Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fishing improves as the weather finally warms

The weather is warming and the fishing is improving.
After some unusually cold weather, I finally was able to get out. I did well.
Spotted seatrout and redfish are the main targets. Remember, snook season is closed at least until Sept. 1. Scientists estimate that nearly 10 percent of the snook along Florida's west coast were killed during the record cold. You can catch-and-release snook, but you cannot keep them.
That's OK! We're catch-and-release anyway.
I'm not sure how beach snook fishing will be affected. Last spring and summer, we had a wonderful time sight-fishing snook in the surf. It was a record year for us. I caught snook to 39 inches (nearly 20 pounds) and had a number of fish of more than 28 inches. In addition, I caught spotted seatrout, ladyfish, jack crevalle, mangrove snapper and flounder.
My best day was spectacular and certainly "once in a lifetime." On that August outing, I caught and released 15 snook to 39 inches, including six of more than 28. I landed three redfish to 32 inches. And I "jumped" three tarpon, all of which went more than 100 pounds.
My best morning was 41 snook on fly.
Beach snook fishing is all sight-fishing. We don't make a cast until we see the fish. I've been doing this for more than 20 years and I know where the fish are at any particular time. We use 6- to 9-weight rods, floating or sinktip lines and 20-pound leaders with 25-pound fluorocarbon shock tippets.
Our fly of choice is my D.T. Special (variation), the best beach snook fly I've ever used.
Back to the present ...
I've been getting into some large spotted seatrout. On an outing to Palma Sola Bay, I caught and released 25 trout to 6 pounds. I had many trout in the 18-inch range.
I fished Al Ewert and his daughter, Annie. Al manages a BMW store in Connecticut while Annie is a senior at UConn. Both are accomplished anglers.
They caught about 15 trout to 4 pounds in Sarasota Bay off Stephens Point. All fish came on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with shad tails. Fishing was tough, but their persistency was the difference in trying conditions.
On Wed., Jan. 27, I spoked at Economy Tackle/Dolphin Dive in Sarasota. To my surprise, a standing-room-only crowd showed up. And the audience was enthusiastic, attentive and asked a lot of question. I talked about cold weather kayak fishing.
I am scheduled to conduct seminars and tie flies Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 at the Grand Opening of Flint Creek Outfitters in Riverview.
I will serve as the Master of Ceremonies at the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club's annaul Kids Fishing Tournament on Feb. 27.
On March 18, I will speak at the Suncoast Fly Fishers in St. Petersburg.
Fishing is improving. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the sun shines and the wind is calm.

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