Perdido Key to Cape San Blas
Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe
November 20 – 22
It looks like a little more of the same this weekend weather-wise. A swell moving in from the southeast will keep seas over three feet all weekend. Add in the winds coming from the east and things will be pretty bumpy offshore. The good news is, in the Panhandle of Florida and there is plenty of options for the Florida Sportsman.
Inshore, the cold evening temperatures will have the water dropping a few degrees and it may be enough to push the fish into their wintertime spots. Moving a little deeper into the backwaters may be the ticket to a great afternoon of fishing. If the woods are more your style, now is as good as any to get out and sit in a tree stand.
If offshore fishing is your only vice, this weekend can bring some ideal weather to get out and do some work on the boat. Everything may be running great, but it wont be long until something goes. Doing a once over of electronic connections, bilges, safety gear, and radio is always recommended. Diving in a little deeper than just making sure the bilge clicks on can save problems down the road. Every wire on a boat has two connecting points. Where the wires are connected is usually the culprit of most electronic issues. Looking over wires is a good way to tell if any corrosion is going on. Giving the wires a gentle tug will reaffirm their status. Often times, wires that are on their way out will be flimsy or loose feeling and it is only a matter of time before it fails. Catching these issues on land can be the difference between life and death offshore. Safety is paramount and a good fishing trip can only be great if you make it back to the dock. All too often, we hear of sad stories and most result from some sort of electrical problem. Check everything visually first, then give it a second check physically.
This weekend’s higher winds will make for the perfect time to get out and hide in the tall grasses and trees in the bayous, creeks, and rivers. Live bait is always a bonus this time of year and lately it has been easy to come by. Look for the fish to stack up around deep docks, bridges, and pockets in the bends. Canals are another good place to duck out of the wind and bend a rod. I like to tie up a basic freeline rig with 10-15 pound fluorocarbon leader and 3/0 or 4/0 hook, then add small split shots above the leader. I like to use just enough to reach the bottom and allow for gentle natural fall. A lot of the times the current is slack enough that a 4/0 J-hook is enough with a shrimp to allow for a natural fall. Light action rods and light braided main lines are the best for wintertime trout fishing. The bite can be super light and subtle. Having the right action rod can make a big difference.
With the passing cold front, game in the field has been on the move. Personally, I am one of those diehard archery hunters and to me it takes a lot to keep me out of the stand early season. The last week has brought a lot of activity and the cold air seems to have the deer thinking about the next big season… the rut. Bachelor groups of bucks are still together, but I have definitely seen some of the aggression picking up. The play fights are getting a little more serious and the younger bucks are showing respect to the mature ones. The only way to experience this is to get out and sit in the stand. There is much, much, more than deer out there. The dove numbers have been up and some of the local shoots have been really good. Another option this weekend is opening of the second phase of duck season. Creeks, ponds, and the marshes will be the best bet. There may be a few divers around, but the numbers will be low along the Intracoastal. It might be a good idea to bring a rod. Some of the same duck spots in the marsh can be great spots for redfish. Only one way to experience the outdoors… step outside and enjoy them! Tight lines.