Captain Steven

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About Captain Steven

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  • Birthday 07/11/53
  1. Thursday’s trip was met with lots of high expectations. The tides were ideal for hunting snook and redfish. Before running to the Eastern shore of Tampa Bay we needed to gather bait. My anglers today Jim and Tom joined Captain Steven to gather bait. Unlike previous days the Skyway Bridge was lots of work, it took an hour to have just enough for the day. It was very expensive bait as I ripped 2 cast nets on barnacle encrusted pilings. Use caution when tossing a net up current of hazards. With a stronger than forecasted NE wind making the water choppy it was a bumpy ride to Bishops Harbor. Snook were nowhere to be seen; Tom had one snook explode on bait with no hookup. Jim and Tom were making great casts with no results. I decided to leave the snook behind and check out the redfish action at Tarpon Key. As we eased in on the mangroves the Captain next to us was hooked up. Moments later they were on hooked up again. We casted chunk baits along the oyster bar and waited. We saw numerous reds but did not connect. So much for plan B. About now Captain Steven was anxious to get his anglers on fish. I moved us to a shallow grass flat with and deep drop off to 10’. Again a slow start then thankfully we started catching trout. Most were beautiful keeper size spotted sea trout with many 18-22”. These beauties were thick and clearly eating like crazy. Mackerel made their appearance with one a pushing 26”. The bite was on for 15 minutes then off it was like that for an hour. Thank goodness the day ended on a positive note. Jim and Tom were great guys, good anglers and fun to have onboard. Captain Steven Markovich Tampa Bay Fishing Charters | On The Mark Charters
  2. Seeing is believing on Tampa Bay’s inshore waters and flats. Observe most any Professional Charter Captain and you will see they all have one thing in common. They are all wearing a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. We may argue about which brand is best, what lens tint work best but we all agree seeing is a must. I am amazed by how many charter clients I have that can’t see our target just feet from the boat! Imagine if your Captain couldn’t see snook moving along the mangroves, redfish schools on oyster bars, birds diving on Mackerel, Kingfish and Bonita. Fishing can be tuff enough let alone fishing areas void of fish. Cutting the glare is another very important factor when searching shallow water species and keeping headaches away. Scanning the water hour after hour chasing beach Tarpon is a prime example to have quality sunglasses. Imagine missing a school of Tarpon only to see another angler hook up while you miss out. Personally Captain Steven has Maui Jim, Costa Del Mar and Kaenon sunglasses on board. There are numerous color lens tint for low light and bright sunlight conditions. Pick a pair that works best for your application or get several as I do. It’s also very important while fishing or day to day activities to have UVA, UVB and UVC protection. Protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays in critical. A quality pair of sun classes is an investment so protect them. Invest in a micro fiber lens cloth. I have learned the hard and expensive way that using paper towels, fishing shirts will scratch lens. A leash is also important as to not drop your glasses or loss them while on the water. Trust me I have seen client’s expensive designer glasses slip off their face in the hot sun then spend time trying to retrieve them vs. enjoying the day. If you need prescription sunglasses like Captain Steven have no fear as many quality glasses are available in RX. Captain Steven Markovich Tampa Bay Fishing Charters | On The Mark Charters
  3. The Redfish bite on lower Tampa Bay is very perplexing to say the least. The last several weeks Captain Steven has been red hot, ok and slow. It’s no secret we have several schools of large 30” plus redfish in lower Tampa Bay. You will also find several local Captains lined up all working the same schools with the same mixed results. The key to having a big day is having a live well full of scaled sardines. The perfect baits are 3-4” long, with the huge 6” baits perfect for cutting into chunks. Both work equally and are killer on redfish. The time spent gathering bait is well worth the effort. Fill the live well as heavy chumming may be necessary to keep the reds fired up. Mangrove islands combined with oyster bars is where you will locate redfish. Either incoming or outgoing tides works as long as you have moving water, it’s not rocket science so keep it simple and focus on these few tips. Redfish can be fickle even in perfect conditions like last Thursday. We had 80-100 jumbo reds cruising back and forth thru over baits with hardly a nod. The bite was good for 5 minutes then died! This same school under similar tides kept my anglers rods bent until my fisherman needed rest just days prior. At the end of the day that’s fishing. A 1/0 hook on 3-4’ 25 pound fluorocarbon leader either fly lined or under a cork is the basic rigging. It’s that simple. Winter has finally ended so remember to load up with sun screen before leaving the dock and avoid burning. Hat, buff, long sleeves shirts and a good pair of sun glasses ensure a comfortable day on the water. Captain Steven Markovich Tampa Bay Fishing Charters | On The Mark Charters
  4. Captain Steven was thrilled to participate in the Hooked on Education fishing tournament Friday. Fishing for snook redfish and trout on the flats of Tampa Bay while raising funds for a great cause doesn’t get any better. We splashed the Pathfinder Bay boat at O’Neill’s Marina and quickly made our way in the dark to a grass flat adjacent to the Skyway Bridge. Scaled sardines could be heard dimpling the surface even before we could see them. Chumming took only moments to get perfect 3-4” white baits concentrated of the bow ready for me to toss the cast net. 4 tosses and the live well was full. I made the run north to the Westshore Yacht club to pick up my anglers. The tournament is a Grand Slam event total inches for a snook redfish and trout. You must catch all 3 species to qualify. My 3 anglers were awesome; I have never had a group of anglers who make perfect casts over and over again. The bite overall was tuff to fair as report by almost all Captains. Our first stop we took 2 chunky trout to 18” and a very nice Spanish mackerel. Our next stop we were tight to the mangroves with 5 other guide boats, one snook was all the group could muster in an hour. Moving deeper into Weedon Island we took a chunky snook and a small redfish. Then a couple nice trout which capped off our Grand Slam. Sorry no images as my camera decided to stop working! It’s never too late to help Hillsborough Education Foundation Captain Steven Markovich Tampa Bay Fishing Charters | On The Mark Charters
  5. Thursday I had the pleasure of filming a new TV show Fishing Florida. Originally we were scheduled to film last month but Mother Nature made quick work of that. Bait was a challenge, the Skyway Bridge was very rough making tossing a cast net very difficult. I hit the flats chumming for white baits and had a well full in 30 minutes. A short run and I was welcoming Jason and the Fishing Florida team. It was a unique experience having microphones and wires running through my fishing shirt. We had one camera on board and another on a chase boat. First stop we chased big trout near the beach. The bite was slow resulting in 2 trout and a mackerel in 30 minutes of fishing. I wanted to get the crew on mackerel but a quick search and bumpy ride deterred our efforts and we ran back inside. With the high tide nearing 2.5’ we hit a local Mangrove Island and quickly found a big school of large 30” plus redfish. My second cast resulted in a solid hookup and great fight from a 33” golden bruiser. This red took me into then out of the mangroves then under the boat. Each time the red saw the boat it went nuts. My next bait was crushed but I miss the hook set. For the next hour we watched 50-100 jumbo redfish swim back and forth through our baits. Lock jaw set in quickly and these reds were done chewing. The day didn’t get much better as we had to work hard to get a few trout to eat. We had good tides but a very tuff bite. The recent windy days has the water looking milky which I am sure played a role. Captain Steven Markovich Tampa Bay Fishing Charters | On The Mark Charters
  6. Flats’ fishing on Tampa Bay is in full swing. Snook, Redfish and Trout make up the Big 3 or Grand Slam on Tampa Bay inshore waters. Bait and water temperatures are finally where it needs to be and with this weeks high tides the bite should be awesome. To increase your success rate you need to first fill the live well with whitebaits. Filling the live well with frisky baits is important; you will most likely need hundreds for chumming so gather plenty. Chumming both fires up fish then keeps them fired up. This week’s high tides of 2.5’ late morning will have the snook up into the Mangrove Islands chasing bait. As the tide turns and starts to run out the snook turn on! With crabs and all kinds of goodies being flushed out from the Mangroves it triggers a feeding response. Snook are ambush predators and will set up on points and breaks waiting for bait to drift by. Be ready for explosive action the moment the bait hits the water. Most battles with snook are won or lost in the first minute as they brutes will look to get deep back into the Mangroves. The same tides will have redfish up on the flats and adjacent to Mangrove shorelines. Oyster bars along the Mangroves are perfect habitat for redfish schools. White baits free lined or under a popping cork works great. Cut baits can also be killer on redfish. White baits, threadfins and pinfish all work. Local canals and docks are also home to many a redfish. As with snook take care when approaching redfish, spooking the school can shut the bite down for hours. Spotted sea trout round out the Big 3 and are the most plentiful and easiest to catch. Lush grass flats with clear water 2-6’ will more often than not hold trout. Live shrimp under a cork keeps the bait in the target zone and out of the grass. Free lined white baits. Soft plastic jigs bounced along the bottom can be deadly. Top water and suspending hard baits are great especially when targeting larger gator trout. Trout are common 14-18” with fish over 20” a nice fish on lower Tampa Bay. Understanding your target will pay dividends and help you achieve the slam! Captain Steven Markovich Tampa Bay Fishing Charters | On The Mark Charters
  7. Anglers here is a golden opportunity to give back. The 2010 Hooked On Education fishing tournament is April 29-30. Friday’s tournament is a Grand Slam event for snook Redfish Trout. There is still time to get involved. This popular "catch and release" fishing tournament is hosted by Wilder Architecture and Allstate Construction, with proceeds benefiting the Foundation. The event begins with a Captain's Dinner on the night of Thursday, April 29. The Fishing Tournament begins at 8am on April 30. Each fisherman will receive a nice fishing shirt, a cooler, beverages and other fishing goodies. A McDonalds breakfast sandwich, Starbucks coffee and a boxed lunch will be provided. The day concludes with an All-American cookout and awards. Contact Cheryl Hedrick at (813) 231-1937 for more information. Follow the link below for a tournament brochure. Captain Steven Markovich On The Mark Charters
  8. At On The Mark Charters our specialty is chasing big snook and redfish. It’s Captains Steven’s passion hunting two of Tampa Bay’s premiere game fish on local flats and numerous Mangrove Islands. Make no bones about snook and redfish are labeled glamour species for several reasons. They can be fickle, evasive and at times next to impossible to get to chew. It’s common for me to book local anglers who are frustrated by never catching snook and want to learn the how to. A day with a good Captain will shorten you learning curve immensely. I pride myself on putting my clients on their very first snook. Watching a snook or redfish slam live bait in shallow water is an amazing and exhilarating experience. Watching my anglers face light up as they do battle with their first red or snook is always a treat. I was not on the water Wednesday but got several reports. Captain Jim Fesperman of Hook Setting Charters report Gator trout to 28” were feeding aggressively in lower Tampa Bay. The trout are taking white baits free lined in 2-6’ of water. Top water and sub surface lures are also scoring big gator trout. I also received several Mackerel reports which were all outstanding. Inside Tampa Bay and local beaches are loaded with these toothy speedsters ready to eat every silver spoon tossed at them. Mackerel action can be nonstop and tons of fun on light tackles. Bait is finally showing up on local flats. Anglers not wanting to toss a cast net in deep water around local bridges can now chum white baits boat side in 3’ of water. Be patient as it may take 15-20 minutes to get the white baits balled up and ready for you to toss your net. Captain Steven Markovich
  9. The TAMCO Grand Slam tournament was last week and Captain Steven had the pleasure of being invited along with a great group of Captains. West Shore Yacht Club was Tournament headquarters and the launch site for 50 boats. The day started looking for bait on the Skyway Bridge, upon arrival I was greeted by winds blowing 15 and swells 2-3’ making conditions poor at best. It took over an hour to gather bait and make the long bumpy run to Tampa. I decided to take my anglers to the eastern shore as this is a Snook Redfish Trout Grand Slam event. Within moments the day looked promising as my anglers were good. These guys could cast live baits into any spot I pointed which is half the battle. Now it was up to Capt. Steven to get them on the fish. Our first stop garnered a Ladyfish and a pinfish and a wild boar on the shoreline watching us. I made a small move and bingo our first sign of life as we had several small snook blow up on our baits. Joe was first to get feisty 18” snook to the boat. Joe followed that with a small redfish then the bite stopped as quickly as it started. I moved to a series of docks where once again Joe got into the action. Joe’s rod bent double and line screamed from his reel. The fish presumably a big snook got into the pilings and that was the end of that. We did catch a very nice flounder, check out this picture. Overall it was the slowest day I can recall since turning professional 3 years ago. Great guys, fantastic cause, overall a nice win for the TAMCO Foundation. Captain Steven Markovich
  10. The day started looking for bait and it was there in full force. Beautiful 3-4” white baits eagerly came to the chum I was tossing leaving only to toss the cast net. These great baits are finally in Tampa Bay after the long frigid winter. It’s these white baits that act like candy to local favorites the snook and redfish. With an incoming tide on local flat it didn’t take long for enough water to flood into the mangrove islands in lower Tampa Bay. It only took twenty minutes to find a huge school of large redfish. The next 90 minutes it was wide open catching and releasing redfish 29” – 33”. Chumming white baits into the school of redfish kept them fired up and inhaling baits. It was one after another until everyone has their fill. Did I mention worn out arms? These fish were very happy, hungry and ready to play. Even with 5-6 boats on the fish they did not flinch. It was a great example of how multiple boats can work a school of redfish without scaring them away. Patience way key and everyone cooperated. Look for schools of redfish around oyster bars and mangrove islands the next few months. I got a good report that mackerel bite remains hot I even heard reports of tarpon sightings. I also got a great offshore report of permit, cobia and grouper in 50’ of water. Looks for more great action as the bait continues to pour in and water temperatures rise into the mid 70’s. Captain Steven Markovich
  11. While Snook, Redfish and Tarpon are Tampa Bay’s glamour species anglers looking for quick action turn to these crowd favorites. Sharks, Mackerel, Jacks, Ladyfish, Trout, Bluefish, Flounder, Sheepshead, and Snapper. All make for great action for kids and novice anglers and seasoned anglers looking for hot action. Kids get bored quickly so it’s imperative as a Captain I plan a trip that keeps everyone occupied. Many anglers would rather keep rods bent than look for one or two of the glamour species. Mackerel have to be one of the best bets! Find mackerel and they will almost always cooperate, look for diving birds or boiling waters indicating mackerel are chasing baitfish to the surface. These speedsters are easy to locate. There are numerous tactics which will consistently take Mackerel. Probably one of the easiest ways is fly ling live baits. Rig 3’ of leader to a long shank 1/0 hook finished with a white bait. Anchor on deep grass flats, deploy a chum bag and the action should be quick. My favorite tactic is locating schools chasing bait. Set the boat up current and drift through the school. Casting silver Clark spoons rapidly through these schools is as close to a guarantee hook up as you can find. Light to medium action spinning rods and reels make for great action. Trolling local bridges, piers and ship channels can be amazingly effective. Troll silver spoons utilizing planners or 3-5 oz of weight at 5-6knots. Target areas like the Skyway Bridges, ship canal or areas with diving birds or bait fish dimpling the surface. The mackerel invasion is underway, take advantage of this sport fish and I promise a great day for all. Captain Steven Markovich Florida Fishing Charters | On The Mark Fishing Charters | Tampa Bay | Clearwater | Boca Grande
  12. With spring running 4 weeks behind schedule look for Mackerel and Trout to be Tampa Bay’s best and most consistent bite. Snook have not begun their journey out of the rivers out to the mangrove islands and flats. Redfish have been easier to locate but hard to get to chew. Target Mackerel and Trout and you won’t be disappointed. Find the baitfish and the Macks will be nearby. Unlike snook and redfish I have never seen mackerel that wouldn’t chew. The deck of Captain Steven’s Pathfinder was covered in glass minnows spit out by the mackerel we brought onboard. While taking pictures and dehooking Macks this week it was clear they had been gorging on glass minnows. Saturday morning started with a blast, wind blast that is. While running to the south Skyway Bridge ugly East winds made the trip and gathering of baitfish next to impossible. Plan B is to use live shrimp which trout love. The water was badly churned and murky from 24 hours of winds. Captain Steven will always tell you with trout clean water are a must. With that in mind and trying to get a comfortable ride for my anglers we set out for a quick 4 hour trip. Pinellas Point was stop number one and it did not take long to get into the action. Trout to 18” no larger trout like mid week and mackerel chewed right on plan. Wanting to catch a redfish we targeted a canal out of the wind that has been ok the last few weeks. Zip best described that action. Back to clean water and the trout action turned right on. Back to the marina and on my way home by noon. Captain Steven Markovich Florida Fishing Charters | On The Mark Fishing Charters | Tampa Bay | Clearwater | Boca Grande
  13. Thursday morning I had the pleasure of welcoming 4 rookie anglers Russ, Betsy daughter Maddie and her friend Nicole. We ran to the grass flats off Tarpon Key looking to get on the spotted sea trout action. We quickly deployed four rods with floats and live shrimp only have nothing happen. This spot has been a consistent producer so I was surprised we did not score. I bumped us forward 100’ re set the lines and bam 4 fish on at one time! Feisty trout were inhaling our shrimp with abandon. Maddie and Nicole were screaming and laughing with delight. Their wonderful laughter was infectious and now Captain Steven was laughing. One of the most exciting thing as a Captain is getting to watch people catch their first fish. Maddie and Nicole were no exception, check out the smiles on their faces! We made the short run to Pinellas Point and got right into the action in 4-6’ of water. Trout, Mackerel, Ladyfish, Catfish and Pinfish eagerly attacked our shrimp. Maddie’s rod bent and it was clear she had something different on. Moments later a Black tip shark was boat side. I was I had audio of the girls screaming as I brought the little guy onboard. Next I wanted to run to the south Skyway Bridge which is holding large Mackerel but turned around half way there as the wind and waves were picking up. We moved back to Pinellas Point until the Power Pole broke under the pressure of the building waves. Last stop we ran to some protection from the wind near the Marina and finished off our 4 hour trip. The weather may have gotten ugly but it was bright day having 4 super folks onboard today. Captain Steven Florida Fishing Charters | On The Mark Fishing Charters | Tampa Bay | Clearwater | Boca Grande
  14. Late afternoons are beautiful this time of year. Tampa Bay waters warm into the lower 70’s creating ideal conditions to get on the Mack attack! There back yep Mackerel are here and the numbers are growing rapidly. Mackerel to 26” are gorging on glass minnows and inhaling most any shiny fast moving lures. The bulk of the action has been around the Skyway Bridges. You can troll or cast into areas of bait both tactics work. I keep the rigging simple with 3 to 4’ of 30-40 pound leader material finished with a silver Clark spoon. I use the baitfish as my guide for what size spoon to use. Bigger isn’t always better. Match the bait for better results. When using live bait I prefer long shank hooks to reduce cutoffs. Spanish Mackerel mature quickly typically in one year or at 14”. Males grow to 19” over years while females live much longer to 11 years and grow into the upper 20” range. The deeper flats are starting to heat up with mackerel action also. Get on the right flat and you can get into a number of species. Look for schools to increase and move throughout the Tampa Bay region. Mixed in with the Mackerel are trout, ladyfish and Bonnet Head sharks. One of the usual targets is jacks and I have not seen any period. I suspect the deep freeze sent them south or deep into the Gulf. I don’t have any updates on Snook but looks for things to break lose any moment as the water rapidly raises and bait pours in. In most cases getting up early for Mackerel is not needed this time of year. Mid afternoon works great until it’s really starts to heat up. Captain Steven Markovich Florida Fishing Charters | On The Mark Fishing Charters | Tampa Bay | Clearwater | Boca Grande
  15. Captain Steven like many local guides are taking full advantage of the annual Black Drum blitz. The massive schools have been on the flats in lower Tampa Bay for 3 weeks. Saturday’s game plan was simple, depart O’Neill’s at 7 am and arrive and be hunting Drum at sunup. Good plan but not a drum insight. Next stop Tampa Bay’s eastern shoreline which was disappointing at best. A few trout were all that we could get to play. About now Captain Steven was feeling poorly making poor decisions. Hindsight is always 20 20 but the best plan would have been to attack trout on the flats like the previous days. Back to the Drum, the school was located in deeper water closer to the Skyway Bridge around noon. It was a smaller school with 20 boats all in close proximity. The school was moving quickly but those in the way found the Drum still eager to chew. This Captain could not get on top of the school. The final stopped produced many hits plus the biggest trout of the day on a live shrimp. Captain Steven Markovich Florida Fishing Charters | On The Mark Fishing Charters | Tampa Bay | Clearwater | Boca Grande