It's January and the weather is in the 70's, it's sunny almost every day and the fish are biting. There aren't too many places in the United States, or most of the world for that matter, where you can make a true statement like that.
The redfish are schooled up big-time right now. Low tide situations are producing large numbers of fish in the channels, run-offs and the deeper cuts along the mangroves. On the really high tides they are schooled up on the flats as well. Mike and Fran Chapin were in from the Chicago area for there annual winter fishing trip. They experienced some intense non-stop action of the powerful, schooled up feeding redfish. We boated more than 50 reds in the 2-6 pound range and some bully black drum up to 7 pounds. The action was fast and furious. Sore arms and smiling faces at days end. There's been a few snook in the mix as well and some real bruisers up to 14 pounds. Very nice to see our snook population coming back from the cold snap we had a few years ago.
The trout bite remains as good as ever. We've been getting some nice fat fish up to 22 inches. These beautiful speckled sea trout are great fun for the whole family. It's not uncommon to catch 80-100 in a 1/2 day trip. The action is fast. Doubles and triple hook-ups when the bite is on. For consistent action it's hard to beat the trout, snapper and spanish mackerel bite this time of year. If you're someone who enjoys bending the rod - fish after fish - these are the species to target. This is a great way to get a kid hooked on fishing.
The shark fishing can be good this time of year - although I do prefer the warmer months for more consistent action. George Luburich is a regular and he's the kind of guy who wants something large on the end of his line. We landed a nice 6 pound snook, several jacks and ladyfish and then it was time to go after Jaws! We cut up the jacks and ladyfish for bait. Baited up the shark rod and let the big man hang on and wait. George boated a big stingray and his brother-in -law landed one of the biggest sharks I've seen in the backcountry - weighing in at a whopping 350 pounds. Happy guys heading back home to the north. George will be back again in the spring for his annual tarpon trip. The big 100-200 pound tarpon will start showing up in March and the peak time will be mid April through June.
If the cold weather is getting you down - pick up the phone, book a trip to the beautiful, warm, sunny Florida Keys and "Lets Go Fishin"!