Can you believe the warm weather blessings we are enjoying while the rest of America is freezing? No wonder our roads are crowded. Sorry for those up north, but I’m glad to live here in sunny Southwest Florida. With the 80 degree days predicted for the upcoming week, we can expect our waters to start warming up fast — and the crowds. As the water heats up, so too will our fishing. We have a lot of fishing opportunities to take advantage of, so don’t miss out.
I was already seeing and catching Spanish mackerel last week, so they’ll reappear as soon as waters clear up after that nasty cold blow we endured last week. Many were smaller, but we had several over two pounds — fun and fine eating. We caught ours targeting the trout with my winter standby rig — a popping rattle cork with a 1/4 ounce jig head and two feet of fluorocarbon, topped with a live shrimp. Cast ‘em as far as you can, and that’s a long ways with the Cortland Master Braid 20-pound test we use, then twitch and rattle it back toward you. The secret is to point the rod tip at the cork, because it’s natural to try jerking before you tighten up the line. This helps your odds of a tight line and solid hook up. I find that if you reel when you get a bite, then pull after you remove all the slack, it increases our catching. Be sure your line is tight. If a breeze is blowing or the current is flowing, a bow in your line can form as it lies on the water. Reel until you feel it tighten up, then snap your rod tip up. Also keep the rod tip bent to hold tension, keeping your hook in the fish.
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