This Past week was a little chilly to say the least, and when you put the force of a giant fan behind you it gets really cold, really fast. That is what we had to deal with on this round of Airboat Charters in Charlotte Harbor. I had some of my best clients fishing with me this week and the fish did not let us down. We were able to catch Redfish, Trout, and Snook on every trip. The most notable catch was a 40 inch Snook the was taken on a small 1/8th oz jig, just goes to prove that elephants do eat peanuts! The other notable catch was with Two fathers and thier sons. the bet was most fish by either team, when the number got to 75 apeice we called it a draw. That day was the most fish I have ever landed on a charter, we estimated around 200 reds in a 6 hour trip. The weather has been very good so far this winter,but there is the threat of a large and very cold, cold front setting up to move through the state. If this happens I hope our Snook can get to cover to protect themselves from the cold water. I will be back on the airboat for the next full moon hopefully i will have some more good fishing to report about.
With a favorable forecast from our weatherman it looked as if this weeks charters were in for some good fishing. We started on Saturday morning, the 26th of January with ice on the boat. The sun was out but it did not stay out long, the forecast was for temperatures to reach the mid 70’s, that was a joke, as a cloud deck moved in about 11am the temperature fell and so did the fishing, we were able to catch about 10 or so Trout before mother nature shut us down. Monday and Tuesday were much better days as the sun shined brightly and started to warm the water we had been fishing from the low 50’s to around 57. A long time client Kevin met me at the ramp and we were off, we started at Anclote Island off of Tarpon Springs, here we caught several Trout to about 23 inches. When they were done with those we went and tried to get the Reds to eat, we saw several good schools but could not get very many to cooperate. Tuesdays charter was a new client and we decided to use artificals and try to get the Reds from the day before to feed. We fished out of the Ranger Banshee so we could be as quiet as possible. Most of the fish have been of the New Port Richey coast so we did not have to go far to find them. As soon as we arrived we saw the first school moving on some shallow rocks, we were throwing Exude darts rigged weed less and like the day before the fish did not seem very interested in our offerings. However this day was a little different as the tide came in the water started to warm up and the fish began to feed a little. We were able to boat around 12 nice slot Reds before the tide and the bite ended. I have a couple days off to get ready for a full week of charters next week in Charlotte Harbor out of the Airboat, hopefully we are closing in on spring and some of the best fishing of the year.
Wow, what a week this turned out to be, I have been down in Charlotte Harbor running airboat charters and the fishing was awesome. My week started in Gasparilla Sound on Sunday with the wind blowing out of the north at 30 knots, not bad conditions for the airboat. The water was low and leaving fast, the only problem was the wind went from 30 to 35 and gusty, a little tough even in the airboat.
We called it quits around noon with only 12 or so reds caught. It was a tough day. The next three days (Mon, Tues, Weds) were awesome some of the lowest water I have seen in ten years down there. The fish had no choice but to find a hole and hang out, we were able to take the airboat and pick these fish off, it was like fishing in a barrel. We caught between 30 and 40 slot reds a day and had several more rats. The fish were eating just about everything you put in front of them, the main bait was a Exude dart on a 1/8oz jig-head, color didn’t matter. We were also able to get them to hit topwater in the afternoon when it warmed up a little. The areas we were in the most were Whiddens Creek, and Bull bay, with the water as low as it went I had it all to myself and it looked more like pasture land that saltwater flats. The final day of Airboating was suppose to be on Thursday the 24th but due to brisk south winds on Wednesday there was going to be a little more water than what we needed. Instead of canceling the trip we decided to fish out of New Port Richey on my Banshee Extreme. This turned out to be a very good idea as we were into fish all day, Anclote Island gave us about 80 trout between 18 and 24 inches. We went south to another area bar, A good friend and fellow guide had told me about some redfish that were hungry the day before. As we arrived we could see the mullet working in shallow, we approached them and started catching redfish right away. After about an hour we called it a day with 80 trout and about 30 or so redfish. Hopefully the weather will stay calm and allow us to continue some of the best fishing of the year.
As I am writing this report it is cloudy and spitting rain with a south wind at 15 knots and building as a cold front is pushing our way. Sounds like the perfect day to go fishing, well not exactly . But when the sun rises tomorrow we will have north winds at 20 knots and allot of low water. Now this is what I’m talking about, North winds and negative low tides create the perfect scenario for airboat fishing at its finest. We fish in the Gassparilla sound area of Charlotte harbor were the numerous potholes and deep troughs will keep enough water in them for the Redfish, Trout, and Snook to survive the low tide. However the only way to gain access to these low bottom areas is via my airboat. The airboat will skim across wet grass and take us to the fish that are trapped in these holes. Once we get there we will be using an assortment of baits to catch these fish, topwaters, spoons, and the most popular will be soft plastic Exudes. The day will be spent in the protection of the mangrove backcountry, so while we will feel the wind it will not be very bothersome. I will be running charters from today ( 1-19-2008) thru Thursday ( 1-24-2008). When I return I will give you all the details and photos of the weeks fishing. So wish for strong north wind and beautiful blue skies.
Friday was one of those days that looked like a perfect day, off of the coast of New Port Richey the sun was just starting to shine the tide was still going out and the wind was light and out of the south. My charter for the day wanted to target Speckled Trout and Redfish, on artificial lures. We started fishing the potholes and troughs off of Anclote island and started to catch a few Bluefish and Trout, but the bite was not fast and furious like earlier in the week. The tide was at it’s lowest around 9 a.m. and that is when we started to look for the redfish, again we targeted potholes on the flats and we could actually see the fish we were catching. The day was not going to bad when the conditions started to change on us, the wind began to increase to a solid 15 to 20 mph. and the warm sun disappeared behind a thick mat of clouds, and the temperature began to fall. This defiantly affected the fish we were after, we could still see them but they wanted nothing to do with our bait. We went back out to Anclote Island to see if we could find some more Trout and Blues, and they did not disappoint us. As the temperature dropped we decided to call it a day around 1p.m. and go find a warm place to have lunch. Although we did mange to catch a good number of fish, they did seem to be a little sluggish from the cold water they have had to live in the past week or so. If we can get a little warming trend I think it will send our fish into a pretty good feed on the next moon phase.
Capt. Greg DeVault
With old man winter here a little early this year we are already starting to see the fish in the Tarpon Springs area look for places to stay warm. On several of my charters the month we have been able to find alot of Redfish and Trout in the shallows during the warm part of the day. And while the is still some bait to be found off the New Port Richey coast the fish are not responding to it very well. We have been doing just as good fishing with artificial jigs and lures on our most recent charters.
We have been targeting the deeper sand holes on the flats around Tarpon Springs And New Port Richey lately, The outgoing tide will concentrate the fish into these holes and they will usually feed all the way through the tide and then again when the tide starts to return. As it always is this time of year you can hit 10 or 15 hole along the flat and catch nothing and then you will find the one hole that is loaded, so be patient.
The warm air has arrived and the fishing on the west coast of Florida has exploded. The past week has been amazing, with catches that include Trout, Redfish and Snook. The sardines that we use for bait has arrived in large numbers and the fish are more than willing to eat there share. I fished everyday for the past nine days and we had several great trips.
Ken and his son-in-law took a Boca Grande Charter and we caught several snook in the 29 to 32 inch range, there were also four or five redfish in the mix along with a bunch of Speckled trout so both guys could get there inshore slam! I was also able to fish with a very good client and friend Rob Forman on a New Port Richey Charter, we were able to catch several large trout most over the slot limit. We had one trout that was 26 inches and weighed 5 pounds.
One of the other trips that I remember from this week was one that I ran with a good friend and Captain, Capt. Clay. Clay had a group of clients come to fish with us on Friday and we decided to see if the trout I had caught the day before were still there, They were and the two boats sat side by side catching so many oversized trout that we stopped counting.
With our water temperatures rising it is only a matter of time before we start to see Cobia and Tarpon in our area, the fishing has broken loose and if you are thinking about going don’t hesitate, the days are going fast.
This past week was hopefully the last curveball mother nature will throw at us this year! With a cold north wind and even colder water temperatures the Charters this past week were a little challenging. I started off the week with a repeat customer of mine that always seem to have the cold follow him down here. We decided to start a little later in the day to give the fish and the water a chance to warm up a little. We fished the inshore waters off of Tarpon Springs, and were rewarded with some very nice sea trout and a couple of redfish. The next trip was with some new clients that wanted to learn the area around New Port Richey and Port Richey, the water was still a little cold but better than the day before. The sea trout again started us off, with 5 or 6 very nice trout, after that we began our search for redfish. Although we did find 2 or 3 good schools with 100 to 200 fish in each of them, they were very finicky and we could only get a couple fish to commit to the baits.
This week has started off with a bang, the Sardines that we use for live bait have shown back up and the fish were ready to eat them. We had some very nice sea trout and wound up the day with about 20 nice redfish. The only draw back to great weather is the crowds that start to invade to shallow water. Most are not used to how shallow it actually gets every winter and they do allot of damage to the grass flats in our area. The good thing is it will grow back and the fish love the warm water as much as we do.
Now is the time to go fishing if you can.
The past few week have been the busiest of the year for charter fishing in the Tarpon Springs area. The fish have also been very busy, we have had several days of non stop redfish action. and the snook that were waiting for the warmer temperatures are waiting no longer. with the weather is finally getting the notice that it was time for spring the fishing in the Tampa bay area has gone ballistic. The past couple of weeks have been the best I have seen in a couple of years, I had the pleasure of fishing a long time client of mine that brought along some business partners that have never fished in our waters. We pulled up to an area off of Tarpon Springs looking for redfish and never moved for three hours, we caught well over 50 redfish up to 28 inches. This scenario was repeated several times over the next week, when the tide was right the fish were ready. I was also able to get the snook that have been so finicky to finally begin to eat. Another good client brought his son Alex to catch some redfish and snook and boy did he, He landed several reds and caught the biggest snook of his life, a very respectable 30 inch fish. Now is the time if you are thinking about going fishing to go, the tides are still important but if you get here to go, do it. Our Tampa bay fishing Charters are very busy but there are still a few days left for April.
After another cold front brought us more north winds and cooler water temperatures, the big question was how it would effect my charters for the week. Well not to give you a short answer but it didn’t do a thing to them. I started out in Charlotte harbor running a couple of Airboat fishing charters that were some of the best I have had all year. The redfish have been eating anything we get near them and the size of them have been amazing. The tides were low but as the week moved on the water level was high enough that I was able to fish out of my ranger Banshee extreme. It was much easier to maneuver the banshee around the fish, we fished the same group of reds and they did not disappoint. Bryan and Heather were out with me on a inshore fishing charter and caught so many reds that Heather was ready for lunch at 10 AM. Most of our fish were caught on live shrimp but we were able to catch quite a few with Exudes and top water mirrolures.
I was able to run a couple of inshore fishing charters off of Tarpon Springs this week also. The Trout bite is still strong as ever with limits coming over the side of the boat in short order. Steve and bill fished with me on a Tarpon Springs Charter and had plenty of trout for dinner by late morning, then it was off to see if the reds up north here would be as cooperative as the ones down south. We did manage to find a good bunch of them but the water was a little to shallow and they would not let us get very close. So we decided to go and fish some docks and were able to catch a mixed bag of Redfish, Sheephead, and Flounder.
This week looks like it is going to be a great weather week and with the sardines starting to show back up the snook wont be far behind.