Sometimes no matter how you spin it, the news isn’t good. Sorry folks, but the fishing forecast for the coming weekend doesn’t look so hot. Oh don’t get me wrong, the fish will be there, but conditions will be miserable if the weather man is correct. The National Weather Service is calling for high winds, rough seas, and periods of rain…cold, miserable rain. Not the kind of weather you want to take the family out in, fer sure.
Offshore, unless you are fishing from a 30-foot boat or larger, it’s going to be sloppy and wet. And if you’re even a little bit prone to sea sickness, prepare to sing to the fishes. Choose instead to fish in sheltered waters. Grouper are out there, but unless you want to be an automatic chum machine, pass on the bottom fishing. Trolling slowly might be a bit more comfortable choice, but still plan on getting wet.
Inshore, fishing on the flats has been sporadic. One minute the fish are there and biting, the next minute they are gone. It has to do with water clarity and temperature. If you can find pockets of clear, warm water, you’re golden. If not, head for shelter in rivers and creeks.
One bright spot might be a day at the beach. Pompano are in and biting along the sandy beaches of St. George Island, Mexico Beach, and Panama City Beach. Also the piers along those same beaches. Also consider the cuts at both ends of St. George Island.
Bass fishermen might have the best success this weekend. Just about all freshwater is somewhat sheltered. Unfortunately many bass are still spawning and not in a feeding mood. But still, a few hours on a tranquil lake or pond beats several hours of getting pounded offshore.
Panfish action is still slow, again because many of them are still spawning, but that action can pick up at any time.
If you’re absolutely determined to wet a line this weekend, check the Fishing Report for details on what is biting and how to catch them. Or, this might be the time to get your gear in order, make sure the boat runs, licenses are all up-to-date, and score some points by doing “Honey-Do” projects around the house.
Gov. Scott and FWC announce 40-day recreational red snapper season in Gulf state and federal waters
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Gov. Rick Scott are excited to announce a 40-day recreational red snapper season for both Gulf state and federal waters. A 24-day season was originally proposed.
Gov. Scott said, âFlorida is a premier fishing destination and saltwater fishing in the Gulf of Mexico has a $7.6 billion economic impact in our state every year. Adding additional opportunities for anglers to enjoy Floridaâs world-class fishing not only benefits our visitors but also our Gulf Coast communities. I am pleased to announce this extension today, and encourage visitors and residents to start planning their summer fishing trips.â
âFlorida is an important access point throughout the nation and world for recreational red snapper fishing,â said FWC Chairman Bo Rivard. âWith other Gulf states setting longer seasons than what Florida had initially proposed, it was important for us to find a fair resolution that would provide equal access to red snapper in Florida. FWC worked collaboratively with NOAA Fisheries to come up with a season that would provide access to all of those that choose Florida as their fishing destination. We appreciate the leadership from Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Congressman Neal Dunn and we are excited to announce that extension today.â
Florida will be setting the season in 2018 and 2019 in both state and federal waters through a fishery-management pilot program (also referred to as an Exempted Fishing Permit). The 2018 proposed season would open June 11 and close July 21.
This recreational season will include those fishing for red snapper from private recreational vessels. For-hire operations that do not have a federal reef fish permit are also included but are limited to targeting reef fish in Gulf state waters only.
This Exempted Fishing Permit will not apply to commercial fishermen or for-hire operations with a valid federal reef fish permit.
To share your comments or input on Gulf red snapper, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.
Learn more about snapper at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on âSaltwater Fishing,â âRecreational Regulationsâ and âSnappersâ and donât forget to sign up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey via GoOutdoorsFlorida.com if you plan to target snapper or other reef fish from a private vessel.
Bass Pro Shop Tallahassee to host Ladiesâ Day Out Saturday April 28 â 11-3pm
Calling all ladies wanting to get outdoors and learn new skills. Leap out of your comfort zone and sign up for an all-day ladies only learning experience at Bass Pro Shop Tallahassee. The first 50 women to sign up at the âWelcome Tableâ will receive a gift.
Courses offered include:
â˘ Fishing Basics: Learn casting techniques from local pros. Test your skills and win a gift card in the casting challenge.
â˘ Archery and the Bow: Get the facts, find the fit and take the challenge to win gift card.
â˘ Handgun Basics: Professional instructor speaking on the basics of safety and finding the type of firearm that is right for you. A Concealed Carry weapon instructor will be available to answer any questions. Sign up for the Concealed Carry Class the May 5th.
â˘ Knife Sharpening: Basic tips on use, safety, selection and maintenance for all your knives. Enter a drawing to win a Work Sharp Outdoor Sharpener.
They will also be hosting a fashion show featuring the latest technology in fabrics specifically designed to enhance your outdoor experience. Enter to win the Eva Shockeyâs Ultimate Outdoor Giveaway Package. Value : over $2700. Seminar attendees have a chance to win gift cards and an electric knife sharpener. Join in on the fun Saturday April 28thfrom 11-3pm at Bass Pro Shops, Tallahassee.
St. George Island
Captain Russ Knapp on St. George Island (email@example.com) said: “It finally looks like the Gods of Winter are going home at last. Local angler Graham Karvin is catching nice pompano off the beach by using sand fleas for bait and fishing very close to the shore. Capt. Jack Frye is finding more pompano and large reds in the Bob Sykes Cut. His bait of choice is a live sand flea, but shrimp will do the job too. Capt. Jack reports the Marine Patrol is watching the Cut closely due the large number of boats fishing. So, make sure your boat is legal, you didn’t forget your license. and DON’T anchor or hold your boat in place with a trolling motor. If you want to get away from the madness, with the warmer water you should be able to find trout and reds on the flats. Fish with Gulps! under a Cajun Thunder Float. Sheepshead are still around the oyster bars and bridges. Small crabs or fresh-killed shrimp are the baits of the day for them. Offshore, Capt Clint Taylor is seeing barracuda, kings, and lots of sea turtles in the area, which means the pelagics will be here any day. Until than you can catch good numbers of non-red snappers, Key West grunts and black sea bass. Bring your chum bag to get them up and away from the red snapper. If you get out to 100 to 150 feet of water bring small live baits for a good scamp grouper bite.”
Captain Dave Lear of Tallahassee said: âI hate to sound like a broken record, but itâs looking like another blustery weekend, fishing-wise. Last weekend wasnât much better, so coastal anglers have had to work really hard to find some decent fish lately. Friday appears to the best window if you have the day off or vacation coming. Saturday will be windy yet again and another expected cold front with rain is forecast for Sunday. The constant temperature fluctuations have the fish totally confused. The creeks are still holding fish, or theyâre remaining in deeper water for a day or two each time the overnight temperatures drop. The shallow flats have mainly been a bust. As is typical this time of year, the eastern portions of Apalachee Bay, from the St. Marks River to Rock Island have been more active than to the west. Darker bottom is the likely reason why. Fresh dead shrimp on a jig hook or fake shrimp fished plain or under clacker-style corks are working the best for trout right now. Suspending plugs that probe the depths just above the grass tips are another good choice. The water clarity is still surprisingly clear, even with the winds and rain, so chrome and gold patterns in the hard lures will stand out. Natural, gold/glow and new penny are the top selections in the shrimp lure category. A few anglers have scored fish with electric chicken and other bright, gaudy colors. If you can find âem, live pinfish or shiner tails will produce nice trout, too.
“Redfish continue to prowl the backcountry creeks, rock grass patches and flooded oyster bars. Theyâll wolf down any of the aforementioned trout offerings, but a weedless spoon in gold or pink is rarely refused. Sheepshead are hanging around shallow rock piles inshore. Live fiddler crabs or shrimp will fool them if they donât spook first. A few flounder are coming to the net, along with the occasional black sea bass and smaller black drum. Spanish mackerel have been scattered of late. The seasonal visitors…pompano, cobia and tripletail…are few and far between. Theyâre probably like us, just waiting for the spring weather to stabilize and the water to warm back up and stay warm. The action for these species will only get better in the next couple of weeks. The crescent moon phase wonât be triggering super tides this weekend, but there will be enough water movement to spur appetites, if the weather allows. Peak times will be a couple of hours right around dawn with the moon down and again close to dusk as the moon rises again.”
Otto Hough at Myhometownfishing.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) said: “Mother Nature has certainly been looking out for her fishes on the weekends. Wind and rains of last weekend with winds still howling into Monday kind of ruined it for weekend anglers. Sadly, it’s shaping up like another system may be passing over Apalachee Bay this weekend, elevating the winds Saturday while adding some wet stuff to go along with the winds come Sunday. Not the NWS Marine Forecast the weekend angler’s are wanting, but it appears it will be the hand Mother Nature deals. For those anglers that did play some midweek hooky, conditions were conducive to catching, both inside and outside. Just about anywhere across Apalachee Bay, fish were being located in a hungry, post new moon dining mode.
“Stick baits and soft baits alike were doing a number on some quality trout east of the St. Marks Lighthouse all the way to the Econfina. Feel quite certain that anglers further east to Hickory Mound were finding midweek success too. Some fairly substantial schools of reds have been frequenting the Rock Garden, roaming all the way to the east side of Grey Mare Rock. When conditions have allowed time for a lure or two to be worked on topwater, the action has been fantastic during the flood tides along the skinny water shorelines behind Grey Mare. The hotter color pattern in the eastern waters has been the gold/orange bellied One Knocker and Super Spook, with the bone pattern in both lures seemingly triggering more strikes around the Rock Garden and west back into Oyster and Dickerson Bays. The outside edge of the T-Bar southwest of Shell Point in about 3 to 5 feet of water over spotty bottom has been holding some good size slot trout.
“When the winds haven’t whipped the seas outside into the washing machine frenzy, the gags have been liking live bait offerings, as well as trolled lures. Slow trolling at 4.6 to 4.8 mph with about 50 yards of line out with the Rapala Mag 14 over shallow water (12 to 16 feet) rock piles and the Rapala Mag18 on live-bottom waters from 17 to 20 feet have been productive plugs. The squall line last Sunday did rip loose some bottom grasses, but not enough to mess up slow trolling. Unfortunately, this weekend will likely not have conditions favorable to fishing outside if the current NWS Marine Forecast holds true, again providing the gags with a bit of a respite. Boat safely as conditions over this three day stretch might be a tad dicey by the middle of the weekend. Make certain the PFDs are readily accessible or better yet, wear an auto-inflatable. Cannot tout the value of this style of PFD enough. Inexpensive life insurance policies on the water. Just FISH!”
Captain Randy Peart in Tallahassee (850 421-8049 email@example.com) said: “Fishing at Econfina has been fabulous. The wind has been terrible, but if you can stand it there are lots of trout and reds. On Wednesday we fished for grouper and caught 12 up to 25 inches. We were trolling with a Rapala CD18 and Stretch 25 at 4 knots. I also took Ron and Christopher Fye on Friday, wind started at 15 knots and built to 25. We fished the creeks for reds with gold spoons and 1/8-oz jig heads with 5-inch Gulp! jerk-shads in gray/silver color, and caught 16 reds and a few trout.”
Captain Pat McGriff of One More Cast Guide Service (www.onemorecast.net, firstname.lastname@example.org (850) 584-9145) reported: “Trout fishing has been outstanding! We caught limits of 20 trout Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week for the Steven Cook group from Dallus , Ga. and the Mike Norris group from Macon, Ga. We fished with live pinfish under Back Bay Thunders to land these limits. Our fish came from 4.5 â 5.5 feet of water on the rising tide. Tuesday I took Jimmy Douglas of Homerville, Ga. out and we landed our limit of 10 trout, with one over 23 inches for top honors. I fished with Assassin “Fried Chicken” Sea Shads, while Jimmy fished live pinfish under Back Bays (floats) in 4.5 â 4.5 ft. of water. Wednesday Doug Shropshire and I fished artificials only, (Assassin plastics) and caught a limit of ten trout on Sweet Pea, Stinky Pink, Croaker Shad, Native Shrimp, Magic Grass, Fried Chicken, and Houdini (lures) and caught shorts on a half dozen other colors on 5-inch Sea Shads both bouncing on an Assassin 1/8 oz. spring-lock jighead and in combo with an Original Cajun Thunder (float).â
This report from Dave Bosch of Tifton, Ga.: âFished on 4/14 with Peng Chee, Tim VanSumeren, and Conner Van Sumeren (also of Tifton). We wound up with a limit of sea trout on a mixture of pin fish and jig/plastic combos. We had our best bite early on the rising tide in 4-4.5 feet of water, followed by a mid-day lull, then a pretty good bite on the beginning of the fall. Water temps were 69-73 degrees.
Kristin Skipper at Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee (352-498-3008) sent photos of trout and redfish limits, with many of the fish at the top of the slot. A few Spanish mackerel were taken too.
Captain Cliff âJRâ Mundinger, Jr. of Lake Talquin Trophy Guide Service (email@example.com www.fishtallahassee.com said: “Bass fishing picked up ever so slightly, but seemed to be best first thing in the morning. More bass are in post spawn now guarding fry and being aggressive near spawning areas. Most action is very shallow in and around vegetation like grass and lily pads. Bigger fish seem to be hanging on the outside edges near deeper water. Fast moving baits thrown during low light hours are your best bet for a productive morning. During the day the bite seems better while fishing near drop offs and points in the larger creeks. This should continue through the next couple weeks also. Bream fishermen have been catching small ones in the shallows behind bedding bass. Not many and size is pretty small, but look for that to change with the warmer weather this week. The next moon should bring shell crackers to their beds also.”
Otto Hough at Myhometownfishing.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) said: “Squall line Sunday actually popped the water level up in Jackson almost a ‘whole’ inch. Still needing more rain, just not the squall version. A good three day soaking over the entire Jackson basin is still desperately needed to bring the lake back, albeit is would take even more to gain back waters levels of early 2017. For those anglers fishing from kayaks, canoes or small jon boats, bass, speckled perch and bream fed well on the past new moon before the squall line roared across Jackson. What rain did fall served to put some oxygen back into the lake as well. Midweek fishing was good for those anglers willing to paddle a bit or use an electric motor. There’s a whole lot of extremely shallow bottom across Jackson. Boat safely and enjoy some catching.”