Paddle Power in April 2023

Winter is gone and spring is here! Yet another winter season has slid by with little in the way of impactful cold spells speaking in terms of fish temperature tolerance issues. Of course it takes a serious cold front to really impact the more cold tolerant lagoon fish such as redfish, black drum, seatrout, and the like. However, for the more sensitive subtropical fish like the snook and juvenile tarpon that we’ve enjoyed in such abundance lately can be effected much more seriously by some real cold. Though we did see some fish perish over the front that hit at Christmas time, it seems those very isolated cold kills happened due to the warm to cold transition being so abrupt with almost summer like conditions leading to the frontal passage, then prolonged cold conditions. This means an assured uptick for yet another year in the population of both the snook and tarpon. Both these fish are an absolute blast and represent everything great about a sport fish. They have done a spectacular job of bending rods and filling some of the gaps seen in the other species numbers.

Both these species tend to not be affected by the loss of seagrass due to their habitat preferences not leaning to seagrass flats. As temperatures continue to warm tarpon and snook will love taking a bait from a kayak angler. We can look forward to a spectacular summer season with both of these hard fighting fish. Juvenile tarpon can be exhilarating and frustrating at the same time. There is typically little doubt that they are present due to their willingness to roll seeming to wave at you as the frustration of trying to get the bite sets in. Sometimes they have no hold up on eating and it’s exhilarating to see them absolutely destroy any prey item or anglers offering. Don’t overlook a fly rod as a great way to present smaller baits that represent the minnow which juvenile tarpon rely on so heavily in their early years. Of course, snook are well known for their want to hug structure throughout their day and run straight to that structure when hooked. Being able to fish as close to a snooks home as possible can mean all the difference in casting and catching. One great trick I like to use in this scenario is the utilization of weedless lures to keep from hanging up as you attempt to skip your offerings under trees and docks in search of the right bite. The weedless keeper style hook and paddle tail lure combination is a standout for this. It not only does the sidearm skip cast well, but it is a perfect search lure. When targeting snook from kayaks that are suspended in these areas its best to paddle and cast covering ground and spots as you go.