By Capt. David Lifka
Here in North Florida our fishing season does not really end — it just slows down a little, and then fires right up back again. Right now, we have reached the time of year where we are just weeks away from that happening again.
Preparation is always a good thing when it comes to fishing, especially when you have not been out in a while. Now is a good time to take an hour or two and pull everything out and give it the once over. Getting out for the first time after two or three months and discovering your favorite rod still needs a new tip, the line you were going to change is still weak, your reel will barely turn, or your tackle box is out of sinkers is not the best way to start the fishing season.
Even more so, if you own a boat, the consequences of lack of preparation the first time heading out to the water can be more serious. Batteries and fuel problems are the two most likely causes to leave you stranded at the dock or out on the water. If not checked, tires and wheel bearings can also leave you stranded, but this time, on the highway. Not only are these problems a major nuisance when they occur, but when they happen at the wrong time and place, they could jeopardize the safety for those involved.
The last thing you do not want to overlook is making sure you are legal. Check your fishing license and make sure it is current for the type of fishing you are going to do. Try to know the fishing regulations before you go out and have a copy or access to them when you do go out. Make sure your boat is legal and its registration is up to date. Any questions or concerns regarding these issues can be answered at the FWC website (https://myfwc.com/). There are also numerous apps that can be downloaded into your phone that can help with fish identification, size, and limits.
You can expect the largemouth bass to kick off our spring with their annual pre-spawn bite. The pre-spawn bite is fast and furious and offers some of the best and easiest largemouth fishing for the year. Every nearby freshwater lake, pond, creek, and river will become a hot spot during this time and should not be overlooked. Any warm spell lasting more than a few days in the next several weeks should get them going.
Surf fishing is also about to get red hot. The bluefish bite should be starting anytime, followed by a whiting run and then pompano. Longer periods of warmer days should be the trigger to get it all started. Watch for the surf temperatures to reach 60 degrees or above and then head out and give it a try.
Fishing Report: Wait for the warm spells then give it a try. Whatever you fish for, it should still be a nice, overdue day in the sun and air.