Capt. Ric’s Reel Simple Fishing Report

Feb 28, 14 Capt. Ric’s Reel Simple Fishing Report

It’s hard to believe that we have had as mild of a winter here when things not that much farther north have been so miserable. I ran a trip the other day with overcast skies, temperatures in the high 50’s low 60’s and a light rain drizzle. Not something I encourage. My group was from Indiana and informed me that they left a foot of snow and single digit temps. After hearing that I was almost as happy as they were.
The good thing is our warm weather is just around the corner and that will be great for fishing. I want to touch a little on spring fishing and what to expect in the next few months. March is the unofficial kickoff of our fishing season. It is the time of year that we start to see a bigger variety of fish to catch. As the water warms some of our fish start to make their way out of the rivers, canals, and creeks.
This is good as our bait is also on the move leaving the deeper water and slowly moving into the shallows. That’s a great situation to be in as an angler if you can be in the right spot when the two met.
There are not many things a fisherman likes more than a hungry fish. Hungry fish make us look like we know what we are doing. The warmer temps will also bring some of our migrating fish back. Tarpon, king mackerel and spanish mackerel are all fish that will move into the area as we approach spring. We do have resident tarpon and mackerel but the invasion is on its way. I have a couple groups that fish with me that always get a spanish mackerel trip in every spring and have a big fish fry to celebrate. Mackerel are fantastic if cleaned the correct way and I know how. Another thing that excites me about this time of year is the fact that most of our trophy trout are harvested in the spring. Our trout fishery is healthy and thriving. In the 80’s it was hard to catch a trout over 20”.

David Bensman of Wisconsin with a 38” cobia he caught in Tampa Bay on a recent trip with Capt. Ric Liles.

There were not very many around that big. Last year we saw dozens that were 24” or better. I expect things to be even better this year. Another thing to keep in mind is that snook season opens March 1st and goes thru the end of April. Snook have a 1 fish limit and have to be in the 28”-33” slot and you must have an up to date snook stamp. Keep in mind that you have to pinch the tail while measuring. Snook and redfish are our dominant shallow water target and one of the most enjoyable fish we have to catch. They offer a good battle and make a pretty good meal. Until next time, good luck and be safe on the water. Remember: don’t let your kid be the one that got away, take them fishing.
For charter fishing information you can call me at (813)601-2900, email, or visit my website at

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