Thursday, August 31, 2006

At the Crossroads of Indian Summer with Big "E"...

Even though using the term, " Post-Ernesto," has the same oxymoronic tribute and shaky credence as genuflecting to a wind devil of newspapers in some Manhattan alley, we could say conditions momentarily changed-but not much. I only keep my eyes on NOAA, since the commercial channels-mindful of the Nielsen ratings given off by spectacularity ("look at that palm frond wiggling!")- had reporters out in droves in their all-too-familiar foul weather gear. Problem was, there was not much of a problem. It is crucial to be cautious, but "incautious" to go crazy when a threat is not a threat. SOFla. residents engulfed the gas stations and food stores either stoked by commercial TV's Ernesto fanfare or under the dark spell of the PTSD panic Ernesto dug up from the cyclone graveyard with not-yet-dead ghosts like Wilma, Katrina, Ivan, et. al. Max Mayfield called the storm "mediocre", which may be a meteorological way of saying, "not much."

So the secret, then, is really, stay calm and carefully watch the development or devolvement of the storm system, prepare with temperate timeliness, and stay abreast with NOAA.

Back in the world of summer, early mornings on the flats of South Biscayne Bay has some bonefish moving along and some rolling tarpon in some basins and channels-if you know where to look.

I'll be looking towards reporting on a July trip I made to the streams of British Columbia with Valley Fishing's Clint Goyette for char and chinook as well as look forward to Space Coast redfish and Maine stripers.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Indian Summer Bonefish and Travel Talk...

This last Friday saw good numbers of dawn tarpon, permit, and bonefish. As a " Japanese sunrise" unfolded, I tossed a live crab upcurrent of a stilt house. In moments, a big permit's bulged head surged through the water's surface, gulped the crab, and cut me off on the pilings in less time than this sentence takes to read. After running a mile north to Mashta Point, I found tarpon rolling in Cape Florida-they were "happy," but unresponsive to flies, jigs, plugs, crabs, or shrimp. How different these fish are from their silvery comrades in North Bay! As the sun rose, I eased up on a sandbar that featured a good flow of falling tide: a bit of chum and in a flew a nice-sized bonefish. A quick cast well upcurrent of the fish sunk the shrimp to its level and the bone gulped it down. Five minutes later, I released a beautiful six-pound specimen into summer seas and an eastern sun.

When my engine starting tilting up by itself moments later, I tried the engine tilt switch and found it was shorting out. I managed to stabilize it long enough to come back to the marina and made a short day of it. I later learned more about what I could have disconnected to stop that "Sorcerer's Apprentice" behavior from my mechanic-next time (never, I hope), I'll know better.

Back in the shade, I dwelled on rememberances of "places past". I had some time and chronicled some destinations-each place was a uniquely-colored building block that, together with the rest, made a mosaic of recollected adventures, pleasures, and friends. Some destinations were deliberately for fishing, where I lugged rod tubes all over the globe. Other destinations offered fishing as a co-feature rather than a primary purpose, and then I generally toted a small travel pack with a five-piece rod and ultralight reels. Still others revealed fishing I did not anticipate and the best I could do was dream and drool. Here are some of them. Maybe you've been there or you plan on going....In any case, good luck and safe traveling!

Jan Maizler Angling Partial Travelography

-Prince of Wales Island

--The Marls
--Sandy Point
--Green Turtle Cay
--North and Middle Bights
--Fresh and Cargill Creek
--Small Hope Bay
-Bimini, North and South
-Grand Bahama Island-
--Water Cay
--South Side
-Long Island-
--Deadman’s Cay Region
-Little San Salvador Island
-Coco Cay (Little Stirrup)

-Goff’s Caye
-Belize City
-Belize River
-"Big" Flat

-Salinas/salt pans
-Lac Bay

British Columbia-
-Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands

Central America-
-Costa Rica- Tortuguero Canals
-Panama- Gatun Lake


Fanning Island, South Pacific-English Harbor

-Sanibel/Captiva/Pine Island/San Carlos Bay
-Rookery Bay/Naples
-Biscayne Bay
-Key Largo
-Little Torch Key/Contents
-Key West
-Punta Gorda
-Charlotte Harbor/Cape Haze
-Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River

-Port Antonio
-Black River

Grand Cayman Island, British West Indies
Little Cayman Island, British West Indies

Mexico- Riviera Section-
-Cabo San Lucas
-Puerto Vallarta

Mexico- Yucatan/Quintana Roo State-
-Cozumel- flats, drop, and offshore
-Xel Ha/ Tulum south flats
-Ascension Bay
-Bahia Espiritu Santo

Bay Islands, Honduras-

Windward and Leeward Islands
-Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
-St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
-St. Martin
-Saint Lucia

American Errata-
-Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
-Franklin, North Carolina
-Cowee Valley, North Carolina
-Long Island, New York
-Portland, Maine
-Ocean City, Maryland
-Savannah, Georgia
-St. Augustine, Florida
-San Francisco Bay, California
-Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Jan Maizler Partial Travelography/Residence

Antilles-Lesser and Greater-
San Juan, Puerto Rico

-Montego Bay
-Ocho Rios
-Spanish Town

-New Providence/Nassau
-Salt Cay

Central America-
-Mexico City- Residence
-Playa del Carmen

Costa Rica-

-Panama Canal

-Belize City










-St.Tropez/Nice/Blue Coast



-Lake Como

-Golan Heights/Mount Herman
-Dead Sea/Masada
-Tel Aviv


Morocco, Spanish-


Windward, Leeward, and ABC Islands-
-St. Johns, Trunk Bay
-St. Kitts

South Pacific-
-Tahitian Islands-
-Hawaiian Islands
--Hawaii/Big Island

Canadian Maritimes-
--Saint Martins, New Brunswick
--Saint John, New Brunswick
--Halifax, Nova Scotia

Jan Maizler

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Dog Days

Ambient heat pervades the biosphere. Nightime sweltering skies sound soft, unless the rolling leviathan thunderheads move in, throwing fiery bolts and heaven-shaking booms that say, "Thor's hammer is here." The rising sun burns up the blustering buildup bullies. Later in the afternoon, the very same heat will recreate them over the Everglades when they'll begin their seaward march. But midday, things go hot and flat, save the leg-grinding droning chirp of Cicadas, cocky in the shaded sanctuary of seagrape trees.

The tarpon still are providing early morning excitements that break this monotony. But the vibrancy comes from dreams of mullet streaming down the coast, bringing the Fall Run Circus- the sooner, the better. The headlines this dawn announce actor Bruno Kirby's death and a resolute inner voice says once again, "make the most of this very tiny window" as the day's heat ramps up to pull the sweat from us all.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Florida's Space Coast

Space Coast Florida Attractions and Features for Fishing Families


Jan Stephen Maizler

Up until the present, my contact with Florida’s Space Coast was basic. Yet in the overall planning I did for an upcoming story on Space Coast redfishing with Captain Brian Pahmeier (, I learned a great deal more. The cities of Palm Bay, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, and Titusville comprise the major cities of the Space Coast. While four cities may seem a modest constituency, you’ll quickly learn - as did I - that this covers a huge amount of pristine lagoon, river, marsh, and “beach and bluff” habitat. If you’re arriving from an urban area, you’ll quickly realize that the local populace has succeeded in preserving not just the land, but the sky as well: there are blessedly few high-rise buildings. In Miami, these structures are a blight to sighting the Heavens - not so, on the Space Coast!

It would take many days to deeply experience all the wonderful features and attractions that would delight the traveling angler and their family. What really ramped up my familiarity (and subsequent love of this area) was my involvement in the Florida’s Space Coast “Blast-Off” Media Tour. What follows is a gosh-honest chronicle of what I experienced there and my appraisals for outdoors readers who are devoted to exploration and adventure as well as fishing.

We arrived at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront (1-321-777-4100) at 2605 North A1A Highway in Melbourne. This was to be the place we would be lodged and our base of operations. I do not recall seeing a single boat in the ocean behind this hotel resort for three days! Surf conditions were likewise calm and pristine. Pelicans would gather every morning and evening to dive on the copious bait schools: in observing this, I was glad I’d brought some light tackle up from Miami. I fished to the bait schools during low light times with white Spro bucktails and DOA small TerrorEyz with good effect, catching jacks, mackerel, and even a small bonito. I found I had to wade out to waist deep water to get off a far-enough cast.

As to the rooms and amenities at the Crowne Plaza, I was thoroughly satisfied. The bedrooms were extremely sumptuous and well appointed with a full complement of snacks and electronic features, which included wireless Internet capabilities. The staff was friendly. Before leaving, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet, which featured the full array of fresh and chef-prepared foods as well as fresh raspberries, huckleberries, smoked salmon, and croissants as pleasant additions. The view from our room on the sixth floor featured an ocean expanse of an uncluttered sea and sky. Indeed, the conditions were so calm that the sky and ocean blended into a huge blue-green medium unfettered by a horizon line. Of note is that the hotel sits near the south end of the Space Coast, which would mean planning on drives of about an hour to get around the region.

Our first stop featured a drive along the Indian River up to Historic Cocoa Village for dinner at the Cara Mia Riverside Grill (1-321-639-3388). While the group bonded, Captain Rodney Smith joined us and talked about the specifics of the Space Coast sport fishery. The food was entirely pleasing and featured Italian dishes cooked with subtle skills. The main courses were supplemented with appetizers like fresh bruschetta and tasty mussels in tomato garlic broth. The wines were quite good as well. My impression of this friendly, well-situated establishment included visualizing Cara Mia as an ideal setting for recounting and celebrating a day of fishing the Cocoa Area.

Our drive from the restaurant to our next stop was but a few minutes. We arrived at a pier where Island Boat Lines ( ( 1-321-302-0544) had a large old-style paddleboat awaiting us for a sunset cruise. Our group boarded the vessel and in no time at all, we eased off into the calm river waters under the setting sun. We declined some sumptuous dishes, but gladly grabbed some ice cold Heinekens and headed for the top deck to get the best view. It again became instantly apparent that Big Development had not been allowed or encouraged to sink its teeth into this delightful region. As we eased along and dusk blended into night, we saw jumping mullet and rolling porpoises galore. It occurred to me that the best way to end a day on the water is to spend the evening on it as well!

The next day dawned with a full morning to night schedule, and thus demanded a hearty breakfast to provide nutrient and caloric fuel. Our two-car SUV caravan headed to Cape Canaveral Inlet, where a large table at Grills Tiki Bar and Restaurant (1-321-868-2226) awaited us. This was clearly a full-blown seaside Florida eatery with excellent around the clock food. It was decorated in a fun maritime fashion and offered adjacent views of the cruise ships. Grills Tiki Bar and Restaurant is located at the epicenter of Cape Canaveral “action” and enjoys a broad-based customer following.

Our next destination on the tour was Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (, an absolutely essential place to not only visit, observe, and learn- but more importantly, to experience. As members of a press tour, we also got an incredibly in-depth look at the actual workings of N.A.S.A. ( Firstly, anglers and their families will be astonished by the experience, strength, and hope that have been the foundation of the N.A.S.A. program. Secondly, fishing folks- who are aquanauts- should easily identify with the exploratory passion, technical expertise, and cosmic reverence of the wonderful astronauts of the program from inception to present. When you watch men walking on the moon with Planet Earth hanging high in the sky above them, you’ll feel a keen sense of respect and perspective that will quicken the philosophical foundations of why and how you should fish.

There are many images and experiences that whirl around in my mind from Kennedy Space Center, yet there are two that stand out with the strongest color and clarity. The first was a delightful question and answer session over lunch with astronaut Storey Musgrave, whose vision for mankind’s relationship to science, space travel, and the human race itself was deeply enriching. The second was the obvious and demonstrable excellent stewardship for the marine, marsh, and beach environment that this program has been able to achieve and maintain. Wildlife abounds on N.A.S.A. grounds! As our tour bus took us deep into in the program’s property, I saw resplendent bird life aloft and wading as well as lots of redfish tailing over pristine flats and creeks. Visiting and experiencing Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is sure to give you and your family a day to remember. Their contact number is 1-321-449-4444.

Like all good experiences, the day passed quickly and all of a sudden it was six o’ clock and time to leave for dinner. Our little caravan quickly reassembled itself and headed for the famous Dixie Crossroads restaurant ( in nearby Titusville. This landmark eatery is more than a visit- it’s an event! The owner, Laurilee Thompson, has seen to it that a staggering array of fresh ocean-caught seafood is available in various preparations that are sure to please any palette. Added to this incredible base are steaks, ribs, soups, salads, and Old Florida desserts that guarantee a home run dining triumph for all visitors. Their phone number is 1-321-268-5000. As I lingered over some key lime pie and iced coffee, Laurilee informed our group that she’d be joining us on that evening’s kayak trip.

As nightfall settled over the Space Coast, Laurilee lead our caravan deep into the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We made a brief stop to watch some manatees feeding alongside Haulover Canal Bridge. In five more minutes, we arrived at our kayak launching area. This part of the tour was to be headed up by A Day Away Kayak Tours (1-321-268-2655) – ( Owner Mike Mahn greeted our group and gave us a kayak safety and operation talk as well as discussing our paddling itinerary. Our nighttime water safari would take us from the northern reaches of the Indian River through Haulover Canal into the Mosquito Lagoon. This particular kayak tour featured Biolumenescent Amazement, which is caused by glowing organisms in the water that give off a “cold light” as your paddle goes through them in the water. Although the ambient light of the half moon cut down on optimal darkness for viewing this phenomenon, it was easy to see the fiery trails of these organisms if you kayaked in the shadows of the tree lines. Other highlights included up-close and personal contact with porpoises swimming alongside us as well as the cascades of mullet that showered over our kayaks as we paddled through them. I did see some tarpon strike the mullet, but my not bringing a rod was dictated by the parameters of this itinerary; and besides, the nighttime magic of glowing fish trails under a serene summer nighttime sky was completely sufficient! The trip took two hours and was a delightful adventure. This day and the entire Tour was something that will find itself in my Hallway of Cherished Memories.

Some of the best news I have to report is that my monster redfish trip with Captain Brian Pahmeier remains in the near future and not in the past. This means I’ll be journeying to the Space Coast very soon, a trip I’m sure I’ll be taking again and again.

Jan Maizler

Friday, August 11, 2006

Back from the Space Coast!

I just returned from a Media Tour of Melbourne, Cocoa, and Titusville. These cities surround and abut the Indian and Banana Rivers, as well as the Mosquito Lagoon. These waters are home to probably the best shallow water fishing for monster redfish and seatrout in the entire western hemisphere. I'll be reviewing this tour(which includes an in-depth look at the waters of the Kennedy Space Center) in the near future.