2020 was defiantly a different and trying year, it forced most of us to readjust and alter the way we do things. I am very happy that I had the ability to be flexible and it was a blessing that I have the clientele that I have. Because of the flexibility of my clients, I was able to reschedule when needed and rebook almost all of the trips that were affected by the pandemic. I really want to thank everyone that has fished with me in 2020, because of all of you I was able for the first time to break the 300 trip barrier. I am now ready for a great 2021, I will be updating my fleet, I will be running a 2021 Bx 25BR Sea Hunt bay boat, and after Tarpon season I will take delivery of my new 2022 Shoalwater 23 cat. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again for some great fishing.
Now for the good stuff, 2021 has picked up right where 2020 left off, with some of the best negative low tide fishing we have seen in years. The Speckled Sea Trout have been big and abundant with 50 to 70 fish a trip, the reds have been plentiful and if you approach them quietly you can catch them at will. The biggest surprise has been the Snook bite, I have had clients catching 10 to 15 of them in 50-degree temps. There is one secret to it though, you have to have the equipment to get to them, I am finding them way in the back pockets on the lowest of water and luckily I have the only boat to access them. This is without a doubt one of the most exciting ways to catch fish, we are using very light tackle and fishing gin clear water so you see every bite. I am very lucky to live in the area of Florida that is blessed with a lot of small deep bayous and large expansive grass flats with large potholes in them that hold all these fish throughout the winter. I have been leaving from the New Port Richey area so we do not have to make long runs in the cold air and we can maximize our fishing time. While the Snook, Reds, and trout are the main target, they are defiantly not the only targets out there. We have been catching Sheephead, Flounder, Mangrove Snapper, and Black Drum. These fish are all good table fare and we can keep them for the table, most of the time we are using live shrimp to catch them, however if you are patient enough you can get them to eat jigs. Most of these fish are coming from the deeper canals in our area like in Gulf Harbors, and Leisure Beach. But every year now for the past 10 or so years we get a school of Big Black Drum in the area, they are always on the move and never in the same place so most fisherman never see them. But if you do run across them they will eat until they feel pressured. These big ones (20 to 40 pounds) are not any good to eat so handle them gently and release them to fight again.
We still have a couple more negative tide cycles to go, and then we will start to see the first signs of springtime. The fish will notice it quickly, as we have had water temps in the low 60s all winter, and when they do be ready it is going to be a great Spring!