Sketchy low tides and a minefield of oyster shell? No problem for these Northeast Florida kayakers. Edward Abbey once said if you want to see the desert, get down on your knees and start crawling. Kayaking is the boating equivalent, with fish and other wildlife only inches away.
As we exited the bustling Turnpike on a sunny March Friday afternoon after a six-hour drive south from Tallahassee, we noticed the weekend traffic picking up, boats being trailered to the water, tops down on convertibles and Jeeps—spring had arrived in the Sunshine State. Winding back on a county road to a series of dirt roads in western Martin County, my husband Tony and I made our way to a gate where cattle skulls welcomed us from each side of tall fence posts made of railroad ties.
Both waterways terminate at Lake Okeechobee, arguably the world’s most famous largemouth bass fishery. But if your idea of bass fishing is pitching soft plastics through hydrilla mats, drifting huge wild shiners and zooming home with 250 horses at your transom, you’re in for an awakening.
Update on where and when to go for silver king action in the Sunshine State. Where do you want to fish for tarpon this year? For Florida boat-owners and even many shore fishermen, the answer may be as simple as, how long do you want to wait for them to arrive?
This winter, I was granted a unique vantage point from which to observe the decision-making process. I was on board a SeaVee center console with the Sailsmen team. The 7-man team, many of them longtime friends, were preparing for Operation Sailfish, first of a 4-leg competitive series, the Quest for the Crest. The series wraps up April 12-17 with the Final Sail event.
Easy ways to find currents and eddies offshore. Tracking weather fronts has long been a big part of offshore fishing. Pretty easy, too. Just turn on the TV or check the Internet. No excuse for getting caught in a norther on your way to the marlin grounds.
Proper technique allows kayak and canoe fishermen to land large fish without getting dumped overboard. Offshore kayak fishing is a relatively new technique, and many anglers are learning on the fly. Safety must always be the first priority.
Mention varmint hunting to the seasoned outdoors person and the talk will turn to prairie dogs, coyotes in the snow, and other critters of the mountains and prairies. Even many seasoned varmint hunters don’t realize that Florida, too, can be a good place for this style of hunting.
Fisherman get a clear picture of the little-known, but widely distributed, mud crab. As Florida anglers know, there are a lot of fish that will gladly take various crabs as bait. For tarpon, permit, cobia and redfish, we often turn to blue crabs or swimming crabs.
Tripletail offer a curious challenge to the fly angler, and they are available around the state. Days and nights of stiff northeasterly winds had hampered our attempts to venture into the windblown Atlantic for more than a week. But now the long wait had ended with the arrival of calm winds and moderate ground swells.