February has once again proven that it is a month of transition in our area. Last week we had water temperatures in the low 70s with fish all over the outside points and bait on every flat. This week has started out with a weak cold front that brought dry air and cool nights, the water temperatures dropped into the low 60s and the fish retreated to more comfy areas, and the bait left the flats they were so abundant on.
This is where my week started, the easy bait and easy catching from last week was put on hold. I didn’t even try to catch bait on Sunday, we had a pretty low tide so we started throwing Artificials in all the potholes catching some nice Trout and used shrimp to get some nice sheepshead in the deeper canals. It was defiantly a step back into winter. Monday was defiantly warmer and we had a pretty brisk south wind, which is always good for this time of year. I had my clients meet me at 8am at Nicks Park in Port Richey, I figured if the sun got up and the south wind blew it might warm the water and trigger a bite. We ran to the flat that I have been catching bait at for a quick look, and with a few pieces of chum I saw the telltale flashes of silver. It was only a 4-hour trip so with a couple of throws of the net we had enough crickets for the trip. I wasn’t sure if the fish would move out as fast as the bait did, but we had to start somewhere, typically the Snook are slower to reappear than the bait, and the first couple spots were proof of that. I decided to jump into a small lagoon just north of Gulf Harbors that always holds some redfish, once we got set up we were able to pull 4 nice reds out of the lagoon. It is funny how redfish will stay in an area and let you catch them over and over, this spot only has about 10 or 12 reds but every time we go in there they eat, and have very red mouths to prove it! We had about an hour left in the trip and the water temperature was climbing, I had a deep hole that is pretty consistent in the spring and was fairly close. We ran north of Hudson and with the south wind and we had a lot of water. It took a little looking and then some convincing but we were able to finish with a bang. The water warmed up enough to put the Snook in a feeding mood.
The next few days look to be awesome with light winds, and strong tides we should see the second start to springtime!
Capt. Greg DeVault