Well, welcome to warm, sunny Florida. Yeah, right….the past month has felt more like fishing in New England during the late fall. Cold, I mean really cold for here. Several mornings I put on the water with air temps in the upper thirties and wind chills in the twenties. Windy, most of the time the wind has been cranking up over twenty knots. And last Monday we had both of those conditions plus steady rain. In a word, Yuck!! But the fishing has been good throughout, with large jacks, magnum sized barracudas, out of control spinner sharks and ladyfish. And a decent number of dolphin offshore when the winds calmed down enough to get out there.
Great fun with the jacks, they’ve been chasing teaser plugs like pitbulls chasing cats. And just getting a big popper in their vicinity and popping it good and loud results in spectacular surface strikes. During the several weeks around Christmas about three hundred jacks were landed. Lately ladyfish have been giving me a change of pace, and while I love jacks, the variety is good for my attitude. The spinner sharks have cooperated well, we have boated several and lost a bunch. And it’s early for them, mid February through March is the usual time for them to be here. We should get many more opportunities to play with them over the next eight weeks.
King mackerel are also moving in early. I’ve gotten reports from north of here about huge schools of kings moving south. I get a big kick out of these things when they’re around. Unless you can get a wahoo hooked up, there isn’t much better for melting line off your reel than a king mackerel. When they decide to leave with your fly, they do it at better than fifty mph. As for numbers, this year has far surpassed the recent couple of years for sailfish, though the weather to date has not allowed us out there after them. I’m hoping they stick around when we get some better weather for them. Ten foot seas just aren’t workable to do them on fly. Just this past weekend, boats that braved the big seas were treated to double digit sails with a couple of boats getting upwards of twenty fish in a day. That’s just the kind of numbers I need to get them chasing the teasers. Here’s hoping it warms up soon.