Whether you consider May as the middle of spring season or the early stages of summer you can bet the cold months are now behind us for calendar year 2015.
Though we still have a sizable population of shrimp in the area they (the shrimp) are doing their best to migrate to the Atlantic. So, while live shrimp are always a viable option as live or dead bait they are no longer the BEST option. I’ve all but given up on them unless we are targeting seatrout living on the deeper flats. Tossing a shrimp into the shallows usually ends up feeding the pinfish, puffers or some of the other bait stealers marauding across the shallows.
Speaking of puffer fish, their numbers are seemingly at an all-time high and they are voracious! I personally think FWC should reconsider the “ban” on these critters. If we don’t do something to curtail their advancing numbers it will become nearly impossible to use soft plastic lures…
Fin-fish are now and will continue to be our most important food source for our game fish until next winter. Mullet are here in huge numbers. In fact I believe our mullet population to be impressively vast this year and they’ve showed up early too. Pinfish have been growing rapidly and you can bet the seatrout, redfish, jacks, snook, tarpon and others are feeding on them. Also, and way ahead of schedule are the bay anchovy (glass minnows) schools. We’re seeing them on the surface when calm conditions continue into the day. Expect trout, ladyfish, jacks, bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel to follow and feed on these small, but abundant minnows.
If you want a shot at a real gator trout you’d better hurry before they are spawned out for the season. Once these mature hens release their eggs their bodies will play catch-up through the warm water time frame. By catch-up I mean the fish will have a tough time feeding themselves enough calories to maintain their body weight as their metabolism stays in hyper drive until the water chills down again!
Think BIG when targeting these trophies. Six inch top-water walkers like the Banks Lures Fender Walker is a great choice. You can bet I’ll be throwing Exude RT Slugs as their five inch length will get a gator’s attention too. For a huge soft plastic the eight inch StreakZ XL; this bait floats when rigged with a standard worm hook or you can nose weight it allowing the tail to float up from the bottom.