Last week I attended ICAST 2016. This year’s show did not disappoint! Here are some highlights from the show.
YETI is always at the forefront of innovation. This year they unveiled the new YETI Hopper Flip 12. The Flip 12 is airtight and watertight. Like the other models in the hopper line, the inside is antimicrobial and food grade. It has 3.2 gallons of capacity and instead of stitching, the seams are welded together…which helps durability and makes it leak-proof. The zipper is also very heavy duty. The YETI Hopper Flip 12 also won “Best Fishing Accessory” at the show. This is the ultimate small cooler bag! Learn more about the YETI Hopper Flip 12 here YETI Hopper Flip 12
Salt Life has been making high-quality apparel for a number of years now, and they are constantly developing new designs. I had the chance to stop by the booth and meet with Jeff Stillwell and Larry Laska to talk about their new line of products coming out for Spring 2017. Salt Life’s SLX UVapor performance gear are 88% polyester, 12% spandex and treated for UV30 sun protection. Furthermore, they are anti-microbial and utilize ultra light quick reaction fabric for built in cooling and ventilation. To learn more about Salt Life click here www.saltlife.com
Stopping by the Raymarine booth, I had the chance to talk about some of my favorite features on the new gS and eS units on my new Yellowfin 24 bay boat. One of the best features is the new switch panel. This adds a new level of functionality and ease of use. I can control the nav lights, washdown, bait well etc. from both stations on my bay boat. Here’s a short video about the switch panel. For more info on Raymarine products, click here: www.raymarine.com
Next, I had the chance to head over to the Hook & Gaff watch company to meet with Michael Sims, the President and CEO. Hook & Gaff has been producing the only watches designed to withstand the saltwater fishing environment. I love these watches! The newest model, Sportfisher II utilizes a left side crown, titatnium case and is water resistant to 200m. Hook & Gaff also has multicolored nato and rubber straps for fashion and functionality.
Lastly, I had the opportunity to stop by the Dr. Dan’s skincare booth to chat with show goers about the importance of skin care. The Dr. Dan’s line has the ultimate products to protect your skin, and heal your skin, both on and off the water. The Dr. Dan’s SunStick is my signature product. The SunStick reflects UVA and UVB rays, and it’s eco friendly with no scent. That means it’s safe for coral reefs (it’s not chemical bases) and won’t deter fish after handling your bait. I highly recommend this product! It keeps my kids and I safe, day after day on the water. For more info on Dr. Dan’s click here: http://www.drdanslipbalm.com/
Sometimes when the tide is just right, the tarpon stack up off the beaches of Key Biscayne. Last week was one of those times 🙂
5/0 circle hook
50 lb. Fluorocarbon leader
50 lb. braid
For bait, I am using live crabs. I prefer permit sized…smaller crabs. The great thing about using live crabs and circle hooks is there is no need to set the hook. I prefer to leave the rod in the rod holder, with the drag set moderate to heavy, so it’s slightly difficult to pull line out. The key is to keep the drag tight during the hookset, otherwise the hook will not be able to penetrate the fish’s jaw. To hook the crab, work the hook gently through the horn, on the side of the carapace (as seen in the video below.)
I prefer to suspend the crab under a cork or bobber, depending on the conditions and depth I’m fishing in. I place the cork or bobber 5-6 feet up from the hook. If the current is ripping too hard, try free lining your crab. The idea is to get the crab looking as lifelike as possible. When I am fishing around Key Biscayne, I drift with the current.
Tarpon are the ultimate inshore game fish and it’s fortunate that here in Florida we have such readily available access to this fishery…without needing expensive tackle or a big boat. One thing that’s important…if you plan on fishing at night make sure you have proper safety equipment and navigational lights.
On April 15th I had the privilege of attending the ChiChi Miguel Throwdown in Destin, Florida. The event brings together celebrities, winemakers and philanthropists with the goal of raising funds for numerous Florida Gulf Coast charities. This year, the event raised $700,000!
Chi Chi Miguel takes place over three days…culminating with a grand finale; a backyard barbecue competition and auction.
I had the pleasure of donating a 3 fishing trips in the auction, in support of the Emeril Lagassee Foundation. The 3 fishing trips raised $30,000 for Emeril’s foundation, which benefits children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs. To learn more about the Emeril Lagassee Foundation visit emeril.org
Yesterday I had the opportunity to fish in the 2016 Bass Pro Shops Florida employee’s tournament on Lake Okeechobee.
There were 56 boats filled with employees from 5 Florida Bass Pro Shops stores. I fished with my friend Brett Cannon and Bass Pro Dania Beach employee Mike O’Gorman.
We fished most of the day with topwater plugs (Zara Spooks,) topwater frogs, and also with Senko worms and swim baits like the Gambler Big EZ.
The fishing was slow, but we rallied and managed to catch the 3 fish limit for a total weight of 11 lbs. 7 oz, putting us 6th out of 56 boats!
Thanks so much Brett for putting us on the fish and for Bass Pro’s Mike O’Gorman for giving it his all today.
I had a great time meeting all of the hard working employees from Bass Pro Shops, and loved swapping fishing stories after the tournament. This was a well organized, fun event with a great atmosphere. I can understand why folks love working at Bass Pro Shops…this positive environment makes the customer experience that much better.