Guy Harvey Outpost Coming to Tarpon Springs

February 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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TS2By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

scocking@guyharveyoutpost.com

[Tarpon Springs, FL.–]    A school of small tarpon rolled maddeningly on the surface of the Spring Bayou in the center of the Gulf Coast Florida town named for these irascible gamefish.  Captain Craig Lahr and I cast live pinfish on Styrofoam floats toward the happily-frolicking school whenever it surfaced, but our baits were ignored.  Lahr tried a few casts with a Deceiver-style fly, hoping its soft presentation might do the trick.  But that didn’t work either.

Finally, we removed the floats and simply free-lined the pinfish in the direction the tarpon were moving.  At first, nothing happened. But then my line started peeling furiously off the spinning reel, so I clicked the bail shut and quickly reeled up the slack and…..nothing — except for a dead, crushed pinfish still on the circle hook.

But then, that’s tarpon fishing wherever in the world you may pursue them.

Fortunately, tarpon are by no means the only fish to chase in and around the eponymous Tarpon Springs.

“Snook, redfish, sheepshead, flounder, black drum, jack crevalle, ladyfish, sea trout, bass, bream, speckled perch,” Lahr, a 20-year veteran Gulf Coast light-tackle guide, said as he ran out of fingers ticking them all off.

Lahr loves to fish the Anclote River, which flows for about 30 miles from a swamp in Pasco County west through Tarpon Springs to the Gulf of Mexico near the tiny town of Holiday.  Depending on tide and rainfall, Lahr can maneuver his 21-foot bay boat some 15 miles upriver before the waters become too shallow to navigate.  Kayaks and canoes can venture even further inland where the waters turn from salty to fresh.  Nearby, there’s Lake Tarpon where Florida’s unofficial state-record largemouth bass weighing 19.6 pounds was caught by Riley Witt in 1961.

“When you get bad weather and it’s cold, you can come in here and it will be warmer and there will be fish in here,” Lahr said of the Anclote.  “The river doesn’t get rough.”

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Fishing was a tad slow the day we explored the area, owing to feeble tides and passage of a cold front.  But we caught and released redfish and catfish using live shrimp and pinfish, spied a large school of snook around a marina dock that was apparently afflicted with lockjaw, and of course sparred unsuccessfully with the baby tarpon.

Besides the anticipation of fish, the Anclote presented a non-stop wildlife show– ospreys cheeping from their brushy nests in the trees; flocks of pelicans gliding overhead; a great blue heron that shadowed us for a while and then managed to steal a pinfish from the live well; a herd of manatees that joined the tarpon at the Spring Bayou.

And all that was before we headed three miles offshore to picturesque Anclote Key Preserve State Park, which harbors colonies of nesting birds, pristine beaches and a historic lighthouse.

The Anclote’s working waterfront known as the Sponge Docks flows right through the middle of Tarpon Springs.  It is where commercial fishers and spongers tie up their boats; throngs of tourists browse dozens of gift and antique shops; and restaurants serve authentic Greek cuisine and fresh seafood.  Plenty of gamefish lurk right under those busy docks, but enticing them to bite is another story.

In the winter of 2017, visitors and residents will have a new base camp from which to explore the region:  the Guy Harvey Outpost RV Resort just north of Tarpon Springs in Pasco County.  Developed in conjunction with Elite Resorts, the  $15 million, 46-acre project will feature 340 brick-paved RV lots and the full slate of resort-style amenities located a stone’s throw from the Anclote River and the Gulf of Mexico.

Yet one more good excuse for me to make a return trip and try to get one over on those uncooperative tarpon.

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Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 

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Share your photos, videos and experiences with Guy Harvey Outpost by hash tagging #OutpostAttitude to all of your social media posts.

Fall: Prime Time for Flats Fishing in the Keys and Bahamas!

September 10, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Flats Slam” by Guy Harvey.

By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

Late summer/early autumn is prime time for flats fishing in the Keys and the Bahamas.  With few visiting anglers and plenty of bonefish, you have the shallow, target-rich environment pretty much to yourself.  And in the Keys, you’ll also get shots at tarpon and permit, raising hopes of a flats grand slam.

Fall brings higher tides and cooler waters, expanding the territory of feeding bonefish that spent less time foraging on the flats in the searing summer heat.

You can sight-fish for them from a poled skiff or you can simply stake out up current from a sand-and-grass-dotted flat and wait for them to feed into the tide.  By far, the best bait is a live shrimp with the tail pinched off fished on light line with a split shot for added casting distance.  To better your chances, carry dozens more live shrimp than you need for bait, cut them into pieces and toss them out as chum.

The islands of the Bahamas present your best chance of catching and releasing a bonefish on fly rod.  With seemingly endless shallow-water habitat and abundant fish of all sizes unaccustomed to encountering most fly patterns, the islands allow the novice angler to make plenty of mistakes, learn from them quickly, and eventually capture the prize.

Bonefish are fun to catch on the flats on any kind of tackle because of their warp-speed, drag-screaming runs after you hook them. Keep your line tight and a bend in the rod, and eventually you’ll catch up to them.

Bonefishing  is big business in the both the Keys and Bahamas, generating tens of millions of dollars in economic impact each year.  In the Keys, anglers fishing the ocean sides of Islamorada and Key Largo can pretty much expect to encounter bonefish most days, but the fishery has suffered declines in the Florida Bay back country over the past decade. Anglers and guides want to know why and what can be done to reverse the trend. The non-profit Bonefish Tarpon Trust has commissioned a study by scientists from Florida International University to look into everything from water quality to prey availability to determine the causes and identify solutions.  The researchers are also surveying and interviewing bonefish enthusiasts from Biscayne Bay through the Lower Keys to chronicle their experiences.

In the Bahamas, the government recently announced draft legislation that would impose licenses and fees on foreigners fishing for bonefish and require operators of fishing lodges to be citizens or permanent residents of the Bahamas.  Bonefish Tarpon Trust– in collaboration with scores of anglers, guides, scientists, conservationists and lodge operators– countered with its own recommendations for a comprehensive conservation and management plan for the species.  The government is mulling over those suggestions.

Completing the flats grand slam with tarpon and permit is more than doable in the Keys in early fall, especially if you use live bait.

The onset of cold fronts to the north pushes huge schools of forage fish such as mullet, pilchards, sardines and glass minnows south along ocean and bay waters in the Keys, with tarpon happily chasing and devouring them.  These ‘silver kings’ are not as large as the monsters typically encountered in the spring and summer migrations, but they are sporty enough on 20-pound tackle.  Your best bet for a spectacular experience is to use a live mullet hooked with a circle hook through the upper lip and rigged with a float along the edges of flats, in channels and around the U.S. 1 bridges.

Tarpon typically pile on the mullet, crashing, splashing and leaping while you hang on tight and let the fish have its way.  The moment it lets up, you put the heat on it.

The experience is so addictive that a veteran Keys guide once said that if tarpon could only be found in the Himalayas, anglers and guides wouldn’t hesitate to follow them there.

Permit, with an oval-shaped silver and yellow body and black sickle tail, is more common in the Lower Keys than the Upper Keys, but you still stand a decent chance of catching one in the northern regions.

These bulldogs of the flats rarely hesitate to gulp a live crab cast in front of their noses.  But accounts are rampant of anglers making bad casts to the fish’s tail only to have it whirl around and inhale the bait.  For sight-fishing, the best locations are narrow strip banks along both the ocean and bay sides of the Keys with hard bottom and a strong current.  Permit also can be found in channels and around bridges waiting to pounce on crabs sweeping by on the tide.

Trying to catch them on the flats with a fly rod can end up being a lifelong quest similar to the 100 Years War.  Tame your bucket list to include live crabs, and you will not be disappointed.

Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling, camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.

Flex Your Funny Bone with Capt. Joe Gonzalez

January 19, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Bonefish, Conservation, Fishing, Florida, Florida Keys, Fly Fishing, Marine Science, Sharks, Tarpon, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Miami native Capt. Joe Gonzalez has joined the Guy Harvey Outpost Outfitter program.  Gonzalez is a world class flats guide.  Joe is a modest gentleman who with a quick wit and an osprey’s eyes.  At Guy Harvey Outpost we keep out eyes open for excellent guides.

Ray Lombard's grin matches the size of his bonefish with Capt. Joe Gonzalez.

Ray Lombard’s grin matches the size of his bonefish with Capt. Joe Gonzalez.

With Joe’s accomplishments it is easy to see that he is at the top of the game.

* Capt. Joe has tagged over 1500 bonefish.  More than any other guide in the world.

* Capt. Joe has won Bonefish Tarpon Trust ’s Project Permit twice.

* Capt. Joe served on Bonefish Tarpon Trust’s Expert Bonefish Panel at the BTT Symposium.

* Capt. Joe is the second recipient of the Jose Wejebe Professional Guide Award.

Capt. Joe works with the University of Miami’s Bonefish Research team.

Capt. Joe Gonzalez is a regular on the salt water seminar circuit.  You will find him sharing his skills and techniques at the IGFA‘s Tarpon Tune-up and Saltwater Sportman ’s Seminar Series. You can also find Joe on TV on shows like Flats Class TV with CA Richardson, Bass2Bills with Peter Miller and Sportsman’s Adventures with Rick Murphy just to mention a few.

Fly and light tackle fishing are Joe’s forte. He focuses his efforts on Biscayne Bay, Flamingo and the Florida Keys. On the Funny Bone you will get shots at Tarpon, Bonefish and even the elusive permit. Add snook, redfish, trout and sharks on light tackle and it is “Game On!”  Given Joe’s knowledge of his quarry and his involvement with ongoing science projects we encourage you to participate in these programs and to learn a little bit extra while you are out on the water.

Tarpon1

Capt. Joe is not just a great fishing guide, he is very sharp. Joe’s straight face belies the tales he tells; so be ready to have your leg pulled. And bring your “A” game if you want a lot of laughs.

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Weather you are an accomplished angler or need some tips on your technique; you will enjoy your time on the Funny Bone.

Tournaments, holidays and weekends get booked early so please plan ahead. Mid-week charters are easier to book and give you the added advantage of less competition on the water. Capt. Joe is on the Pro-Staff of AFTCOHell’s Bay Boatworks,  Raymarine Electronics, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses and Evinrude Motors.

To book a charter with Joe: reservations@guyharveyoutpost.com or call 800.513.5257

For Fishing with Guy Harvey Outpost: www.ghofish.com

More Information on Guy Harvey Outpost & their great resorts:  http://www.guyharveyoutpost.com/

For the Guy Harvey Outpost Blog www.guyharveyoutpostnews.com

For Guy Harvey Outpost on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GuyHarveyOutpost

For Guy Harvey Outpost on Twitter https://twitter.com/GHOutpost

For Guy Harvey Outpost on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/GuyHarveyOutpost

 

Changing Seasons

October 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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How do Floridians know the seasons have changed?  No the palm trees do not turn crimson and orange.  I could give you the old line about “The license tags change colors.”  Another sign of change of seasons is a parade of boats chugging down the Intracoastal Waterway.  Lots of shiny new yachts are headed for the 54th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Sailfish comin at you

If you have lived south of Palm Beach for a long time, you notice the subtle drop in humidity on early October mornings.  The sky is a brighter blue.  The October moon brings higher tides.   If you get out early, you will see the falcons and hawks migrating south.  Fishermen have been watching for the bait to show up on the beaches.   The mullet run brings tarpon, snook, jacks, kingfish and spinner sharks within easy reach of anglers a hundred yards or less from shore.  

<Kingfish on the line

All of this means great near shore fishing.  The wahoo are starting to show at Old Bahama Bay and Green Turtle.   The big wahoo will be in residence before Thanksgiving.  The sailfish will start showing up in good numbers any day now.

I know Fall is here: just this week I saw three falcons and a line at the tackle shop.  – Capt. Ned Stone

Photos Courtesy of David Cartee.

New GUY HARVEY® Florida Lottery Scratch-Off Game Debuts Today

April 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Posted in Art, Conservation, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Marine Art, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon | Leave a comment
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Proceeds benefit education and marine conservation in the State of Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—APRIL 3, 2012— For fans of marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey there’s a new collector’s series of lottery tickets that will be available starting today—priced at just $2.

Dr. Harvey and the Florida Lottery today are officially launching the GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game, featuring a series of six colorful wildlife illustrations designed by the world renowned marine artist.

During a March 23rd press conference, Dr. Harvey announced that his licensing proceeds from the sale of the tickets will benefit the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, a marine conservation organization that funds educational programs aimed at informing children and young adults about their role in conserving Florida’s marine ecosystem.

Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell anticipates sales of the GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off Game to generate about $3.5 million for Florida’s education system.

“This partnership with the Florida Lottery is unique and I am happy to launch a product that will help Florida’s schools as well as the state’s precious marine resources,” said Dr. Guy Harvey. “I am especially looking forward to fishing with the winner of the Grand Cayman trip. We will have a great time!”

Dr. Harvey was referring to a Second Chance Promotion that offers players the chance to win the fishing trip of a lifetime.

The $2 GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game offers cash prizes of up to $30,000 and overall odds to win of one-in-4.37. Additionally, non-winning GUY HARVEY® tickets may be entered in the Guy Harvey® Sportsman’s Paradise Second Chance Promotion on the Lottery’s website.

Four drawings will be held between April 25 and June 27 with 12 winners selected in each drawing.

Grand prize winners will receive a Sportsman’s Paradise fishing trip for two to one of several fantastic fishing destinations including St. Petersburg Beach, Hawks Cay, Rum Cay in the Bahamas, or Grand Cayman Island, where one lucky winner and a guest will get the opportunity of a lifetime – to go fishing with Guy Harvey himself!

Second prize winners in the drawing will receive an original Guy Harvey® framed watercolor painting and the third prize winners will receive a $200 gift certificate to GuyHarveySportswear.com.

Guy Harvey-Sponsored All-Release Tournaments Partnering to Cross-Promote, Spread Message

March 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Art, Conservation, Fishing, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Marine Art, Marine Science, Sharks, Tarpon | Leave a comment
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Creators of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival and Organizers of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament have announced plans to strengthen and share their commitment to conservation by cross-promoting their common missions and messages to the general public, press and media. The Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival takes place in Punta Gorda’s downtown waterfront at Laishley Crab House at Laishley Park May 4 th – 6 th followed by the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament in Boca Grande May 17th and 18th and the Downtown Tarpon Festival May 19th and 20th.

Both all-release tournaments feature exciting and innovative high-stakes competitions that also place an emphasis on best practices when it comes to the post-release welfare of their respective target species; sharks and tarpon. The common ground between the two events is clear when looking at the USC’s established mission to, “Combine the Goals of Sport, Science and Conservation” alongside the WRTT’s new message of, “Conservation, Education and Sportsmanship”. Strategic alliances include Mote Marine Laboratory and Mote Center for Shark ResearchGuy Harvey Enterprises and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The event’s respective festivals are free to the public and offer a host of family-friendly fun, excitement, entertainment and education.

Without a doubt, the main attraction at both events are the fishing tournaments, which also share boundaries within the same storied fishing grounds of Boca Grande Pass, Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. While their marquis species are indeed very different, event organizers are quick to point out that, “Sharks and tarpon have been coexisting here for millions of years and that their symbiotic relationship is a matter of essential mutual benefit to a healthy marine and coastal environment. In many ways, that relationship is a great metaphor for why we’re collaborating with our events.”

USC Creators, Sean & Brooks Paxton add that, “We’re extremely fortunate to have this uniquely diverse environmental playground right here in our backyard. The area offers so many choices for not only boaters and recreational anglers, but anyone interested in an endless list of eco and adventure-based activities on land and sea. There really is something for everyone. We’re proud of that and feel a responsibility to protect and conserve these natural assets while promoting the region, the people and the businesses that rely upon and support them. We do that by leveraging purposeful entertainment that also educates and inspires people.”

Lew Hastings, Executive Director at the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce and Tournament Director of the WRTT explains, “My goal is to strengthen and promote the financial growth and well being of the local businesses in order to sustain a healthy community. We see the constant threat of damage and destruction to the natural beauty and wildlife habitats that surround us and recognize that they can not and should not be looked upon as a cost of doing business. Exploitation of natural resources in the name of progress and financial gain leaves us all a great deal poorer in the end. The significant economic and environmental impact recreational fishing has on our communities, make conservation for a sustainable fishery not only preferable but necessary. Education and conservation of the fishery combined with sport fishing will be the primary focus. Safe boating, sportsmanship and responsible angling will be promoted in order to encourage a safe, successful family friendly atmosphere that will inspire everyone to engage in the protection and proper stewardship of our natural resources so that they may be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Guy Harvey and Florida Lottery Announce New Guy Harvey Scratch-Off Game and Second Chance Promo

March 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Bahamas, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Marine Art, Marine Science, St. Pete Beach | Leave a comment
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Second chance promotion offers players the chance to win the fishing trip of a lifetime!

WEST PALM BEACH (March 22, 2012)—The Palm Beach International Boat Show got off to a lucky start Thursday with the announcement of a brand new Florida Lottery GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game.  Fishing and boating enthusiasts in Florida regularly wear Guy Harvey sportswear and starting on April 3, they can try their luck with this new game.

Capturing the colorful wildlife illustrations created by Dr. Guy Harvey, the $2 Scratch-Off game will feature six scenes of original Guy Harvey® Collector’s Series artwork.

“Today was a fun day to launch this new product that Floridians and visitors can really feel good about purchasing,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell. “Not only do we expect this ticket to generate about $3.5 million for Florida’s education system, Dr. Harvey is also donating his licensing fee to the Guy Harvey Ocean Fund, a non-profit organization that directly benefits Florida’s coastlines.”

The $2 GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game offers cash prizes of up to $30,000 and overall odds to win of one-in-4.37. Additionally, non-winning GUY HARVEY® tickets may be entered in the Guy Harvey® Sportsman’s Paradise Second Chance Promotion on the Lottery’s website.

Four drawings will be held between April 25 and June 27 with 12 winners selected in each drawing.

  • Grand prize winners will receive a Sportsman’s Paradise fishing trip for two to one of several fantastic fishing destinations including St. Petersburg BeachDuck Key, the Bahamas, or Grand Cayman Island, where one lucky winner and a guest will get the opportunity of a lifetime – to go fishing with Guy Harvey himself!
  • Second prize winners in the drawing will receive an original Guy Harvey® framed watercolor painting and the third prize winners will receive a $200 gift certificate to GuyHarveySportswear.com.

“This partnership with the Florida Lottery is unique and I am happy to be here in Florida to launch a product that will help Florida’s schools as well as the state’s precious natural resources,” said Dr. Guy Harvey. “I am especially looking forward to fishing with the winner of the Grand Cayman trip. We will have a great time!”

The Florida Lottery is working closely with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to promote the game to Florida’s licensed anglers and to help underscore the importance of conservation to Florida.

“Acknowledged as the ‘Fishing Capital of the World,’ Florida has vast natural resources we are duty-bound to protect,” said Chuck Collins, Regional Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  “Every effort to highlight the beauty of our waters, the abundance of species and our need to respect and conserve them for residents, visitors and our future generations is a worthwhile effort.”

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