With hunting season coming to a close, youíll have no excuse not to hit the Gulf for a little lip-jerking. February may be cold, but the redfishing in Lanark is red hot this time of year. High numbers of big fish were reported last month. When the moon is right, schools of 40+ fish can be spotted when you know where to look. Most of the fish, ranging from 25-35 inches, have no problem munching on flies, except maybe for the sore lip. Just about any lure will work when the fish are eating. I prefer a jig, gold or shrimp color, but sometimes they just don't bite; thatís when I switch to a live hopper shrimp. If you're having a tough time finding the fish, my tip for you is to hire a guide, namely me. Part of my job is to know where the fish are and to hook you up on a big one.
Now is always a good time to check your safety equipment. Check dates on flares and pressure in your fire extinguisher; its real easy to forget when those things expire. Make sure you have a PFD that you would want to wear it you ever had to use it. Not long ago I became engulfed in heavy fog, and my GPS was out being serviced. Without a compass, we would've been headed to the Yucatan for sure. Luckily for me, I have grown up on these waters and hit the heading right on the money. A good first aid kit is worth its weight in gold after your hand gets caught on a treble hook attached to a 40lb green cobia at 20 miles out.
Most of the redfish caught off my boat in January where just over the slot. So if you're in it for meat, I would suggest a light tackle trip to some of the many artificial reefs in our area. 10-20lb spin rods and a box of frozen squid can fill up an ice chest with rock bass or flounder real quick. Itís always a hoot when you get a hit from a 10lb gag on really light tackle. Make sure to bring an extra box of hooks, because the big one is always getting away. But isnít that the best excuse to come back? The Organization for Artificial Reefs has over a dozen sites in our area, including one named after Robby Redding; all are listed at oarreefs.org. Filling up an ice chest makes me happy, but nothing puts a smile on my face like giving fresh seafood to someone that might not be able to catch their own. There are plenty of people who don't fish, but would love to share in a fresh catch.
Captain Tucker Strickland HooktheBigone@gmail.com