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with weather like this, what's a fish supposed to do?

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On: Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 12:59PM | By: Captain Van Hubbard

Easter is early this year; let’s see what our fish do with this crazy weather. All winter was warm and now we have winter in spring! Everything in spring fishing revolves around weather. March is supposed to roar in like a lion and go out like a lamb, so let’s see what she does? So far it’s huffed and puffed but it’s not over. Colder water temps have slowed the Snook down. Baitfish that were abundant on Boca Grande area beaches have been blown away by fifty mile per hour winds on the Eighth of the month. Some more should move in time, but it’s challenging until they do. Reds are OK and Trout pretty good. We have some fish, but recent Redfish tournaments have added extreme pressure to this fishery. Competitors fish hard for fifty grand with little consideration for other anglers too. You can not imagine the speed at which many race around our area; some run up as far as Tampa Bay and back for their fish. Pre-fishing destroys area Red fishing the week before a big event, plus fish are moved from natural areas to weigh-ins far away. I can not believe these events don’t prohibit pre-fishing like the Bass tourneys do? Anyway, Trout have saved several trips for us while it’s been cold. Pompano were here and some should be up by Tampa Bay now. My best bet now is to target Mackerel, if the winds allow. With a 15 fish limit on Spanish and two fish for Kings, you actually could have enough to share with friends and family. Best of all, both Macks are usually easy to catch.

Why fish crowds that scare fish when you join the easy fun? Our Snook fishing should be OK, but I’m just spoiled because I was able to enjoy the Boca Grande area since I moved down here in the early Eighties. No one else even used white baits then. Now the sea gulls flock all over if you try to chum minnows around Bull or Turtle Bays. Please try circle hooks on Snook if you want to see real improvement of their stocks. “j” hooks just kill too many valuable Snook. Watch out for the bottle-nosed Dolphin because they have learned to sit back and let you catch them dinner. It may look cute at first, but it’s not legal and decimates fish stocks fast. Fish are confused, so look for them everywhere. They got crazy with the warm and now cold waters. Lure might be a good way to start out because you can cover more water faster.

Enough about Reds; it’s challenging, but you’ll get a few Snook fishing anyway. Trout are dinner savers on cooler trips. They are bouncing back OK from those red tides of recent years. So far things are really looking up for the season and even a few Flounder are showing up again. Pompano were good around Boca Grande early March and more should move ashore up and down as this coast’s waters clear up after the blows. Many are already moving north, so be ready around Tampa Bay when you read this. I like the small custom Pompano jigs and Doc’s Goofy Jig styles. Try various colors because some days pink is hot, or green, or white, and even yellow. I rig ‘em tandem and try two colors at once. It helps figure out what they want today. If you want to catch a bunch of fish and show your kids or friends that you can catch ‘em, try the Mack Attack. Spend some time and money at a local tackle shop. Get acquainted with the staff and let them show you exactly what you need and how to set it up. Macks are smaller and lighter gear with smaller spoons or lures works. Kings get huge and you want stronger gear with some larger spoons and big lures. You will require wire for those Kings. Learn the correct way to haywire twist the coffee-colored wire. It will take some time, but you need to be prepared if you want to be successful. If you have trouble locating schools of hungry fish, look around for groups of boats with bent rods. Let ‘em help you, but please be considerate and don’t bite the hand that is feeding you. Troll around the edges and observe their patterns so you don’t disrupt them. Live minnows are great if you know where to catch ‘em and have the baitwell to hold ‘em; if not use hardware to get started.

Remember to carry extra ice for Macks because they need to be stored properly for your dinner. Try Captain Wilson Hubbard’s simple recipe: Put fresh Mackerel filet skin side down on foil, with Old Bay and Everglades seasoning added to your taste, under a red hot broiler for a few minutes. Remove and add a liberal coating of mayo, then watch closely until it starts to brown. Shut off oven and let the fish soak up the juices for a few minutes while you get everything else ready. Serve hot and enjoy. Get out and go fishing now. Like the old captain said, “if you’re to busy to go fishing, you’re just too busy.” Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard


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