Fishing: It’s all about the Conditions

Fishing: It’s all about the Conditions

When you fish in the salt you learn fast that fishing is all about the conditions. The tide, the wind, the weather, water temperature, the sun and the moon, man everything has an impact. In the last post we looked at the hunt for “tailing” redfish and the conditions needed to make that possible. Let me add to that.

Last light on the Flats

Unfortunately the night after our successful trip was riddled with thunderstorms, making any outing impossible. The next night, however, looked promising for those amazing “tailing” redfish. The thunderstorms had started earlier in the day and were played out by twilight, although a light seabreeze gave us reason for concern. But with fingers crossed,  we forged ahead anyway, reaching the flat about 7PM. Fanning out, the three of us covered over 400 yards of water in total. The search was on for “tailers”. But after an hour it came apparent that the redfish were not going to show. Damn.

We had to face it, the conditions weren’t quite right. Yes, the light seabreeze was one problem, but I think the tide was the real issue. We had low water alright but the tide was still going out. Not good. Why? Last time it was the first of the incoming that lit the fishing fuse. This night the incoming wouldn’t happen until after dark.

Why would incoming help us? The flats were too low and too warm at the moment. The flood would inject a slug of cooler water.  And moreover the incoming creates turbulence and current over the sandbar, pushing food onto the flat. That sparks the fish to feed, especially  along the inside edge of the bar. Yeah it’s all about the conditions.

 

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“Tailing” Reds in the Twilight

“Tailing” Reds in the Twilight:

Summer fishing in the subtropics can be brutal.  Old Helios is a your merciless companion, absolutely furious, baking you to the bone as sweat rains down your face. After a couple hours on the water your energy level drains toward zero. And if that isn’t bad enough, the soaring water temperatures on the flat often kills any hope of finding aggressive fish. You’re cooked and the fish are cooked too.

So as a rule this time of year its best to focus your fishing early and late, especially if you can also get good tides. Well that just happened, amigo. During the last few days we have had strong low tides in early evening, perfect for finding “tailing” reds. But there is always a catch. Reds refuse to “tail” unless it is dead calm. So you pray there is no late day sea breeze to mess things up. And more concerning yet, late afternoon is the time of day we get powerful, towering thunderstorms, and you don’t want to be on the water in one of those. Believe me.

Dave’s “Tailing” Redfish

Luckily, last night the weather gods were on our side. Low tide arrived at 7:30PM and there were no storms on the radar screen. Zero, zilch. Not a one in our area. Plus we had calm winds. Conditions were ripe. Now it was up to us to take advantage of it.

We left the ramp around 6 PM, a tad early perhaps. But as the light lowered, the air grew still and the tide began to move we found “tailing” reds. My, my. They were not spread out on the flat but located mainly to the north of us mixed with large numbers of snook, all of them feeding right along the edge of the sandbar. Dave got a beauty right off and I caught one later right at last light. Good summer fishing!

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Finally Back on the Water

Finally Back on the Water:

After many weeks in dry dock, Monday I got my butt back on the water. Left the ramp around 7:30 Am, and paddled out into a sunny, calm morning. Felt good.

When I reached the sandbar I noticed that the water was a bit tannic from all the rain. Sight-fishing would be difficult. But that is to be expected at this time of year. The water temperature was 81 degrees (high tide) and the air temperature the same.

Many snook live where the sandbar meets the island

On my first cast I got a small snook. Not a bad way to begin the morning. And others came to the fly in short order. These guys are pretty much resident fish where the bar connects to the island. The best fishing for them is usually during the early hours of the incoming. Still some where still there at the upper stages of the tide. Saw no spotted sea trout or redfish, however.

As the sun approached the zenith, it bored down like a laser. Honestly it was more than I cared to deal with. I headed back home.

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Red Tide in the Gulf fed by the Saharan Desert?

Red Tide in the Gulf fed by the Saharan Desert?

Recently an angler friend sent me a link to a study funded in part by NASA. This study looked at the effect the Saharan Desert has on red tide in the Gulf of Mexico. The Saharan and the Gulf are connected? Sounds mighty wild, no? Not only is the Saharan Desert is tens of thousands of miles to east, it is barren territory devoid of much life. How on earth could it encourage red tide here in Florida? How?

Well its a fascinating connection that shows just how interdependent our planet’s ecosystems are.  To learn more read this.

 

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Lake Okeechobee is an Enormous Problem

Lake Okeechobee is an Enormous Problem:

Lake Okeechobee is enormous. Covering over 720 square miles, it’s no wonder Okeechobee is called Florida’s inland sea. My god there is over a trillion gallons of water there. But Okeechobee is also an enormous problem.

The water’s of the lake are held back by earthen dam know as the Herbert Hoover dike. While the lake is a shallow body of water of about 9 feet, each year the rains of spring and summer push the lake higher, reaching 15, 16 feet or more. At present due to the record rain falls of May 2018, the lake is 17 feet, something not seen in 50 years. And we are in hurricane season too, a time when torrential rain events can happen at any time.

Given the poor condition of the dike ( It will take another 5 years to repair it) the Army Corp of Engineers has to be proactive release lake water in an effort to avoid a dike break that would threaten thousands of lives in the surrounding towns as well as the sugar cane industry nearby.

Some of the release goes eastward into the St. Lucie Estuary and some flows southward toward the Everglades, but most goes westward down the Caloosahatchee Rivers, exiting out onto Florida’s fabulously Treasure Coast. ( There it turns the the beautiful crystal water of the Gulf of Mexico around Sanibel and Captiva into a disgusting brown soup. Worse yet the lake water is loaded with pollutants, most notably agricultural runoff from local farming and the sugar industry. And along with these pollutants the lake releases its  enormous algae blooms, at present estimated to cover 102 square miles! All of it arriving on the coast poisoning the ecosystem, killing marine live and tourism. What a disaster!

The time is long over due for the state of Florida government to truly face the problem. Yes as we speak some political efforts are being made both in Tallahassee and Washington DC, but only after a huge outcry from the population. And it is also high time for the Florida legislature to realize that the sugar industry has become too powerful in Tallahassee. The industries pervasive lobbying efforts coupled with their generous offers of campaign cash has corrupted the system from the governor’s office on down. In turn the industry has prevented any serious Okeechobee water release reform that might effect their business. These companies are U.S. Sugar, the Sugar Growers of Florida Cooperative, and the Fanjul Corporation, collective referred to as “Big Sugar”, and behind closed doors as “the sugar racket”.

Post Script: Unfortunately more bad news. Red tide continues along our coast. Remember it arrived in late November and and should have been gone in a matter of weeks? But here we are six months later and the problem remains. Where the freak is this all headed? Is red tide poised to become a year-round phenomena?

Please check this out this link!!!!!  https://www.facebook.com/442147722805791/posts/634229996930895/

 

 

 

 

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