Great fishin stories by great customers at Gary’s Tackle Box.
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Hey Gary, We have had a great summer in the Gulf in terms of catching unique fish. On July 1, I took my sons Reid & Ryan, my co-workers Bryan Harrington, Scott Daniels, Rob Edmunds and his son Owen out for a red snapper trip. The goal was to be done in time for lunch in CK. We made a short stop to catch some bait and loaded the baitwell with pinfish and some nice live sardines. We ran off to a spot in 60' and immediately started catching nice sized red snapper upto 10 lbs. Rob hooked a nice fish that was fighting a bit differently and once we saw color he knew he had a rare catch. He started to say what he thought it was but he stopped himself because it sounded crazy. As the fish got closer, we both confirmed he had caught a nice African Pompano. In short order he fired down another bait and next brought up a close to 3 lb yellowtail snapper. We quickly got back to catching red snapper and someone got cut off by a king. I put out a kingfish line and about 5 minutes later Ryan was hooked up. After a nice battle that included a swim for dad to unwrap the line from around the marker buoy and a couple of wraps around the anchor line, Ryan (7) landed his first ever kingfish at 25 lbs. We put the flat line back out immediately and shortly after Owen (5) was hooked up. His fish fought oddly and we immediately knew it wasn't a king. After a few minute battle the fish came into view and little Owen had caught a bigger African pompano than his dad. We ended our epic adventure on that note and headed early for a burger and some fish cleaning.
Hey Gary, On June 2nd Phil & Reid Wagner, ChucK & Austin Roadley, and Joel Wilson set out to fish the RFK tournament from Steinhatchee. Sea Hag Marina had diagnosed a GPS antenna problem for us prior to our departure and the great folks there helped get it replaced in short order. We ventured out over 120 miles just past the Middle Grounds to search for large red snapper and grouper. We never did find the huge fish we were after but we did catch a few in the 15# range and got a nice surprise with a 12# mutton snapper in 200'. We eventually opted to move back to the Middle Grounds to anchor for the night. On the ride back the water was flat calm and we noticed something protruding from the water. We hoped it was some type of branch that might hold mahi but as we got closer it became evident that it was two sailfish finning on the surface. We quickly grabbed two rigged spinning rods and pitched a couple of live threadfins to them. They both ate the baits and began their acrobatic jumps. Reid and Chuck eventually each landed their sailfish and the trip was an instant success. We anchored on the Middle Grounds overnight and managed to catch large bottomfish all night. I landed a personal best 8 pound mangrove and we landed four more over 7 pounds. We completed our limit of red snapper and grouper the next morning and enjoyed a nice comfortable ride in. We later calculated that we caught over 20 different types of fish on this trip. The highlight of the trip remains the double on sailfish which you don't hear about often in the Gulf. June
This fish tale is about a trip this past Saturday to Cedar Key, but its really about one of the best captains, fishermen, and dads on either side of the Mississippi. My dad, Dr. Jack Buys, has been taking me fishing since I was a baby with 99% of those trips going to Cedar Key. To understand my dad's passion for fishing, you have to know where he came from. His father, and his father's father, and so on, were commercial fishermen. My grandfather was a clam digger on Long Island, NY, and my dad spent his youth riding on the boat and helping sort clams. When he was big enough to use the heavy clam tongs, he worked summers on the boat until leaving for college. Eventually, he settled down in Gainesville, had 4 kids, and began fishing Cedar Key. For the past 40+ years he has consistently been catching fish of all kinds and sizes. Now, fishing with my dad is not the lazy Sunday variety with a cooler of beer on the boat. When he is on the water, he is hell-bent on catch ing as many of the biggest fish possible in the least amount of time. This brings me to our most recent trip. It was a beautiful day on the water. Wind 5-10 mph, crystal clear water on Sea Horse Reef, and tons of bait in the water. There were a dozen other boats on the reef, mostly anchored up near the grassy edges of Sea Horse. We were targeting Spanish Mackeral and began trolling white and yellow bucktail jigs tipped with cut bait. We were using medium-light tackle and started catching Spanish immediately. Up and down along the edge of the reef we trolled. As we circled the other boats, stopping frequently to land fish, I never saw any of them catch a single mackeral. A couple other boats decided to start trolling after seeing us hooking up, but they were lacking the key to catching fish. My Pops! We always work our jigs and only rest our rods in the rod holder to cut bait. My dad got a bite and after a few moments he indicated that it felt like a nice fish. After a few good run s he pulled the fish within sight in the clear water. It was a nice 40" Kingfish! In all my trips to Sea Horse, I had never seen one landed. Of course, my dad had caught a couple over his time at Cedar Key, but we were both thrilled at the catch. After stuffing the King in the cooler we resumed trolling. Having never caught on myself, I said, "Well where's my Kingfish?", in a joking way. Not a minute later I got a bite that I could tell right away was no average Spanish. I fought the fish to the boat where we landed a second King! We were both amazed with the double and quickly found a place in the cooler along side the first. After a quick fish count, we were 2 Spanish short of a limit, so we decided to catch 2 more before heading in. 10 minutes passed when suddenly my dad got another bite, and he could tell right away it was another good fish. "He's gonna spool me...", my dad said, so I put the boat in reverse and started backing up in the direction of the line. Dad recovered some line and settled in to the fight. A few minutes later I netted our third King of the morning. We high-fived and caught the last two Spanish shortly after. Based on the number of fish I saw other boats catching, I'm sure we caught more than the other 12-14 boats combined. It was a matter of skill, knowledge, and yes, some luck. Mostly, however, it was the expertise of best captain, and dad, I have ever known. J.Buys - April
Caught this bull red at Matanzas Inlet on Feb 26, 2017. Wonderful fighter. I cleared his mouth of another angler's hook and a 4 oz weight before releasing him back into the surf. About 47 inches long. Awesome experience! E. Braddy
Fished Cedar Key on Wed. 12/28 with Jack Buys. Really bad fog. Caught a bunch of trout (guessing around 50) on the flats in 3-4 ft of water. Had to cull a lot to get a two man limit. We used jigs tipped w/shrimp. Around noon we fished some oyster bars and caught two legal reds. The attached picture is a 27" tournament class fish.
On Monday, December 5th my place of employment caught fire and burnt down. I'm the night manager of Lightnin' Salvage the bar/gift shop/junk museum/live music venue behind Satchel's Pizza. I've been there for over 10 years. Watching this place that I love burn down was gut wrenching. My co worker, Jordan Borstelmann, and I stood in the parking lot for hours watching the Firefighters keep the flames from spreading to the restaurant. The next morning employees showed up with shovels and we spent the next couple of days sifting through the ashes for anything salvageable from the Junk Museum and moving debris. It was emotionally draining. Jordan and I were sitting in the parking lot trying to figure out what to do next. It's a few weeks before Christmas and we just watched our livelihood virtually go up in flames. I have a family to think about and the pressure and uncertainty was starting to get to me. We had no jobs to go to the next day so we decided that a good day of fishing was in order. On Monday, December 12th we headed to the Santa Fe River before the sun came up. Now, most anglers that I've talked to only fish for bass and consider most other fish not even worth their time. Jordan and I have only been fishing for about 8 months so we don't discriminate. I don't care if it's a panfish, spek, catfish, mudfish or bass... I just enjoy catching fish and being in the outdoors with my buddy. We really just wanted to take our minds off of the fire for one day. To our surprise this would turn out to be the best fishing trip we've ever had. I caught 7 bow fin with the largest weighing over 10 lbs. and Jordan caught 2. We we're yelling and high fiveing each other like we didn't have a care in the world. We were just smiling and laughing the whole time we were out there. You can roll your eyes and dismiss the mudfish but they fought like heck and the fire was the furthest thing from our minds. It was the first time that either of us had ever caught anything using a drop shot. It was also the first time I caught a fish with a wacky rig. We used Zoom Trick Worms, a fluke made by Charlie's Worms and some pink Yamamoto Senkos
On a recent trip to my friend's plantation in Waynesboro, GA I caught this nice bass on a snag proof frog. Thanks Gary for putting new line on all my reels before I went.
I'm so proud of my grandson Austin. He caught this bass on his custom Rick Rod in Fighting Gator colors with a half ounce RatLTrap in LivNChrome color. He said he "saw some nervous minnows running near grass and a log and cast in front of them".
Fishing out of Steinhatchee in about 12 foot of water, we were targeting trout and rock bass early. We got into a few sharks and my buddies little boy, Gavin, had a blast with one of them. We also had a large Tiger Shark spend about 15 minutes circling our boat!
Hey Gary, Last Thursday I (Phil Wagner) met my Gainesville fishing buddy Todd Rousseau along with Jupiter fishing friends Joel Wilson and Rick Massey in Cedar Key for a lazy day of grouper fishing. We actually took the time to visit Holey Moley in Cedar Key for some great breakfast sandwiches and didn't even launch until 9:00ish. We made two stops for bait and caught a great mix of blue runners, pinfish, cigar minnows, and even some live sardines. We fished our first spot in 25' and found the bite to be slow. We landed 2 gags and lost a couple of big ones. We eventually ventured out to 45' and found a solid bite. We ended up catching a limit of grouper fairly quickly. We continued to release grouper that were 22"-24" and keeping only the larger ones. We ended the day with a nice haul of 8 grouper from 8-15 pounds. We topped the evening off with dinner at the Island Room at the Cedar Cove Resort where Chef Peter prepared our catch for a fantastic dinner. Off to bed only to wake up Friday and do it all over again. A great couple of days in Cedar Key with the guys from Jupiter telling us they wished they had a grouper fishery like this down there.
Last Sunday, Cedar Key Channel Four. I was sight-fishing for reds when I spotted this massive tail. I quickly tossed my New Penny Gulp shrimp, and shortly thereafter I was hooked. I fought him for about 45 minutes, and he wore me out. Turned out to be a 41' black drum. A. Kirby
East coast flatie bite is on!! BNewsom
Got my first bull red last Sunday on Gulp Ghost Shrimp, New Penny color. Sight fishin Channel Four in Cedar Key. The big un's are there!!!! A. Kirby
Hi Gary, Yesterday I went out on my buddy Chase Rossi's boat with another friend Josh Eddy and we hit the flats in Wacassassa waiting for the tide to come up, and after only catching a baby shark an and a few trout we headed in to hit some weed lines in the bay. We got to the first one that was being occupied by another boat, so Chase took us up through Turtle Creek and we anchored up over by some mangroves on a point and started throwing an assortment of baits at point from live to gulp. I was armed with a small revo s10 spinner reel that a young man at your shop spooled up with 10lb test, and also a Triforce rod that he sold me as well, so I was on light tackle with a 1/16 jig (also purchased at your shop) tipped with a glow white gulp under a popper. I was at the bow and cast over to the mangroves just behind the point, and after a couple of pops I saw my bobber go under and I set the hook. For a moment it felt like the fish was off already then I felt a heft pull and off it went I set the hook again and then my drag was a running. I was assuming it was a red, but the way it was making the fast runs and then braking it reminded me of a fish that is more abundant where I grew up in Naples Fl. but as I was fighting it I wrote it off as maybe a huge red fish or a cat. I had my drag set a little loose so I was starting to tighten it up and just finessed the fish towards the boat after a series of runs back and forth in a long zigzag pattern. I got the fish up a few feet around the bow of the boat and we saw the yellow fins and long black stripe with a flash of silver, and we were all in awe of the fact that we just confirmed it was a big ol' snook! He got up under the boat and I had to ease him back over to the side, and we safely netted him and he seemed around 30" or so and then we got the hook off and gently released him. After that it was a series of high fives and hooting and hollering! We fished out the spot for another 20 minutes and then headed further up the river to no avail. We headed back out into the bay a long a couple of small creek mouths and hauled in a few nice reds. It was a beautiful day of fishing!
A group of us showed up and roasted hot dogs, our weekly Sunday meeting. Dick Travers, along with others sat and fished, watching poles stuffed down PVC tubes from afar on the Levy Co. bank of the Suwannee River down from Jacks Sandbar. Free lining shrimp. To our surprise Dick landed a 3# Striped Bass. While we were admiring the fish, someone said, "Are you going to throw it back?" His reply was, "Are you out of your mind?” We all laughed. It was Dick's 74th birthday. I have read of folks catching a few at the mouth of the Suwannee, but never this far up the river. TPalfy
Went to Suwannee Saturday 1/31/15 with my son Dylan. We fished the east pass for a while, the wind was blowing really hard. We decided to head to Barnett for the tide was coming in. We trolled casting mirror lures and spoons and my son caught a short red on a gold spoon. When we arrived at our favorite hole there was a boat already there, we watched them pick up several reds most shorts but a couple made it to the cooler. After about 30 min. I was twitching my live shrimp on the bottom and thought I snagged bottom. It was then that it began to swim off. I could tell right away that my tackle was too light for what was at the end of it. Finally after some amount of time I was able to turn it. I was sure it was a volkswagon size drum. Slowly it came to the boat and I was able to hoist it up, leaning over to see and maybe grab it before it cames out of the murky water and realized it was an 8ft gator! It saw me and took one last run snapping my favorite G-Loomis rod. Ouch! I was able to save my reel by cutting the line. The guys in the other boat were hollering, new experience for all! We vacated that spot and headed to my favorite creek back at the east pass for the change in outgoing tide. When we got there and anchored the fish were there. Within 30 min we had our limit with a 24.5", 23", 21" and 19" red. We also released several other slots. A nice sheephead also made the cooler. We returned at 1pm Sunday for the change of tide, man was it windy! We were able to land a 25.5", 19" and 18" reds along with two more Sheephead. We did release many shorts as well. The windy conditions were rough this weekend but we had a good time nothing like being on the water to enjoy what god has given us! Have to replace that rod. HAH! KTharp
11 pound 3 oz at Rodmam 12-30-14 W. Douglas
Headed out to the Middle Grounds for the opening of red snapper season with a crew of 5 (me, my son Reid, Todd Williams, Scott Daniels, & Morgan Griggs. We ran across a random floating piece of carpet in 125' and circled back just to be swarmed with schoolie mahi. We trolled up a few for sandwiches and left the rest to grow bigger. We fished all night and the morning until about 9:00 and ended with a limit of red snapper (from 14#'s to 18#'s), mangrove snapper to 7#'s, scamp grouper, red grouper, beeliners, and some tasty porgies. We released quite a few gags with the largest being a heartbreaking 20+ pounder caught by 9 year old Reid. Another epic journey to the Middle Grounds. - P. Wagner