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IN typical fashion the full moon brought out the giant
female snook. Weather, as always in March, too played its key factor in the fishing. We
had many high north and east winds since my last report, some days seeing 30 knot gusts.
The pressure associated with these wind directions as well played a staple in how well the
bite was. We have had many days we waxed the fish and a few that were mediocre. But
overall the bite is on.
Snook over 20 lbs were taken. Snook over 20 lbs. were lost, some to the structure, some chewed through the leader, one spooled 120 yards of 20lb. Berkley Fireline, several got to the last few wraps. The bottom line is, they are full of piss and vinegar (pardon my French).
We had several days we could not get a keeper. That is, they exceeded the upper size limit if 34 inches. Catching 4 to 8 fish in a day over 34 is all anyone could ask for in the ever changing days from yesteryear. Many clients that have stayed with me over the past decade have as well accepted the changes. The days of 20 to 30 snook (I am not speaking of the little guys that are caught 100 miles south) per day still come up in conversation on the boat as my favorite clients (who are now like family) reflect back over the years. We now treasure those days deep in our hearts and accept 15 as exceptional.
There is no question they are under heavy pressure. It seems everyday the past week I see another member of the new guide army launching at the ramp. They are accompanied with the people who come from Tampa, Indian Rocks, Clearwater and Brooksville to fish this tiny mecca. Throw in the number of tower boats with someone leaning over the bunny rail at a 45 degree angle along the snook haunts, and we have fish now looking up much like deer look to the trees after the popularity of tree stands. The result? Fish that are more then normal temperamental.
The key is to cover a lot of ground. It takes years to compile many spots. You cant just go fishing everyday. Spend some days looking for points, troughs, oyster bars and such. Of course you could just bean pick them when you see select guides sitting on a spot, but that only makes things worse and too could have some very hostile postal results. I am not afraid to run 30 miles in the course of a whole day to get the results. I see some prime spots being fished everyday. After several days I keep a mental log on when they are being hit. I return well after the are not. You can guess the rest.
The March moon sparked the spawning trout as always. They are suckers on the bars, cuts and spoils for a small scaled sardines. They provide great action when waiting on the tide or when other things just are not happening. However, the state needs to re-consider the closer of these fish for harvest. Closing them in the cooler months and allowing full blown roe laden fish for harvest will have its effects on the future fishery despite the net ban.
Cobia are being taken on the nearshore rock piles and wrecks. With a stabilized water temperature we will see an increase in numbers on the flats as the dark moon approaches the next 10 days.
Grouper, kingfish, Spanish mackerel and permit are being taken on hard bottom, the artificial reefs and wrecks. The kingfish bite is best in 30 to 40 feet and has been occurring early in the morning. If you are confident that bait will be on your favorite kingfish spots, run there in the predawn hour, gold hook them and start fishing after securing just a few. While slow trolling live bait, dropping a chicken rig as you pass the bait schools is a snap and will ensure you will not miss the bite.
Tarpon have begun to show in the deeper areas of Tampa Bay and Boca Grande. We will be well under way with this most prized gamefish in the next few weeks.
I will try to get some film developed this week and post some trophy snook images with my next report.
Screaming drags and tired arms!!!
1999 Report Archive 11JANOO 19JAN00 29JANOO 11FEB00
20FEB00 29FEB00 15MAR00
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