Northwest Florida Fishing Report
Captain John Rivers
With great catches of sheepshead and redfish it sure looks like this spring is shaping up to be super. Last week it was a bit windy, but I did manage to get out a couple of days; this week I was only able to get out on Sunday and Monday, as the small craft advisories kept me grounded the rest of the week. When I have been able to hit the water, the fish have been there and they have been hungry. Iíve been drifting near the pass over rocks in some deep water. Most of the fish are holding tight to structure near the pass and if youíre not right on the spot, youíre not going to get a bite. Actually, itís a lot like bottom fishing in the gulf, but youíre inshore, and when youíre on the spot, you better hang on, because itís sure to be some rod-bending, drag-screaming fun. The sheepshead this year have been running big; most are right around 5 lbs, but the past 3 Ė 4 trips weíve boated a few over 7 lbs. These fish are great eating, and man, do they ever put up a good fight.
On a few of these drifts, we hooked up some monster reds. On Monday we hooked up a stud well over 25lbs! This fish gave Mike a run for his money; it took him a good 15 minutes to land on light sheepshead tackle. This was Mikeís first ever red, and as you can see from this picture he was stoked about hooking into this trophy fish.
Early that day I had one of my repeats, Leighton from north Alabama and his kids come see me each year, and whatís cool is they come down different times to experience the different aspects of our fishery during the different seasons. Last year they came down for the Redfish run, and this year they came down for the Sheepshead run. Next year they said that they were going to try and come down in July to go after some smoker kings. Leighton and his kids are a blast to fish with, and we all have a great time. Watching them wrestle with these big sheepshead and sharing the memories with their father is what makes my job so enjoyable.
Not only have I been fishing near the pass for some tasty sheepies, but also Iíve hit a few of my honey holes for specks and small reds. The bite was ok on the flats, and we managed to boat a few specks, but the bite has not really turned on just yet, however, give it a few more weeks and itíll be on fire. We did manage to hook up on a big Jack, but after a few minutes the hook pulled, but weíll get him next time out.
It looks like itís going to be a great new season. Just remember to keep only what youíre going to eat and release the rest for future generations.
Till next time, hereís wishing you bent rods and screaming drags.
See ya on the water!
Professional Fishing Guide
Mega-Bite Inshore Charters
Capt. John Rivers
Thanks to my sponsors:
Mannís Lures, SPRO Fishing Tackle,
Gamakatsu Hooks,Pure Fishing - Berkley & ABU Garcia,
Shakespeare , Sea Pro Boats