Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold!! Its hard to predict the weather right now, but something that has been very predictable is the large schools of fish pushing all over our local flats. Big schools of Redfish and even Bigger schools of Giant Black Drum have been roaming all over the local flats, creeks and coves during the recent month. Even the Sheephead and Bluefish have been showing up in masses and are more than willing to take a perfectly placed shrimp or jig.
This time of year can truly be very unpredictable both with weather and fishing opportunities. One day the high will push around 60 and the fish will be loaded in the rivers, two days later the highs will be in the 80’s and fish will be in large pods from the rivers and creeks to the offshore humps and rocks. One thing that is for sure is that the water is crystal clear and when chasing any species of fish this is definitely an advantage for the angler. I always try to promote this time of year as one of the best for sight fishing. With little rain and light winds our gin clear flats become oversized aquariums and the sight alone of such crystal clear water makes you think your fishing some small island in the Caribbean.
When sight casting fish in shallow, crystal clear water a stealthy approach is a major key. Using an electric motor or a push pole is a huge advantage especially when fishing in mere inches of water. If you have never fished water this shallow before, you truly don’t know what you’re missing. Tailing fish, huge wakes, and giant splashes are just a few of the unexpected thing you come across while fishing in such skinny water. Fish tend to congregate in this shallow water during this time of year mainly because the shallower water tends to warm faster with more direct sun light and a lighter current flow. When Gulf temp drop into the 50’s you can still count on the local creeks and coves to have water temps remaining in the 60’s, which helps to keep fish moving and active.
On a few recent trips we have been targeting skinny water Redfish, Sheephead and Giant Black Drum all of which nave been sight casted. The best part about this type of fishing is that all of these same species normally tend to congregate along the same rocky coves and outcroppings that the Crystal River and Homosassa areas are famous for. Mark Best and I spent the day throwing spoons to tailing reds and were rewarded with 5 nice fish around the 20-25 inch range. Amazingly enough while we were working these spoons we even managed to put a few Speckled Trout in the boat all over 20”. Normally, Trout will shy away from a spoon but on this day they seemed to jump on anything that crossed their paths. 2 days later a friend of mine Capt. Dan Clymer and I were working the same area and found a few Reds and Trout and a ton of Giant Black Drum all in the 30-50lb range. Let me tell you in a foot of water there is not a better sight than seeing the huge backs and tails of a Giant Drum sticking out of the water. Rule of Thumb if you can see their tails and backs, they’re feeding and it doesn’t take much to entice them into a strike. A well placed shrimp or crab can be a sure bet for landing a fish of a lifetime. On this day Dan had all of the luck in his favor and after five perfect casts he was finally able to talk a 35+ pounder into taking the bait and the fight was on. After a 25 minute fight the fish bottomed out the Boca Grip and was released to fight another day.
You just don’t know what to expect these days. The one thing you can expect is a beautiful day on the water and the enjoyment of the outdoors. So if you’re interested in burning some line off a reel give Florida Fishing Adventures a call today we’re in the Fishing Memories Business.
Capt. Kyle Messier