Well, I just got back from one of my most enjoyable road trips of all-time filming shows for Extreme Angler TV Season 11 in Charleston South Carolina & Sarasota Florida, and let me tell you, I am honestly bruised up and have some minor muscle aches fighting all those awesome fish!
Camera crew and I landed in Charleston SC last sunday afternoon and we`re met at the airport by our good buddy Patrick Crawford of Allure Fishing Charters who was kind enough to take us to our accomodations at the incredible Charleston Harbour Resort & Marina situated right on the ocean.
Big thanks go out to Patrick for setting this up for us.
Arrived a bit early and fished until the tide was right, then just like that, we started to see the small ripples and wakes made by the schools of travelling redfish. It sure didn`t take long to hook up with these hard, drag pulling redfish with the aid of Strike King glass minnow saltwater baits rigged onto an inshore jighead.
I brought along my trusty St.Croix legend xtreme and legend elite rods matched up with Ardent Fishouflage spinning reels loaded with 20 lbs braided lines and fluorocarbon leaders.
We all took turns hooking Red`s all afternoon with too many fish hooked, caught and lost to even count, but the many laughs and memories will last a lifetime.
It sure made for one heck of an exciting show.
On the next day, we hooked up with Clayton`s dad, Gene Crawford and fished out of his extra large custom rigged pontoon boat witch has an enclosed driving area complete with propane heater, chesterfields, coolers, electronics and anything else you might need when you go fishing for huge Arkansas Blue catfish on Santee-Cooper Lake.
We fished with cut bait off bottom on a rig similar to a carolina rig keeping the bait off bottom with small in-line floats on the line below the heavy sinkers needed to get the baits down 50+ feet to where the big cats we`re positioned.
I fished with both Patrick and Gene for the entire morning and boated enough big hard pulling cats to film another action packed show with many hooksets and awesome looking catsfish.
Then we caught a flight to Sarasota Florida to hook up with my good buddy Bruce MacDonald how owns Olive the Lake lodge in Northern Ontario, but spends his winters in sunny warm florida, lucky dude!
Again, we we`re fortunate to have good friends on this trip who picked us up at the airport and took us to the accomodations. In florida, we stayed at the very nice Hyatt Regency Sarasota, which rolled out the red carpet for us big time.
They made us feel like millionaires!
Take a peak at the view from my room...very special indeed;
We fished two days with Outrigger Sportfishing Charters out some 30-50+ miles into the Gulf of Mexico with Capt Ryan and 1st mate Tom and once again, these guys are as professional as they come. The boat was rigged to the max with the latest in gear, electronics and specialized equipment to hook and catch the oversized fish available out of Sarasota florida.
The fishing was so good, we managed to film 2 action packed shows.
One show with the hard fighting Amber Jacks.
I have to tell you, these fish are POWER PLUS! They almost wore me out!
And on the second day, we fished a little further out into the Gulf for a chance at a Goliath Grouper and some Red, black grouper and possibly red snapper or mangroves.
Needless to say, the sights and experience will stay with me forever.
Before we even arrived at the "spot", we say fish jumping ahead of us, and upon a closer view realized it was a school of about 40+ full sized "flipper-dolphins" greeting us by jumping clear out of the water and racing around the boat at full speed, which was all caught on film, absolute amazing footage and experience!
We rigged up our pre-caught baits and as soon as they hit bottom, double header with hard fighting red grouper! Once you set hook on these fish, you have to pull up as hard as you can while reeling in as much line as you possibly can so they do not go back into the rocks they are hiding in, easier said then done!
We lost countless numbers of BIG fish, due to the sheer fish weight, size and brute strength down 160+ feet of water.
Fished for approx 2+ hours of non-stop hooksets and fish caught, broke off and lost, then decided to fish for some of the giants of the seas and baited up with bigger bait and almost instantly hooked up with the HARDEST fighting, most powerful fish I have ever had on a line, a monster 275+ pound goliath grouper. To be fair, Capt Ryan hooked the fish, and once he was wore out and lost about 10 pounds of sweat, it was my turn to fight the beast to the surface.
Words cannot describe the experience...you`ll have to watch it when it goes to air.
Just seeing that beast rise up in that Aqua blue water was breath taking.
All in all, it was a great way to start the new season filming shows in the sunny, warm climates of Charleston South Carolina and Sarasota Florida, but what made it even better, was being able to share it with my close buddies, Bruce, Patrick, Clayton and new friends Ryan and Tom of Outrigger sportfishing.
Time to re-group and get set up for the next road trip.