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Fishing Report

Upper Keys Report





Jan 22, 2008

The dip in degrees has made its way down to the Florida Keys.  The cold weather doesn’t stay for long but enough to drop water temperatures.  This sudden drop in water temperatures will have an effect on the movement and location of fish in Florida Bay and oceanside.  When you make plans for a cold water fishing day think deeper water and a slower presentation.  Whether you are chasing snook or stalking bonefish the rules are the same, a slow moving bait in deeper water.

In the backcountry, the black drum bite is improving with the drastic drop in water temperatures in the Flamingo area. These cousins to the redfish will school in the channel bottoms feeding on shrimp and crabs as they swept-by in the current. Find channels with hard bottom and drop down a live shrimp on a 1/0 circle hook with enough of an egg sinker to hold your bait to the bottom. Don’t be surprised if you hook a redfish or snook mixed-in with the black drum. This cold snap should also school-up the trout and jacks in the channels. These fish are a blast to catch on light tackle and can save a slow day on the water with some rod-bending action. The trout will be on the bottom during the early and late parts of the day then rise in the water column as the sun warms the water. I prefer using Gulp Swimming Mullet curly tailed bait on a HookUp Lure when working baits in deep water. The curly tail creates a lot of action and vibrations when bouncing the bait slowly off the bottom. During the middle of the day as the water temperatures rise you can probably switch to a popping cork to catch the trout suspending above the grass.

The bonefishing has remained steady on the oceanside flats around Key Largo and Ocean Reef. The key factor has been to fish the incoming tide which will flood the flats with warmer water. As the tides rises the fish have been moving onto the flats using deeper impressions and potholes to maneuver through. The past few weeks there have been large schools of fish milling around in these deeper impressions which can be found on most flats. The wind can act as an ally allowing you to get closer than usual to the fish. This is when a boat with no hull-slap can be a great benefit for poling in the wind. The slight wind chop on the water also makes it tougher to spot fish. But by keeping the sun at your back and moving at a slow constant speed you can maximize your visibility. On the windiest of days you can concentrate on light bottom where it’s much easier to spot bonefish. You can also anchor on the edge of a deep pothole and chum with cut pieces of shrimp. Bonefish have a sensitive sense of smell which you can use to your advantage. The most productive chumming areas will disperse the shrimp smell over the flat as the tide rises.

Til next time, light winds and good fishin’


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