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Discussion Starter #1
The “paying guides to find spots” thread prompted me to post a question I’ve had for the past year. Didn’t want to hijack that thread though...
We moved to Flagler Beach just over a year ago and I’ve been struggling to learn how to get on inshore fish around here. I suspect that if I traveled further North nearer St Augustine, or South toward Daytona near the inlets that I would find better fishing, but I like to stay close to home and not trailer the boat...
Most of the guides I see online all seem to concentrate on and reference fishing the areas further North and South of my specific location. Friends tell me to hire a guide and don’t tell them that I live here... I won’t do that, and I want to be honest that I live here and want to learn more about the surrounding area to more consistently find the fish.
I’ve done a lot of reading the past year about where I should be fishing and have a lot of “spots” that I have tried. Some of those are successful, some not. Most I continue to revisit regardless, while I continue to try and find some correlation to tides, temps, time of year, etc, etc. Usually when I go out I try some of the old spots and make time to try some new likely areas. I’ve had good days, but have more days where I’m skunked... I just haven’t dialed-in for any consistency. I don’t want to end up in a situation where I hire a guide and he then takes me around and hits several “spots” that I already fish occasionally or planned to, and then feel bad or like I shouldn’t go back to it...
The question is, how do I find the best local guide who will teach me how to best fish the local area? I can call and talk to all of them but generally most are just going to tell me what I want to hear. I’ve used a lot of guides over the years in LA and the FL gulf coast, and while most did good putting us on fish, very few actually tried to teach us anything even though that had been discussed as something we wanted in advance.
 

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I fish your area a lot and there are some great spots. Productive spots vary with changes of water temp, salinity, tidal flow and other variables. I have heard good things about the guide who owns Captain's BBQ at Bing's Landing and the guide who runs the concessions at Tomoka and Gamble Rogers State Park. Hire one of these guys for the day and ask a lot of questions. Books and Youtube have some good information on the area. One program that is available on streaming channel Waypoint TV (there is no charge for access) is "Flats Class." The host C A Richardson does an excellent job of explaining what he does to locate and catch fish. I have included a link below that talks about tactics for fishing the marshes of NE Florida. On my channel you will also find videos on fishing Tomoka, High Bridge, Bing's Landing and Butler Park areas.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I fish your area a lot and there are some great spots. Productive spots vary with changes of water temp, salinity, tidal flow and other variables. I have heard good things about the guide who owns Captain's BBQ at Bing's Landing and the guide who runs the concessions at Tomoka and Gamble Rogers State Park. Hire one of these guys for the day and ask a lot of questions. Books and Youtube have some good information on the area. One program that is available on streaming channel Waypoint TV (there is no charge for access) is "Flats Class." The host C A Richardson does an excellent job of explaining what he does to locate and catch fish. I have included a link below that talks about tactics for fishing the marshes of NE Florida. On my channel you will also find videos on fishing Tomoka, High Bridge, Bing's Landing and Butler Park areas.
Thanks for the good advice. That link you posted is one that I had previously bookmarked and have watched several times.
Never heard of WayPoint TV but will go check it out for sure.
Those variables you mention (with exception of salinity) are ones I’ve tried to consider when I’m logging trips but am still missing something(s). Just can’t seem to find the correlation of those with my successful trips. i.e. find spot and catch the heck out of them. Return 2-3 more times the next day and week at same time in tide, similar weather, water temp, mullet still around, etc and can’t get a hit... Yeah I know every time out won’t be catching fish but would like to improve my consistency. That why I figure hiring a local guide, and finding the right one, will help.
Thanks again.
 

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I have fished with Eric Greenstein around that area and really enjoyed it, also felt like I learned a good bit. He seems to have a good grip on the snook and tarpon in the area.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have fished with Eric Greenstein around that area and really enjoyed it, also felt like I learned a good bit. He seems to have a good grip on the snook and tarpon in the area.
Thank you, that’s not one of the names I’ve heard so far. Will check him out too.
 

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Mak schools of fish will move so it is not uncommon to catch them one day and not the next. Unfortunately none of us have it dialed in 100%. In this area like others wading birds and following schools of bait will help give away where the fish are today. Fish will move if they are getting pressured so if one creek mouth produces one day and not the other move to another creek mouth. You also need to change tactics based on time of year. In cold water like we have now you have to slow down and use smaller baits to increase success. Fish will be in deeper holes most of the time. Not all holes hold fish that is where a good depth finder will earn its keep. If you get a low tide around mid day fish the outside edges of a mud bank as the tide rises. The black mud will warm the water and attract bait and fish from deep holes. As the tide rises push to the backs of creeks to find fish. Most people just fish the fronts of creeks so you will find "less pressured" fish the further you go back. The mosquito ditches around the Tomoka River and High Bridge will produce fish if you search for them. I fish artificials most of the time so I am always moving around with my push pole or trolling motor. If you have not caught a fish in 10 minutes move (you can always come back to the same spot to try it on a different tide when it may be better). When it comes down to it there is no one silver bullet and we are all learning. Get a guide and keep trying new things when you are out on your own boat. Good luck!
 

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Wish'n I was Fish'n!
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GOLDEN RULES OF FISHING
1) You gotta fish where the fish are.
2) You gotta keep looking until you find them.
3) Don't leave fish to look for fish. (Unless you see someone coming.)

My guess is that if there aren't many guides fishing your local area, then there probably aren't many fish in your local area. Jus Say'n.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mak schools of fish will move so it is not uncommon to catch them one day and not the next. Unfortunately none of us have it dialed in 100%. In this area like others wading birds and following schools of bait will help give away where the fish are today. Fish will move if they are getting pressured so if one creek mouth produces one day and not the other move to another creek mouth. You also need to change tactics based on time of year. In cold water like we have now you have to slow down and use smaller baits to increase success. Fish will be in deeper holes most of the time. Not all holes hold fish that is where a good depth finder will earn its keep. If you get a low tide around mid day fish the outside edges of a mud bank as the tide rises. The black mud will warm the water and attract bait and fish from deep holes. As the tide rises push to the backs of creeks to find fish. Most people just fish the fronts of creeks so you will find "less pressured" fish the further you go back. The mosquito ditches around the Tomoka River and High Bridge will produce fish if you search for them. I fish artificials most of the time so I am always moving around with my push pole or trolling motor. If you have not caught a fish in 10 minutes move (you can always come back to the same spot to try it on a different tide when it may be better). When it comes down to it there is no one silver bullet and we are all learning. Get a guide and keep trying new things when you are out on your own boat. Good luck!
Thanks, man. I appreciate the detailed advice. The flats around here don’t seem to have grass like I’m used to fishing in other areas I’ve fished in the past, and don’t find much variance in depth on the flats, certainly haven’t been able to find deeper holes, etc yet. Lots of oyster beds and slightly deeper troughs and cuts at the entrances that I concentrate around. Lots of mosquito cuts and creeks surrounding that I try to find differences in depth or flow, etc. High Bridge is an area that I have been successful in at times. I’ve only been down as far as the Tomoka basin once. Haven’t given up on the closer surroundings yet...
Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My guess is that if there aren't many guides fishing your local area, then there probably aren't many fish in your local area. Jus Say'n.
Definitely what I was thinking too...
However, I have had a couple locals tell me the fishing is great, and that I just haven’t figured it out yet. They’ve offered general suggestions but I’m still spinning my wheels. Also had a member here PM me telling me the fishing is great. Truth is, apparently, I just suck at inshore fishing... but I’m going to continue to try and remedy that.
One reason I’m asking for how to pick the best guide. One who isn’t afraid to give away secrets to a local... thanks
 

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Oh there are fish. Particularly snook in the canals. Go behind the old Searay plant where they docked boats. Plenty of reds and trout. up your way. I used to troll for trout with with jigs believe it or not with an old timer. I don’t think the area supports guides well. Not a tourist destination. Dirt brown water. Nothing glamorous about the area like the Keys or Lagoon. But you will find fish.
 

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We moved to Flagler Beach just over a year ago and I’ve been struggling to learn how to get on inshore fish around here. I suspect that if I traveled further North nearer St Augustine, or South toward Daytona near the inlets that I would find better fishing, but I like to stay close to home and not trailer the boat...
Most of the guides I see online all seem to concentrate on and reference fishing the areas further North and South of my specific location. Friends tell me to hire a guide and don’t tell them that I live here... I won’t do that, and I want to be honest that I live here and want to learn more about the surrounding area to more consistently find the fish.
Number one.....be honest with your guide. Be honest with your intentions, be honest with your expectations, be honest with your abilities. As a fly guide, it's always much easier to guarantee a successful trip when I am aware of what an angler's experience and abilities are on the fly. The same can be said for an angler's intentions on a charter. In my opinion, there are two types of charters: ones where you "captain" and ones where you "guide". As a guide, you do just that....you guide...or to use a synonym....you teach. I love charters where someone is wanting to come learn how a fishery works and learn about the fish they are going after. Charters where you "captain" and just put fish in the boat are great too....if that is the angler's expectation. But if you are wanting to learn, then a good guide should have no problem doing that. There are no secret spots short of the Glades or Keys backcountry. Every inch of water in Florida gets fished. So to learn how to fish spots that a guide takes you to is fine. If you return to those spots on your own, respect the spot, respect the fish, and be observant of who is around. If the guide is working in there on a particular day, don't go in there. If you are an angler who keeps fish, you don't keep from that spot. Little nuggets of respect like that go a long way. From there you take what you learn from your guide's spots and extrapolate it to the areas you frequent or may just stumble upon. Living in Flagler Beach, you got 2 great guides in your area. Capt. Rich Santos and Capt. Rob Ottlein. Tell them I sent ya!
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Oh there are fish. Particularly snook in the canals. Go behind the old Searay plant where they docked boats. Plenty of reds and trout. up your way. I used to troll for trout with with jigs believe it or not with an old timer. I don’t think the area supports guides well. Not a tourist destination. Dirt brown water. Nothing glamorous about the area like the Keys or Lagoon. But you will find fish.
Yep, that’s one of the areas (sea ray cut) I have done well in before. Just hit or miss.
I figured lack of guides was just that it’s not a big tourist destination (and one of the reasons we picked it for our house)
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Exactly the type info I was looking for. Most of my charters over the years have apparently been “captain”, because they sure weren’t trying to pass on any knowledge.
I’ll look up those two names you recommend below.
Thanks for response.
Number one.....be honest with your guide. Be honest with your intentions, be honest with your expectations, be honest with your abilities. As a fly guide, it's always much easier to guarantee a successful trip when I am aware of what an angler's experience and abilities are on the fly. The same can be said for an angler's intentions on a charter. In my opinion, there are two types of charters: ones where you "captain" and ones where you "guide". As a guide, you do just that....you guide...or to use a synonym....you teach. I love charters where someone is wanting to come learn how a fishery works and learn about the fish they are going after. Charters where you "captain" and just put fish in the boat are great too....if that is the angler's expectation. But if you are wanting to learn, then a good guide should have no problem doing that. There are no secret spots short of the Glades or Keys backcountry. Every inch of water in Florida gets fished. So to learn how to fish spots that a guide takes you to is fine. If you return to those spots on your own, respect the spot, respect the fish, and be observant of who is around. If the guide is working in there on a particular day, don't go in there. If you are an angler who keeps fish, you don't keep from that spot. Little nuggets of respect like that go a long way. From there you take what you learn from your guide's spots and extrapolate it to the areas you frequent or may just stumble upon. Living in Flagler Beach, you got 2 great guides in your area. Capt. Rich Santos and Capt. Rob Ottlein. Tell them I sent ya!
 

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Honesty may help.

Book him once and tell him, “I want you to teach me” he might say ok and go about the day. BUT...

Repeated bookings, and becoming a “regular” will really get him to open up to you. He’s out there to earn a living.
 

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I think your on to it already from reading your post. Your paying attention to the variables that impact productive conditions. Another thing I do believe in is the solar / lunar major and minor periods. There are days where I can set my watch by it. I am in a different area than you, but if I were in your backyard I would give it due credit.

I like what you said about being honest, this tells me that you have integrity, very refreshing today! Walter Lee beat me to it but the key here is to find a "teaching guide". I have hired guides that were not teaching guides, they could put you on fish but you learned very little.

I think what you need to focus on is patterns for your area given certain conditions, some of this will be cyclical, due to the bait hatch and other feeding patterns. Find the best guides in your area and let them know up front that more than learning spots you want to learn about area patterns, this will go much further and allow you to find and develop your own catalog of "spots".

I think there has been a lot of good info provided in many of the post above. I think your closer than you know, good luck!
 
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