As many anglers know we had a hard freeze in Florida, all of it. The most hurt gamefish was the Snook. These fish have taking a very bad blow, but not taken out of the game. With careful conservation by anglers they will make a strong comeback. We have seen plenty venturing out of the depths to the sun drenched shorelines. This year anglers should be looking to target the other great species we have to offer. Trout, reports of some of the largest being caught from Tampa south to Estero Bay. Trout are aggressive feeders and will take a variety of lures and flies. Drop offs with current and structure like grass and sand will be your best bet. Redfish, are a dominate fish along the Gulf Coast. A powerful fighter and a great winter time target redfish with eat the same lures and flies that you have for Trout. Redfish will be prowling the mudflats and outside islands from Marco to Flamingo. Fish coves near the outside with sand, mud, grass and oysterbars. Down trees around outside points make cover that attract crabs and baitfish. When traveling from spot to spot look for birds working pods of baitfish. These pods of bait will attract predators like bluefish, macs, ladyfish and sometimes trout. Flounder will start to show along sandy drop offs around the flats and cuts through out Naples down to Everglades City. Keep the lures and baits close to the bottom.
Give the rod subtle hopping action when using jigs.
WIth the variety of fish we have in SouthWest Florida to target let’s try to let the mighty Snook rest and recover. Yes they taste good, but every fish listed above is tasty and sometimes easier to catch. We as anglers need to ensure that these fish are here for many years to come. Practice Catch and Release and if you keep only keep for that nights dinner.