Trout treasures. Gator trout have been the rule rather than the exception. Recent trips have produced trout up to 25 inches and many, many fish in the 20- to 22-inch range. The time is now for a fresh trout filet on the grill. I personally like the fish in the 16- to 18-inch range for the table. I try and educate my clients on the importance of the bigger trout and encourage them to release the fish. They usually oblige.
Mack daddies. Mackerel are scouring the wrecks and any hump or deep flat they can find. Use a 40-pound leader and a long shank hook to prevent cutoffs. Many of the toothy ones have been in the 22- to 24-inch range with the occasional fish topping 26 inches. These are great adversaries for the kids and novice adult anglers as well. I prefer to catch them on fly. Chum with live greenies and wait like a patient bird dog for the "pop." Then send out a green and white closer on a long shank hook and hang on. An eight weight is perfect for targeting macks on the fly.
Reds. Redfish have been in "loose" schools. When they are in this type of school they tend to be more ravenous and will take artificials with reckless abandon. Topwaters and shad tail jigs are top producers.
Tarpon teeming. Tarpon are beginning to make a push and should be here in full force anytime. Like many of you, I can't wait.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 774-0889.