Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reds are Still Rollin

Is it normal to catch a redfish on almost every cast?  The redfish continue to be one of the main target species this winter.  Some of my spots are filled with them.  Literally hundreds of them and they are hungry!  They are eating shrimp, gulp shrimp and yes, they are even eating the fly.  Drop a small weighted clouser in the hole and wham - redfish. 
The last few days have produced lots and lots of redfish, some good size sheepshead up to 5 pounds and some nice trout.  The spanish mackerel bite has been very good out west with some snapper, jacks, ladyfish and trout in the mix. 
The redfish are the really big story this year.  Last winter was super cold.  We had a fish kill worse than anyone had seen in a lifetime.  The snook, baby tarpon, bonefish, jacks, snapper, grouper and even some sharks where severely affected.  Almost all of these species that got caught in the shallow backcountry waters died.  Yes, the shorelines were filled with thousands of dead fish.  From Tampa to the Florida Keys, February 2010 will forever be remembered as one of the biggest fish kills in Florida history.  But - with every bad comes something good.  The redfish can handle the severe temperature drop.  They had a normal spawn in 2010 and because there were far less predatory fish (snook, baby tarpon, jacks) to eat the fry and fingerling reds - the population exploded.  This last summer of 2010 these newly spawned reds were averaging 12-14 inches.  Now they are averaging 15-18 inches.  We are still catching some larger reds in the mix - but the big numbers we're catching are from the great spawn last year.  By spring 2011, I expect these fish to be 18-22 inches on average and another great spawn to produce even more great redfishing. 
The trout also can handle the temperature drop and are still around in great numbers.  The majority of our snapper migrated out to the deep water wrecks and reefs.  They have returned to the backcountry in good numbers as well.  The migratory tarpon were unaffected - as they were in the warmer waters of the Caribbean during the cold snap.  In fact, last tarpon season (April- July 2010) was one of the best I have ever seen.   We caught tarpon almost every evening with several 3 and 4 fish catches.  To catch 3 or 4 -100 pound plus tarpon in a 4 hour evening trip is a great feet.  You are pretty much catching a fish from the moment you put a line in until we head back to the dock.  I look for this years tarpon season to be as good or better.
Another good thing to come from last years fish kill is - there are more crabs, shrimp, pinfish and all other kinds of baitfish.  So, with more bait in the area, the fish have more to eat and will grow faster and stay in feeding areas longer.  Bigger fish to come and easier to find.  I can't wait for this years upcoming fishing - it should be great!  Give me a call and - LETS GO FISHIN!
Captain Steve Murray
Phone:  305 - 393 - 1641
Email:  stevemurray126@att.net
Website:  www.tarponheadquarters.com