Not sure if the boys ever tossed a line into the Charles River, or if they were simply fishing for sarcasm, but the Standells really loved that dirty water. You’d be partial, too, if your one-hit wonder helped pay the bills.
You like challenging mass-appeal marketing? Enjoy swimming upstream, clopping along against the grain, pushing forward against the wind, barreling into any other cliche out there?
Well, try selling folks on the negative attributes of clean, clear water.
Many of our prime saltwater favorites don’t need convincing. They can be as skittish as young cats in clear water, as if their cloak of camouflage has disappeared and left them oh so vulnerable.
And skittish fish aren’t prone to darting after your bait, often because they see you over there in your buttoned-down Columbia shirt, Tommy Bahama shorts, Hey Dude slip-ons, and polarized Bill Dance shades.
Oh well, Skippy, at least you’ll look good back at the marina when ordering steamers and the latest IPA.
It’s common for the waters of the Intracoastal to clear, sometimes dramatically, after a blast of arctic air. Roll your eyes and tell us we don’t know cold, but locals in the know will tell you it doesn’t take a New England-style nor’easter to kill the algae and clear up the flats and creeks.
“But spring has sprung,” you say. “Flip-flop weather has arrived.”
Tell that to the wind sock.
Not sure if this one dates back to Izaak Walton, or if it appeared on the flipside of the Standells “Dirty Water,” but here’s an old one for you: “Wind from the West, fish bite the best. Wind from the East, fish bite the least. Wind from the North, do not go forth. Wind from the South blows bait in their mouth.”
If you’re one of those who takes a daily glance at the weather forecast, over in the corner where the wind direction is located, you’ve been seeing a steady dose of N and E, only broken up by the locking of arms for the February-familiar NE.
Good news/bad news: Friday’s forecast promises a little S mixed into the wind pattern — depending on where you look, it’ll either be from the East-Southeast or, better yet, from the South-Southeast. Yes, that’s the good news.
The bad: After that, it’s another stretch of north and northeast breezes that are amplified on the open water.
But more good: It won’t be long. It looks like the second week of March will start producing a favorable weather vane. Meanwhile, aren’t the conch fritters tasty?
Until then, if you want to sneak up on the fish, your best option is getting out there early, before full sunlight increases the visibility of all above or below the water line. Yep, when it’s still chilly. Just can’t win sometimes.
Gene Lytwyn (The Fishin’ Hole) promises good things ahead.
“Continued warm weather will speed up the migration of fish in the area,” he says.
Meanwhile, you can still entice the sheepshead and black drum around bridge and dock pilings.
“We’re getting some fiddler crabs today, so sheepshead should be the rage,” Craig Patterson said Thursday from Donald’s Bait & Tackle in Port Orange.
On a couple of his recent outings, Patterson said he felt like he was on the set of a “Sharknado” sequel.
“Bonnethead, black-tips and sandbar sharks are everywhere,” he said.
“All the way up in Spruce Creek.”
Also, bluefish aren’t as plentiful as a couple of weeks ago, but they’re still liable to show up, and sometimes in bunches.
Down to the south, there are reports of plentiful black drum in the Mosquito Lagoon.
The Sea Spirit continues to err on the side of caution, but a midweek trip produced a deck full of the usual Atlantic fare, including cobia.
Capt. Mike Vickers (Hammock Bait & Tackle) offers come positive vibes, telling us how baitfish are warming to the scene and helping turn on the bite from Flagler Beach to Bings Landing — trout, flounder, reds and bluefish, he says.
“A few snook” back in the creeks and flats, he adds.
Also, over on the beach, Vickers says some of the whiting fall into the “bull” category, while the rocks at the north end are hosting reds and black drum.
Local pro angler Joe Balog drew a nice crowd for a speck-fishing seminar last week at Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand. More of those to come, we trust.
Timely, yes, because it’s still speck season on the St. Johns and its variety of lakes.
A picture of Georgia visitor Monte Owens holding a pair of lunkers tells us the largemouth bass are still hungry. He caught his with the help of Capt. Rush Rawlins, whose family has operated Highland Park since 1962.
Hook, line and clicker
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