Spring is finally in the air, pre-summer almost. Not the 95 degrees with 100% humidity, more like Hawaii with daytime highs in the mid 80’s and lows in the 60’s. If that’s false it wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve never been to Hawaii.
This weather has everyone wanting to be outside. Well, almost everyone. Good thing for those looking for things to do, lots going on in our area.
Rock The Dock, one of the most highly anticipated saltwater fishing tournaments is finally here. This 3 day event is a favorite of many. Participants and guests come from all over the Pan Handle region to attend.
Last time Woolley Park in Panacea hosted Rock The Dock was two years ago. Hundreds of anxious fishermen, women and children get together for a friendly on the water competition.
Multiple categories include inshore, offshore and kayak, make this one of the most attractive tournaments along the North Florida Gulf region.
For those without boats, no problem. Vendors from all over will be present selling anything from paintings and jewelry to popcorn and t-shirts. Admission is free.
Friday kicks off the tournament with a captains meeting, followed by dinner and local music favorite Tom and the Cats.
Saturday weigh-ins begin at 2pm. Those participating in the tournament must be in line with their catch by 6pm. Sunday times are noon and 4pm respectively.
With literally thousands of dollars at stake, it’s a must see event for outdoors peeps.
Even with all the rain Tallahassee has received, Lake Jackson continues to remain low. To the point banks are muddy and the only watercraft able to launch are small john boats, kayaks or canoes.
If you can get out bass fishing is very good. Lots and lots of 2 pounders are being caught on fast moving baits.
Unfortunately with long, hot summer days ahead, we may see the bottom fall out again sooner than later. Unless, we get 10 inches or more rain.
Otto Hough (myhometownfishing.com) says, ”It’s been a sure ’nuff windy April that’s presented challenging marine conditions that have significantly impacted springtime fishing. To say Ma Nature’s winds have been an aggravation more days than not so far this month is an understatement. Couple that with the inordinate amounts of rainfall runoff from the drainage basins of the four rivers that empty into Apalachee Bay. That runoff has kept waters tea stained, if not downright black coffee colored around the mouth of the Aucilla and Econfina rivers. Anglers fishing the 12th Annual Rock the Dock Tournament out of Panacea will have to work for their prize catches given the current NWS Marine Forecast for Apalachee Bay this weekend, springtime air temps, sunshine, but extremely windy each morning before diminishing in the late afternoon hours.
“Given it’s the “between the moons” period, tidal flows over the coming three days will be at a minimum, though predicted northeast winds Friday and Saturday will definitely hasten the flow of water out of Apalachee Bay following the midday turn of the tide. Full high tides along the coast will be occurring in the mid-to-late morning hours these next three days.
“One big key to finding the trout this weekend will be locating the cleaner, lightly stained nearshore waters that should a bit calmer with the breeze off the hill. If the northeast winds arrive Friday and Saturday as predicted, working topwater lures like the One Knockers, Skitterwalks and Super Spooks early on, close to the hill around submerged skinny water bars and over rocky bottom flats as the tide rises should afford an opportunity for tugs on the line. As the morning tide rises, continue working nearshore, shifting gears to shallow suspending plugs like the MirroDines and Rip-n-Slash 70s. Also, get those softbaits like the Z-man and Saltwater Assassin five inch jerk shads down in the water column. Working a jerk shad on a 24 inch or so leader line under a Cajun Thunder or Equalizer is a good technique in the darker waters as that noisy cork garners the attention of many trout. Pop ’em hard. Make a lot of noise with the pop, then let it sit for a moment before popping hard again.
“Outside, the elevated seas will pretty much eliminate most, if not all, chances for small boat anglers to target the gags, though larger offshore boats ought to be okay, just not as enjoyable of fishing conditions as would be the case with lighter seas. If going outside to chase the gags, pay particular attention to the buoy wind readings over the course of the fishing trip as the Big Pond can get whipped up quickly.
“Above all else, have fun enjoying all that Apalachee Bay and surrounding Big Bend waters have to offer. And as always, have all on board wear those auto-inflatable PFDs when running. If stopped and the auto-inflatable PFD is removed, remember there must be a traditional PFD for each angler not wearing an auto-inflatable. Boat safely out there, but before getting on the water, exercise ramp etiquette. Then, just FISH!”
ST GEORGE ISLAND
Captain Russ Knapp (850-653-5072) reports, “Clearly the Wind Gods have a major issue with somebody in our area as we have had yet another very windy week and unfortunately have a windy weekend in the forecast. Marine Forecast for Saturday and Sunday has seas at 2 to 4 feet with winds at 10 to 15 knots from the NE on Saturday than swinging to the SE on Sunday .
“The one ray of sunshine is you can expect a big rising tide at the Cut topping out around 1 p.m. both days followed by lesser falling tide bottoming out around 3 p.m. Saturday and closer to 5 p.m. Sunday. Remember, tides are a prediction , wind speed and direction, flow from the river and barometric pressure can all effect timing and height so factor these items into your plans.
“In the bay, Capt. Dan Fortunas (850-980-0101) reports that when he was able to find a hole in the wind and clear water the fishing was not bad. Capt. Dan put some nice Pompano in the box while fishing the Cut on a falling tide using pink Sand Flea Fish Bites for bait. Fishing the SGI causeway has produced both Flounder and Speckled Trout, with the Trout liking fresh shrimp and the Flounder unable to pass up a light-colored Gulp bounced along the bottom. The Pompano fishing from the beach seems to be off and on with some anglers doing well and others not so good with finding the clean water a major factor.
“Offshore, Capt. Clint Taylor says the biggest problem has been finding calm enough seas to be able to get out and fish. When conditions permitted, Capt. Clint has caught nice Red Grouper on live bottom with live bait and good-sized Kingfish on his flat line. If you are a recreational angler, Gag Grouper season is open in state waters in our four-county region and they would love you to put down a big live bait on live bottom. Reports have Mahi and Black Fin Tuna in the Tampa Bay area and Capt. Clint is looking for them to arrive in our waters soon as the water temperature comes up a bit more so get your gear ready. In the more good news department Amberjack season opens on May 1st for a one month run so get ready for some serious fish fights.
“Tip of the week: Always keep a sharp filet knife on your boat even if you are not fishing as the anchor line you have to cut from the prop may be yours.”
Captain Pat McGriff of One More Cast (firstname.lastname@example.org) says, “Trout fishing really took off with the advent of the Gulf water temp holding 70 degrees overnight for a few days. We are just beginning to see some small bait schools but no larger ballyhoo or white bait yet.
“Our fishing on board One More Cast was great with limits Friday and Saturday for Steven Cook, Matt Williams and David Marsano all of Woodstock, Ga. who landed 15 trout Friday with 6 over 19 , threw back 5 kept a 23” trout for top honors. Then Saturday we left the trout biting kept 14 trout and 3 Spanish to go look for red and caught 10 reds, 5 keepers, keeping 3.
“Sunday, I had Donald and Matthew Rowzee of Greenville, Georgia, and Donald caught his best-ever trout a 24.5 inch beauty. We got their limit of ten trout then went after reds catching both Rowzee’s their first-ever redfish. We caught all our fish on live pinfish Sunday while Saturday it was shrimp 70% Trout 30%. 4.5 – 5 .0 ft. was best Sunday for trout while 3 – 3.5 made the redfish happy. Water temperatures have climbed to the upper 70’s and it is apparent we will see 80s before the month is out.
Capt. Kevin Lanier (850 933 8804) reports”, If this weekend was a precursor to what this years Red Snapper season is going to be like, Ya’ll better hang on! We made a few trips offshore this week and our customers were worn out. Even without targeting them the Red Snapper were all over us. It did not matter what we put out, they were crushing everything. Bee-Liners, Triggers, and Porgies round out the trips with plenty of fish to bring home. This time of year always makes me question why we are not in an open Red Snapper season but, Politics overrides logic.
“Inshore fishing on the flats has slowed in our area but is still good along the jetties and seawalls. Pompano fishing is red hot on the beach with plenty of fish willing to bite. Sheepshead are still around but seem to be thinning out just a bit. Fresh bait is best but never count out a frozen finger mullet or sand fleas.
“Watch the weather. This time of year seems to bring back to back windy fronts. However, if you get a window I highly recommend getting out on the water. KCsportfishing Charters, KCsportfishing.com, Mexico Beach, Florida.”
Capt. Paul Tyre reports, “The Bass fishing on Lake Seminole has been very good the first week of April! The Bass are in all three stages of the spawn and are feeding! I had customers this week catch their personal best Bass one that that weighed in at 8.5 pounds! The Excellent Bass fishing will continue through April and end to May. The Dickmeyer’s came all the way down from Commerce Michigan so their son John could try to catch his PB (personal best) Bass and he did his mom Faith caught hers to!
“The Shellcracker will be bedding in April and is exciting way to introduce kids into fishing. For a Lake Seminole Fishing Adventure for Shellcracker and/or Bass this April give me a call to check availability at 850-264-7534 , follow us on Instagram @ Capt.paultyrefishing or email me @ email@example.com.”