January 17, 2012 – by Robert Hill
Ask someone what is the best kind of fishing in Florida and you will get a host of different opinions. Kind of like asking who is the best candidate, everybody likes their guy best.
The reality is there are a lot of different kinds of fishing in our area that are all great, unlike the candidates, and Springtime offers the best chance to sample them all, starting with the Silver King. Tarpon are considered a summertime bonanza to our area, as people come from all over the world to battle these great sport fish. While fishing peaks in June, the first numbers of fish show up in the inshore waters starting in March. This is particularly true during years when the winter is mild and fish are not forced as far South. My crystal ball is a little fuzzy but at this writing the weather has been very mild thus far. Stout tackle is required but like running a country, you can do it with a strong leader.
Fishing for snook is an explosive sport that has been put on the back burner with recent closures but catch and release fishing for these rod breakers is fantastic in the springtime. Large snook come out of their wintertime staging areas, and like a bear after hibernation they are hungry. Our area offers great guides for this type of flats fishing and often catch redfish, trout, flounder and mackerel on these same day trips. Live bait will attract strikes more vicious than a TV ad on entitlement spending.
So far our fishing rundown has not even taken us out of sight of land. The near shore and offshore fishing is great this time of the year as well. Migrating Kingfish and Cobia follow large schools of bait up the West coast of Florida as the weather warms presenting great opportunities for anglers. They can be caught slow trolling and on both live and artificial baits. Live threadfin herring and blue runners are easily caught on sabiki rigs and cast back out as bait for these reel smokers.
For some, there is no fishing like deep sea fishing. The grouper and snapper caught on the Gulf coast are some of the hardest fighting fish to be found, and unlike lobbyists, these bottom feeders are a treat once you get them on board. Experienced captains and newcomers alike search out great hard bottom areas and ledges loaded with these bottom fish. Once positioned, it is baits down and fish on.
Not everyone wants to hire a guide or take a boat out, they just want to soak a line from the shore and relax. Since so many of our favorite fish cruise the shorelines most of the day this is actually a great strategy. Fishing from the beach with shrimp or sand fleas can net pompano, whiting, snook, trout and redfish. Try casting from shore with a spoon or jig and add mackerel and jacks to the list.
As always consulting an area guide or tackle dealer will give you the detailed info you need to bring home the bacon. A day on the water free from election coverage will refresh your mind and body. Take time and enjoy; that is why we are here.