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Fall Fishing Bonanza, December 8, 2017

Let me begin this fishing report with a brief announcement:  As of December 4th, 2017 Captain Tom Van Horn is now a full-time fishing guide.  Many of you know me as a fishing captain, but few know I also served as a professional fire fighter for a total combined 43-years including a hitch as a fire fighter in the USAF.  Well on December 4th, I placed my fire helmet on the mantel and retired from the FD.  Now in the next chapter in my life, I will be focusing my full attention on my fishing charter business and other related kids fishing organizations and events.  Life has been good to me, and now it will be even better.

This report covers a span of almost two weeks and began with a two-day paddle fishing adventure with father and son team Mike and Mike Hammes.  Since it was a paddle fishing fly charter, Captain John Kumiski served as the second boat commander and our first day was to the No-Motor Zone.  As usual with fly anglers, the wind did not corporate averaging 15 MPH for both days, so very little fly fishing was done.  In the NMZ I typically look for fish up on the sandy shoals, but due to high & dirty water conditions and a brisk wind, we could not even find the shoals and sight fishing was out of the question.  We than regressed and began blind casting jigs on spinning rods and managed a good number of sea trout and one very respectable snook.  On our second day we fish the backwaters our of River Breeze in the north Mosquito Lagoon, and only managed one slot redfish and a few sea trout.  Lucky for us, Mike and Mike traveled across America for the adventure of fishing the back waters of east Florida, and on both days combined we had the water to ourselves for the most part.  We also added an elevated level of adventure when we got caught up in a sever thunderstorm that pushed up from the south for which we unsuccessfully alluded.

On November 29th I again fished with a father and son team named Mike and Mike and our target was sea trout on the Mosquito Lagoon, and again high and dirty water made sight fishing challenging.  I polled Three Quarter Time for at least five miles, and we managed to catch a few very respectable sea trout blind casting 4” night glow DOA Shad Tails.

From there it was off to the Cataloochee Ranch near Maggie Valley North Carolina with my bride Sandi for a very enjoyable three-day bluegrass event called the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival. The Cataloochee Ranch was amazing and next year I’m bringing the fly rod.

November 4th was my last fire department shift, and I started my FD retirement with a very memorable two-day charter with another father and son team, Tom and Max Anater from Lancaster Pennsylvania.  On both days the weather was excellent on the Mosquito Lagoon, and I managed locate some very nice schools of black drum in deeper water. On our first day, Max and his dad managed 14 black drum in the 20 to 40-pound range and Tom caught a 42-inch redfish as a bonus.  I assured them it was one of those exceptional fishing adventures, and not the norm and both anglers could hardly raise the arms at the end of the day.  On our second day we were joined by Tom’s nephew Louie and we only managed three black drum again in the 20 to 40 pound range.  All fish were caught on live jumbo shrimp, white Gulp Shrimp and Cheetos.

All in all, it’s been a great two weeks for me, and I’m kind of liking this retirement gig.

As always, if you need more information or have any questions, please contact me.

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn