Spring has finally arrived and all signs are pointing to another fantastic fall fishing extravaganza. Acres of bait are covering the flats and most of the mangroves and lush turtle grass beds have already filtered the water enough to turn the local area waters back into their gin clear states which our area is “World Famous” for. With clearer water and acres of bait the fishing opportunities have been endless along the Nature Coast. Our top three players at this point are definitely the Redfish, Speckled Trout, and nice Spanish Mackerel. All of which are found in different areas but all benefit from the pristine water, lush grass beds and the extreme abundance of bait.
During most of my recent charters my clients and I have been targeting all three of these species when the conditions have allowed us. The early morning TopWater bite for Speckled Trout has been topnotch. My clients and I have been throwing Rapala SkitterWalks and Berkley Gulp! Jerkbaits to entice most of Trout, but the old faithful Berkley Gulp! Shrimp has also picked many of the fish that the bigger baits have left behind. With our local flats so crystal clear the New Penny and Lime Tiger colors have worked the best on my boat. After we have exhausted all avenues with the Speckled trout, the Spanish Mackerel fishing has been one for the record books. 30-50 hook-ups a day are uncommon and a cooler full for the smoker is almost a no brainer. These speedy Macks love any bait that moves fast. For a rod bending thrill I have been having my clients throw a crippled herring jigging spoon with a #1 hook (barbs pinched). When the mackerel are at their best it’s nothing to have a strike every cast. I debarb these hooks because you can only keep so many and the strike and first drag screaming run is the best part of this fishing. With most of these fish running between 2-6 pounds this is a ton of fun on light tackle and on fly.
But WAIT! The fun doesn’t stop there, the Redfishing has been equally fast and furious just ask Wray and Billy UpChurch of Atlanta, GA. They fished with me 2 weeks ago on a Saturday with the winds howling out of the south around 20-30mph and were spoiled with one of the best Redfish bites I can remember. We tried trout fishing early when the winds were lighter around 15-20 but it was hard slowing my skiff down in these kinds of winds. So with the extreme high tide we opted to target some of the great Redfishing the area has to offer. After my first 3 spots provided nothing but shorts, I decided to fish the smallest of islands in hopes that other boaters may have passed up this hidden gem of spot. And boy did my assumption pay off! Our first 2 casts were immediately taken by 2 short Reds. Our next 2 casts led to a double hook-up one being a 24” and another measuring at 19”. Our next 3 casts led to a triple header. This went on for over 2 hours. In total we lost count at 3 triple headers, 7 double hook-ups, and over 45 fish landed off of one spot, with over 20 being in the slot. In my neck of the woods we call that a SMOKER!!!!!!
These are just a few of the experiences my clients were able to experience with in the last month. SO if you still are trying to recover from that horrible case of fishing fever Florida Fishing Adventures should have the cure for you!!!!!!!!!!!
Capt. Kyle Messier