Find a dark, stagnant pool or stream tucked way back in a mangrove swamp and there’s a good chance you’ll spot little silver fish rolling at the surface. Odds are they are tarpon, very small ones, only 1 to 3 feet long, and they are gulping air—a survival tactic that enables these fish to survive in habitats that repel most others.
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.
Winter is a great time to target trout, but the setting and methods may differ sharply around the state. According to our updated Florida climate data in the 2015 Fishing Planner, average low temps for the month of December differ greatly from one end of the Florida peninsula to the other.
This is East Central Florida’s fabled No Motor Zone, 10,600 acres of water nestled in the Banana River, east of the Indian River Lagoon. It was established in 1990 to protect the manatee population. Merritt Island forms the west bank of the N.M.Z.; the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is the barrier from the Atlantic Ocean.
How would you handle fishing for one particular kind of fish, hundreds of miles from home, on a random calendar date? What would be your strategy? What resources might you use? What tackle would you bring?These are the kinds of questions tournament fishermen routinely answer.
Many of the largest swordfish of the year are caught as they migrate through our waters in winter. Each year as the weather turns cold, Florida east coast anglers begin targeting sailfish as they migrate south with each passing cold front. When chasing sailfish, the best fishing usually occurs on the leading edge of the cold front when the wind is blowing the hardest and the seas are rough.
Bird hunting can be a passion that consumes a big part of a hunter’s life; maintaining and training dogs year-round, traveling from state to state with changing seasons, maybe flying to Argentina for fast and furious shooting, rising at 3 a.m. to lug and set decoys, and even raising and stocking quail to ensure action on hunts. This is all well and good, but what about the hunter who just wants a Saturday morning outing in the Florida outdoors with a bit of wingshooting? The answer is snipe, the perfect game bird for the solitary hunter, a pair of hunters, or a group of hunters with or without dogs. They are easy to find, hard to hit, and even warn you when they up and fly! The bag limit is generous enough to supply a few hours of fun and exercise.
Located in the eastern middle of the state, Lake Okeechobee is truly a huge body of water. Miles of shoreline, bays, airboat trails, grass edges, floating hyacinth islands and a host of other bass habitat await anglers. It seems that every foot of it is prime bass water. The lake also holds stable populations of black crappie, shellcrackers, bluegill, channel catfish, gar and a host of other freshwater fishes.
Why bother with largemouth bass in the land of giant tarpon, exotic snook and big sharks? If you’re one of the droves of anglers visiting or relocating to Southwest Florida, it’s a question worth asking. That’s assuming, of course, that you’re even aware of the excellent bass fishing in the region. Sure, you’ve heard of Lake Okeechobee. But in between the big lake and the saltwater flats, there are countless small lakes, canal systems and even some substantial rivers which hold good populations of bass, not to mention other freshwater species.
Feel the urge to hunt? Now’s the time to give standup redfishing a shot. When kayakers ask about sight-fishing for giant Indian River Lagoon spotted seatrout, most recommend they stay seated and content themselves with casting. Redfish may be another story.
If you want your new boat to be more of a family cruiser that can also fish with the best of them, start up at the bow and look for wide cushions in a wraparound seating configuration. Throw in a removable picnic table and opposing seats on the front of the center console and you have a forward area set up for entertaining.