It is sad seeing 'ol 2011 leave...such a phenomenal year of great charters, amazing weather, and so much good luck last year I wouldn't know were to start! The big snook, tarpon, and everything in between chewing like crazy is going to be dearly missed. Unless we roll into 2012 and it rocks even harder!
Locally, we've had a plethora of baitfish and juvenile game fish and it is not too far-fetched to think we may be in for a banner year. Inshore fishing has seen its ups and downs in our area, as the circle of life underwater goes on. Our snook population, which was brought to its knees two winters ago, is now on its strongest rebound I have ever witnessed in my 30 years of being in Southwest Florida. Lots of juveniles in the nursery grounds are showing that our snook are spawning a year.
Wintertime catch and release style will be excellent during the cooler days in January when the sun comes out and warms that black mud bottom of the Caloosahatchee River just enough to wake them suckers up! You can catch these by downsizing your tackle and fishing much slower than normal. Fishing lighter leader like 20-pound Yozuri pink fluorocarbon will help present that light bait perfect in that 30-inchers eyes. I love fishing light bucktails tipped with shrimp, which allows me not only to target snook but nearly every other species of carnivorous fish in saltwater. It's such a good all-around bait for the cooler months so don't be afraid to hop that jig so slow that it may rest motionless on the bottom for a couple of seconds before hopping it again!
With seatrout coming back into season I'm sure a lot of y’all will be targeting them for the broiler, and there’s no better time than on our cool mornings. Big trout love cool, calm mornings to go out and feed on top. Fishing soft plastic jerkbaits in pearl white on the surface or a Rapala Skitter Walk is all you'll need. Just know that only one of your keeper trout in the box can be over 20 inches, because this time of year you'll be catching plenty of oversized ones!
Our inshore redfishing will continue to be sweet on our better tides with evening negative low tides being best for tailing fish. Texas rigged shrimp fished on 15- to 20-pound leaders will knock out these spooky shallow water fish in any conditions. Fishing from Chino Island to Pineland Marina with these northeast winds we will be experiencing for a couple of months will help you find shelter from the wind and plenty of fish.
If you find those super-slick calm days and want to shoot offshore, don't think about it, just do it. Fishing in our Gulf for all of our bottom fish is continuing to be red hot. Big grouper, cobia, and sizeable amberjack can be found on nearly all of our nearshore wrecks and ledges. Keep an eye on our ever-changing ridiculous grouper regs so you aren’t boarded by our friendly FWC officers and find yourself with a hefty fine. It's still pretty awesome to catch a 30-inch gag even if you have to let it go.
With plenty of big mangrove snapper and cobia around it's no problem to bring home dinner. Fishing live pinfish on 50-pound braid is my "go-to" for wreck fishing. This combination works great for working over a big cobia when fishing structure. Whenever fishing wrecks, try to fish in the areas adjacent to the structure rather than trying to drop down right on top of it. If you can get those big predators to pull of the wreck a few feet before hooking them, you have a much better shot at getting them to the boat. With our insane springtime fishing around the corner, it’s time to get out there and warm up the tackle and go fishing – because in South Florida fishing is always good! Tight lines and good times!
Capt. Chris was raised in Fort Myers and is the son of Scott Rush, owner of San Carlos Marine. He grew up in South Florida and the Florida Keys. Experienced in all of SW Florida’s waters as a backbay and offshore guide, Chris runs his business simply by word of mouth. Word spreads quickly when your customers are boating 20lb+ snook and landing 100lb+ tarpon on fly. Chris has the patience to provide advice and coaching for everyone from children to CEO’s. Chris spends more than 280 days guiding and fishes 20+ tournaments annually.Born and raised in SW Florida, Capt. Lacey is a 4th-generation native. She learned how to swim before she could walk and could shoot a spear gun before she could read. Lacey is an experienced diver and spearfisher with hundreds of hours spent underwater. She has spent her life operating boats up to 35’ in some of the toughest conditions. Her hard-working spirit, good ‘ol southern hospitality and values are what you’ll love about fishing with Capt. Lacey! Rush Charters can accomodate up to 6 anglers on their offshore boat, 1-4 on their Ranger bay boat, and as few as 1-3 anglers on their Ranger flats boat. With both captains, they can accomodate parties of up to 8 customers. Come experience the RUSH of a lifetime with Rush Charters! Contact Info: Capt. Chris & Capt. Lacey RushRush Charters(p) 239 482-0193 Office(p) 239 980-1436 Lacey(p) 239 229-5388 Chris(w) rushcharters.com