Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Bountiful days ahead

Michael Hodak with his trophy pompano.

Michael Hodak with his trophy pompano.

The unpredictability and the hunt are the things that make it exciting for a charter captain. Because of the challenges this winter I’ve had about all of the excitement I can stand.

To say that the fishing has not been up to southwest Florida’s usual standard would be an understatement. The uncharacteristic cold temperatures affected all of us who love and live to fish. The good news is; we have rounded the corner.

As I have mentioned in past Coastal Breeze columns, as far as fishing is concerned, it is all about water temperature. Of course the atmospheric pressure and tides make a difference, but, basically, water temps dictate how often a fish will feed and when the migratory species like mackerel, trout, pompano and black drum will show up in our backwaters.

These past few weeks local waters warmed up and the action warmed up as well. Good catches of all of the above listed species were reported by charter boat captains and local fishermen.

While on a charter with Christopher Chambers and his grandfather on the last Saturday in March, Christopher reeled in not only a prized pompano but five others and some good-sized trout. A couple of days earlier Michael Hodak from Dallas, Texas excitedly landed his pompano.

Many southwest Florida visitors and even residents have a difficult time in acknowledging the four seasons of the year.  However, going to work and heading out into the ten thousand islands and backwaters every day, the change of seasons is quite noticeable. Local lore says that in the spring when the swallow

Christopher Chamber's prized pompano.

Christopher Chamber’s prized pompano.

tail kites show up in our area, the tarpon follow. Next time you hear from me I’ll have a tarpon tale or two to tell.

Capt Jay’s Shrimp and Scallop Scampi

If you happen to have a slow day catching, you can always eat the bait. If you’re put in that position, I suggest the following recipe:


  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12 sea scallops
  • I tablespoon any brand name blackening spice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup white wine


  • Cook pasta according to directions.
  • Season shrimp and scallops with blackening spice. After adding 2 tablespoons of the butter to a medium hot skillet, cook both about 2 minutes per side. Add the garlic during the last two minutes.
  • Transfer the scallops and shrimp to a plate and deglaze the skillet with the wine and lemon juice. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced by half. Turn temperature to low. Add the remaining butter along with the shrimp and scallops to the skillet. Heat and then mix with the drained pasta in a large serving bowl.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges, or, for a change, add cilantro instead of parsley.

By the way, never cook with wine you wouldn’t drink and always cook with real butter. Relax and enjoy. Bon Appetite!!!

Remember to conserve our waters and all other resources; take only what you need and take a kid fishing.

Capt. Jay’s Peeler runs fishing charters from Goodland, Fl.  He may be reached at 239-970-2105. P.O. Box 777, Goodland, Fl 34140.

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