Northern anglers had to deal with a west gale today, but they weren’t missing much in Florida where it was just 46 degrees this morning in Ft. Myers — where people aren’t dressed for such temperatures.

There wasn’t as much wind when I joined Crazy Alberto Knie to try casting light tackle for spotted seatrout at Lovers Key State Park, but the cool wind was strong enough to blow out most of the water he planned to fish. In order to bail out, we ended up buying 50 live shrimp and making the long drive to Marco Island to fish from a dock along with David Rizzo who had just returned to his home there after visiting his son in South Jersey.

Though Alberto had caught some larger fish at that dock in the past, the water was also fairly shallow — but everything eats live shrimp. The only barely eating-size fish for Alberto’s pan were a couple of kingfish I caught. Those were either southern or Gulf kingfish similar to the northern kingfish we catch in the surf during the summer — not the king mackerel which are commonly called kingfish in the south. To add to the confusion, Florida fishermen refer to them as whiting — the common name we use in the north for cold water silver hake.

We caught 10 species of fish ranging from pinfish and sea catfish to black groupers – and saw the largest mantis shrimp (about a foot long) I’ve ever seen swimming on the surface. That fishing brought me back to my roots fishing off a dock in Merrick, Long Island with a cane pole for whatever would hit. Toadfish were my big game at that time — and Alberto even caught one of hem today.

Alberto is busy co-hosting George Poveromo’s Salt Water Sportsman Seminars this winter. More about them tomorrow.

There were no reports today, likely due to the gale. Small craft advisories come down tonight as the winds drop to southwest at 10-15 knots by morning before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon.


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