Fishing Report


By Captain Dave Lear

Unsettled weather and elevated winds have curtailed much of the fishing activity this week. Spring-like conditions are supposed to return by the weekend, however, and coastal water temperatures are slowing climbing. When they reach the magic upper 60s mark, expect the action to bust wide open.” Pine and maple seed pods, flocks of migrating robins and finches, plus dustings of yellow tree pollen are all signs of the impending seasonal change.

Last weekend’s milder temperatures produced quality catches, despite the low water levels. The coastal rivers are still holding trout, redfish, sheepshead and mangrove snapper, particularly the deeper holes. Live shrimp soaked on the bottom or jigs tipped with pieces of fresh shrimp are proving the most effective offering. The backcountry creeks of the refuge are also winter haunts for game fish. Oyster bars and rock piles that are warmed by the sun are holding nice trout. Try a noisy topwater lure like a Heddon Super Spook or Rapala Skitter Walk once the structure is covered with enough water. Deeper holes are also good places to toss suspending plugs like the Paul Brown, Unfair Lures or MirrOlure variety. Gold patterns still get the nod with the stained water, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Nearshore, flounder are stacked around the artificial reefs. Black sea bass, Key West grunts and mangrove snapper are more options. Don’t be surprised to find the rod bowed over with a grouper or bull red, either. Both will provide sport but must be released.

According to the mid-week forecast, Friday looks like the best window of opportunity with light and variable winds. Saturday and Sunday are predicted to be very fishable, though, with normal wind levels out of the south/southwest. Tuesday’s full moon is generating some early water movement, with more than three feet of flooding tide by mid-day after negative lows (be aware of launch sites). An approximate two-hour window from mid-morning until lunch offers high solunar activity as the moon is down. Expect another average but brief feeding period starting about 3 p.m.  

Now is also the best time to service boats and tackle before shops get backlogged with work. And if you’re in the market for a new ride, be sure to check out the annual Tallahassee Boat Show, March 1-3, at the Fairgrounds on South Monroe. Admission and parking are free.

We’re still a few weeks off from the true spring explosion. Take the opportunity to tune up tackle, the boat and service the trailer so you’ll be ready when it does go off.  Give Gil, our service manager, a call (925-6223, Ext 2) to schedule your work so you will be ready for Spring fishing and boating.