Winter fishing has been pretty interesting as of late. Jacks have poured into the area and have provided some good entertainment. Especially during the post front periods with high winds and cold temps. With waves of ballyhoo pouring through, ten thousand jacks rise to the surface and crash everything in sight. Easily a good reason to brave twenty mile an hour winds. And employing a teaser plug on a spinning rod can bring a hundred jacks charging the boat, an easy cast for most everyone that isn’t so intimidated by the sight that they aren’t backing up in the boat.
Bluefish and Spanish mackerel schools are along the beaches, both of which are in a slightly higher weight range than typical. Some of the bigger blues have been upwards of ten pounds and the Spanish mackerel have been very nice in the five pounds and slightly larger range.
In recent weeks some truly huge king mackerel have taken to cruising the outer edges of the Spanish mackerel schools, weights over fifty pounds have been recorded, though we haven’t gotten tangled up with one like that on fly, some twenty pounders have been caught. We have been encountering more cobia here and there during good visibility, we boated another forty pounder a week ago.
During good weather windows we have managed some dolphin offshore. Last Thursday Darren Selznick, owner of the Old Florida Fly Shop in Boca and I managed to catch six or seven, keeping just two for dinner. I hear reports of false albacore and medium sized blackfin tuna putting in sporadic appearances, but I always seem to be elsewhere doing other things when that occurs.
One of the more interesting pass times of late has been using fast sinking fly lines on rock piles, reefs and wrecks. Some of the more exotic species coming over the side have been various snapper,(mutton, yellowtail, lane and even a few vermillion snapper, a truly special catch since they are more often found in very deep water out of the range of any sinking fly line) horse-eye jacks, juvenile amberjacks and even a few grouper. The depths we’ve been working have been as deep as eighty feet and on days when surface/sight casting opportunities have been nil, the fast sinkers have been a real day saver.
The back bays have had good number of ladyfish, pompano, barracuda, smaller jacks and other assorted light tackle fare such as croaker and seatrout.
Twenty possible species is nice, (my best one day total is fifteen), all in all, pretty decent fishing. Though the spinner sharks have been MIA and the sailfish bite has been less than stellar, both of those situations I hope will change shortly. We have had a succession of cold fronts moving through, (the same frontal systems that have caused all the crappy weather throughout the rest of the country) and that is just the kind of weather change to stir the pot and get things really popping.