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Day 2 IFA Championship, Hopedale, LA

Day two of the final IFA event of the year started out beautiful. It was calm, barely a wisp of a breeze, beautiful blue sky’s and it was looking like a sight fishing day. Due to the water falling out because of the wind direction change we decided to hit some areas where we were sure there would still be water. First spot we caught some keeper fish but we returned them as we knew that we had to have a couple of monster fish to even have a chance to get in the top 25. We continued to weed through 18 – 23″ fish in several spots and then made a move to an area where we knew we would have big fish and should be able to sight fish them. We pulled into the first pond and made one cast hooked a slob of a fish and because we were sitting basically in the silt, needed to pull up the trolling motor. After we took care of that fish we put the trolling motor back down and proceeded to head up the bank. The trolling motor would no longer turn, the motor that controls the left / right movement was not functioning any longer. We attempted to operate it manually and that wasn’t going to cut it so we resorted to our East Florida techniques and got out the trusty Push Pole. While we weren’t able to cover the areas nearly as fast as we could have with a trolling motor we were able to get around in the shallows. We were now catching 27″ – 30″ fish and were looking for 2 that would fit into the slot. We did manage a couple of 24″ fish which we decided we had best put in the live well as we were nearing time to head back to the weigh-in. We finished out the day catching over-size fish which any other time isn’t too bad. But today it wasn’t our goal. Needless to say we never found those perfect fish and ended up carrying the two 24″ fish back to the weigh-in. Back at the Launch site we found what we expected, equal weights to the previous days hi’s. We finished out the season at the championship in Hopedale, La once again in the middle of the pack. We did have a great time fishing the IFA this year and being as I was able to fish it with my favorite partner made it all the better. Looking forward to 2019.

Once again I’d like to thank my sponsors that made it possible for me to be there, Mud Hole Custom Tackle, Rothrock Marine, MHX Rods, Engel Coolers, Power Pole, THMarine, Florida Fishing Products.

#rothrockmarine
#mhxrods
#engelcoolers
#floridafishingproducts
#Powerpole
#THmarine
#Mudholecustomtackle
#mhxpushpoles
#fishflorida
#redfish

Day 1 IFA Championship Hopedale, LA

This years IFA Championship was out of Hopedale, La. This is like 3 of the past 4 years for being there. We headed over on Saturday the 20th so we were expecting 5 days of pre- and 2 tournament days. Well I was 6 miles from home at 5 AM and got a flat on my truck. Needless to say I needed to wait until there was a tire shop open to either fix or replace. Thank goodness I had road hazard (which I usually dont do) so the tire was replaced along with two others which were wearing. So by 10:00 AM we were on the road again. I’m thinking oh crap we aren’t going to be there till 11:00 PM. I’m not sure how we did it but we arrived at the hotel in Chalmette at 6:30 pm. We got settled in and stowed our gear and began fishing early the next morning. Our plans were to fish 3 or 4 days our of Delacroix then fish the final pre day out of Hopedale. That didn’t totally work out as on Thursday before the tournament there were thunder storms and Tornado warnings. Soooooo we decided to go through our gear and be ready for Day 1. The morning of Day 1 it was beautiful, no wind, no clouds, just beautiful. So we headed out to the launch and put the boat in with the other 125 teams there for this event. The run from Hopedale was about 30 minutes in my boat so with number 65 drawn, we were 50% of the way through the group at checkout. We were in the 3rd flight so our check in was at 3:30 PM. We hit our No. 1 spot and were in the fish immediately. We were not even considering fish under 22″ so our first keeper came about 30 minutes into fishing. There had been a wind change the night before so the wind direction changed from the NE to the NW, doesn’t seem like much but the NE wind holds water in the marsh’s and the NW wind pushes it out. So on top of a different direction we had a pretty significant depth change, probably 15″-18″ lower. Well this isn’t usually much unless the water was 24″ the day before. Luckily the Spyder FX19TRC only draws 7-8″ loaded and we were able to get into most places that morning.
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We fished and culled for that morning but the culls were just 1/10th of an oz. sometimes so we needed to get into somewhere that held a different size of fish totally. So we made a short run and came up with that space, except here we were catching fish 27 1/8″ – 32″ we were still drawing blanks but after weeding through a dozen or more over size fish we were able to hook into a couple of usable fish which were our last two upgrades.
Well we made it back to the weigh in on time and weighed in our 2 Redfish, our 1st day total was 13 lb. which put us in like 30th on day one.
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Once again I’d like to thank my sponsors that made it possible for me to be there, Mud Hole Custom Tackle, Rothrock Marine, MHX Rods, Engel Coolers, Power Pole, THMarine, Florida Fishing Products.

#rothrockmarine
#mhxrods
#engelcoolers
#floridafishingproducts
#Powerpole
#THmarine
#Mudholecustomtackle
#mhxpushpoles
#fishflorida
#redfish

IFA Jacksonville #2

Well our East Coast Florida division was supposed to finish up this year in Titusville, Fl. Which would have allowed us to fish the north Indian River, Merritt Island and Mosquito Lagoon. Part way into the summer the FWC contacted the IFA and requested that they tournament be moved due to fish kills, low population and the general poor fishing. So the IFA moved the tournament back to Jacksonville, FL really not to anyone’s dismay. Due to charters already scheduled I was unable to pre-fish Jacksonville as I had gone ahead and scheduled charters for the area I was planning on fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon. So on Friday afternoon I picked up my partner in Edgewater and we made the 2 hr. trip to Brown’s bay where the Captains meeting was being held. We were pretty much shooting in the dark but had 3 or 4 productive spots layed out for Saturday blast off. We drew #75 out of 85 for a number which I don’t feel harmed our fishing. We were able to get into our first spot with plenty of water in it and there we remained for the entire day. We caught a mess of fish but as is often the issue getting those perfect fish was a struggle. But we were close on both sides and continued to fish in hopes to nail the right ones. We ended up with 9 lbs. which in Louisiana would have been 1 fish. So we headed into the weigh in only to find that the high weight was 12 lbs., we were expecting to find 14+. Anyway we ended up in 25th out of 85 boats had a great day fishing and it was fun fishing another IFA event.

#Rothrockmarine
#mhxrods
#floridafishingproducts
#engelcoolers
#powerpole
#thmarine
#mudholecustomtackle
#spotstalkercharters

First Rod Building Class of the Season

A week ago some of my best friends and co-workers and I had the opportunity to charter a trip out of Fort Walton Beach, FL after we finished our rod building class in Mobile, AL. Being as we flew in through Pensacola the trip to Fort Walton Beach wasn’t too far and it is such a beautiful trip. Well this trip was booked with Capt. Gabrielle Mercado, she runs a charter there for wreck and inshore fishing both. Well the 4 of us were set to put our friend Jesus Pena on a couple of AJ’s and Capt. Gabby did a great job of doing this on the first stop. Needless to say we had a great trip and the Capt. put us on plenty of numbers and species, I think we caught AJ’s, Grouper, Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Bull Shark, Bonita and a few other species. Was an excellent 5 hour trip and this captain worked for the money, kept us fishing and catching. But most of all she put up with our shenanigans that accompany our trips after not seeing each other for a few months.

Should you be in the Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island Areas and are looking for a guide be sure to look up this captain.

Capt. Gabrielle Mercado
Lady Luck Adventure LLC
www.ladyluckadventures.com
407-818-3141

@spotstalkercharters #ladyluckadventures #gmerc #Builtnotbought #mudholecustomtackle #mhxrods #rothrockmarine #powerpole

Summer Doldrums

WoW, here we are almost through the summer again. While summer is a busy time I have to be honest when I say that I’m glad that it’s over. This season brings with it a large variety of fisheries so there is a lot of moving around and opportunities to put the hammer down on some fish that you just don’t see at other times of the year. What also comes along with this time is shortened fishing periods, I usually try to fish from 6 am to noon at the very latest. The storms blowing in really seemed to be much more bothersome this year than any that I could remember.
Another thing that has gained considerable attention this summer is the different forms of algae blooms. While we have been dealing with the Red Tide on the West coast forever and the Brown Algae in the Indian River which has gotten worse and worse over the past 10 years, this year we saw a considerable increase in the Blue/Green Algae Slime exiting from the waterways east and west of Okeechobee. These highly poisonous algae blooms have certainly taken their toll on the fisheries and marine life in effected areas. The state and FWC have been extremely slow to take steps to fix these problems but with the high levels currently and it being an election year all of the candidates are making promises to deal with the issues. We will see after this fall and the elections take place whether this really happens. Having lost almost all of the sea grasses from Sebastian Inlet to Haulover Canal the Indian River fisheries are struggling. Many guides have been targeting the schools of Black Drum due to lack of Red Fish, thank goodness they have maintained a strong presence.
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