I recently returned from beautiful Calusa Blueway, Florida for the first film shoot of the new season of The Kayak Fishing Show presented by Seaguar. While fun, the film shoot presented a number of challenges including an early red tide, wild weather, and pesky pelicans! Despite the challenges, we had a blast and I was even able to add a new species to my list.
Our film shoot was scheduled for early November. The production team had worked hard with our partners on the ground in Calusa Blueway, Florida to ensure a smooth film shoot where we’d catch lots of fish. As is often the case when you plan for a film shoot like this, Mother Nature takes it upon herself to throw you some curve balls. Luckily for our crew, we had a great team on the ground and were able to walk away with not only great content for the show, but some personal firsts and memories that we will keep with us for a lifetime.
On the first day, I met up with our guest angler Marco, a local legend, our guide Bryan from Gulf Coast Kayak, and videographer Mat, at the Tarpon Lodge. We spent the sunny morning getting acquainted and capturing shots of rigging up our kayaks. It wasn’t long before Mike (our tourism host) joined us with Sam (Director of Photography), who had been held up at the border, in tow.
After lunch and meet-up, the team gathered some shots around Tarpon Lodge and we prepared for a sunset fishing session.
Nearby there was a controlled fired which had the pleasant and unexpected side effect of providing us with a three-hour sunset. This gave us lots of time to hook up with quite a few fish including Snook, Redfish and Trout.
The following day, we drove to a secret launch site and stayed inshore to fish the flats. Paddling among a group of pelicans, we had no luck during the first half of the day. A recent red tide and all the pelicans were considered the source of the slow fishing. We decided to move to a new location where we finally began to hook up, and I landed a nice redfish.
Still sunny on day three, we again fished inshore, this time launching directly behind Bryan’s shop, Gulf Coast Kayak. The day started slowly, with a long paddle to the fishing area. Things started to heat up late-morning when I added a new species to my list: a Cobia. I landed this tough fish after a sporting 20-30 min fight! To celebrate the new species, we set off to the Cabbage Key Inn for a taste of “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.
The next day was tournament day, as Calusa Blueway, Florida was hosting the 15th annual Golf Cost Kayak Fishing Tournament.
Unfortunately, the sunny skies and great weather that we’d experienced until to this point took a turn for the worse. The crew captured the competitors’ early morning launch before splitting up to capture different angles; Mat from the shore and Sam on the water. Cue the wind and the rain. As they were getting pummeled with rain and wind the boat died, and we were stranded for 45 minutes. Thankfully, I had my Kokatat paddling jacket to stay dry during the storm and, as always, I wore my Kokatat Leviathan PFD in case things really went sideways.
As soon as we got the boat back up and running, I made a cast and hooked a BIG redfish and had a great fight that unfortunately ended with straightened hooks and lost fish. Safely back at shore, we all met up at the tournament finale that also marked the shoot wrap up under, of course, sunny skies.