Well, it’s been a wild winter… weather wise. It’s been tough to get out on the water due to the economy and record breaking cold weather but I finally had the chance to get out the last few days and the prognosis is good. Really good.
I’ve got 5 charters coming up this week and I needed to get out and do some scouting for fish. Two days ago I went out with 20 year professional Tampa Bay area guide veteran and good friend of mine, Capt. Jim Lemke. We never even had to get the boat on plane before he put me on 5 different schools of 100+ redfish. We were out having fun and as such we only brought fly rods with us. The third cast of the day produced a hookup with a nice upper slot redfish but I lost him halfway through the fight. Capt. Jim poled his Maverick HPX boat around for a few more hours showing me some remarkable schools of redfish. We did way more looking than fishing but it was a lot of fun and great to see the redfish schooled up as tight as they were.
Yesterday, I went out with Capt. Greg DeVault of Americana Outdoors TV fame in search of lunker sea trout. We weren’t disappointed. During the low tide we hit cuts and drop-offs in the Tarpon Springs area with great success. Though we did very well on the first of the incoming tide, Capt. Greg and I both knew the bite would be better on the last of the outgoing tide but we’ll have to prove that later this week as the tides become more ideal. Trout in the 17-22″ range all took a liking to the new Mirr-O-Lure offering in soft plastics. The bait is called the Lil’ John. For years, Capt. Greg has been biting the end off of Exude Darts and rigging them with Slayer Inc. jig heads. Now, Mirr-O-Lure has taken his advice and created a bait similar to the Dart but cut one and a half inches off the nose and made the bait flat on that end to fit a jog head more comfortably. One thing I have noticed fishing Mirr-O-Lure new baits is that they are soft but extremely tough. We caught about 20 fish yesterday and Capt. Greg and I only used one bait each all day. That’s awesome if you ask me as most soft plastics seem to only survive one or two fish before having to change baits.
The weather is on a warming trend. That’s good news as we had the coldest January since 1978 here in the Tampa Bay area. The snook have taking a beating because of the frigid temps but the redfish and trout are stronger and hungrier than ever.