Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I feel like I've been run over by a tarpon

Maybe it was the voodoo that they put on me Sunday.....and Monday......and Tuesday, maybe I'm getting too old and should have stayed retired, maybe it's this dang fever, but whatever it is, I feel like I've been steam-rolled by a 200 pounder.   Taking a couple of lay days to get ready for Wilbur, got to keep that streak alive.  

Big drum and pups saved the day on Monday, only a tarpon in the air would have helped yesterday, but that did not happen for me, even though Miss Sharon, fishing with the Big Dipper, did put some steel in one along with a couple of drum.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Congrats to the Big Dipper

Henry Frazer does it again with his 2nd win of the Oriental Rotary Club Tarpon Tournament.

I've had a lot of frustrating days of tarpon fishing, but probably none more frustrating as today.   For four hours this morning we had tarpon rolling around the boat, under and over our lines and nearly eating chum out of our hands, but all refused our baits that had hooks.

Three anglers each caught one fish yesterday and Henry Frazer knew that one fish today would not even get a check.    With day two's abbreviated fishing hours, lines having to be out of the water at noon, he didn't have much time to catch a fish and get in the game.   It did not take him long with his first release at 7:30 am, but he needed a 2nd fish......and so did we.

As Henry was fighting his first fish, we were covered up with tarpon that had a major case of lockjaw. Still sitting in first place on time,  any of the other anglers who had caught a fish could knock us into 2nd.  With Henry Frazer now one of those anglers, the heat was turned up.

By 10:30 am, our fish were still making an occasional appearance around the boat and it was hard to make a move.  At about the same time, Henry  made a bold move from where he caught his first fish and went looking for another.  It was the right move.  With only 30 minutes left on the clock, he hooked up and shortly thereafter he landed his second fish of the day, enough to convincingly win the tournament for the second time.

It is always tough to lose.....and that's what I call 2nd place.....1st of all the losers,  but Henry deserved to win.  He has put an amazing amount of effort into learning how to catch NC tarpon and he has paid his dues many times over.   Congratulations Henry, I bet he'll be out there again tomorrow.

Right now I'm trying to find a place to hang the trophy for most skates and get a good recipe for cooking crow.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Greg Voliva dominates Inshore Slam

I thought that I posted this yesterday, must not have gone through.   Capt. Greg Voliva fishing with Debbie Ann and company, dominated the Oriental Inshore Slam Tourney.   They started the day with a trout nearly 5 pounds and did not look back.   They also caught almost 30 puppy drum that were up to 23 inches.....and a few over 30 inches, too big to keep.   And a nice flounder.   Their total weight  of their largest of each species was almost 5 pounds ahead of 2nd place.   Yours truly was way down the line with only a little over 6 pounds.   We caught a lot of fish and several slams, but nothing exceptional.

One Double Header Away From Defeat

Although we are in the lead… time only, we are only one double header away from defeat.  If we don’t catch a fish tomorrow, that’s what it is going to take to beat us.    Ties are broken by the first fish caught and we did catch the first fish of the tourney.   

We have a lot of pressure on us, especially with the Moon Man Doug Sulc on our heels, he’s won the tournament before and wants this one really bad……so do I…….especially after all the smack that I’ve been talking this past week.

I hope that the one we lost today is not going to be a factor tomorrow.   Got to keep looking ahead and catch at least one more……..or more. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tarpon Curse

I was informed by Wilbur that it was actually a 15 year tarpon curse.   That's right, he kept coming back for 15 years in a row without catching a tarpon.....sometimes twice or three times/year.   Talk about hard-headed.....err....I mean persistent.    We broke the streak 3 years ago and have caught one each year, fishing again on Aug. 3 to try and keep the streak alive.


   Nice one too.......130 maybe.  Got a scale, pics ......they are happy.----Capt. Brian



I knew you were’nt really that serious since you were not willing to give up those Harkers Island Bedroom Slippers to the Fishing Hall of Fame for display.
All I have to say about retirement – don’t, unless you have to….Just don’t catch them all before August 3rd.


Don’t worry, I plan on keeping the streak alive.  It took us 10 years to catch the first tarpon together, but now we’re on a roll!!!   Although I retired from fishing the tarpon tournament a couple of years ago, under intense pressure from my gracious fans such as yourself, I owed it to them to make another appearance.    

I am in the airport now, on the way back from Argentina. I have a lot of work to do over the next couple of days.  I just hope to be able to shake off the rust and be competitive against the other tarpon fishermen who have joined the sport since my retirement.   

There are good tarpon fishermen out there who have tried to fill the void that I left behind;  Tom Cat, Tag A Long, The Big Dipper, Bait Boat, Debbie Anne, Mobile East, Miss Sharon, Moon Man and especially Jump King.    But after their disappointing performance last year, none of them able to bring a single fish to boat-side, I felt that I owed it to the sport and the tournament to return from retirement.  

I appreciate the inspirational photos of other great athletes who did not know when to quit.  I have added a picture of me in my prime with a 200 pounder. 

All the best and looking forward to fishing with you on the 3rd.   Wish me luck as I pursue my 5th title as champion of the Oriental Rotary Club Tarpon Tournament.   I hope you will consider participating in the amateur's not too late. 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tough weekend for the Down East Guides

The reports were slow to trickle in from the several guides that we had fishing this weekend, I don't think that anyone was eager to brag about the tough mixed bag fishing that they experienced with Saturday's southwester.   Friday was good, but things sure took a turn on Saturday......except for the skates and a couple big drum, it was a tough bite.   Just keeping it real.......

Drum in July

This is a pic that Capt. Mitch Blake sent of a big red drum he caught today.

  Capt. Brian also ran into one on his trip to the river this weekend.

Sub-Arctic Blast

It is VERY cold down here now.   My blood is thin and it's time to come home and catch some skates, I hear that it has been really good.   Heading that direction tomorrow.

The hunting remains the best in years, but the blast of cold air from Antarctica has put a couple of layers over the t-shirts that we were hunting in this past week.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

FREE Fishing on the Dragin Fly

A hand full of sails, scattered marlin and consistent tuna fishing is making for great fishing in Costa Rica despite people's fears of the "Green Season".    To alleviate their concerns the Dragin Fly is offering a FREE day of fishing for any group that books three days, now through December 15.

That's right, if you and your friends are serious fishermen, from now through December 15, if you book three days on the Dragin Fly we will give you the 4th day absolutely FREE.

Excellent inshore grand slam fishing

Capt. Greg is having some excellent inshore fishing for trout, pups and flounder, despite a good southwester

Friday, July 19, 2013

All Good in Argentina

"I hope Jim "Never Enough"  is happy and they are having great hunting--- if not I suspect George is very ready to come home.  We had a great time everyone was impressed with the service the hunting and very professional way everything was handled.  I can give you nothing but my highest recommendations and I will do that every chance I get-- look forward to getting together again sometime in the future.

Tell Nacho his people did a great job at the Airport-- our flight was cancelled, but his contacts inside the airport took care of it and got us home as scheduled on another flight.   We would probably still be there or at least would have been a day or two later getting home without them. thanks again"    -----David O

Thanks for the note David, fortunately, the hunting has continued to be excellent, Jim is very happy and there is no reason for me to leave Argentina early......other than I could probably use the practice before the tarpon tournament. ----George

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Argentina duck pics

A nice limit

 The big ducks:   Below a hen and drake rosey-bill.   These are the most popular big ducks, about the size of a canvasback and decoy much the same, most of your limit usually comprises of these guys.
 Below are the three tree duck or whistling duck species, locally called wigeon. These are my favorites, the white faced tree duck , black bellied tree duck and fulvious tree duck.   These are very wary, high flying birds that respond well to electronic calls. Like pintails, they will often circle several times, you better keep your head down.   When they commit, be sure to wait until they are right on top of you, when you jump up, they just kind of hang there allowing for 4 or 5 shots all well within range.
I have no idea what the below duck is, nor did our bird boys, perhaps due to the rising water, this guy escaped from a local farm.  The bird boys wanted to keep it to show their friends. 

 See what happens to you when you go over your limit?  Tommy got handcuffed to the police car by the local police....who happened also to be our driver.  He was able to negotiate his release after trading his hunting hat for a San Javier police hat.  Not a bad deal.

NC tarpon report, snakes and wild cats in the trees

Got a good tarpon report from Tom Cat yesterday, sounds like he was steadily putting them in the air.   Should be a great Oriental Rotary Club tarpon tournament coming up next weekend, July 27/28.

Awesome hunting continues here in Argentina, Never Enough got down here and hunted yesterday afternoon and this morning.   He is hunting with his 3 sons, two hunters/blind.   Big Jim has averaged almost 2 ducks/minute, getting their "limit" in less than 45 minutes each morning.

I was really worried about the hunting this week, we are in the middle of a major flood down here and the birds are using different areas each day.   The water has risen at least 6 feet in the past several days.    No problem with finding the ducks, it has been more difficult to find places with water levels below the waste.

 As a result of the rising waters, animals from the flooded fields and islands are seeking high ground.   Any tree or bush is full of frogs and occasionally snakes and other small mammals.   The guys today saw a bob cat seeking refuge in a tree behind their blind.   Every blade of grass is loaded with crickets and bugs.  When the water inundates the fire ant nests, they hold on to each other forming a floating ball the size of a cantaloupe, drifting with the wind and current to high ground.  

Hope to have some pics for you soon, depending on the wifi signal which is a bit week.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tarpon and Ducks

Tarpon report from this weekend was that it was very, very windy.  Nonetheless, there was a tarpon caught by Capt. Travis Hardison who won the Mobile East Marine Invitational.   Capt. Travis has been pretty busy the last couple of years and has not had time to run many charters for us, but this weekend he proved that he still has what it takes, competing against 14 local teams and winning the tourney. 

With the ducks, this morning we had a stiff breeze and the sun rising from our back.  It was awesome.  50+ ducks in about 30 minutes. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good practice, good results

Shooting a couple of cases of shells at some fast, high flying doves was just what we needed to gain our aim.   Been deadly on the ducks.  Got some great video to share with you when we get back.  No problems with getting our "limit" of 50 ducks/hunt.  I'm already planning my next trip, what about right before or after Thanksgiving?   Anyone interested?   This is their spring rice planting season and the ducks are a nuisance, hence a little more generous limits.  

Friday, July 12, 2013


Got a little payback on the doves today, bumped my average up to around 50% this morning.   Shot a little over a case of shells, 20 boxes in a case, 25 shells in a box, I'll let you do the math.   The rest of our crowd got into Cordoba today and found their aim.  We're getting up early in the morning and making the trek to the duck lodge for an afternoon roost shoot.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Costa Rica Report

After catching 2 nice yellowfin tuna about  100 & 45 Lbs yesterday our guys call it a day and quit fishing about noon. 

 today we was three for three on sailfish and one for two on blue marlin  

---Capt. James Smith  Dragin Fly

I'm glad that they were not shooting back

Made it here to Cordoba this afternoon in time for a couple hours of shooting.   I wasn't keeping count of how many I shot, but my average was not good.  I'm glad that they were not shooting back at me.   I did run couple hundred rounds through a 20 gauge.  I'm sure that I'll find my eye tomorrow, then the ducks better look out.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Down East Guide openings for Oriental Tarpon Tournament

If any serious fishermen are interested.   No, I am booked, but Capts. Justin Haddock and Greg Voliva are currently open.  

Mitch Blake report, fly fishing for aj's, off to Argentina

"Friday we had a good catch of Trout and Flounder on the Neuse.
 Sat. big double digits on Roanoke Stripers.
 Sunday got a Tarpon, thought we were going to have 2!
 Mon. back to the Roanoke for a pm double digit Striper Run.
 Tuesday was top water Trout followed by Flounder on the Neuse.
 Needless to say Fishing is good!" -----Capt. Mitch Blake
 How's that for versatile fishing? Looks like Mitch is working hard and can do it all.

 I've been stuck on the coast, yesterday had a couple of super nice guys trying for the aj's on the fly. They each caught a couple on the long rod, then on the way home we checked out the buoys for a cobia and found a lost gaffer dolphin about 20 pounds. Despite multiple bites on the fly, we could not keep him connected with the rubber hooks that we were using.

 Sunday was good day for the poons, everyone that I talked to got some bites, wish I were there. I'm sure that they will really be chewing for the next couple of weeks, because I won't be there....again. I'm off to Argentina today but will be keeping in touch with the world and posting some pics and reports coming in form the Down East Guides. I will be back just in time to win the Oriental Rotary Club Tarpon's that for confidence? Bring what you got! Looking forward to competing this year.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tarpon Time and packing bags

Sounds like the tarpon have arrived in force. I hear that Gene Wooster with Mobile East Marine hooked 3 yesterday. Three tarpon in a day is good tarpon fishing, no matter where in the world you are pursuing them. I'm off to Argentina this week and as was the case last year, I'll probably miss some of the best tarpon fishing of the year. I will be back in time for the Oriental Rotary Club Tarpon Tournament and my entry fee is paid. Look out, I am coming out of retirement. From Argentina, when I've got some wifi, I'll try to post some pics and reports.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Costa Rica pics from last week, report below

This is the rainy season in Costa Rica?
Proud daddy with his son's first sail.
And momma with her first sail....
The perfect sized blue marlin for a fly rod that never was...... Tuna-Time

Back in the action in NC

Didn't take long to get into some maximum pulledge here in NC.   Yesterday, Corey said that he had lost count after catching 16ish amberjacks.  No telling how many he did catch.   He is one tough soldier.  Thank you Corey.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Drum Bite

This probably isn't the kind of drum bite that you guys are waiting on, but had to pass this along to Capt. Rod "Ponytail" Thomas in South Carolina.    You may be seeing Capt. Ponytail harassing some of our drum this August and September.  

I'm back in town and had to check out the bite up here, really good amberjacks, few bass, groupers and plenty of sharks in our waters as well.    Not quite like blue marlin and tuna on poppers, but good pulledge.   Will post some pics from this past week in CR when I can catch my breath.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Marlin and tunas

I wrapped up business here in CR a day early and was able to get one more day on the water.   With no one sharing the boat, I invited the crew to bring along their family, hopefully finding those tuna again, but while we were looking, I was going to try and catch what came up on the teasers with my fly rod.....hopefully a marlin.

I had my 14 wt rigged up with a larger fly than we might normally use for sails.   On the short baits, we even rigged them up without hooks, hoping to get a shot with the fly before they faded back and ate one of the long rigger baits or shotgun that did have hooks.

We were on a nice color change and found a big log, loading the live-bait tubes with  bonito which are like tuna candy......if we can find them.   After a little live baiting around the log and no luck, we continued down the edge and it wasn't long before a nice blue marlin piled on one of those hook-less swimming ballyhoo.   Unfortunately, even without hooks, this fish got bill wrapped and gave us a great show until finally pulling off.

Back on the troll a lazy sail swats at a teaser, then fades back and eats a bait.  Congrats to  Glenda, Berto's wife, caught the first billfish of the day and proved that she was no "gato negro".   A few minutes later we had another sail up, but would not eat the fly, so we pitched a ballyhoo and caught Berto's son his first sailfish.    Then it was our lawyer's turn with a sail that ate the shotgun.

With that many billfish around, I thought for sure that my shot was coming up.  I slipped up to the bridge and was chatting at James, checking out the spread and noticed that Berto still had a couple of live bonito bridled up to circle hooks and waiting in the tuna tubes for their opportunity to go swimming.     Live bonito are not only candy for tunas, but marlin love them also.  

I was just commenting to James that I better go back downstairs and cut those bonito off the hooks because if we raise a marlin, Berto would probably "forget" that I wanted to try one on the fly and would toss the live bait before I got my chance with the long rod.

James agreed that I was probably right, but no faster than the words get out of his mouth were they followed by "Marlin, left short teaser".   I scrambled down stairs grabbed the fly rod and had the fly in the water at about the same time that damn bonito of Berto's hit the water.  

I can assure you that my freshly tied fly and leader was a lot less attractive than that live bonito and the perfect-sized 120 pound blue  marlin agreed, instantly inhaling it.    Berto was trying to hand me the rod with the reel in freespool and the look that I gave him said it all.   "You catch the damn thing".

As his nephew is catching his first marlin, I am disassembling the fly rod, making the point that there is no reason to have it rigged and ready if I am not going to get a chance to use it.

As we are backing down on the little blue.....did I mention that he was the perfect size to catch on a of the other 2 boats fishing out of Los Suenos called us about a school of spinner dolphins and tunas about 7 miles away.   They were looking for marlin and we were looking for tunas, so we exchanged GPS positions.   After releasing the blue, we left the billfish bite and started steaming towards the tunas, passing the other boat about halfway there.

They ended up catching a marlin and missing another one on our numbers and I took out my frustrations by standing on the bow and casting my popper/fighting tuna until I was absolutely spent and could cast no more.    They were all cookie-cutter sized 40-45 pounders and great fun on spinning tackle........wonder how much fun that little blue marlin would have been on the fly......maybe next time, I've just got to tie Berto's shoelaces together to slow him down and give me a shot.

Pictures to follow.....