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Test Fishing – River Palms Fish Camp

1River Palms Fish Camp Event

Looking back through some highlights of 2018, I wanted to share a story from a product testing event in Jensen Beach, Florida at the River Palms Fish Camp.

2Dockside Pickup

Nothing beats rolling out of bed and making a short walk to the boats for a day of exploring new waters with captains who are local experts.

3Bait Is King

While throwing plugs was part of the goal, it’s always good to stock up on bait for Plan B.  Mullet patrolling the beach are fair game.

4Plan B For Plan B

If the cast net isn’t working, then maybe some cash will get you the bait you need.  These guys work hard all night to offer anglers live bait come morning time.

5Inshore Start

Fishing with Capt. Chris Britton of Grey Ghost Charters from Stuart, Florida, we started off in the cut.

6Line Sider

Scott Smith from Academy started us off with a nice snook.  Academy has a wide variety of house-brand fishing products built to last while maintaining value, but of course they carry all brands too.

7H2O Express

H2O Express brand has a wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater rods and reels built to hold up fish after fish.

8Snook Slinging

Capt. Chris continued to sling our snook in for a quick dehooking and release.  We were pitching live baits up current near some docks and rip rap where the snook would rise up and blast them.

9Seeing Yellow

Not only will a jack crevalle test your tackle, but your arms will wonder what’s happening too.  Scott got a work out on this fat jack.

10Going Coastal

Well versed at all fishing, but Capt. Chris’s favorite is chasing tarpon along the beaches.  We found the desired clear-water conditions and eased along sight fishing for cruising tarpon.

11Humminbird Advantage

We were blown away by the side scan imaging of the Humminbird Mega Imaging.  The detail is incredible!

12No More Hiding

We could see every ripple in the sand and the shadows of big fish as we passed by to the side of them.  This is a game-changer.  You can zoom in on a target to get a closer look.

13No Doubt

The Humminbird Mega Imaging leaves no doubt what fish is passing by.  Here is a prime example of the awesome detail. If you are familiar at all with their shape, then you know this is a nice tarpon.

14Taken For A Spin

Of course tarpon were not the only beach-side predators around and these healthy spinner sharks put on quite a show when hooked.  They would make any mako proud!

15Going Deeper

The next morning found us running further offshore with Capt. Greg Snyder of River Hawk Fishing Charters.

16Yellow Brick Road

Before long, we found the proverbial “yellow brick road” of Sargassum weed that offshore anglers dream about.  We were only about four miles offshore so we pulled it back and set out a couple baits.

17Life And Death

The Sargassum weed grows floating and adrift in the currents.  In certain conditions the wind and current stack up the weed into great lines.  The weed is home to many sea creatures who hide from predators who love feeding in and around the cover.

18Moments Later

It didn’t take long for reels to start screaming and Justin Leesmann went to work on a very energetic mystery fish.

19Mystery Solved

Justin prevailed in landing a big little tunny (aka bonita) and chalked up one of his first offshore fish.

20Not Alone

We were not the only ones cruising the edge for dinner.  The struggles of Justin’s fish brought in this 6-foot hammerhead shark looking for an easy meal.

21Serious Upgrade

While bonita are fun to catch, the several dolphin that swam up and volunteered to be dinner were a most welcomed upgrade.

22Many Firsts

A big part of offshore fishing’s draw is the element of surprise at what might be next.  Justin checked off another first with this nice dolphin for dinner.

23Back To The House

The ride back home gives time to reflect on the trip and the products we got to use.  Academy H2O Express rods, reels, braided line and lures did a great job and caught quite a few fish for everyone involved.  Their Magellan outdoor wear kept us protected from the sun, which is ever important.  The Humminbird blew us away and of course the Minn Kota took us where we wanted to go, quietly.  All in all a successful test!

24Back Home

As soon as I walked in the door back at home, I couldn’t wait to spool up the new Mettle baitcaster and H2O Express rod samples we had received.  What an amazing line spooler package they have for the H2O Express braided line.  A great little outfit at an incredible price point.

25Don’t Laugh

I literally jumped on my bike and headed to the neighborhood park where I thought I might find a taker for the Booyah Poppin Pad Crasher frog.  I was like a little kid, except for the “little” part.

26Boom

Right on cue, a nice little largemouth blasted up through the surfaced weeds to pick off the Booyah frog.  Of course, I need to do a lot more testing so stand by. I’ll keep you posted.

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Capt. Scott Goodwin started fishing in the lakes of Kentucky where he grew up. A move to Florida, however, brought him into a whole new realm of fishing. After receiving a bachelor's degree in biology from Eckerd College, he decided that he liked catching fish more than studying them and thus began his career as a captain. Scott began working as a mate on a charter boat and worked his way up to captain. He has been fortunate to fish in some of the top locations on the globe, including Florida, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and the Bahamas. Scott has learned from some of the best captains in the sport and has more than 27 years experience as a professional fisherman. He openly shares his knowledge and fishing tips on BD. Scott is now the editor of BDOutdoors.