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It seemed to take forever, but it appears the winter of 200-01 is now behind us. Much can be said of all that faced us the past few months, but why bother. Some things are best forgotten.
Scaled sardines became reliable during the course of the week and provided some excellent fishing on some very hungry fish. 50 redfish (26 to 35 inches) and 30 gator trout days were the stars of flooded points and oyster bars. Throw in a few doormat flounder and a few jacks to boot and our clients experienced the best fishing of the year the past few days. It was some excellent fishing not seen in this parts in sometime. Though not common for extended periods of time, those who now have the right timing are benefiting from this past winter.
Snook made a good showing on the edges of flats. A mild front kept the action on the slow side until the winds went southeast on Friday. The water remains ultra gin clear and the high pressure added further wariness to the temperament of the most prized gamefish of the shallow flats. Each day we managed a few, but with the full moon and lower barometer they did not go off in typical spring fashion until Friday. We have taken snook to 41 inches the past few days and several more over the states maximum size limit of 34 inches. In some areas the fish are stacked like cordwood, yet only yield 2 or 3 fish. This is typical after a cold winter, as the fish are uncertain as to where they should be and not be. As the weather remains stable now, the best bite is just ahead.
Cobia continue to trickle in from offshore. Though we have not targeted them, there have been several fish taken on the open flats by those drift fishing for trout and dragging a pinfish off the stern. Navigational markers and the nearshore reefs will pay off big within the efforts of heavy chumming.
Nearshore school size kingfish are migrating off our waters at present. Though most are "snakes", those fishing large baits with a little extra patience are being rewarded with fish over 30lbs. A few Spanish mackerel can be found in the same areas and off the beaches and passes. Grouper are on the move inshore, though the big bite has been off the past few days with the accompanying full moon. These fish all can be found by trolling with a spread that cover the entire water column.
Giant tarpon are being found deep inside Tampa Bay as they have since mid February. The lower end is too holding fish around good structure and bait concentrations. All of these fish tend to be on the move at this time of year and can be here one day and over there the next. They will slowly congregate in the passes and will be joined by large schools of fish migrating in from the Gulf over the next few weeks. It will be then that the fishing will be peak. With weather forecasts and easterly winds now the norm, the peak is just 2 weeks or so away though they are be taken on a daily basis at this time.
For now we will continue our efforts on the snook, redfish, trout, cobia, kingfish, mackerel, and grouper during the upcoming week. Giant tarpon will then get our undivided attention for the next 5 months.
These fish provide the ultimate in Florida big game adventures and memories that will last forever. Lets get it on!
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!Robert McCue
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