Chasing Silver and Linesiders
It has taken quite a while, but the weather in Florida has finally started stabilizing. For the last few months, it has been quite windy and unstable. We had tons of rain, lightning and even some tornadoes pass through the area. While we avoided the worst conditions, we still fished on a lot of days that were less than perfect, with winds in the 15-25 MPH range. Then, over the last couple of weeks, the winds decided to subside, the clouds vanished, and we returned to some wonderful weather. Fishing adventures have been full go since then.
The local fishery, in the Daytona Beach to Edgewater area has consisted of decent fishing for redfish and snook. I've been chasing the tides, looking for the lowest waters possible. This brings the fish out of the hiding spots, which is mostly mangroves and other types of shorelines. If you can get them out from the cover, you stand a really good chance of locating fish and being able to make good presentations. The redfish have varied in size from rat reds to some decent reds in the 30-33 inch range. They have been crushing the Z-Man Fishing Products MinnowZ in Rootbeer/Gold and Pinfish colors. I've been rigging them on weedless hooks, so we can make the shots into cover without worries. As far as fly fishing for them, we've had to switch between baitfish patterns and crab patterns, just depending on how the fish are working. Remember, fish that are swimming level and making popping sounds, are usually chasing baitfish or possibly shrimp. So you want something that will suspend in the water column. If your redfish are sticking their tails up and heads down, they are feeding toward the bottom or on the bottom; so, use an offering that will be down on the bottom. The snook fishing has been challenging. They've been easy to locate, but they really love their cover and getting things into tight spaces can prove challenging. Still, if you practice your casting, you can get them to eat and the fight is worth every bit of the extra practice time. To practice, I place a few buckets on their sides and cast into them. I practice with buckets from 5 gallon to 1 gallon. Sidearm casts are a must in these situations and should be practiced a lot for accuracy.
A lot of my trips have ventured further south, toward the Cocoa Beach and Melbourne area. Here, we have been concentrating on snook and tarpon. The tarpon have been my favorite target and they have been providing plenty of action. These aren't the giant tarpon, but they are the ones I really enjoy chasing; ranging from 5 pounds to about 30 pounds. These tarpon provide a lot of jumping fun, without wearing you out. Light spinning rods and 7-8 weight fly rods are perfect for chasing these fish. The snook in this area have been a bit bigger, with several fish in the 30 inch and over range being located. No, we haven't landed one in that size yet, but we've had them eat and give us the "zing-pow" when they take off. Snook this size are a challenge, as they are very powerful and intelligent. They know where every mangrove root, dock piling, oyster bed, or other object in the water is. They head for it and you either stop them or they break you off. This is not finesse fishing, it is an all out battle to determine who wants it more.
The big tarpon are starting to show up. They'll increase in numbers as the summer progresses. Anglers wanting to chase these fish need to prepare themselves. Learning to apply maximum pressure on a fish, without breaking the leader or pulling the hook, takes effort. Andy Mills has some great YouTube videos about how to practice this and I urge you to watch them and practice before trying to catch a big tarpon. The fight can be quick, if you know what you're doing, or it can take hours if you don't. No one wants to fight a fish that long, as it is bad for you, your equipment, and more importantly, the fish. We want to land these fish, get a quick picture in the water, revive them and release them as quick as possible, so they survive and provide a thrill for generations to come.
Summer usually brings us great shots at Gator Seatrout. Last year was disappointing for these fish. But, I've been seeing some nice seatrout hanging out and they should push up shallow to feed and prepare for spawning in the summer. If you aren't afraid to wake up early, they provide excellent action on topwater. Large Rapala topwater plugs and big popper flies are almost irresistible to these predators. The sound they make when crushing these offerings sounds like a cinder block hitting the water. Long casts are needed for the most effectiveness, so I had Captain Kent Gibbens, of KG Custom Rods, build me a couple of spinning rods just for this. To help the fly rod anglers, I recommend a clear, floating fly line, so the fish aren't quite as aware of the casts.
Whichever fish you want to target, we can get out there and do it. I suggest booking trips at least a month in advance, as spots have been filling up quickly. While I have a couple of days at the end of May, the rest is full and trips for June and July have started booking too. I'll do everything I can to squeeze you in, but if I'm booked, there isn't too much I can do. So call (386) 314-5998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your adventure! I guarantee you'll have a wonderful time in the Florida outdoors and you won't find anyone that works harder to make your fishing dreams come true!