Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring winds

Here we are almost into March and the weather is finally starting to stabilize. There were a couple magnificent days on the water this past week. The water temps are soring back up into the upper 60's in the back country and the Redfish and Trout are feeding on the rising tides in the am. I have been witness to several seasonal changes in the last couple weeks. Here is a short report I wrote for the Boca Beacon Newspaper here in Boca Grande. It talks about the changes I have seen...

"Over the past couple weeks since the deep cold snap we saw here in Southwest Florida I have been fishing the back country for Reds and Trout. The fishing for Redfish has been excellent. With the super low tides in the morning this past week we have been getting on the water around sunrise and looking for tailing Reds on the shallow grass flats as the tide starts to come in. My anglers armed with a nine weight fly rod or light tackle spinning rod, I have been poling my shallow water flats skiff into the skinny waters near Boca Grande. The natural beauty of the early mornings has been spectacular. On days when we are experiencing colder north winds the colors of everything seems to be a bit brighter because the cool clear air (which we only see for a few months a year here in boca) has been making everything look brilliant and the sun has been bright. The waters in the back country began to smell of dead Snook as they started to float to the surface and decay. It was around a week ago that I started to see the live fish move away from the areas where there were lots of dead fish and begin taking up residence in areas nearby. I watched each morning as the Redfish schools were gathering in new places and I also noticed a shift in the number and location of the birds. Everyone has noticed the large number of buzzards around the dead fish on the water, but I have also noticed that several of the Egrets, Ibis, Heron's, Osprey, Spoonbills, Wood Storks, and even our friend the Bald Eagle who lives on Cape Haze Point moved to new areas to feed. One morning this week while I was poling the flats boat, I came through and area where I have noticed a lack of birds just after the cold snap, and this day there was so many Ibis, Heron, and Rosette Spoonbills wading in the water I could not believe it. It was a pleasure to see all these birds return. I do not know if they went inland for a while when the cold snap occurred or if they just stayed deeper in the mangroves where I could not see them, but this past week they have all returned and are now back in all the places we normally see them. When I was driving my flats boat back to Boca Grande after a long day of fishing yesterday there were tons of Terns, Oyster catchers, Stilts, and Ibis all along the oyster bars that line the shores outside of the back country. I had not even noticed that they too were not around as much, but when they returned they colored the landscape like a bed of fresh blooming flowers. As well the smell of the dead fish is going away and the new schools of bait fish are filling in and covering the flats. Although we may still see some more cold fronts, Spring has Sprung."