Happy New Year fish friends. 2022 is off and running It seems the older I get the faster the years fly by. When I stop to think about all the good times, I always get rejuvenated for another fresh start and writing the next chapter in the book. After closing out 2021 with a warm trend through the holidays we are starting to see a few cold fronts on the horizon but until then we are enjoying the “Fall-like” conditions within our fishery.
Typically, this is the time of year that we are hunting big gator trout and fishing the warm water haunts in and around the bay. However, the story thus far has been more so an extension of a late Fall bite. For me everything revolves around the weather. Inshore, that is the place marker for the species we are targeting and the areas we are fishing.
The bait has been a grind at times with some higher winds and stronger tides coming off the last new moon tides of the year. I have been making the runs early in the morning to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge or some of the deeper range markers along the way if it’s thick enough to catch easily. Size has not been consistent but we have been loading up on a well full of smaller baits to chum with and securing enough pinfish to put on a hook for our trips. A fan favorite has been a live pinfish under a Cajun Thunder Popping Cork while working the shallow grass flats.
Redfish have still been plentiful and willing to party when the tides are right and the boat traffic is limited. We have been targeting several open flats on the lower tides. Fish have been scattered around, roaming in large areas. With a little bit of patience, instincts, knowledge of the terrain and fish patterns…a lot of fish can be caught without moving the boat. The mullet have been the gateway to the gamefish. Find the mullet, find the fish – especially when it comes to redfish this time of year.
Snook on the other hand have been pretty easy to find and convince to eat. There are a lot of juvenile fish that have pushed up into the rivers and creek systems but we are also catching quality fish out on the flats still. Over the last few weeks, we have caught multiple slot-sized snook mixed in a redfish feeding frenzy. Live Pilchards are still the bait of choice but the big girls will gladly take a pinfish as well.
As dive into the new year and the frosty Florida fishing season, I will be taking some time away from the charter boat over the next few weeks to hop on the road for another redfish tournament season. From now until late Summer, be on the lookout for Team Suzuki RePower on the Professional Redfish League Series and PowerPole Redfish Series as we chase down fat redfish and trophies from Florida to Louisiana.
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Suzuki Repower and Mastry Engine Center.
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