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Time to Enjoy Some Great Spring Fishing

Winter was relatively mild here in Florida and spring is now here. Nature has definitely noticed the warmed weather, as everything is covered in pollen, from our cars to the waterways. The animals have also noticed, fish bedding, baby birds being born, and others doing their mating struts. It's a great time to come down and visit and enjoy Natural Florida. There are few places where you can enjoy so much outdoor activity and witness some of the most amazing sights in the world.

Baby Sandhill Crane's First Walk
Baby Sandhill Crane

I spent the last couple of weeks of winter getting things ready for the spring, summer and fall seasons. The boats have been serviced rods/reels are cleaned, new lines, plenty of flies tied up, and we are ready to go. Now, with the fishing getting hot and business picking up, there aren't many things to worry about. The skiff has been updated with a new trolling motor and lithium ion battery, to improve our snook and tarpon fishing opportunities. In addition, I'm excited to announce that my big boat, Paradise Pirate, is ready for the beach trips this year. Spring is the time where there is so much activity going on, it can be hard to decide what to do: redfish, snook, seatrout, bass, offshore, inshore, bow fishing, it's all happening. A lot of my customers are booking 2-3 days at a time, so they can enjoy as much of the activity as possible,

My inshore clients have been enjoying some great fishing for snook and redfish. Our mild winter means the snook are getting hot and heavy a little early. We saw some of the most amazing snook activity last week, during the full moon shrimp run. Snook were chasing shrimp across the surface each morning and it looked like a tuna blitz offshore. The fish were busting the surface, free jumping through the air, and destroying everything in their path, including our flies. We didn't land every fish that ate, but we managed to land 11 in a relatively short amount of time. We lost the biggest one, as he busted the 25 pound leader while pulling toward the dock. Not to be outdone, the redfish have been active as well. We have found schools, singles, doubles, and small groups too. The redfish have been very accepting of flies and jigs, making them a great target for the average angler. During recent trips we have also found some very nice seatrout. They are just starting to spawn, so we have found several large females surrounded by the smaller males. These fish have been spooky, but at least we are seeing them this year; last year was my worst year for large trout in a long time. As spring continues, our tarpon will start getting active and it will only get better as summer arrives.

Snook on Fly
Snook Fishing is on Fire

The freshwater side of the fishing world is available and the beauty of the St John's River system is unparalleled. My favorite activity in the St John's is bow fishing tilapia and I scouted for them last week. The fish were just starting to make their beds, for spawning, and their spawning activity will start in a couple of weeks. This is a great time to practice your archery skills and collect a tasty meal at the same time. Wild tilapia are wonderful table fare; they cook well on the grill, in the oven, or in a fryer full of hot oil. These are not the fish that came from fish farms, full of unknown stuff. These fish are wild, eating the same stuff that crappie, bream and catfish forage on. Bow fishing is not for everyone, but ultralight spin fishing trips are great for most people. Crappie and bream are usually targets during these trips. Bass fishing is always available too, and spring can be a phenomenal time for the big fish. Although spawning is Florida is pretty much over by March, there are still plenty of big bass waiting to crush your offerings.

I'm really excited to start offering near-shore beach trips this year. Paradise Pirate is ready and we've got some great fishing dialed in. These trips concentrate within 3 miles of the beach, where we target various fish as they migrate through the area. Right now I am waiting to see if we are going to have a cobia run. The cobia run revolves manta rays, as they migrate through the area. The rays love to spend time near the surface and the cobia stay right up there with them. These fish can be targeted with spinning gear or fly gear. Cobia provide plenty of excitement, hard fights, and they are absolutely delicious when cooked. In addition to the cobia, kingfish are a staple in the area. Kingfish seem to get a bad rap when it comes to table fare, but we love them when they are grilled or baked. There are few fish that strike faster and run faster than a kingfish and it's an enjoyable time to troll for them along the beach,

Bowfishing season is now in full swing. The fish have built their beds and they are mating and then laying on the beds. If you love archery and fishing, this is a great way to put the two together and have a blast. Water levels in the St John's are about as perfect as they can be for this activity. You will need waders, as they provide some extra comfort and protection while we wade the shallows of the St John's River and stalk these fish. For those unfamiliar with it, we stalk wild Blue Tilapia. The tilapia were introduced to South Florida decades ago and they have flourished throughout the state. They're big, beautifully colored, and very wary. Accuracy with a bow and patience in your stalking are paramount for success. Whether you shoot a compound bow or a traditional bow, all you need is the bow and some arrows; there is no need for the added weight of reels, line, or other stuff. Enjoy this little preview from the start of this year's season.

Folks, there is plenty of action to be had! All you have to decide is what you want to do. I'll take care of the rest! The days are filling up fast, and as the weather improves, they will only fill up faster. If you have any questions, or you are ready to book your trip, call me or email me: (386) 314-5998,

Want to see more of the action, or some great highlight films? Follow the Youtube Channel: @johntarr9292 or Facebook Page:

Until next time, Tight Lines and Screaming Drags!

Captain John Tarr


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