St. Vincent Island to Steinhatchee
Includes Apalachicola, St. George Island, Carabelle, St. Marks and Keaton Beach
The first wave of 20-degree weather has invaded our region this week from some far off place in America. This spring break crowd is usually mild tempered and very eager to learn and explore our vast areas of water. Most of the spring break crowds are here for our beaches and a few are here for the springtime fishing. This is always a great time to introduce to a young person all the great things we have to share in our part of the world. Many are very eager to find new fishing spots and the craze now is to find backcountry paddleboard spots. I am always open to new faces and feel that our sleepy part of heaven can use some new faces about now!
We are going thru our on-and-off cold weather again. Last weekend we had the best weather so far this year, however, we did have some rough conditions offshore with 4 to 5 foot wave heights. This should start to calm down and we should start up our March madness fishing very soon. We are seeing good fish in our area already and hope that the trend continues. My predictions are that the water temps are still a few weeks away from the magic 68-degree number that we all look for. This warming of our “skinny” waters will ignite the baitfish and bring our inshore fishing to the hot topic again. We have had a very cold and wet winter this year and most experts say that we are going to in a El-Nino weather pattern again this year, which is not a good event, but we had 72 days of strait rain last summer, so bring it on. I am just getting ready to start up my 2014 fishing season this weekend and I am excited by the prospect.
Most trout and redfish are still caught between cold and warm weather. We have seen some smaller trout on the flats and in shallow water already in good school, so the outlook is good. Targeting these ever-moving fish may be a different story. With the changing tides and seasons, these fish will be looking for a constant source of food right now and finding the baitfish will be key in finding a good spots to fish. This changes every day, so now is the time to go scouting!
Offshore action is heating up as well in our region. After a long cold winter, we are all eager to get on the ocean and start fishing again. Some guys are still catching good number of seas bass right now on the outside of Bird Island and into the Carrabelle waters. Some of these fish are hitting the 18-inch mark and for a sea bass, that a nice fish. Most of the action is in 25 to 50 feet of water and I have had a few guys tell me that they were a little deeper than that. Cut bait is the bait of choice and strips baits work well also. Triggerfish and grunts are aggressive right now and plenty of them are being caught. Inshore or nearshore wrecks are your best bet for shallow water bottom fishing right now. Long-range trips are seeing good red grouper and AJ’s, but our season has not started that far out yet. This week should be a building week for our fisheries, so come on down and get out on the water!