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enjoy the great weather.

1-23-2013 fishing report by Captain Van Hubbard. We are enjoying some bright spots but this is an unusually year so far.

          I’ve supported myself fishing since my honorable discharge from the Navy back in 1970 so I do have some experience to draw from when I tell you this is a weird year! We can start out from home port of Stump Pass Marina and see healthy snook at the dock. We proceed into Lemon Bay and every day is different; some beautiful others not pretty. I can usually make an educated guess as to what we can expect but; this year, expect surprises. One day is great and the next can be the opposite. Go figure? I am just glad that so far while we have lost some fish the red tide effects have been more of a challenge than a devastating problem. So far we have not lost significant numbers of targeted fish; it’s mostly mullet and catfish.

          While I hate red tide; we can learn from it. Two separate large tarpon were reported last week one over a hundred pounds was up in Lemon Bay. It’s always interesting to see what fish pop up and where. We can learn more of what fish are where, and when, for future fishing. Water temps were seventy-five degrees at Stump Pass on Monday. We found minnows and caught a thirty-one inch snook on shrimp. We saw Spanish mackerel in the near shore Gulf also offshore boats are catching kings as far north as St. Pete. If we didn’t have this red tide it would be the best fishing ever around here because of the mild water temps. So yes, red tide is a problem but so far with one exception we have found good fish catching and beautiful water. It just requires more riding and fortunately I have the new Evinrude E-Tec to allow us to range farther and faster with better fuel consumption. Life has challenges but we have opportunities to overcome most and this is what helps us grow and learn.

          We found lots of ladyfish and smaller trout in Bull Bay Monday. We saw several nice snook and no dead fish inside. We did have to ride past some dead fish in Gasparilla Sound and some ugly water but we cruised at thirty and it was brief.  As we passed Devilfish Key we encountered a huge group of dolphin feeding on trout. We observed them eating and playing with nice two pound specks. They broke off and surfed with us as we rode by and that was exciting for Steve and Jack Ryan, father Tony and Grandpa John Freeman. While we had to invest time traveling it was a nice ride and educational fun for all of us.  We saw hundreds of the big white pelicans. It’s nice to have the speed to fish Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande more.  Venice had problems last week but again it changes daily.

          It’s an eye opening education for me to see how patchy this out break has been so far. Fair weather seems to enhance blooms and rough, windy, cold conditions disperse concentrations.  You can have dead zones for miles and then abundant fish schooled up a few hundred yards apart as we found Monday by Stump Pass. No life between the passes and abundant fish around the inlets? Like I said this is a learning experience for me and while I’ll be glad when it’s gone we are still enjoying some quality fishing around this mess.

          It’s time to get your reservations for Spring and Summer fishing trips locked up while there are openings. We do have very optimistic outlook for great fishing after the colder Winter chills kill this mess. So, Let’s go fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard www.captvan.com.

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