Crazy Weather

By: Capt. Billy Norris

This has been one crazy year so far with the weather!  We have had seemingly endless rounds of storm fronts rolling through, creating rough seas for much of last month.  That being said, when you can get out on the water the bite has been phenomenal!

Backwater has been solid when targeting the wintertime staples.  There are sheepshead and black drum on the docks, oyster bars, and around structure.  Redfish have also been eager to take baits, and some nice snook have been chewing as well.  Estero Bay has had a great trout bite in the backwater and catching a limit hasn’t been too difficult.  There are a lot of smaller fish mixed in, but if you keep at it the keepers add up.

Nearshore has also been productive.  The kingfish have still yet to show up, but the cobia bite has more than made up for it.  We have consistently been catching solid cobia, with some big ones coming onboard.  Cobia will eat a variety of baits including fish, shrimp, crabs and even cut bait.  Lately our go to baits have been large pinfish or thread herring.  In addition to cobia, there have been some huge black drum hanging on the nearshore wrecks.  Although the larger ones aren’t the greatest table fare, smaller fish under 20 inches or so are delicious!  The snapper bite inside of 9 miles has also been good.  Mangroves and lanes have been active, especially on the patch reef and ledges.

Offshore has been on fire.  We have definitely had to pick our days to go deep due to the unusually high winds, but when we’ve been able to get out, it’s been on fire!  Red grouper season is open, and they are crushing baits.  The snapper bite offshore is the best I’ve seen it in a long time.  Mangrove, lane, mutton, and more are covering the wrecks and reefs, and getting them fired up hasn’t been a problem.  This year we have been catching giant lane snapper in large quantities.  The cobia have also been present offshore, and on multiple days we’ve been able to sight fish them off of the surface.

The fishing is great right now, and it should continue to get better!  If the weather cooperates, you can get out on the water and crush some fish!  Contact us at Pale Horse Fishing Charters to book your backwater, nearshore, or offshore trip today!