Four days in Steinhatchee this week, and got two fun new TV episodes and four new Grillin' & Chillin' video recipe segments plus a lot of Pro Tips, etc.
Arrived in Steinhatchee on Friday afternoon, and met up with Chef Jim Hunt from Fiddler's Restaurant. He had a huge box of fresh stone crab claws and prepared two recipes for us. His daughter, Jill, helped with the cooking duties and shared a really delicious mustard dipping sauce recipe for the colossal crab claws. And the other recipe utilized the knuckle meat from the claws to create a baked crabmeat and artichoke dip. Awesome!
The following morning, we filmed two more recipes with Chef Jim -- a redfish filet dish called Redfish Caprice which includes artichoke hearts and capers along with a flambe'd brandy sauce. Then he shared his Cedar Key clam chowder and man was it good! Thanks Jim !!!! Really good stuff, and the recipes will be available in the recipe category real soon.
The next morning, we caught up with Capt. Scott Peters Jr. for an inshore trip targeting redfish, speckled trout and flounder. The object was to accomplish a Steinhatchee Slam. The wind was whipping, but Scott found some calmer water and we started catching trout on topwater baits almost immediately. During the course of the day, we probably caught several dozen trout (all released) and at least 10 redfish, plus 2 nice flounder. So, we accomplished the Slam mission while fishing with some of the prettiest Gulf coast backdrops you'll ever see.
We had a great dinner at Fiddler's Restaurant and the following morning, we had an offshore trip planned with Capt. Brian Smith of Big Bend Charters. The weather forecasts had been all over the place for nearly a week -- wind, waves, rain...nothing sounded very promising. But this morning the weather was looking better. A good breeze, but bluebird skies. No rain in sight. Brian's regular first mate wasn't able to come along, so we got the benefit of having Brian's wife, Gina, and his mate's wife Amber, to spend the day on the water with us instead. And let me tell you, these girls could fish!!! Plus they handled the anchor, caught the bait...they did it all!!!
Topwater amberjacks were the target for this TV episode, and after we filled the livewell with squirrelfish, we headed to one of Brian's favorite spots offshore. As soon as we arrived, the amberjacks came up to see what was going on, and they were extremely cooperative and eager to chase our big topwater chuggers. Lots of fun, extremely visual, and once they would hook up, it was game on!
Amber and Gina both had nice fish on both topwater and on bottom rigs. Brian and I each hooked up on livebaits, and did our part to keep the rigs ready and help bring the fish in the boat. Gina and Amber also brought a few legal gag grouper to the fish box to have some filets for the freezer. At the end of the day, we kept a few AJ's for dinner that evening, and Chef Jim and son Jared fixed us all a delicious dinner for the entire gang.
We were supposed to head back to Atlanta on Tuesday morning, but Jared Hunt had invited me to fish some really shallow stuff from his airboat, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to do some 'fun fishing'. We were in water that was literally inches deep, in places that no other fishermen had been to. We threw topwater plugs and caught monster speckled trout up to 26 inches. So much fun!!!! Thanks Jared!
Tuesday afternoon, we filmed a few Pro Tips, and then headed back to Atlanta with 4 nice shows in the 'can' and some great Gulf Coast memories. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a real success!