon fisherman from a good trout fisherman.  

As newcomers to tarpon fishing have heard from the old timers many times, myself included:  "Put your time in son, it'll come to you."    And for those who have put their time in......and it has come to them.....they relish in being able to say the same to other newbies.   With all the blood, buckets of sweat, sunburn and countless hours waiting for the bite, we are not willing to just hand out that information freely.

Down East books charters for many great guides, but only a few of us fall into the category of "tarpon guides".  If you want to look into our world, it'll cost you a full day.  If you pay attention and ask the right questions, you'll pick up a few tricks and save some of that time that you'll inevitably have to put into it.

Our full days are $800 and this guarantees only that we'll give you our all.   Capt. Brian Harrington gave his all yesterday, fishing his customers for 12 hours without a bite.  Having paid a day of dues and recognizing how hard Brian fished for them, they'll be back and hopefully they will be able to redeem some of the points that they earned yesterday.

If you want to give it a try and see what all the fuss is about, these are the openings for our "tarpon guides":
July 24, 25, 29, 30, 31 and Aug. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.     After the middle of August, most of these tarpon guides are booked up with drum fishing......it just happens that the hard work and lessons learned while tarpon fishing transforms these guides into pretty good drum fishermen as well.

Having all these tarpon around is eating into me......especially since I'm not there in the middle of it.   But I will be soon.  Right now, I'm in another airport, boarding another plane and heading to CR for a quick business trip.....fortunately, my business often involves fishing and I'm going to try and get out there tomorrow.    If all goes well, I'll be sweating it out there next week.....and after everyone has given up and gone home, the tarpon guides will still be there, waiting.....until we get ours. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Big Drum are Here

Right on time, several reports of good sight casting for the big 'uns on Sunday and some of the vampires    are also getting the bite.   With all the tarpon around, with decent numbers of big drum showing up as well, there should be some pretty spectacular fishing over the next few weeks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Congrats Tom Cat

Gene Wooster with Mobile East Marine  Phil Ambler put together an "invitation only" tarpon tournament this past weekend with the best tarpon fishermen in the area.  All the competitors reported big schools of tarpon cruising in between their lines pretty much all day.  Fishermen were scattered from Clubfoot Creek to Brant Island Shoals and EVERYONE was in the meat, but it was one of those days that they just were not biting.   Acting like tarpon?  Or are they just waiting for me to get home?

Congrats to Brynn on the Tom Cat who convinced one to bite and caught him, winning the first Oriental Invitational Tarpon Tournament.  Hope to be a part of it next year......

On this end, I made it to Atlanta, spending a few days with the inlaws in Miami before heading to Costa Rica on "business".  Will be back on the water first of next week and I am pumped, primed and ready to try my hand at the poons.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

doves and tarpons

I shot for 2 1/2 hours this morning, 500 shells, 280 doves.  That's about 1 dead dove every 30 seconds....Will try to do better this afternoon.....

And before you do-gooders get down on what we're doing here in Argentina....here's the short of it.  Conversion of pasture to agriculture (beans and corn) = more food.
Prohibiting hunting in the roost/nesting areas + the climate allows for the doves to nest year round + more food = more doves every year, despite the increases in the numbers of hunters.

I'm looking forward to getting back on the water, below is the report from Capt. Phil:

"I haven't seen this many fish for ten years or more. You won't believe it when you get home."   Phil Ambler

A whole lot of Tarpon

From Phil

I haven't seen this many fish for ten years or more. You won't believe it when you get home.
Phil Ambler"

We still have opening with our Tarpon "Master" Guides between now and July 31. Let me know if you want to give it a shot.

252 671 3474

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another great day in Costa Rica

"One more great day of fishing. We had 5 blue marlin bite,  jump 2 off,  miss 1 and catch 2. We also had 8 sailfish bite, catch 4. Seems like the fishing is gething better everyday.  These guys realy wanted to  catch one billfish,  they ended  up catching a lot more than they expected.  they realy enjoyed the day." 

Capt. James on the Dragin Fly

Long boat ride

Well, it's nice to see that everyone has "snafus", a little carburetor  problem turned a 30 minute boat ride into a  3 hour boat ride home....but we got our ducks and a late dinner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Love those sting rays

Feedback from fishing with Capt. Chris: 

"George and Anna,  This is Selena.  More pictures to come but these are the ones from my phone.  Best new fun thing I have done since bungee jumping YEARS ago!  Reeling in the sting rays was exhilarating and after the first we were thirsty for more!  This is definitely something we would LOVE to do again and hope to in the future. Could not have asked for a better experience!  Thank you for giving us some fabulous memories!
Selena, Elizabeth and Megan. "  
Little fish make people smile also.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Upcoming trips

Aug/Sept in NC:  Prime time for mixed bag trips but the big drum are drawing anglers to Eastern NC from across the country. If you haven't gotten your dates reserved......I strongly suggest you do it now.  Many of the guides during the peak season have very few openings. 

Belize: Oct. 13-20  This is a great couples trip for those who have a passion for scuba diving or fishing for bonefish and permit.  This is a perfect trip for those who want to be introduced to saltwater fly fishing, the guides are knowledgeable, patient and more than willing to fish with a light spinning rod and a live crab. :)

Costa Rica Tarpon:  Oct. 21-25.  The first group we are hosting is completely booked, but we still have room for the above dates.  This is a must do for the serious tarpon fisherman.  Extremely reasonable rates if you would like to add a couple days on the Pacific side with the Dragin Fly or just hang out on the beach.

Costa Rica peak season on the Dragin Fly:  December/January:  Only a few openings during the week for the first two weeks of December, then the calendar opens up for the end of the month and the first two weeks of January.  This is the time to be there if you want to catch a marlin
February/March: Although we only have a few days available in February and early March, we can still get you on the water with some of our sister boats.  More availability in late March and April with great fishing continuing through July and Green season discounts beginning in mid-April. (Also Green Season discounts now through mid-December)

Argentina Ducks and Doves:  See the reports below, I am trying to round up a group to head down the week after Thanksgiving and already making plans for next July.  We can arrange trips anytime for the year-round dove season and/or the duck season which runs May-August and mid-Oct through mid-December.

Capt. Blake report

Looks like Cap Blake is having some good fishing on the Pamlico

"Capt. George,  July has started as good as it gets!  I've been on some Tarpon, Big Reds and the mixed bag trips have been awesome with Grand Slams (Trout, Reds, Flounder, Stripers."

Few duck pics

 The smiles on these faces are because they know that they cannot have this kind of legal duck hunting anywhere in North America…..maybe Mexico, if you are brave enough to chance the kidnappings and crime.   Very safe here in Argentina, everyone is super nice, food is fantastic, service is first class as well as the hunting.    More and more hunters are coming down here because of the problems in Mexico, therefore availability of prime dates is getting more difficult.   Before I leave next week, I will have tentative dates reserved for next year (first two weeks of July) and also hope to round up a group of hunters for a trip during their spring rice planting season in November, perhaps the week after Thanksgiving.   Although this is a rather expensive trip, with more customers each year I will be able to  negotiate better contracts and provide  the best value for your trip of a lifetime. 

Dad is finding his lead
  I'll be shooting more with a camera over the next few days and hope to get some good pics, the below are up close teal, great sport with a 20 gauge.  

The tree ducks below decoy a lot like pintails, high fliers, but when they do it, it really is beautiful......don't move, keep your head down  and don't shoot when they first get in range.......wait, wait, they're coming back around..
 .....legs down, Take Em.
Unlike some places in Argentina where you are in the middle of a cow pasture and shooting a baited pot hole, these are wild ducks in authentic duck hunting scenery.  It's not a turkey shoot...but good scouting and a lot of work by the bird boys makes it seem that way sometimes.  The guys here have been very impressed with the willingness of the bird "boys" to move to a different location and change the decoy spread until they get it right.

2 blue marlin, 7 sailfish, 1yellowfin tuna about 80 lbs and 1 mahi mahi  

Why does everyone want to go down there in the winter for fishing, when it can be great year round, especially with the lower rates this time of year?  Don't figure...... 

tarpons, Report from Argentina, Stop, Drop and Roll

Another good report from the Tom Cat and the Big Dipper on the tarpon fishing.  Hate that I'm missing it, but will be working to get mine when I get back.

Finishing up with our first group of hunters here in Argentina, over 4 days, we've shot over 1000 ducks......all within the legal limits and the ducks are going to good use by the locals.  This has been the best year ever, despite the dry conditions in most areas and other outfitters who are struggling.  The team that we have put together down here really does it right.  Hope to have some pics up if I can keep this internet signal......

Another group has just arrived and I will be hunting with them over the next four days.

Weather is great, no ice or snow, temps are in the high 30's/low 40's at night, up to about 60 during the day. Only mishap was that at breakfast this morning I was warming up my back against a propane heater and caught my shirt on fire.....I mean really on fire.  Had flash backs to elementary school safety videos of Stop, Drop and Roll.  Luckily I didn't get burned by the melting material, but I ruined a good hunting shirt.

One for Phil

From Phil Amber:
"Decent number of tarpon in the river so I took Gene (Mobile East Marine) out this morning but not until 1030 or so. Caught one . Will leave a few for you when you get home. Looks like a decent season."

Thursday, July 5, 2012


No pics, cause I didn't catch one, but I did spend several hours each of the last two days around some tarpon.  From my limited observations of just several hours over the last couple of days under rough conditions is that there is a decent number of tarpon around, scattered from Brant Island all the way up both the Pamlico and Neuse.  It's worth doing, you just need to have the bait and the time and most importantly the patience to wait them out.  Eventually they will bite, but for us, we ran out of time and bait.

Packing bags now to head to Argentina with a couple groups of duck hunters.  Keep checking the reports here, I hope to be putting up some reports and pics from the other side of the world as well as passing along fishing reports from the guides in NC and Costa Rica.  Anna will be taking calls at 252-671-3474 and continuing to make reservations for the other Down East guides and myself.

If you want to give those tarpon a shot, there are only a couple of guides that I would recommend.....I'm one of them.   Be prepared for a LONG full day.  Bring plenty of water and food and whatever you do, don't bring bananas.  If you book a tarpon trip, we're TARPON fishing, win, lose or draw.  We're not giving it up after a couple of hours because we don't see them, we're going to look and hunt until we find them.  We're not going to save the day catching specks or flounder or even little drum, we're TARPON fishing. When we do find them, we're going to sit there until they bite or we run out of bait......

I will be back from my travels, will have a few days of getting tuned into the tarpon and have available dates  starting July 29.  From then through Aug. 15, I am hard core TARPON fishing every day that I can get out after them.  I have scattered openings through that period, after that, I only have a couple of openings for drum fishing through September.   Check with us anytime to see if a "tarpon" guide is available.   For the giant red drum, there are a lot more of our guides tuned into them, but their openings are becoming scarce.  Don't be too late for the best of the action in August and September.   

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Iron Wheel Guest Ranch

Here are a few pics from our trip and my big trout.  Pretty cool, in addition to this big brown and a couple smaller ones, I also caught rainbows, brooks and "whitefish" all on a dry fly.

  Truly an enjoyable couple of days with some real people.  Anna didn't even get thrown off the horse.

John and Sherrie and their son Scott are fantastic folks, if you are into the big game thing, Scott is tuned into the hunting for mountain lions, bears and elk, not to mention the fishing if you are ever around Butte, Montana, you need to check it out.  www.ironwheel.com