NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- The 2008 march of the winter cold fronts accompanied by following high pressure ridges (defined as an elongated areas of high pressure in the atmosphere lying between two areas of low pressure) has ended.
Gone are their windy days and nights leading to many SCA’s and SCE’s. While even the first half of April rendered host to some of these cold fronts, the weather seems to have returned to normal. The western edge of the Gulf Stream is +/- 40 miles east of the inlet.
The sea surface temperatures offshore have risen significantly beyond the seventy degree mark bringing all sorts of good action. The Kingfish action is excellent from 65 to 130 feet of water especially on the party grounds. The cobia bite remains good as long as you are in the right area.
There are some reports that the cobia were in 30 to 50 feet of water just south of the inlet. The small sharks remain quite active – in some cases too active and are messing up some of the bottom trips anglers have been doing. Catches of wahoo are good especially along the twenty eight fathom curve and beyond.
Speaking of wahoo, Capt. Bruce Tippins on the “Never say Never” swept the first fishing tournament of the year – The 2008 Offshore Shootout - with three large wahoo. Dolphin have finally made their appearance with a huge 63 pound Mahi-mahi being landed in early April.
As the surf finally broke the seventy degree mark, the smaller bluefish - 10 pounds and under - are heading to “Yankee land.” However, whiting, small trout, weakfish, pompano, and Spanish mackerel and black have been making the surf anglers happy.
In the inlet, slot redfish, legal trout and big Jack Crevalle have been boated. The same is pretty much the case in the in the local rivers and canals. Redfish are producing good hook-ups from Haulover canal to the Tomoka area but the best bite is in the morning. Trout seem to biting in the lagoon in the sandy areas. The lagoon bite has been slow at the north end but better at the south end. The Mullet are getting thick and where they go so do the predators.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Commission (FWC) has proposed a rule that will allow striped (silver) and black mullet to be caught on the weekends. Since 1989, the commercial harvest of mullet has been prohibited on weekends in my area from July until the end of January.
A final public hearing will be held on this topic at the FWC meeting in Dania Beach on June 11-12. Recent stock assessments indicate that the population is now healthy enough to allow this measure.
All good things must come to an end. As of June 30, 2008, the agreement between Florida and Georgia allowing senior citizens of each state to hunt without a license in both states is about to end. Allegedly, in May 2007, economic realities in Georgia have caused their officials to declare that the reciprocal agreement is no longer feasible and will come off the books. By the very nature of the agreement, Florida must follow suit.
Therefore the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has recently voted to end the reciprocal agreement concerning fresh water fishing as well.
The agreement never exempted Georgia nor Florida non-resident seniors from salt water licensing requirements. This will not affect Florida senior residents, who may continue to hunt and fish in Florida without purchasing a Florida License. You are encouraged, however, to do so for the purposes of conservation.
Capt. Budd's PostScript:
It has been written – “The best fisherman in the world cannot catch them if they are not there!!” So whether you charter, ride a head boat, run your own vessel, stay in the river, surf fish, or fish from shore or a bridge- there are fish to be caught. Fishing is not a matter of life or death, it is so much more important than that.