Still a great choice, the lower Bay is one of those places that is part of the routine. Illegal netting activity has made the action less of what it was last year. The best officers have been made aware of these incidents and hopefully they will put these morons out of business.
Keep the number ready: Felony poachers are a way of life on the south shore. Call it in. A poacher is a common thief, who is stealing from us all. Put this in your phone: 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Flounder action dried up in December. A larger one is rare. Small ones are caught on a regular basis. They will be back in the spring. Areas to the north there are still a few.
Sheepshead action is strong. I’m not into using bait so I have not been in on the flounder action but on days coming up where the tides are poor, I will consider it. Live shrimp, fiddler crabs are the two best items to feed a sheepshead.
From years past: Silver trout finally arrived in their usual locations. They vary in size from year to year. They have been pretty good in size this year: Numbers, they’re always big in numbers. Aggressive, a silver trout is a hard fighter compared to their cousins, the speckled trout. This year: Haven’t found them well at all. Could that change with cold fronts? It might.
Speckled trout action is decent on the south shore. It is isolated and very good in some locations. Other areas that used to have fantastic trout opportunities are vacant.
Redfish rounds out the opportunities. I believe that their numbers would be better but they have moved around to avoid the human activity mentioned above: The illegal netters do more than just change fish behavior patterns: They kill our smaller sport fish. That’s why they call it a “gill net.” Redfish are just tougher all over. We need better species management. I haven’t killed on in five years and probably never will. Can we get them back to where they were??
As always: Be careful out there!
The lower Bay just continues to be great opportunities. Again, in a battle that is never really over: The great work of FWC officers to target felony netters and keep an eye on other recreational offenders has led to better fishing for us all. Their continued efforts to catch felony netters are making the south shore region return as a great fishery again. But help them out: Keep your eyes peeled for illegal activity and make a call if you see poaching, 888-404-FWCC (3922). Your tips will help make cases and you could be eligible for a reward.
I have been asked to not stop sending this particular message: Catch a legal snook: Let it go. Let’s rebuild this trophy fishery. We have plenty of other options for take-home fish, why shoot yourself in the foot and limit your own future? It is even more crucial now as I had clients catch legal size snook this past week: All fish were returned to remain part of our fishery and future. My clients caught a few legal size fish. All were more than happy to release “our future.” Honestly, why not just eat something else? Coming up on five years since the awful weather event, we do not have a fishery anywhere close to what we had in 2009, and won’t for many years yet. Be a part of the solution: Bring back our fishery of snook at the most rapid rate possible, let them all go.
Kayak Fishing Skool resumes this month (Jan. 24th). The January topic is “Spanish Mackerel”. The new venue: My house. You want to work mackerel in: Buy my pompano teasers. The teaser is the best mackerel lure there is. Any color. My house is in Clearwater on 590, halfway between 19 and McMullen Booth. My kayak trailer in the yard, it is easy to find. South side of the road. 2813 SR 590.