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Can You Feel Me ?

Feel The Pressure in the Backcountry!

July 28, 2009
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This past weekend was great for redfish and snook again but more importantly what is ahead?

With a high pressure system broken down and a low front pushing up and down on the waters and our little scaled friends, who can make sense of all the weather changes that we have had on the west central coast of Florida?

What I have seen is simple if you don’t complicate it. Fish have to eat. It’s just a matter of figuring out where they will be and when they will be there. Right now everyone is big on fishing out going tides and for good reason however many fishermen don’t learn the incoming tide fishing conditions. The big reds and snook push up into the backcountry to not only feed but to rest up as well. When big snook run the beach in the mornings they get tired and will work there way into the backcountry for some R&R. Fish are opportunistic and won’t pass up an easy meal too often. The trick is to go into the backcountry with the tide and in many cases with the fish. I see them darting past the boat to get into position or the ‘best’ spots. They lay up in the mangrove roots and ambush an unsuspecting bait fish as it passes by just outside of the roots. One thing that is real important is a splash of a hard or soft bait or even a live bait will send the reds and snook packing. That may be why many fishermen don’t bother with it and wait until the tide falls to catch them on the way out in deeper water. Fly fishing has a huge advantage in such situations. Another consideration is boat pressure. I don’t mean the kind of pressure that numerous boats put on fish.

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I’m talking about the actual displacement of your boat and how much change it causes to a localized area of water. We all know about the importance of having a quiet boat but have you thought about the pressure your boat puts on the water. We are talking about fishing in only a foot or less of water in a very quiet undisturbed area. The fish will feel your boat just like they hear it. That lateral line is hyper sensitive to anything that happens to the water in the way of pressure or sound. Think about that. Fish don’t hear like we do, they feel energy waves transmitted through the water which is a supper conductor of released energy. A boat moving ever so slowly will move the water and sends energy waves through the water just as if you slapped your hand on the surface of the water. The Mitzi Skiff is the quietest boat that I have ever fished in and the fish could feel me on the move. So what’s the answer? Simple, just move in with the incoming tide or before and stake out. When you need to move to another area in the backcountry, do it very slowly. If you’re convinced that you are moving slowly enough, slow down some more. I move at a snails pace and it saves me fishing time. I don’t have to wait for an hour for the fish to forget about me. One trick I use is to move with the breeze. The fish don’t seem to notice me if I move with a wind ripple which is a natural occurrence in the shallows. It works very well for me and I don’t spook too many fish. By the way the fishing was great and by the time it got hot on the water we were headed for the dock with about 20 releases between two clients. Back to the weather with a few thoughts;

When fish know that a storm is coming they eat like little piggy’s. Have you ever asked yourself how they know? Changing pressure plays a bigger role than most of us realize. If you have read this and learn to use what you have read, you will have a big advantage on your friends that don’t know. How about when we have nice weather? Well we haven’t had too much of that so I won’t talk about it. I’m just snagging here, we will talk about that next time. Thanks for reading and please visit my website at TropicBay.com.

Capt. Pat

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