As you can imagine it has been quite the disappointing winter here in Florida. For the last 3 weeks we Floridians have been forced to wear shorts outdoors everyday, watch our poor winter jackets still collecting dust and to make matters worse we’ve been forced to constantly apply Sunscreen day after day because the sun just doesn’t want to go away. As torturous as this may sound at least anglers fishing the Nature Coast have been rewarded with some of the Best “winter” fishing the state of Florida has seen in years.
Normally, this time of year our species and targetable fishing areas are some what limited due to certain winter weather patterns. However, this year has spoiled us with unseasonably warm weather patterns which have led to some epic fishing conditions. These epic fishing conditions have helped jump start a spring like patterns which has led to the early arrival of Spanish Mackerel, Speckled Trout loading up on our local grass flats, and it’s even helped congregate Redfish into larger than normal schools for this time of year. All of which are welcomed signs for the end of February.
In years past the Speckled Trout season was closed along the Nature Coast in February. Since strong improvements in the stock have been recorded, February Trout fishing has now been reopened for harvest and this is just in time for what appears to be some of the best Trout fishing of the year. Huge schools of Speckled Trout are making their way back on to the local grass flats, back country bays, and rocky pieces of shorelines. Considering these fish have been on a limited diet since December many of these hungry fish are eating anything and everything in their paths. If you enjoy a topwater Speckled Trout bite now is the time to give it hell. Normally working Skitterwalks, TopDogs, or ZarraSpooks gets the job done early in the morning but for a extended towater bite try using a Texas rigged Jerkbait.
Great topwater action isn’t only limited to anglers targeting Speckled Trout. Redfish have also been falling in love with the action of topwaters as of late too. I find that targeting Redfish on topwaters is at its best during the end of an out going tide and during the beginning of an incoming tide. This time frame works best for me because I am convinced a Redfish doesn’t have to work nearly as hard to jump on a topwater in shallow water as it does when the water is more than 2 feet deep. A great feature of a topwater when targeting Redfish is the fact that it can be casted a mile and the walk the dog action seems to draw in strikes from fish yards away.
Although the Speckled Trout and Redfish are going to get a ton of publicity over the next few weeks there are plenty of signs that great changes are coming on a weekly basis here along the Nature Coast. So with so many great angling opportunities readily available and on their way why not get out on the water and enjoy some of our great weather, scenery and fishing, Reel Florida Fishing Charters style?