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Well I got back from Florida on sunday too the welcoming embrace of -8 tempuratures and snow! Amazing what a differance three weeks can make! Not just with the weather eiather, a quick look through the forum and I can see you've all been very busy. Lots too read and catch up on! Gutted I missed our 1 year anniversary too!!

Any whoooo onto my report.

On the whole the fishing was tough this year as the cold winter that Florida suffered killed off a lot off the Snook and Jacks. Very sad but the guys reckoned the Snook numbers should recover in about 3 years and the Jacks before this. There were still Snook about though aswell as many other species.

My year bassing and the skills i'd learned this year off the forum helped me and my brother(Bob) catch a variety of fish using many differant methods including plugs, S.P's, topwaters, fly and dare I say it live bait in the form of pilchards.
I won't go into too much detail as my catch reports tend too develop into epic novels, so i'll let the pics do most the talking!

Trout-
The speckled trout offer great sport on light tackle. We caught using lots of methods including fly fishing with small bait and shrimp imitations. Plugging with hard plastics such as small X-raps and crystal minnows was also effective, but the two best methods were Topwater lures for fun and fish size, while S.P's rule for fish numbers. Don't go wasting exspensive S.P's either, the humble but incredible D.O.A shrimp is easily the best fish catcher and is tough enough too withstand there teeth for longer than others. The best way too rig it is about 3-5ft below a popping or clacking float. You then cast out let the S.P. sink then jerk you're rod tip as if popping a topwater popper. The trout hear the sound, come to investigate and can't resist you're offering. It's hugely effective and works for a number of species that are found out on the grass flats the trout inhabit. I'm going too try this method for bass next year using differant S.P's (X-layer!!).
The best topwater lures are W.T.D style with the classic Heddon Super Spook in chrome colour was our best catcher. In fact it was the topwater of choice for lots of species.

A Few Trout-









Spanish Mackerel-
As with our mackerel they come inshore too hammer the bait fish and our pretty easy too catch on both fly and spin gear. They are pretty toothy so a wire leader can be used and doesn't deter them too much, although I prefer too up the flourocarbon strength and use cheaper offerings such as spiners and toby's. Flies should be tied on looooong shank hooks with the shank left bare too avoid bite off's. (they don't like topwaters)
Unlike our mackerel they grow pretty big, and take lots of line on there first few runs. Our best this year was 5 and a half pounds.

A few Spaniards-








Flounder-
They are plentifull over sand and patches of mud in the grass flats and grow quite large. Best methods are S.P's bounced along or pulled just above the bottom. They also taste delicous. We caught plenty but only took one pic.



Gag Grouper-
This year they had infested an inshore reef that we like to fish. They fight realy hard in shallow water but are experts at getting into holes and under ledges in the reef, leading too break offs and lost plugs. Although Bob and I would often wade out and pull them out with the rod tip under water. They would take most plugs and live bait. Set the drag tight though or you're in trouble. Our best ones went about 5 and a half pounds and as I said go great on light tackle and shallow water.






Bluefish-
I love blue fish!! They crunch plugs and fight realy hard taking lots of line even on a tight drag. They, as with most fish there have very sharp teeth so some tackle losses occur although wire or heavy (60lb) flouro can be used. Topwaters rule for fun and fish numbers. W.T.D and poppers are great. Most fish fell too Spooks and feed poppers. About 5lb was our best fish but they fight better than a 15lb bass.




Snook-
Awesome fish that can be quite fussy but are worth the chase. Live pilchards/shrimp are the best methods during daylight hours although casting S.P's and plugs at/under docks or docked boats can reap rewards. The ultimate method is too wait till dark and fish lights on docks and under bridges that shine down into the water. The lights attract Glass minnows that the Snook love too eat but you need smaller artificials too imitate. Fly fishing with white flys is a killer method however Bob and I did well on small X-raps, 3-4 inch Sakura snoops in the clear yellow colour and x-layers. The key is not too cast directly into the light but rather work your offering around the edges of the light. It's great fun just watching from a short distance as snook engulf the minnows off the top in a swirling vortex. The highlight for me was when a nice snook mistook my 500g baby patchinko for a glass minnow waking acroos the edge of the light. It got crunched. It was made all the better as Bob and I were perched in a Kayak in the pitch black. AWESOME!!!! The only down side is we didn't get any pics of our night caught fish but here are a few caught in the day.

Bob with one caught on a Yozuri crystal minnow.












Well thats a taster of how we got on! We were hampered by weather and coloured water aswell as water access but I can't complain. In total we caught over 15 species most of which fell too artificials. I've missed loads out but you get the idea .It was a great trip and I can't wait too go back next year when my plan too get our own flats boat will hopefully reach fruition!!!!

Cheers Nath.

P.S- We did a bit of dirty bait fishing on the last night and were rewarded with this Black tip-

The Shark gear is coming next time!!!
 

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Awesome Report Nath,
God I love fishing for Spainish Mackerel, one of my all time favourate fish. Looks like you got stuck into plenty of species. Did you manage a few Ladyfish?? They are great sport on light gear.
Great pics as well Nath.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cheers for the comments guys!

Awesome Report Nath,
God I love fishing for Spainish Mackerel, one of my all time favourate fish. Looks like you got stuck into plenty of species. Did you manage a few Ladyfish?? They are great sport on light gear.
Great pics as well Nath.
Yes Dave tons of lady fish it was thick with them. Great fun on surface lures and flys. Good sport for the non-anglers that came along!
 

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WOW - Awesome trip Nathan!!

Excellent pics and report, I'm gona have to get myself over there for sure, looks truly amazing sport.
 

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Nathan,
So where in Florida where you fishing mainly??
You have to try Ladyfish on 2lb mono and tiny flicker jigs and a ultra light rod. It is a blast.
 

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That looks like a proper fishing holiday!!! Brilliant fishing. Maybe a Lureforum holiday/bumble venue for the future? Where were you based?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Nathan,
So where in Florida where you fishing mainly??
You have to try Ladyfish on 2lb mono and tiny flicker jigs and a ultra light rod. It is a blast.
We stay on Siesta key in the county of sarasotta on the gulf coast.
Its great as you have both gulf fishing and the flats/mangrove/dock fishing of the intercoastal waterway!
Loads of options and species. I've been going there for about 15 years. We've spent so much money on boat rentals over the years were looking at buying a flats boat for next year!!!! If we do the fishing will hit another level. With the option of king mackerel and bonito out too see aswell as night Snooking properly.
 

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Nathan,
Spent time up on Sanibel Island, similar mix of fish, and the salt ponds on the island all seem to have baby tarpon in them!!!
Plus 5 bucks gets you a permit to wade fish the state park on the mainland side of the island-jacks, cuda, snook, tarpon, and redfish plus all the others.
 
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