If you or your out-of-town guests want to take an airboat ride, eat frog legs, fish for bass, snapper, sea trout, and mahi, or hunt gators and hogs, you have your choice among a host of professional guides in South Florida. But very few of them offer all of the above.
Enter captain Jason Peters, 42 — a Hollywood native and avid Gladesman — who says he can put you on everything from tarpon to tilapia, peacocks to pigs, in fresh or salt water, and in woods and swamps throughout the region.
“I do it all,” the former ironworker and commercial fisherman said of his two-year-old business venture, JP Outfitters.
One of Peters’ specialties is teaching customers how to gig their own frogs and shoot tilapia with bow and arrow in the Everglades. The package includes cooking the catch during an overnight stay at a private Glades camp, with optional bass fishing the following morning.
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Peters supplies all bait and equipment, along with a 12½-foot, three-person airboat, a 16-foot skiff and a canoe to ply various waterways from Florida Bay to Biscayne Bay to the vast swamps of the Everglades. He says he loves introducing newcomers to hunting and fishing.
“It’s just as exciting to put someone on something they want to do as it is your first,” Peters said. “That’s a rush to me.”
Prime time for gigging frogs and bow fishing for tilapia is during the winter, when water levels are low in the Glades. But Peters and a companion enjoyed a banner night of frogging a couple weeks ago a few miles northeast of Sawgrass Recreation Area in west Broward.
Water levels were high following a week of deluges, and the night was a bit overcast with no moon. As Peters launched the airboat, he could hear frogs singing in the swamp. Motoring for a few miles with his headlamp illuminating the sawgrass, he didn’t spot many frogs at first. But as he steered into a two-foot-deep slough ringed by mats of algae, pairs of small, silver eyes gleamed from atop the greenish goop. Panning with the headlamp, he could see he was surrounded.
“Wow! There’s frogs everywhere!” Peters exclaimed.
He got out his nine-foot-long fiberglass gig tipped with four sharp tines and headed toward the first set of tiny, lit-up marbles. As the airboat pulled alongside the frog, Peters thrust the gig, nailing the animal squarely, and deposited it in a chute with a mesh catch bag. Then he headed for the next set of eyes.
“Much like jousting,” he said.
Nearly every algae mat he approached in a series of shallow sloughs held frogs. Within a couple of hours, the guide and his customer bagged 27.
“It gives them a steady base to eat moths, and the bass can’t see them,” Peters explained of the algae. “If you see a lot of bass, you won’t see frogs.”
En route back to the boat ramp, Peters scanned the shallows for the bomb-shaped shadows of catfish and tilapia to complement the night’s haul. But the rain-swollen swamp was too deep and tannin-stained for archery, so they decided to call it a night.
Fresh, beer-battered frog legs made for a tasty, late-night snack.
If you go
To book a hunting or fishing trip with captain Jason Peters, visit jpoutfittersinc.com or call 954-496-6588.