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With winter temps occurring almost every other day, fishing has become an late morning or early afternoon affair. Most mornings are capped with extreme negative tides creating dry flats. The positive side is the trout redfish and snook are pushed in to tight groups in deeper potholes. Fishing these deep pot holes adjacent to dry flats can be very productive.

Trout and redfish being the common catch, and with the water almost crystal clear natural colored plastics on jig heads worked slow on the bottom will produce light strikes. When running from place to place I never pass up a chance to catch ladyfish and steak them into 1inch pieces to soak in a pot hole.

With live bait almost none existent best choice is chumming the area with cut bait on a rising tide for redfish. Live shrimp on a small circle hook with a split shot drug across the bottom of the passes like Stump and Gasparilla will produce pompano and the occasional snook.

Offshore grouper and snapper fishing is a good bet and most of the near shore ledges and rock bottom are holding some nice keepers. There are still kingfish in the area as well as a lot of amberjack on the wrecks.

Last year this time there where still schools of tarpon in the area in fishable numbers. the cold weather pushed all but the resident and juvenile tarpon out. With a mild spring and good bait populations tarpon season should be right on target for a April show.

I am beginning to take a lot of phone calls for tarpon season and have been booking some trips. Booking these trips as early as possible assures you get the dates you want with a veteran guide. With tough times in the economy there are plenty of new comers in the guide business claming to be tarpon guides. But searching out a guide with experience who makes his entire living as a fishing guide could be the difference for successful trip.

Do your home work before risking the trip of a lifetime, there are a lot of good guides out there, who like me have made a great reputation in the tarpon business.

Capt Andy Boyette

Phone: 1-888-880-0006

captandy@gofishcharters.com

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