Southwest FL (Ft Myers)
By Jim Van Pelt -
Pine Island Sound anglers have had one thing on the mind all winter long. REDFISH!! They have been everywhere this season and they’ve been big. We’ve been having a tough time finding fish in the slot for the grill. They’ve been taking a variety of baits but riptide paddle tails in the white and opening night colors have been producing the best results. We’ve had our best results on the beginning of the incoming and end of the outgoing tides. I’ve been looking for lots of water movement and negative tides to help me search out tailing fish. I’ve found that if a tailing redfish won’t take you artificial than a well-placed piece of frozen shrimp on a 2/0 circle hook is your best bet for a hookup.
Gator trout have been around all winter long as well and have been hitting a variety of baits. Riptide paddletails in the blue shad color have been producing the biggest fish. The smaller fish have been concentrated in the numerous potholes throughout the flats whereas the bigger fish have been in the shallower 2-3ft areas covered in thick grass.
Snook and tarpon have also been hanging around this season due to the warm summer we’ve had. They’ve been hanging in a lot of the residential canals and both large handpicked shrimp and artificials have been working equally well to produce quality fish.
Jim Van Pelt is a fishing guide in Fort Myers Fl, he can be reached at (239)-240-7428
Boynton Beach to Stuart, Fl
By Brian Nelli -
Quality Trout have still been in that 3-5’ range but look for the gators on the shallow flats near mangroves. Redfish can be found under the mangroves and docks around the power plant and north through Fort Pierce. Try pitching DOA shrimp around the mangroves for reds and check out the new DOA Airhead for trout on the deeper flats.
Dolphin are being caught on live bait anywhere from 90’ to 500’. Look for weed lines, current rips and color changes to get on these fish. Sailfish are still being caught from Palm Beach North to the Juno Pier. Live Blue runners or goggle eyes will work best, but even a frozen sardine will get the job done most of the time. The Cobia run should pick up here in the next few weeks. We have had some good reports to the north off Fort Pierce the last few weeks before the seas kicked up. Start to look for them in Palm Beach County anywhere from 60-80’ and in Martin County 40-60’. I like to use the DOA Swimming Mullet as well as a Flair Hawk tipped with a sardine.
Pushin’ Water Kayak Charters
Biscayne Bay, Miami, Fl
Eric Bonneman -
What a blast it has been here in Miami as well as all the way down into Flamingo the past few months. Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay have held their own throughout winter and even now as we break into spring. Biscayne Bay has offered tide savvy Tarpon that average right into the “fun size,” as I like to call them. Semi juveniles that take to the air and offer some of the best landing opportunities for the light tackle angler. Top water lures have proven to lure them out to take a peak, but sub surface MirrOLures have proven to be the strike kings during peak feeding times (mullet color configurations with blood red eyes and blood red hooks have proven best). Being found mainly in backcountry pools that have had an average of 7 to 8 foot depths, just inside shore, during tide changes are the grounds in which their prey gets trapped, the Tarpon group up, and the fast striking frenzy begins. Though admittedly these opportunities have been few and far between, but when they do arise it makes up for all the waiting and stalking efforts you put in. North Biscayne Bay has offered sporadic Trout as well, but if Trout is your goal check out Florida Bay.
Florida Bay, specifically out of Flamingo, has proven to be the steady action place throughout the entire winter and currently as we break into spring. Reds, Reds, Reds! Man, it’s been a great season for Reds. The beauty of this so far is that artificial seems to bring in way more than live.. in this, I am talking shrimp. I have been out with groups who have a split tactics between live shrimp, frozen shrimp, and your favorite rubber shrimp (DOA ¼ oz here in natural colors). With this you see one constant; artificial has out fished all others during every outing. Part of this might be due to the slew of inshore Jack’s and relative other scavengers that do not let fresh bait sit long enough to get to the trophies of the flats. Whatever the case, a sure worked artificial has proven to be an anglers friend. On this one bait and a given days effort in the bay a slam is nearly guaranteed, and though I have not had a grand slam myself, I have seen it from others using this same methodology. When heading out into Snake Bight from Flamingo Marina there has been a simple flow: Catch your limit in trout at the ranger dock, pick your Red anywhere along the ‘groves between there and along the shore into Snake Bight, and then run out to the boating channel in front of Snake Bight during an incoming tide with a top water being worked across the boating channel for your best bet at quality Snook (Skitter Walks and Zara’s). Though, juvenile Snook can be had all along shore while Red fishing. To say one thing about the Jack’s, I have had some big boys nab that top water along the way, and I do love me some Blackened Jack. Stay tuned as we move into different waters throughout spring and continue to report what’s hitting and where.
Dania Beach FL
By Rob Rodriguez -
Tarpon, Spanish macs and cero's are cruising the beach, troll a spoon or a yo-zuri will get you some action. If using live bait toss on a trace wire to avoid cut offs. Kings been out in number's near shore (40-160 ft) targeting them with live bait will be your best bet. Offshore has been slow due to the fluctuation of the weather. When a cold front pushes through Mahi are pushed in, but with these 1-2 day cold spells the window is small. With warmer weather around the corner the Black fin tuna will be back in number's as well as Bonita's.. The best for last Wahoo fishing has been picking up, a few charter boats are reporting catching them shallow between 150-200ft. Get out there and catch some fish...
pompano beach FL
By Joe Hector -
We are now in the winter months and kayak fishing here in South Florida has had its good & bad days. In these months the wind is always a factor and most of the time you have to really pick and choose your days to go out. The days that I have made it out I have caught some sailfish and some small mahi mahi.
The sailfish are very thick in these months and love those NE wind days, but the surf wont be as fun. There's lots of small to medium dolphin running in about 200 to 400ft. All my fish this winter have been caught on live bait, mostly pilchard. For almost all the dolphin and sailfish I caught I used just 50lb clear leader with a 2/0 to 3/0 circle hook. There is still wahoo around the moon's so always bring your wire stinger rig along.
Stay tuned for May Madness in Pompano Beach & the September Slam in Dania Beach. Hope to see all of you out there!! Looking for more writers, contact me at email@example.com
By Randy Morrow -
Old Man Winter hasn’t really arrived, at least not down here at the end of the road. Higher than normal water temps - generally in the low to mid 70s - has kept flats fishing going strong. Bonefish are still scarce, but there are plenty of opportunities for permit, redfish are all over the place, and resident, juvenile tarpon are showing after a few warm sunny days in a row. Jack crevalles are plentiful, aggressive, and on the large side (5-8lbs). Lemon sharks abound if that’s your thing, with some well over 6 feet in length. Recently I’ve been targeting the big (3’ to 4’) barracuda that come on the flats in the winter months. These guys have everything you want in a sport fish. They’re not easy to see. They’re very observant and hard to approach. An accurate presentation is critical. And when it all works and you get hooked up, the scorching runs and acrobatics are outstanding. A chartreuse cuda tube is the go-to lure here. Cast it well past and in front of the fish, start a medium slow retrieve, and the instant the barracuda reacts to it, speed up your retrieve to almost full speed. The cuda should hit it. But if not, take it up to warp speed and hold on!
All us flats junkies down here are eagerly anticipating the coming weeks. We’re hoping the bonefish numbers will get back to normal this year since last year was a pretty weak showing for our speedy silver friends. Great permit fishing in March and the big push of migratory tarpon are just around the corner. March is usually some of the best permit fishing of the year, with big, hungry 25 pound slabs digging for crabs with reckless abandon. And if you ever wanted to know what a 120lb tarpon on 20# braid feels like, c’mon down in April or May. The silver king will teach you about fighting big fish from a kayak.
Randy Morrow runs Lower Keys Kayak Fishing offering kayak fishing charters and rentals and can be reached at (305) 923-4643 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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