Fishing has always been an art form and for some it has been a way of life. Now it is an emerging passion amongst many that have the opportunity to enjoy nature. Fishing does require a great deal of passion and respect. I am so lucky and so amazed at all the beauty and abundance of fish Tampa Bay has to offer. My favorite time of year to fish is the Fall. Of course we don’t typically have “cold” days but the cooler nights aid in the drop of the water temperature. It is the best time to target Speckled Trout.
Just like practicing and preparing for any other sport, fishing, for me at least has it’s routine. A quick check of the tides and winds the night before allows me to plan where I want to fish and what method i’m going to use to make it a successful fishing trip. I double check my tackle bag and place my things by the front door. Its funny how much of a hard time I have waking up on a day I have to work but on a day planned for fishing i’m already awake anticipating the sound of my alarm clock. I get dressed take one quick look at the weather grab my coffee and my tackle and i’m out the door. The streets are empty and quiet. A short 2 minute drive to the marina is all I need to build the excitement for what lies ahead.
I get out on the water in search of that perfect bait. As I come up on a light by the bridge I can see movement on the surface followed by a swift smack of the water by an acrobatic lady fish. On a perfect day one cast will do the trick but it never hurts to try twice. You can never have too much bait. The live well is full and I make my way to my pre planned location and at this point I anchor up and cast a bait or 2 while I sip my coffee listening to smooth jazz waiting for the sun to rise, and shine its golden rays of light across the water. The Sun rise in the fall is always so beautiful. Every time I see it, it reminds me there is always another day and no matter what is going on there is beauty in the world. The sun casts an array of colors over the bay in what can only be explained as something magical. As soon as the sun is up the action starts. Just as I am ready to fish the fish are ready to eat. Every cast is getting a hit. The small white bait doesn’t stand a chance against a hungry Trout. As the tide moves and the winds dull I move around the flats trying not to disturb too many fish in the process. I love the areas usually less than 6 feet of water that has multiple holes and changes from grass to sand. I cast away from the boat up current and drift across the flats. Thanks to the cooler temps the water is crystal clear. I can see my bait gliding through the water and just out of the grass flats a fish emerges and takes the bait. The contrast of the white sandy bottom and the green and silver color of the fish makes it near impossible to mistake the Trout for any other fish. Trout put on a show every time they hit the surface. Flips, twists, and head shakes are always fun to see, until that last head shake throws the hook out of its mouth. Respect, that fish fought for its life and won. I have learned to accept the fact that not every fish is going to make it to the boat. I fish until the bite dies down and even then there is no rush to return home. The sheer beauty of the clouds and trees reflecting on the surface, or the tall slender white egrets searching for food in the shallows makes me appreciate every opportunity I have to be out on the water. Every day on the water isn’t perfect. It’s the days that challenge me as an angler, challenge my knowledge, challenge my patients, and challenge my passion is what makes me love fishing. It’s what makes me a better angler.