Normally I love our winter fishing, I get to wear jeans a long sleeve shirt and a light jacket and by the middle of the day the jacket is under the deck and we are soaking up the warm sunshine. Not so much this year, most days I have had so many clothes on that I feel like the Michelin Man, and by the middle of the day I was wishing I had more jackets to put on. However through all of the cold and wet and windy days there has been one silver lining to it all, the fish have still wanted to eat when we put the bait in front of them. It is amazing how you can be so cold, almost to the point of teeth chattering and then make one cast, feel a thump and your adrenaline turns into an instant heater for you. Even though I don’t usually fish with my clients when they start to catch fish it make me feel all warm and fuzzy, If I could only bottle that for the cold days that the fish are stubborn!
Well enough of my thoughts on the cold winter…..During the past week I was able to run several Airboat Charters in Charlotte Harbor, and the fishing did keep us warm for the most part. With the airboat I always want stiff north winds to blow the water way off the flats and force the fish into all the holes and troughs. The only problem is this year that north wind is very cold, but we have managed to stay warm. Most of the trips we were able to catch a good number of Redfish and a few Trout, some days the reds would be so balled up in one hole we wouldn’t move for a couple of hours. I was using 1/4 once jigs with Exude Darts and the new Mirrolure Lil John for bait, the slower the better when working them. There was one of the days that we went to a muddy hole and found some snook laying on the dark muddy bottom soaking up the warmth from the sun, that was very good to see. Most of the trips were about the same a good mix of reds and trout and clients that were happy they went, once they realized a fish can warm you up!
I have one more week of Airboat Charters scheduled for the end of this month, then the tides and days will get longer and warmer. Spring will get here and all that comes with it. Snook will again show up along with all the others from the inshore gang. The pelagics will start to follow the bait and the Tarpon will not be far behind. This year Spring vacation will not just be for the folks on land!