Here we go folks; the winter fishing is in full swing. The
recent cold fronts have done the trick in bringing the winter bite to a full
term. Flamingo's gulf edges are full of macs, cobia, tripletail and snapper and
the flats around the inside are teaming with large trout, redfish and snook.
December will bring the backcountry of the Everglades alive.
The "PRES" Chris Dolne came down
again and the score was 7 bones, two permits and over a hundred cuda's...for the
5 day trip.
Whitewater Bay will soon be seeing the winter tarpon run and
fishing the creek mouths on the northeastern shores are already producing
redfish and snook, as well as a great snapper bite. The DOA plastic baits are
responsible for many of the redfish and snapper we caught in the backcountry.
The ½-ounce shrimp pattern in clear does the trick.
A water temp of 76 to 84 degrees is the optimum range for
the bonefish, but he will feed in much cooler water. As the water in Biscayne
Bay cools down you will see the bonefish begin to congregate in larger and
larger schools. This is a great advantage to an angler due to the competition
factor. When presenting bait or a fly to a school of feeding fish you have a
much greater chance of a hook-up. The fish are not as spooky in a school of a
dozen or more and will move across a flat in a formation like combat aircraft
leaving a very noticeable head wake.
Our flats here have bonefish constantly moving on and off of
them throughout the tide flows as they feed. This is why an experienced guide
will fish a flat that someone has just moved off of, but only if he moves off
slowly. Poling to the edge of the flat and idling till you have at least two
feet of water or more is the best way to ensure that the fish have not been
spooked. Taking the time to move off a flat will also ensure that you will not
dig a wheel ditch when you jump on plane. We all have seen these holes on our
flats as well as the long wheel ditches going all the way across-these scars
will take years to recover. This is also the ammo the "powers that be" will use
to close our waters.
The wily permit is still around with the majority of them on
the smaller side and in definite schooling patterns. Look for them around the
western banks of Biscayne Bay due to the warmer water temperatures that are
found there. The darker grass flats will hold the heat from the sun longer.
Watch your surface water temperatures very closely during these winter months.
If you can find a flat that has a two- to three-degree temperature rise you
will find bonefish and permit on it for sure.
Until next time - Tight lines and quick releases, and I will
see you "On The Flats."
Maverick Mirage HPX-V is again being E-Tec Powered by Jack Rupp and Sea-Power
Inc. I have the new 2010 90-HP.
Running my Terrapin about
as much as the Maverick and doing a bunch of days offshore has
contributed to low hours on all of my engines. Jack is located conveniently at
13610 SW 142 Ave right here in Miami near the Tamiami Airport. Contact him at:
or call 305-238-1386 for all
of your re-power and maintenance needs. They are the best I have found by
The skipper would
like to hear your fishing stories and reports for inclusion on the Chevy
Florida Fishing Reports, his website and print, or to book a trip, call him at
305-248-6126 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new websites
We're now paying the price
here on the Space and Treasure Coasts. With no hurricanes or major rain events
this past year, water levels are treacherously low and salinity levels are on
the rise. October was one of the warmest and driest months on record. To top it
off, it seems the wind blew for a month straight. Isn't October supposed to be
a month of change?
The record highs finally
subsided around the first week of November and things began to get back to
normal. I, along with others, will be glad to see 2009 as a memory.
Average winter temperatures
will range from the low 50s in the mornings to the mid 70s by the middle of the
afternoon. Water temps will range from the middle to high 60s to as low as the
mid 50s during extended cold periods. During these cold fronts, the morning
bite can be little to non-exsistent for many anglers, so do what I do. Sleep
in! But, each passing cold front means an eventual warm up of the grassflats and
offshore waters. Then it will be the time to get out and wet your lines!
Here's the skinny:
and reds will spend a majority of their time seeking warmer waters in the
deeper troughs and holes along the ICW. During Florida's winter bluebird days,
these species can be found sunning themselves in sandy "potholes" and atop the
oyster bars of the shallows. A slow presentation along the edge of the holes
with your favorite crank or soft bait should send the sunning predator into a
feeding frenzy. When fishing the deeper holes and drop-offs, utilize popping
cork rigs with either a live, dead or plastic shrimp. The popping action of the
rig will normally bring the fish up and out of the deeper waters.
Black Drum: Large
migrating schools of black drum can be found swimming, feeding and lounging
north of the Pineda Causeway and in the Banana River "No Motor Zone." Live shrimp, dead shrimp and cut
clams... well, just about anything will account for many of the monster catches.
I recommend not using anything lighter than a 20-pound rig with 60-pound leader
on these giants. Between grinding their heads into the bottom and running back
into the school, the lighter rigs just won't hold up during a long battle with
Inshore Trolling: Wintertime means trolling
deepwater plugs along the deeper edges and troughs of the ICW for keeper
snapper and grouper. It will take a good bottom finder for consistent catches
of these prized offshore fish. If the winds will let you, try "slow trolling"
with your trolling motor instead of your main engine.
Sebastian Inlet: Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead and drum will account for much
of the wintertime catch west of the jetties. Silver spoons, jigs and
windcheaters are the inlet angler's weapon of choice. For those brave enough to
weather the wintertime blows, try fishing at night on an incoming tide.
Bottom fishing for grouper and snapper is always consistent this time of year
on the deeper ledges, reports Capt. Billie Stewart of Rouge Wave Fishing
Charters. Drop fishing with jigs and live bait will account for much of the
bottom catch. The kingfish bite will be dependant on the cycle of winter storms
and water clarity. Within the next month, the National Marine Fisheries Service
will be voting on the new bottom fishing regulations concerning these species.
If you're an offshore bottom fishermen, it's now that the Coastal Conservation
Association/Florida can use your support.
Dive Report: Lobster divers report that both spiny
and shovelnose catches have been consistent on the 90- to 120-foot ledges. As
usual, the 40- to 60-foot ledges have been picked clean early in the season.
Grouper and snapper will be lining up for the spear fishermen on the reefs
getting ready to breed in the shallower, inshore waters. Due to the cold water
and deeper dive, Nitrox is recommended for those divers doing multiple drops
during the winter months. Get your spear fishing in now-it may be your last for
Flats fishermen and waterfowl hunters will be sharing the grassflats through
Sunday, January 31, 2010. Flats fishermen are reminded that these outdoorsmen
only get to enjoy their sport for 60 days a season. A 300-yard buffer will let
hunters and flats fishermen enjoy their traditions.
"See you on the boat or in
Capt. Jeff Kraynik