Redfish are RED HOT!!!Read More
Although it is still a little chilly in the morning, once the morning sun hits the water the fish begin to wake up. Depending on the year little by little February water temps will start to rise up as each day passes. With water temps rising the fish will start to shift into their next phase of season. Some species will be starting to spawn but, first and foremost the fish will be on the hunt, looking to fill their stomachs after being a bit sluggish form the cold winter.
One of my favorite fish to target this time of year is the Speckled Trout also known as the Spotted Sea Trout. The adult spotted sea trout are anywhere from 19-32 inches and from 3-15lbs. They can be caught in large numbers once you have located them. The average size this time of year is about 16-20 inches, but don’t surprised to catch some well over 20 inches. We locals call them “Gator Trout” once they make it over the 20-inch mark. In our area you are allowed to keep four over 15” with one of them being over 20inches. Although, I do release most trout over 20” because they are either already full of eggs or they are getting ready to start spawning any day. Plus, they are much better tasting when they are under the “Gator Trout” size…
There are many different tactics to catch Spotted Sea Trout. My absolute favorite way to catch them is on top water “walk the dog” baits like the Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Pencil. They do have paper thin mouths so, make sure not to rip the lure out of their mouth when they strike it. Feel the weight of the fish and just reel. If it’s a cold morning and they are being lethargic, I like use a soft-plastic shrimp like the Monster 3X X-MOVE. Work it extremely slowly to entice the bite. Between those two baits, one of them should be your golden ticket to success! As always please be safe! Take care of your local waters and respect all the anglers on the water. There is plenty enough water out there for everyone to enjoy. Tight Knots and Tight Lines to all!
Most people who fish, do it for many different reasons. Some do it to escape from the everyday grind, some do it just for the pure beauty of being on the water, and others for the shear thrill of hunting different species of fish. But, if you are out there to find the best fishing challenge, when it comes to saltwater fishing the fish that comes to mind for pound for pound hardest fighter would be the Jack.
There are many different species of Jacks all over the world and are they are all known for their long hard fights. The Jack Crevalle is one of the most popular species that lives here in our local waters. Generally, they travel in large groups and don’t discriminate on what they eat. Look for schools of bait getting blasted in every direction and most likely it’s them. They will eat anything from bait fish to crustaceans. My favorite thing that I like to pitch at them are top water lures like the Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil. Their top water assaults are ferocious and if the first one misses it, keep on working it because there is going to be another one right behind waiting to explode again! Then the second thing I like throw are Monster 3X Paddle-X soft-plastics with a 1/8 oz. jig head. Swim it very fast with slight twitches and hold on when it hits! These fish pull like a freight train as you start to look at your reel wondering if you have enough line. When they start to swim in a circle in either direction, this means they are starting to slow down but, even when they start to slow down you still have a good fight ahead of you. The last but definitely not last way I like to target them is with a fly rod. Once you’ve hooked one these fish on a fly rod, you will be hooked for life. They will have you into your backing in seconds! Most of the time it doesn’t really matter which fly or what lure you are throwing as long as you work it fast.
You can find these fish from deep in the backwaters all the way out to the gulf. Just make sure your tackle is up to par when playing with these guys because they will surely test it. I hope that on your next trip you run into these tackle testing machines and have some fun. As always please be safe! Take care of your local waters and respect all the anglers on the water. There is plenty enough water out there for everyone to enjoy. Tight Knots and Tight Lines to all!
Fishing in the Florida Keys.Read More
This particular day I had been pre-fishing for an inshore slam (snook, redfish, trout) tournament. The tide was pretty high and still coming in so, I started out working the mangroves for snook. It didn’t take long before I had both snook and redfish blowing up on my top-water lure. As the tide rolled in, it became harder and harder to reach the fish because they had pushed so far deep into the mangroves.
Since I had already caught 2 out of the three species I was looking for, I decided to make my way out to a deeper flat to try and catch some trout. As I paddled up to the flat, I a saw an enormous school of white bait that went on for nearly a hundred yards! While I was jigging for trout, out of the corner of my eye I saw a large tarpon roll. I reeled up as fast as I could and bombed a cast in that direction. Soon as the soft-plastic was getting ready to hit the water another tarpon rolled. Mid roll the tarpon saw my bait hit the water and bent like a pretzel to inhale my bait. All of the sudden I went from jigging for trout on light weight tackle to having a 70-90 lb. tarpon jumping like crazy on the end of my line! It was probably a good thing it came unbuttoned soon after because my set-up was no match for that large of fish…
After finding all three species and miscellaneous tarpon, I decide to make my way to the shore line to head back towards the launch. On my way back, I saw a group of dolphins cruising down the shore line tearing through bait and mullet. They were actually playing with their food by blasting full grown 5-7 lb. mullet back and forth to each other. I ended up stopping on the shore line to take a couple of casts and to let the dolphins go around me. After they passed me, I see fin a pop up and charge the shore line coming directly at me. I was on a corner where the land elbowed so, there was nowhere for this large fishy to go. The water was pretty tannic from all the rain the previous day. So, I watched this large grey fin swim right up to me and stop. I thought to myself I better give this dolphin a little poke to let it know I was here… Well that’s when all heck broke loose! First off it wasn’t a dolphin, it was a 10 ft. BULL SHARK! Soon as I poked it, JAWS came out the water snapping at me and then it was like an explosion in the water as flipped out to get away. I’m thinking the dolphins had scared it up against the shore line and it had nowhere else to go…
Moral of the story is to be careful while on the water. Always be aware of your surroundings. You never know what you are going to run into (literally)! Hahaha! Tight lines and Tight knots to all! Eric Henson is the owner of Casting Kayaks LLC a guided kayak fishing company out of Sarasota Florida. He specializes in inshore light tackle or fly fishing from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. To book a guided fishing trip with Eric check out his website www.CastingKayaks.com or give him a call at 941-504-1349
Tarpon fishing from kayaks!Read More