Tag Archives: Surf Fishing

My hunt for the Rooster

I am very fortunate that my job takes me to many unique places. I have stood at the base of the Gulfoss Waterfall in Iceland, Stood on the gravel runways of Greenland, and walked miles and miles on Central American shorelines. These travels have mostly been in Costa Rica, waters known for the elusive and highly sought after Rooster Fish.

I have stayed over 4 months working in Costa Rica over the last 4 years, and have always fished from the shores trying to catch my dream fish. I could have paid for a charter but something about having to battle this fish on his turf, with his rules seemed like more of a challenge. This assumption proved to be accurate as day after day, week after week I would find Needle Fish, Jacks, Trigger and Snapper, with the Rooster remaining but a ghost creeping along shoreline. I have thrown everything from top-waters to spoons, jigs to twitch baits and even a handful of suspending jerk  baits at this ghost, with only other gamefish to prove for it.

This brings us to the interesting part of this story, For the last week the weather was nice but the winds were from the east at 15-25 knots, making shore fishing very difficult, and to give you a better understanding of the environment here, the tide change is about 8.5 feet. In terms of shore fishing, high tide is borderline impossible because the waters in castable distance are rocky and very shallow, but when the tide recedes you can walk out on the rocky points and be within 5 feet of the 20-30 foot drop off the fish cruise for their food. I was lucky enough to get a few days off starting on January 1st, 2017. The morning was cloudless and wind was surprisingly light and never really manifested at any point during the day and I had the tide to my advantage.  I wandered about a mile down the beach to a point that juts out into the bay, a spot where I had caught a 30 lb Jack the year before. I had tied on a Zoom Magnum Fluke in white color, to a 3/4 once jig head for casting distance. And prepared my drag for the hopeful battle that was to follow.

My first cast was perfect, just on the edge of the rock shelf and in a school of bait, I knew for sure i would hit a strike, yet rod jerk after jerk nothing happened. I wound up to make a second cast when my lure hit a rock behind me and went off away from the school of bait and into the blue, I gave my lure two twitches then felt the hit and line slack out, I reeled down and set the hook to feel the rod surge and drag start paying out and I knew I had a good fish, needle fish are very streamlined and fight in bursts, this fish I could feel the tail swimming side to side with my rod movements and knew there were two options, a jack or a rooster. Throughout the fight I was hopeful it was a rooster but in the back of my mind the odds were racing and I knew it was probably another jack, and then as it got closer to the rocks I saw silver, then a stripe, then the feathered spines that are the calling card for this fish’s beauty. I lost my mind! On the end of my line was a fish I had been chasing over the last 4 years, that I caught on my own without a guide and from the rocky shorelines in Costa Rica on artificial lure. As I got my fish grips in its mouth I realized the hook had dislodged from its mouth during the fight and hooked the top of its head. I had caught my lifelong dream by about 1/4 inch of skin on this things head. After the healthy release I got to watch this beautiful fish swim up the shoreline feathered spines above the surface and knew that I had battled this fish on his terms in his waters and had won. But in the end releasing the fish into the water and watching it swim away was almost as good as the hunt and fight the preceded it. Here’s the funny part, I was told by a friend that 2017 was the year of the rosster, and I caught this fish on the first day of 2017.

In conclusion,  I think that’s what we all seek when chasing our fishing dreams, are we really looking for that fish or are we looking for the challenging path and work leading up to catching it. Thank for reading and I hope you enjoyed this story 4 years in the making. the video of this story is below. Enjoy!

Braid to Mono Leaders

Braided line has revolutionized fishing in the last 15 years, Now you can have a 20-30 lb line on your reel, with a 8-10lb mono equivalent diameter and twice the yardage of line on your reel. But braided line can’t do everything, It is stronger and more durable, but it also stands out dramatically in stained and clear water. One way to get rid of this problem is by tying a mono leader to the end of your line. The mono leader not only gets rid of line visibility near your lures, it provides a shock leader and some level of stretch for the larger fish you catch.

One trick I do is that when I tie a leader a tie a 4-5 foot section of leader, this eliminates the need for me to re-tie leaders after I switch lure and cut into it as often on the water, and provides a larger section of line not as visible to the fish. This saves time in my kayak and therefore gives me more time to target the fish.

Here are the two easiest and in my opinion best  knots that you can tie to go form a braided line to a mono leader.

#1 Double Uni Knot- By far the easiest and best Braid to Mono Knot

uni_to_uni_knot-ask_a_captain-the_online_fisherman.jpg
Courtesy of The onlineisherman.com

 

#2 The Blood Knot- A more difficult knot to tie but a stronger knot than the double uni.

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Courtesy of FlyFisherman.com

Kayak fishing 101

Hey everybody and thanks again for checking out the blog, today’s post will be covering  Kayak Fishing 101, my 7 steps and tips to becoming a better kayak fisherman and also touching on some safety issues.

#1  Keep your rig simple,don’t do this…

Courtesy of www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com
Courtesy of http://www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com

A crowded kayak is no friend to a fisherman, snag hazards and frustration can set in quickly, and if there is one thing I have learned form kayak fishing over the last 8 years it’s that if something can catch your hooks, it will. If something can go wrong during your trip, it probably will.  I have hooked myself, bird-nested bait casters to the point of cutting all my line off, and broke rod tips by hooking my rod behind me. A simple less crowded kayak will result in less gear but pay off in the quality and enjoyment of your fishing trips.

#2 Have a float plan with a friend or family member-

A USCG float plan might sound stupid , but in my 7 years of serving the the Coast Guard performing search and rescue nothing helps in a speedy recovery more than properly filled out float plan. A float plan consists a complete description of your vessel/kayak, the equipment you have available to you, but mainly focuses on your planned route and stopping points. When you fill one out you leave it with a family member or friend and if you haven’t returned by a certain agreed upon time they call the coast guard with the information given on the float plan. Below I have filled out and example and there is a page on my main menu with a blank float plan you can save to your computer.

Scan 4

#3 Safety equipment-

The most important thing to have on your kayak is a handheld VHF marine radio set to CH 16 or 156.8 MHZ for distress signals. You might not be the person who needs help another kayaker could be close by and having an emergency and you could be his or her saving grace.  The safety equipment I have on my kayak at all times consists of the following. An Atlantis VHF handheld radio, a Orion marine emergency signaling kit, a Firefly strobe light, my PFD, emergency water and next month I will be purchasing a 406 MHZ personnel locator. A good trick I learned form watching Ty Southerland on his  30Milesout Youtube Channel is I use frozen water bottles as my ice , it cools my catch and also serves as my emergency water rations.

Courtesy of www.farmandfleet.com
Courtesy of http://www.farmandfleet.com

#4 If you’re new to kayak fishing, try to reach out and go on trips with more experienced yak fisherman.

A beautiful factor of today’s technological world is the availability of kayak fishing forums on the internet and group pages on Facebook. If you are new to the sport its best to learn and shadow other fisherman you can go fishing with or meet on kayaking forums. Make no mistake their experience will teach you everything they have learned not to do over the years, saving you from making some of the mistakes and learning hard lessons along the way. Plus you might be able to get a couple of spots to fall back on during slow days.

#5 Wear protective clothing-

Sometimes people look at me funny when its 80 degrees outside, and I’m wearing full fishing pants , a long sleeve fishing shirt, a hat that covers my neck, a buff that covers most of my face, and Buffusa.com’s performance gloves, but at the end of the day I’m more protected from the sun, not burnt, and have a less chance of developing skin cancer from my kayak fishing trips. Every male member of my family has had melanoma skin cancer from fishing ,so I take it very seriously.

Courtesy of www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of http://www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of  www.BuffUSA .com
Courtesy of
http://www.BuffUSA .com

#6 Be versatile in your species targeting- 

My love is saltwater fishing, whether I’m fishing the flats or paddling offshore for some larger species I love saltwater fish. But there are plenty of days where I can’t drive to the beach 45 minutes or I can’t dedicate a long period of time for a trip. If I can’t fish saltwater I will immediately target bass and panfish in the creeks and rivers by my house. My favorite way to target bass and panfish is with topwater or floating flies. I even fish large ponds in my kayak when I can’t make a big water trip. Be very adaptive and try new places and styles of fishing. There are many days where your primary target species isn’t going to bite and you have to adapt. There is nothing wrong in my book with spending a day catching large ladyfish and jack’s or false albacore. Although they are considered trash fish by most people, large Lady Fish are some of the best fighting fish you can catch inshore.

#7 Should I use a GPS/ Depth Finder?

A good GPS/Depth-finder is one of my favorite things about my kayak, I don’t have to guess the bottom features of my surrounding areas, I can easily target structure listed on navigational charts, and I can view the depth fish are active in when fishing structure or even drift fishing along in my kayak. My GPS unit is a Lowrance Mark 4 HDI, I used it in my aluminum boat for duck hunting and fishing before I sold it with the arrival of my daughter in November 2014. My favorite way to utilize my depth finder is when targeting fish around bridges and submerged structure, I can clearly see the bait suspending and can adjust my rigs and presentation accordingly to better target the predatory fish on structure.

Courtesy of www.Lowrance.com
Courtesy of http://www.Lowrance.com

I hope these tips better help you understand some basics on kayak fishing and I will have more posts on different types of gear and homemade items for kayak fishing in the future. Thanks for stopping by and good luck out there. Always remember to be safe, no fish is worth putting yourself in a dangerous situation or jeopardizing your safety.

Please leaves comments below to help me on my future posts.

How to catch fish in the outer banks.

Hey everyone thanks for stopping by Apto Outdoors, the water and air temperatures are finally starting to warm up which means puffer fish and sea mullet are soon to follow. Today’s blog is going to be a short and simple article on the easiest ways for local surf fisherman and tourists to catch fish along the beaches of the outer banks.

What bait do i use?

I have seen everything you can imagine used as natural bait for saltwater fish. The number one bait to use in my opinion is dead shrimp. It will catch just about everything. If you want to spice it up I add a piece of fish bites shrimp flavored pink artificial bait to the hook as well.

What rigs do i need to use?

A simple bottom rig with a 2-5 oz pyramid weight and no. 2 long shank hooks will catch everything from puffers to skate to red drum. The smaller the surf the less weight you need to use.

www.ioffer.com
http://www.ioffer.com

Where do i need to go to fish.

The easiest way for tourists is to go to a pier because your fishing license is included in your pier fee. But don’t be fooled, you can catch fish anywhere from the beach as long as your are putting your line in the water. My favorite spot is the Coquina beach access area. Colder water can catch tons of whiting and puffer fish, otherwise called “sugar toads” in NC/VA, and warmer waters in the summer and early fall yield spanish bluefish and good size pompano.

North Carolina Citation pompano on sand fleas.
North Carolina Citation pompano on sand fleas.

Can i eat a puffer fish in NC?

Yes i love to eat the NORTHERN PUFFERS, they are not lethally poisonous but there bile can still cause some serious food poisoning. Below are the pictures of a northern puffer vs a horned puffer. ONLY EAT THE NORTHERN PUFFERS.

One of my favorite ways to catch fish is to put a small piece of shrimp or a sand flea on a small hook, about 2 feet under a popping cork and i fish it just past the beach break. It produces fish consistently and is a lot of fun for younger fisherman and your kids.

Northern Puffer

Northern Puffer Fish = safe to fillet and eat. CAUTION The bile will cause food poisoning but does not contain tetrodotoxin
Northern Puffer Fish = safe to fillet and eat. CAUTION The bile will cause food poisoning but does not contain tetrodotoxin

Horned Puffer on left – Northern Puffer on right.

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A few new flies added to the flies page.

I have tied some new flies and have added them  to our hand tied flies page, feel free to leave comments if you like a particular fly or style of fly.

New Page on the Site- Hand Tied Flies!

Hello to everyone stopping by! We have added a new page to the site called “Hand tied flies”. It displays pictures of the flies I tie in my tiny shop and use for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. As I tie more flies and come up with new patterns I will update it weekly and  as more fish are caught using each individual fly I will add to the description and captions what fish it catches and how it was fished. Below is a link to the new page.

https://aptooutdoors.com/hand-tied-flies/

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to leave comments on the new page and new photos on which flies you like. If  you really like one of my flies I will make one or two for you to try out yourself. I am not currently selling them as I am new to making flies but I look forward to the day I have enough interest in my flies to sell them.

Come back later this week for our next post covering why weather affects the behavior and feeding patterns of fish during weather changes.

Outer Banks surf fishing.

Hey everybody and thanks for swinging by AptoOutdoors.com, Please feel free to comment below. Today we will be covering the basics of surf fishing in the outer banks. Its mid February and today the low is in the high teen’s so fishing has been slow but every day we get closer to higher temperatures the bites will increase. Hopefully whether you come to the outer banks on vacation or live close by this article will help you catch fish.

Smooth Dogfish- aka Fish and Chips
Smooth Dogfish- aka Fish and Chips

The basics of surf fishing-

Surf Fishing is quite simple, the fish stage on the edges of sandbars and deeper sections between the sand bars called “troughs” or “guts”. These locations provide ambush points for larger fish and congregation areas for small bait fish, which leads to a food chain cycle that will bring every fish into the surf from tiny glass minnows to sharks

What baits to use-

There is no shortage of types of dead and live bait to use in the surf. the most effective in the outer banks regardless of the time of year would be dead shrimp, blood worms, and sand fleas also known as mole crabs. Artificial bait sections can be intimidating to a new surf fisherman, so here are a few artificial baits that will catch fish in the OBX. Gulp swimming mullet in chartreuse catches fish whether worked on a jig head or literally left hooked on a bottom rig and left to sit on the bottom. A Gotcha plug or Silver spoon is very effective in catching bluefish, occasional red drum, spanish mackeral, and other predatory fish in the surf, I have even hooked a Mahi from Janette’s pier in the summer months on a Gotcha Plug.

What Rigs to use-

A two hook bottom rig is the most effective way for a new fisherman to fish the surf, it provides two baits per rod which is helpful when dealing the pesky bait thieves in the surf. One thing that is important to note is the wave and current the day you are fishing, if the waves are small to nothing a 2 ounce weight will be enough to hold your bait but the larger the waves the larger your pyramid weight needs to be. If your weight is to small your bait will drift down the beach. #2 Saltwater hooks are small enough to catch sea mullet and puffer fish, and strong enough to catch drum and big pompano, but if you are targeting larger fish use a heavier hook as to avoid bent shanks and lost fish.

Where should i fish the beach at?

Beach fishing on vacation can be complicated, the beaches get crowded and I have literally had parents tell their kids to play in the water underneath my fishing lines, the best advice for beach fishing the summer months is to get out of the towns and go to the beaches away from the vacation homes. Generally speaking the further south you go the better the fishing. I Mainly Fish summer months from before sunrise to around 11 am. by that time beaches get crowded and fishing slows down a bit. Our family will go shopping during mid day and I’ll come back to fish the evening to sunset when the beaches are empty again. If you feel like kayak fishing there is no shortage of shipwrecks within a quick paddle from shore if you research them.

I hope reading this article was helpful to you and starting in march i will have instructional videos covering surf fishing on the site and our you tube account.Thank you for reading and come back to see use next week.