Well, I must be honest I do not look forward to winter. I know, I don't know what winter is really is, and I really don't want to know what it is like. I prefer it to be 90 degrees in the shade! I still manage to wear my flip flops most days in the winter, but some days I have to resort to shoes. There is one good thing about the days that you have to wear shoes and that is the pompano bite is typically on. Every winter these hard fighting permit look alikes invade our area, they can be found on the beaches and on the flats of the Indian River. From late November through March is probably the best time of the year to target these guys, so today I did. Like most guides around the state business is down, but when you fish for a living like I do, you have to get your fix whether or not I have a paying customer. After getting the kids off to school I launched the boat and hit my favorite pompano flat. When I fish by myself catching fish takes the back seat, I like to just check things out and take in the day. I fish at a very slow pace and I spend more time observing than casting. One mistake I think many people make is, they do not slow down enough and pay attention to what is around them. Pay attention to the tide, the water level in general, and the contour of the bottom, try and figure out why fish are living where they live. If you do this you will catch more fish in the long run and you will truly appreciate the outdoors and what it offers. I did wear my flips today and the pompano bite was not red hot, but I did manage a couple before I got side tracked by a tri-color heron that I had to photograph. It is not easy fighting a fish with a camera around your neck shooting photos, but I did manage a couple shots of these pompano in the water.
I want to go a bit more in depth about the winter time fishing here in the south Indian River. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, just because I don't like winter does not mean I don't like winter time fishing. Fishing in the winter has a lot to offer, what we lack in glamour species is made up for with numbers and variety. For example when you're pompano fishing the way I do with jigs and flies there are plenty of other species to keep you busy, mainly ladyfish. If don't like ladyfish then you may not like fishing at all, sure they are messy around the boat but they bite good, fight hard, and jump. I always tell my clients if you are good at catching ladyfish you will be good at catching about anything else, what other fish outside of tarpon is harder to actually bring to the boat without throwing the hook? In addition to the ladyfish and pompano game, the colder temperature really turns on the trout bite. Again, they are typically smaller then in the warmer months but when you feel that thump of a trout bite 30 or more times in a morning, you really forget about their size. If the beach is calm as reported the other day spanish mackerel fishing is off the charts, read my mackerel post for more. With all that said you can still catch the more glamorous snook, tarpon, and redfish, but take winter time for what it is worth. Catching loads of fish in flip flops while others are shoveling snow, where would you rather be?
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