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Fishing Lines: Better visibility means big hittin' on the water

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By Capt. Dennis Voyles

I remember as a kid we used to say, "Wind from the west, fish bite the best; wind from the east, fish bite the least." I don't remember any sayings about the north or south winds. But, when the wind blows in that pristine clear water from down around Crystal River our inshore fishing gets much better.

Now I will grant that the fish will allow you fewer mistakes in clear water, especially redfish, but the clear water more than makes up for the disadvantages it brings.

Some of the advantages of fishing cleaner water: 1) Topwater plugs are once again in style, 2) More strike to bite ratio (aka STBR), 3) Now you can actually see the fish attack which is a big plus in my book, 4) You can now see large predators like cobia following rays and sharks, and 5) It just is more fun to fish in water that is clean.

The trout fishing is pretty good right now, and some of the females that I cleaned last week had completed their reproductive task for the year. I always feel better knowing that they have spawned before being harvested. Actually one day last week, nearly all of the fish were males. I don't know what that means, but it is interesting. It seems that most days the wide majority of the fish are female.

Some of the large bait pods have finally arrived and the Spanish Mackerel run is in full swing. When in the presence of these bait pods, nearly any fast moving lure will do, especially if it flashes.

Lots of blacktip sharks seem to have invaded the flats and are willing to cut a hooked trout in two on occasion. Most of the ones that I have seen are in the three- to six-foot range. I think that the coloration of the blacktips is very attractive, their bronze top and characteristic vee pattern on the side. They are a great battle when hooked too.

To my knowledge there are no changes in the shark laws this year, but it is always a good idea to check the regulations before heading out. Or, you can stop by the FWC office on the way into town and the nice ladies there will give you a copy.

The new moon influence has some BIG TIME low tides in the evenings this week, so adjust your spring lines accordingly.

There are lots of tournaments coming up so be patient at the ramp, and have everything ready when it is your turn.