Happy New Year FishHeads!

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Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. I can’t believe this is the fifth year already for FishMonster Magazine. It doesn’t seem it was that long ago when Marlin invited me to be part of the FishMonster family, doing radio interviews with him, Dianne and Seth a couple of times a week from the water. Marlin and I would chat regularly about fishing, boating, business and many other topics. We even fished together a bunch of times, which I dearly miss. It’s a new year and the perfect time to look forward to the season ahead. So far, late autumn and early winter has seen plenty of strong cold fronts and cool temperatures. Parts of the country have been pounded with snow and it’s been plenty cold up there. Hopefully, that will give the extra motivation needed for folks to take that long awaited vacation to the Keys and maybe do a few days of fishing while they are here!  We’re ready for you!! The cold winter and hopefully normal winter pattern (the past couple winters have been out of whack) we’ve been experiencing will get the winter species moving into the backcountry in droves.  I’m looking forward to some easy fishing this winter.  I love those first couple hours of a trip, fishing in the backcountry with my anglers catching fish after fish.  Jacks, ladyfish, pompano, sea trout, sharks; big ones, small ones and all sizes in between.  It doesn’t matter, rods are bending, drags are singing and anglers are having fun.  It’s simply a great way to start the day.  Then when we’ve had our fill, it’s on to the flats to up the challenge for some really awesome fishing. Barracuda fishing ought to be excellent as well.  The barracuda is a staple for us flats guides during the winter. They tend to be around and willing to eat under just about any conditions mother nature can throw at us. Cudas always put on a great show with lightning fast strikes, blistering runs and most will fly through the air showing off their talents, a definite crowd pleaser. The cudas we are looking for are the big, ferocious, gotta eat anything that swims by kind of predator. Upwards of four feet long and mad, they can’t resist chasing down a brightly colored tube lure zipping through the water past them. The next few months, February through April, have some of the best permit fishing of the year around Key West.  Daily and weekly warming trends lead to great fishing on the flats.  And when all the elements come together; water temperature, tide, wind and sun; permit will move up toward the flats en masse.  I have been out there on days when you can see them moving in from the deep. They will push over a flat one school after another.  It’s an awesome experience. There’s also those days when it just gets right and it’s like a switch was flipped.  There will be permit all over a flat, feeding hard. You won’t go more than a couple minutes before seeing the next group shoving their faces into the bottom. These are exceptional days of course and may only last a short while.  If you’re the lucky angler who happens to be on the water the day this happens, beg your guide to stay out longer.  You just never know when you will hit the permit jackpot again, so take advantage of it. Finally, the one everyone comes to Key West for, the Silver King. The cold, windy winters produce incredible tarpon fishing in the spring. The spring tarpon migration brings thousands and thousands of tarpon and anglers from around the world to the Florida Keys.  Every angler that hasn’t done so, needs to go head to head with the most spectacular fighting fish on the planet.  You ain’t lived until you put a 100+ pound slab of silver in the air! This year I am really looking forward to tarpon season. I think it’s going to be one of the best tarpon seasons we’ve had in some time.  I am totally playing weatherman here, completely speculating on this year’s upcoming tarpon run.  But after last year’s aweful weather in May, I’m going in early with a positive attitude and hoping for the best.


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