Gustavo Mancilla 8/30/2016 Definitivamente los veranos nunca son lo suficientemente largos. Estas temporadas que en algunos estados llegamos a esperar con tantas ansias son una oportunidad muy grande para todos nosotros salir al outdoors y disfrutar de las maravillas naturales que existen en los Estados […]
Month: August 2016
If you pay a visit to the southernmost state, you can take advantage of several Florida fishing opportunities that are particularly intriguing. These opportunities involve targeting freshwater nonnative or exotic fish species that did not historically occur in Florida. These species can make ideal targets for anglers who are looking for Florida fishing fun and excitement while using either natural baits or artificial lures.
Exotic Freshwater Fish Found in Florida
Many exotic species lack natural predators, so they can outcompete native fish species. This can be an issue if they multiply unchecked, and use up valuable food resources that could cause native species to suffer. The one exception to this rule occurs in the case of the butterfly peacock bass — this species was intentionally introduced to South Florida canal systems in the 1980’s by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to help increase predation on illegally introduced exotic forage fishes while also enhancing recreational fishing opportunities at the same time.
While there are dozens of exotic freshwater fish species you can pursue in Florida, you may find it worthwhile to learn more about these four non-native favorites in particular, due to their increasing popularity and sporting qualities.
Clown Knife Fish
Originally native to tropical Asia, the clown knife fish can now be found in southeast Florida lakes and canal systems. This bizarre-looking species is flat and silvery with a long anal fin that features a series of five to ten black spots ringed with white. Live golden shiners or shad are among the best baits to use when pursuing this species. Focus your efforts near docks, bridges, and canal edges using a 2/0 hook rigged to a 30-lb test fluorocarbon leader.
Butterfly Peacock Bass
The colorful peacock bass is a feisty fighter that can be an absolute blast to catch, particularly on light tackle. Butterfly peacock bass have bright red eyes, and males of spawning age can be rather easily identified by the nuchal hump located at the top of their heads. Live shiners are the ideal live baits to use when targeting the butterfly peacock bass; however, topwater lures and crankbaits will also work if they are retrieved at a quick pace. Try using a 6 to 7 foot medium-heavy action rod with 8 to 10 lb test line.
Known by many Florida fishing fans as the “atomic sunfish” due to its energetic nature, the Mayan cichlid is originally native to Central and South America. However, this species can now be found throughout south Florida in freshwater canals, rivers, lakes and marshes of varying salinity levels. Mayan cichlids are an easy target to pursue using natural baits such as grass shrimp, shiners or crickets on light spinning tackle. Fly anglers can also have tons of fun casting to Mayan cichlids using popping bugs or woolly buggers.
Native to Central and South America, the jaguar guapote can be identified by its broken lateral line and purple to black spots. In Florida this species can be found mostly in the coastal canal systems near the southeast part of the state. Small spinnerbaits fished on light tackle are usually effective, but the jaguar guapote will take a variety of baitfish-imitating flies as well.
Now that you know more about Florida fishing opportunities for exotic freshwater fish species, check the state fishing regulations and purchase your fishing license online.
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Choosing the right saltwater fishing tackle and gear is somewhat of a personal preference but greatly influenced by what shows up at the end of your line. In a pinch during a South Carolina vacation, I bought a medium spinning combo preloaded with 12-pound line at a big box store. Later that day, I found myself connected to a very large ray. For an hour and a half we dueled and that largemouth bass gear held up amazingly well.
Saltwater Tackle for Boat Fishing
If you plan on trolling, casting won’t be much of an issue. Just free spool and drop the bait in the water. These reels probably are heavily geared baitcasters, which can hold lots of heavy line. The rods tend to be shorter and heavy duty to handle brutes such as tuna, marlin, or wahoo. Similar fishing gear will work if you plan to anchor and jig or drop bait down to a reef for grouper, amberjack, or even sharks.
Some fish may require longer casts and boat movement, perhaps following schools which may be indicated by flocks of feeding birds also chasing baitfish. Longer, “whippier” rods paired with heavy spinning reels may be more beneficial here. Redfish, striped bass, or tarpon might be targeted with this type of fishing gear.
Saltwater Tackle for Shore Fishing
If fishing from a jetty or long pier, the rod and reel mentioned above will be a good general combo for fish like black drum and sheepshead. However, if fishing from a beach, you will want to make very long casts. The rod may be 12 feet, with a very long butt for loading and launching leverage.
If you don’t know what species to expect, visit with the locals fishing where you want to fish. The tackle store in that area also will be a great source of information and will likely carry the appropriate saltwater fishing tackle and should be able to get you started. Be sure to check the saltwater fishing license requirement for your state.
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My dad is an expert on trees. When asked, “When is the best time to prune young trees,” I’ve heard him respond, “Whenever there are clippers in your hand.”
That same optimistic “go get ‘em” attitude can be applied to fishing. You won’t catch a fish unless you have a line in the water. In general, mornings and evenings seem to be the best times to fish. Mid day, there may be a period of inactivity, especially during the heat of late summer. However, that certainly doesn’t mean you should set your rod down and take a nap.
Fish are opportunistic and always looking for an easy meal. Even when not in the mood to bite, a little weather change can get fish feeding again.
Wind: When a hot summer lake goes from flat to a little bit of a chop, get ready. That wave activity perhaps from the extra oxygen boost can be like flipping that buffet sign from “closed” to “open.”
Clouds: One of the reasons mornings and evenings are such great times for catching fish is the lower light intensity. Cloud cover can create a sort of false early evening or delay the morning sunrise. These periods can cool the water and bring (or keep) the attention of fish at the surface for longer topwater lure action.
Rain: Runoff from rain and the associated cloud cover can cool the water too. Just a degree or two can make a difference. One local muskie angler claims “the best time to fish is during or just after a rain.” As long as there isn’t any lightning, I’ll keep right on casting.
Current: Tidal shifts can play a huge part of not only where fish are located, but what mood they might be in. Reservoirs also may periodically release their impounded water. This sudden influx of water current awakens everything in the system.
The best time for the angler to go fishing, may not be the best time for the fish to eat. A slight weather change such as brief afternoon shower can trigger a great time to fish. Plus, it may reduce the fishing pressure by sending many fishermen indoors. If there is lightning, however, no matter how great the bite, it is better to fish another day. Learn more about when to fish safely and make sure you have your fishing license before getting out on the water.
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