Outdoors | Springtime and the great fishing it brings is on the way

February 23, 2014 

With two weeks until time springs forward and less than four weeks until the official start of spring, anglers are champing at the bit for a taste of warmer weather and the hungry fish that come with it.

For anglers, spring means the arrival of large schools of bait, followed closely by predators inshore and offshore.

Spring means more daylight, allowing anglers to enjoy later sunsets, especially for those who want to sneak out after work.

Spring means choices. Do you want to try to catch kingfish, snook, redfish, grouper, snapper, cobia, trout, or anything else that swims?

Spring means warmer water temperatures, not only helpful for the fish but finally time for anglers to put on the shorts and wade without hesitation.

Spring means aggression. Fish are hungry and willing to eat more often and more variety.

Spring means jet skis, pontoon boats and "googans" ... oh wait, those aren't good things.

In all seriousness, it is the beginning of spring that brings some of the best fishing of the year. Anglers know it means the arrival of better fishing for most species we love to target.

As cold fronts dwindle and warm weather fills the air, large schools of Spanish sardines will take over the flats and threadfins will occupy the bay and beaches. This occurs when water temperatures stay above 72 degrees for an extended period of time, and that is when you want to go fishing. This week, temperatures have crept above 70 degrees, showing signs that spring could be right around the corner.

It won't be long before anglers are filling up their live wells on Key Royale before heading to Terra Ceia Bay, the Manatee River or Sarasota Bay and catching snook, redfish, and trout in the same spot. That is why I am excited for spring.

In the meantime, the next few days look good for fishing, apart from fog that will likely linger along the coasts. This is a great time to use topwater lures in the slick calm. Take caution in foggy conditions as much can go wrong without it.

Need something to do next weekend? The News Channel 8 Outdoor Expo and Boat Show will be taking place Feb. 28 through March 2 at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

The event will start at 1 p.m. Friday with free admission, and will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday and March 2. Weekend admission is $8 per person with children 12 and younger free.

The show will have vendors from around the state looking to make deals along with nearly 50 seminars focused around the outdoors.

For more information, including directions and schedules, visit tampaoutdoorexpo.com.

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