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It's Time to Get it On!
While Florida is often not associated with seasons, we do have them. When Old Man Winter comes to town, our fishing always remains great, but out catching varies. During the periods of prolonged cold, our neo-tropical fish may scatter or they may congregate in winter spas. Sometimes they can be difficult to find. Other times when found they won’t eat, or they might be stacked like cordwood eating the bottom out of the boat. These are typical scenarios in the doldrums of winter and we’ve experienced of share of each one of them this winter season.
The weather forecast for the week is highs in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 50s. While a late season blast of air is always possible in mid February, I have noticed a significant increase in activity with all of the fish the past week. Mother Nature and Father Time are playing tug of war. Father Time is gaining the upper hand, as our days grow longer with each passing. It is still a little early, but it won’t be much longer now before spring has sprung and the pinnacle flats fishing will occur.
In the coming weeks, the grouper bite will improve closer to shore. Cobia will first show on the deeper structures. Shortly thereafter, they will be found riding the backs of large Southern stingrays and make excellent sight casting prospects. St. Patrick’s Day is the mile marker for the appearance of permit, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. The arrival of the mackerel will in turn aid in pushing the staple scaled sardines to the flats. For those in the know of the whereabouts of the earliest arrival of the crickets, they (we) will experience a version of Florida fishing pandemonium found at no other time of year.
At this time, water temperatures are hovering around 64 degrees. When we hit the benchmark of 68 to 70, the first of the giant tarpon will sneak into the deeper water of the larger bays and rivers. The vernal equinox (even hours of daylight to darkness) occurs on March 20th, which will be immediately followed by a full moon on March 25th. With a little temperate weather, some consistent giant tarpon will likely be found starting at that time and in those places.
In sports, tarpon fishing is equivalent of the Daytona 500 of NASCAR, the World Series of baseball, or the Tour de France of cycling. Tarpon are the crown jewel of Florida flats fishing; the apex of light tackle fishing experienced anywhere in the world.
Call your personal trainer, start your weight training today, and bring plenty of Ben Gay as the zenith of 2005 Florida fishing is now just weeks away.
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!
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Last Update 16FEB05
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