Winter kayaking – Florida style E-mail
Friday, 09 October 2009 09:03
Winter in Florida may not be as rigorous as in other parts of the United States, but when you are used to fishing in 92 degree weather a winter cold snap can cramp your style. When the wind blows from the North and the Gulf starts to develop a mean chop I head for the haven of Florida’s rivers.

   My favorite is the Myakka River winding through Sarasota County. The trees make a perfect wind break and the cool air puts the local alligators into relax mode. The tides at the mouth of the Myakka are usually low so the water flow can be pretty good which stirs up the bait and makes the fish more active.

   My main goal while fishing fresh water is Bass and Specs. Artificial bait is the choice when I kayak because of its availability. I like to head out just before first light and take my camera to photograph the sun coming up over the savannahs. Once that is out of the way it’s time to get to work and start tossing out the crank bait. All along the rivers in Florida there are fallen trees jutting out into the water. These are a natural habitat for Bass. A Culprit thrown just up current of the tree will give it a natural presentation to any fish using the tree for shade or cover. Being in a kayak makes it easy to get close without spooking the fish.

   The rains are usually over by early winter so the water flow is clean. There is very little debris coming down stream. Usually the water is still coffee color so it is very hard to sight fish. One of the best places to fish is on a bend that has a good drop off. Let your bait float over the drop off and then just feed out line. Once the bait is about 20 feet past the drop off you can start a jerking retrieve. This method has brought quite a few Bass into my cooler.

   Another plus during the winter is that you can get out and wade fish or fly fish off the shallows. This isn’t such a good idea during the warmer weather when our reptile friends are looking for a meal.

   If the fish aren’t cooperating, I bring the camera out again. There is so much beauty along the riverbanks that there is no such thing as a wasted day.

Doug Zeeff

 

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