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All The Best
Chris Bandl party puts the hammer down on a recent trip that saw 3 dozen reds and countless gator trout released.
The weather continues to be unseasonably warm and 100-year records have been set the past few days. While these types of conditions are a dream come true for a fishing guide’s business, it too, has the adverse effect on fish that are confused between the warm winds of Mother Nature, and the winter biological clock of Father Time.
On the inshore scene, the weather scenario has offered some red-hot days and some very ice-cold days in productivity. With fish spread out between the summer haunts of the Gulf and the winter spas of rivers and springs, one day you are likely to find fish concentrated--- only to not be found again in the same areas on the following days. In such case, the run and shoot offensive is applied with limited results.
A few snook came to life the past few days, but overall they are continuing on their winter temperament on the outside flats and feeding best deep in the rivers and creeks. Gator trout and redfish have offered to be the most reliable of species. Both are being best found around shallow cul-de-sacs and bayous, particularly those found adjacent to creek mouths. We’ve had some outstanding days with both species the last few weeks; however, there too have been a few days not worth a mention. I hesitate to say it, but a stiff cold front will tighten these species. Fish holing up or sunning in water barely deep enough to float them, will result in more consistent and typical winter catches.
Nearshore on the other hand has seen some phenomenal days the past two weeks. The Spanish mackerel blitz still continues and the world-class fish have shown in respectable numbers. One trip last week saw two fish that completely stripped 180 yards of line and were never to be seen again. Fish in this class often exceed 8lbs and are no match for ultra light tackle from an anchored vessel.
Sonny Wall proudly displays nice backwater tarpon
Cobia are too being intercepted in the same areas on their southern migration, however, the majority have been just below the legal size limit for harvest. Good grouper fishing is being found between 8 and 50 feet of water. Prime horse eye minnows have remained thick the past 4 weeks (for how much longer is anybody’s guess) and are the key to near limit catches, particularly in shallow water.
The big news has been the kingfish that are present now in numbers better than was seen during more traditional fall times. Nearshore artificial reefs and hard bottom areas off of north Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties that are situated in 25 to 40 feet of water have yielded high number of fish days, with unusual amount of fish exceeding 30 lbs. There has been much theory and speculation as to why this phenomenon is occurring, but for whatever the reason, we’ll take it.
Juvenile tarpon and the bluefish catches have been
down with the extreme high temperatures. When the next cooling occurs,
they are almost certain to oblige in our offerings. As well, the winter
pompano and permit catches have been off too, again pending the change in
2001 has been an exceptional year for me. I wish to take this opportunity with the holiday season to thank all my long time friends and new ones alike for creating some special times together through our affinity. For most who know me will attest, these bonds come before anything else in my realm of profession. The created memories hold a sacred spot within and are never to be forgotten. Thank you. To you and your families----ALL THE BEST in this Holiday Season.
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!
Frank Sutton shows off one of 2 dozen reds he took on a a trip last week
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Last Update 17DEC01
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