Well I can’t believe another year has come and gone. Frankly, living in the Florida Keys time seems to go by faster. You’re not reminded by the normal seasonal changes that much of the country has and which reminds you of where you are on the calendar. Take this winter for example. For the most part other than the days being shorter, the temperatures are getting into the low 80’s during the day. What month am I in? January? Really? With the exception of a couple of cooler weeks prior to Christmas, it’s been downright balmy and just like the past two winters. I hate making fishing predictions because Mother Nature calls the shots, but it’s looking like it’s going to setup for the kind of amazing tarpon fishing we had in Islamorada in February and March of last year. Fingers crossed!
Fishing in the park continues to be excellent for just about everything. When I refer to the “park” it’s Everglades National Park I am speaking of. One of the best things about fishing out of Islamorda is its proximity to the park. From almost any launching point in Islamorada a five minute boat ride will place you inside a 1.5 million acre wilderness that is virtually inaccessible without a boat. No jet skis, no commercial fishing, no random boat traffic. There are days when you only share the park with dolphin, turtles, gators, maybe a croc and an amazing amount of bird life. If you don’t understand why such an experience is a big deal even if the fishing stinks, you better stick to party boats or fishing under a bridge.
The last month or so the snook bite has still been solid, although I really wish things were a bit cooler. Cooler mornings will have those fish out in the open sunning and warming up. Bright, warm mornings are a different story. Those fish will sometimes stick to the mangroves like glue. Unless of course there are thousands of finger mullet swimming around. That kind of candy with fins can cause the most stubborn of fish to abandon all caution. All they need then is a perfectly placed fly right in front of their mug! When snook are hanging under cover, the spinning rod definitely has the advantage. But then again, it usually does. A well placed jerk bait is hard thing for a snook to resist. It still baffles me that some people think you can’t catch snook without live bait. Trust me, they eat artificials just fine. That said, just because you have a spinning rod in your hand doesn’t mean it’s going to happen on it’s own. Skipping plastics under the mangroves takes plenty of skill. If you don’t know how to feather a cast or even know what it means look it up. It’s a necessary skill to cast accurately with a spinning rod. Whether it’s a tailing redfish, a mudding bonefish, a permit or rolling tarpon, know how to feather your casts for accuracy and more hookups!
Happy New Year everyone and tightlines! Until next time. -Pete