|12/10/2021 3:00:00 PM|
Terall Beery with a Ski Alley snook that was tearing up dead shrimp.
You Should Have Been Here!
Fishing reports are like a snapshot in time. They are based on what was caught at a particular place and time. Most won’t go into the specifics of wind direction, velocity, moon phase, barometer activity, tidal variables, temperature of the water, water depth, color and size of lure and time of day. Not that any of that matters because the readers may never find those exact conditions again. Fish have tails. Just because they were feeding somewhere before has nothing to do with where they might be feeding now. There are just too many variables to guarantee future results.
Start with the fact that magazines articles are often written over a month in advance to meet publication deadlines. That pretty much limits the information to general trends for a general area. For more specifics, you can try weekly publications but even there you’ll find most reports are at least a week old. The internet can provide info in a real time format, but unless you’re on the water and nearby, reports won’t be relevant. Most folks that post on local sites wait until they’re back home after washing the boat and cleaning the catch before they touch their computer.
Even the most timely and relevant information cannot make up for local knowledge and experience on the water. Folks are reluctant to be specific in reports to keep their special spot “special.” Telling the general public too much of the when, where, and how will result in a crowded spot with no fish around to witness the congregation of anglers. Fish hate crowds.
So, the next fishing report you read, keep in mind that the information is dated and not too specific. The report was hopefully written by a professional with years of experience on the water. They understand all the variables that affect the fishing in an area and just how to use them to their advantage. If throwing artificials, they know what color, weight, size, and speed produce in the conditions at that time. If using bait, these pros know just how to rig it and where to use it to find hungry gamefish. Don’t be too surprised if your results don’t match up with their report.
In a report, check the general location that worked weeks ago. Whether it was near a pass, flat or channel and look back at what the tidal stage was. These considerations can transfer to somewhere near you. As for bait, if it’s thick enough to draw the attention of predators it can usually be netted on site. If you’re tossing soft plastics, check out the real bait in the water and “match the hatch” to duplicate color, size, and speed. Take a moment to survey the whole area before making your first cast. Fish will show themselves with tails and swirls on the flats. Look for birds on the beach and the bays. Check out bubbles left by snook as they crash bait along the mangroves. These things will give you a real time report if you’re tuned in.
Understand too, there are days when nothing works. These usually happen when friends or family arrive hoping to do some fishing and catching. Our son and grandson came down from St. Petersburg for a few days recently. We bought buckets of live shrimp and headed to Stump Pass Beach, Blind Pass Beach and the ICW to the East, Ski Alley, and the El Jobean Pier. Hours passed without even a catfish or pinfish bite. No lizard fish attacked our shrimp that we free lined, floated under a popping cork, pinned to the bottom. Even the soft plastics we cast for mackerel were ignored by puffers. On the last cast of the last day our son finally hooked and landed one nice snook in Ski Alley on a tiny piece of dead shrimp fished on the bottom. Go figure.
So, here’s your Fishing Report from Ski Alley: The snook are biting great and tearing it up on pieces of dead shrimp!
Kimball and Les Beery, authors of Angler’s Guide to Shore and KAYAK Fishing Southwest Florida, contribute these excerpts from both Waterproof books to promote the excellent fishing available in the Englewood area. They are available locally at Old Florida Gallery on West Dearborn, and for download at www.anglerpocketguides.com & www.amazon.com.
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