This week the fishing continues to improve and even though the nights are still very cold, the day's sun is becoming more intense. Spring is right around the corner.
We are starting to see limited amounts of bait move into the area along with reports of a small kingfish migration off the beaches. Speaking of mackerel, if you don't know the best way to add a small piece of wire leader to your fishing line, do yourself a favor and learn the Albright Knot. This knot is easy to tie and a must for Spanish and king mackerel fishing.
Go to www.netknots.com for instructions on tying this proven knot. Netknots.com is a great animated knot tying site that allows you to watch knots being tied and explains in detail their uses. Being an animated site you can watch your new knot being tied over and over so even the most fumble-fingered angler can learn.
Capt. George Tunison
Another great knot information resource is the DVD produced by Mark Sosin. (www.marksosin.com) Another knot that should be mastered by novice anglers is one of the many variations of the loop knot. I like the Perfection Loop. I tie all jigs, hard lures, and even flies with this knot. The loop knot allows your lures to perform to their fullest.
As the weather continues to warm trout fishing should improve greatly and the fish will return to their normal locations. On warm afternoons they will be very catchable on the dark-bottomed flats. Right now I am catching them in deeper water south of the power lines (Matlacha) between floating grass mats in 5-6 feet of water.
These last three weeks smaller "rat" reds continue to bite on oyster bars on the incoming tides and under the bushes on higher tides. Although some bigger reds in the 6-8-pound class are being caught, most reds are still on the small side. Shrimp on a jighead retrieved slowly along the bottom or shrimp on a circle hook with a small piece of shot to help with casting is the ticket. I'm a big fan of ladyfish steaks on a small circle hook for redfish in any water temperature, but right now live shrimp gets the nod.
Capt. Phil Evans, of AFishingMission Charters asks, "Is it spring yet?"
We should have had lots of bait inshore by now, but the continuous cold has kept the bait out. The last two weeks have produced trout, redfish, ladyfish, pompano and sheepshead. I have seen snook, but they have not been willing to eat and seen some pinfish as well. The water has been gin clear. This is a great time to see what's under your boat and you won't have this chance in the summer. Make mental notes about bottom depths, bars, run offs, deep holes and more.
Pine Island Sound has produced seven redfish days this past week and all were over the slot limit. Shrimp on jigs still is your best bait to cast for most gamefish right now.
Kingfish are starting to appear and are not that far offshore with many small snakes around now. Try a short wire leader with your favorite kingfish bait and start your search two, three miles off the beaches.
Capt. Dick May, of Easy Rider Charters says if you were able to catch one of the warmer days this past week you would have found that sheepshead were biting well in protected areas along with small redfish. Trout are still hard to come by, but with the anticipated warming trend trout fishing should greatly improve.
Steady temps in the 70-degree range will improve fishing for all species. Fishing slow with live shrimp still is be the bait of choice. Some nice snapper were caught this past week in wind-protected canals using live shrimp in the deeper holes of the canals.
Hopefully, winter is over for awhile.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing