Lately, we have seen some of the warmest winter weather we have had here in Islamorada in a long time. Water temps in December stayed mostly in the mid seventies until between Christmas and New Years. The first week in January it warmed up again and we had water temps as high as 78 degrees all the way up to January 26. When I look at my fishing log from last winter I am reminded that on January 7, 2006 we somehow caught one bonefish in water that was 59 degrees, and the water never got out of the sixties the entire month.
The warm water this year has allowed us to find bonefish on a regular basis most days this winter. In fact, I made a habit of going out by myself the last few weeks to a flat right behind my house with my fly rod and about two hours of daylight left. Many of those times I caught one or two bonefish in the last hour of daylight as the bonefish were tailing all around the boat. The late "Bonefish Bob" Berger told me years ago that the last hour of daylight was the best time to fish tailing bonefish. That has certainly been true so far this winter.
Although the best story of the last 30 days was about my friend Lawrie Anderson. We spent the morning out back in Florida Bay catching so many spanish mackerel and bluefish that we ran out of flies. On the way home we stopped at a bonefish flat and within one hour, after casting to four schools of bonefish, he got one to eat his fly. Now Lawrie has caught 2 and 3 pound bonefish in Belize, but he has never caught a bonefish in Islamorada. He was shocked when I lifted his 10 pound bonefish into the boat. I have said it before that the largest bonefish in the world live right here in Islamorada.
Speaking of large bonefish...just just 2 days ago on Feb 9, 2007, Delaware angler Bill Watrous caught a big bonefish on my boat that measured 34 inches long and I estimate the weight to be about 14 pounds. See attached photo.
The snook and redfish bite back in Flamingo has been good some days and not so good on others. Snook season opened February 1st and I had the pleasure of taking two of my friends from New York, Mike Wagner and Thorn Williamson, back to Cape Sable and Lake Ingram for a day of snook fishing. The photos are the 2 slot fish we kept for dinner and of course the goliath grouper in the photo we returned to the water.
I expect, if the water temps stay relatively warm, that we will get an early start to our tarpon season this year. In April, May, and June, the tarpon are here in Islamorada in abundance. This year we may begin to see bigger numbers of fish in March, especially on warm, calm days. That same weather pattern makes the permit show up as well.
This time of year I am taking a lot of calls for our upcoming tarpon season. So if you plan on tarpon fishing in Islamorada this year, plan your trip soon to get your pick of the best days. Call me at 305-517-2953. I still have some good dates available.