February 2023 and Spring Break Planning

January 29th, 2023

Thanks for checking in! Here’s what I have for you. February looks better than average for weather. We have had mostly no winter or extreme record breaking cold events. Not much about this year has been normal. Not a bad thing, but it has confused my winter fishing patterns to a degree up to this point.

My favorite fishing trip this time of year is to fish the shallow inside reefs close to shore. It’s great for all anglers, provides a diversity of species and usually puts dinner in the boat if that is your desire. Even in moderate wind, I have enough shallow reefs to keep us busy on a half day trip without getting our butts kicked in big waves.

A nice light tackle grouper

Main reef fishing has been unusually slow at times per some unique conditions for this time of year. Extremely warm and clear water with a strong tide against the wind has complicated my normal pattern for yellowtail snapper. Highly situational and likely to change soon. Usually we have dirtier water than clear and it helps with our early and late bites for this popular fish. As with everything, conditions dictate what our best option for your trip is and we adjust according to what is going to work best. Within reason, I try to not go against the grain, but I do fish specific customer requests for specific species. I do understand visitors want to do this or that because of whatever. Sometimes what you want to do does not work at all. I will inform you properly of your chances. We will fish it until the reality is clear and then move on to something that will be successful. Fishing sucks and catching is fun. On that topic, we have seen some pushes of mackerel and jacks on some of the shallower main reef areas. Pushes mean they are not there all of the time and we sample the spots until we have an answer. That’s been the normal pattern. Move around until we find the active fish or find success by getting a few keepers off of each spot.

Ever catch 2 fish on 1 J hook?

Knowing that wind is sometimes a factor, the shallow Florida Bay and area bridges offer some protection on the days that would be too uncomfortable to fish on the reef. This is also a great fishery for anybody prone to motion sickness and great for kids. The shallow water, numbers of fish and the simple tackle makes this an easy and fun fishery. Mangrove snappers, grouper and mackerel are primary targets and we always catch a handful of other species.

bayside gag grouper

I haven’t had any takers for snorkeling trips in an unusually long time. Snorkeling conditions have been intermittent, which is normal for this time of year. Water temps have been well warmer than we are used to. Visibility and sea conditions have been a gamble. February is still not the time to book a snorkeling only trip, but adding snorkeling to a 4 hour fishing trip is possible if things look good. We can prepare and hope for the best. It is something we will discuss from what I have seen on previous trips and if it doesn’t look good, we just fish. I always aim to put you in better than reasonable conditions I only offer high quality trips based on conditions and the best of my ability to find good conditions if they exist.

I want to remind my potential guests that I offer custom charters. More importantly, I am insured for the activities I offer and what you will be doing on, in and outside of my boat. Over the years my business has been copied and imitated. I do not know the personal business of other operations. I do know the proper insurance I have is very expensive, difficult to get and is exclusively offered. Those advertising “insured” likely are insured, but probably not for everything they are offering you.

This is the paperwork I carry on each trip to prove my business is operating legally

As part of normal progress, the boat has had a series of updates to keep my operation in great shape. 2 new gps units, new wiring and the isengless install a few months back has made a huge difference for the comfort of my guests and performance of the boat. Accordingly, I have adjusted my rates slightly. Looking at other operations, I’m still priced below many that I outperform regularly.

an incredible cero mackerel catch

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