Jacks Can Save the Day
Got out early Thursday morning before the sun and before the eventual wind. Carefully I poled a mile of flat looking for “tailing” reds. Conditions weren’t great yet I did see three “tails”. Unfortunately all of them were at long range. And by the time I got into position each of them had disappeared. Damn!
Jack on a 6-weight fly rod
After my search for tails, I poled the sandbar as the wind slowly increased. Quite a few catfish and mullet were busy swimming around. But still no sign of reds. So I climbed off the Adios and walked the bar northward. Then up ahead I saw a dark shape coming at me. Quickly I dropped a crab fly directly in its path. The fish shot ahead and nailed it hard, taking off on several strong runs. Not a red or a snook, mind you but a decent jack. Sometines jacks save the day.
Windy days are often a nuisance. Every effort to cast becomes an ordeal. Waves slam into you as you wade. Or the boat is rocking and rolling. Nothing seems to be going your way. But hang on amigo. Windy days can be your friend.
Down here in Charlotte Harbor we lack strong tides much of the year. So the tidal range is typically no great shakes. And there are even days when the tides only changes once and barely moves. As a result, rips are rare. Now that puts us folks fishing Charlotte Harbor at a disadvantage. Why? Current revs up predatory fish to feed. And we don’t have those currents.
Windy Day Redfish
This is where the wind comes in. A windy day in Charlotte Harbor can crank up the action. Let me give you a good example. In my location we just had a week of piss poor tides. Terribly weak, no water moving. But we also had gusty sea breezes pushes a continuous line of waves over the sandbar, each of them crashing onto the inside edge of the bar producing both current and turbulence. The net result was active feeding fish both on the bar and flat. The redfish above is a good example as is the spotted seatrout below. So learn to fish in the wind!
Windy Day Spotted Seatrout
Spotted Sea Trout Fishery has an Emergency Regulation.
Yesterday Florida Fish and Wildlife imposed a new restriction on the spotted seatrout fishery along the Gulf coast. Trout are very sensitive to red tide and because of it their numbers are way the hell down. In fact in Charlotte Harbor it is extremley hard to find a fish over 11 inches these days. This is a sad story for what is likely the most sought after fish in my water.
Released Spotted Seatrout
Here’s the new regulation for spotted sea trout. (Please note that last night the local nightly news incorrectly annouced that the entire trout fishery was closed.)
“Currently, anglers may harvest a single spotted seatrout per day that is larger than 20 inches. Starting Friday, Feb. 22, recreational anglers will no longer be allowed to harvest any spotted seatrout over 20 inches total length when fishing in state or federal waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line south to Gordon Pass in Collier County. This rule change will remain in effect through May 10, 2019. Red drum and snook are currently catch-and-release only in this region through May 10 as well.”
As noted, at this point the redfish fishery is closed to harvest, as is the snook fishery. And legal size spotted sea trout are pretty much nonexistant in Charlotte Harbor.