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Bite Goes On Weather Or Not
Al Greenwald nails down the first ingredient of a grand slam last week with this tarpon.
High winds continued to blow all last week at or over 20 knots from the northeast and east. It seems likely the gamefish are about as tired of it as we are and decided they would bite weather or not.
Full moon flood tides on most days did not meet their forecasted heights as the winds kept them out and later in the week, hurricane Michelle in the Yucatan pulled the water to the south. On whatever high tides were offered we beat the wind by retreating to the bays and bayous and getting against the shoreline as tight as possible. These areas offered the most protection and coincidently, exactly where the fish are at this time off year.
We had some excellent days with quality redfish and snook. But the gator trout put on the most impressive showing with some days seeing dozens of fish in the 3 to 6 pound class. Just a few years ago, fish of this size were uncommon catches anymore in Florida. Due in part to tighter restrictions and the net ban, they are back!
Gator trout of this size are most often found in water barely deep enough to float a boat. Add in the winter scenario of fish holing in deep pockets at night and at low tide, then riding the flood tides to the flats, and the great expectations of experiencing the pinnacle of fall fishing become reality. The beauty is, one stop can produce just about anything, with reds, snook, and gator trout taking center stage. Add in the jacks, flounder, ladyfish, and bluefish and the pot is only sweetened
Snook down, redfish and trout to go.
Check...redfish. Can he do it?
Juvenile tarpon in the 10 to 25 lb. class came to life with the cooling water temperatures following a major cold front that swept the state last week. For four days straight we were able to put the mini silver kings in the air. Long time friend Bob Greeenwald was in town and brought his brother, Al, for his first time flats fishing experience. On Alís first day on our pristine flats he accomplished what many salty Florida anglers only dream about, the West Coast flats grand slam (tarpon, snook, resdfish, trout). At this time of year, tarpon seem to be the key fish that falls short in reaching the grand slam milestone. While off-season tarpon and the grand slams were a household name on my boats over the years, the secrets were leaked out and the fish experienced much fishing pressure in what later became common knowledge in these parts. Anymore, there is no telling what youíll find in the honey holes of yesteryear. For that reason, the fish became temperamental and spread out over the years, as the pressure was a threat to the speciesí survival (though they were not being harvested). These days, the odds of accomplishing the feat are much as they are in other parts of the state, possible, but not likely. Congratulations Al and well done!
Nearshore, the Spanish and king mackerel run is in full swing. With the water temperature that has now fallen into the lower 70s, grouper will likely flood the inshore and nearshore rock piles. Add in the possibility of some southbound cobia, bonita, and the elusive sailfish, and the day is complete. Winds have been up too high for my liking and the comfort of my guests. If and when it lays down, you can be certain where I will be.
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!
Mission accomplished with nice trout in the bag. The ultimate accomplishment in West Coast flats fishing is now achieved.
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Last Update 8NOV01
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