February 21-23

It’s been a crazy week dealing with the extended periods of slacking tide, but we still caught fish. Knowledge is power when dealing with these crazy Winter patterns and it certainly paid off this week. We had some tough times along with some good ones. Depending on when you were fishing was a big deal this past week, as fish were mostly caught when the water was moving.

All week we did catch redfish, however not in the numbers as previous weeks. The fish seemed to be waiting on water to flow unless you practically hit them on the head. During the extended slack tide periods most bites were almost immediate. When the water was moving leaving baits in for five to ten minutes worked well. Surprisingly we caught a lot of snook this week, probably because the water temperature has gotten back into the low 70’s. Usually the rivers and creeks are more productive than the open bays during the Winter, but the fish were definitely on the move. Most guides I spoke with this week experienced the same pattern, so we all hope it continues.

Pompano have now shown up, so on the calmer days this will be easy picking for the next few months. Bluefish aren’t as regular currently, as expected with the warmer water. A good sheepshead bite continues, more on the near shore reefs and wrecks than the backcountry. There has been several 10-12 pound sheepshead caught nearshore, with most of the back-bay fish from one to six pounds.

Offshore guides are continuing to catch a boat load of mangrove snappers, lanes, and yellowtails, but seem to be missing the usual bee-line bycatch. Red groupers, gag groupers, and kingfish are filling in the rest of what’s going on.

Capt. Greg Stamper

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