[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he switch has been turned on. Considering our wet and wild past winter it’s a long time coming. The extra rain was truly a blessing and will go a long way in keeping our last 30 year drought at bay. As far as the wild wind, well you know how we fisher folks feel about the wind. All in all, our inshore action is now in full swing. Offshore action for grouper and kings is a bit behind schedule, but should come on strong in May. Inshore water temperatures are now in the high 70s. Clarity can be a problem in the general Cedar Key area due to the mighty Suwannee. Offshore water temperatures are around 64-68 degrees and slowly rebounding. Clarity is not an issue.
Speckled trout continue to be the top dog with Spanish mackerel coming in second place. Reds are fairly steady but no spring rally yet. Cobia, tripletail, tarpon and shark will also come on strong in May if our warm up continues.
As mentioned, our offshore action is a bit slow to recover from the fall bite, but should pick up in May. Gags will lead the charge but must be released until July 1. Red grouper are not as active now but will move back in and be available for our day trips in 50 to 80ft red grouper spots. So far, our kingfish run is very weak, like it has been for four or five years, and I’m not sure if the good old kingfish days will ever return. Of course our rock bass and Cedar Key snapper (grunts) will be thick at all live and rocky reef areas from 25 to 45ft. Catch and keep all you want to clean and enjoy.
May’s overall inshore and offshore outlook is quite promising. There could be a few flies in the ointment such as dirty water for our inshore areas, and a stronger than usual west wind due to our approaching El Niño this summer. That could make the trips to the grouper grounds a bit challenging. As always, time will tell and we’ll see how it pans out.
Lastly, for you fisher folks who don’t have a boat and enjoy dock and pier fishing, our city pier is still quite a bargain. No parking or usage fee. The action and possibility for a wide assortment of inshore species is now in full swing. The facilities are not bad and the folks are very nice and friendly. Fisher folks of all ages can now enjoy a nice day on the good gulf too. Cedar Key has plenty of well stocked bait shops and the owners are always kind and willing to give you a few tips and reports on what’s biting. Tell them Captain Phil sent you and I promise they’ll take good care of you.
Hope everyone has a mighty fine May and can get out on the good gulf many times. Don’t forget Mom on Mother’s Day. We fisher folks wish all you Moms a very special and happy Mothers’ Day. Good luck and good fishing! See you next month, “if nothin’ don’t happen!”