By Capt. Ralph Allen
Thanksgiving weekend is a precursor to “The Season” in Southwest Florida. By the time Thanksgiving arrives each year, a fair number of our winter residents have reappeared in town. Not to mention that the holiday weekend itself attracts a bunch of short-term visitors —enough that for four or five days, things are quite hectic on the roads and on the water, offering a brief glimpse of the traffic that we’ll experience during the coming February-March-April time of peak residency and tourism. Today might not be the busiest of days on the water, because many folks will be preoccupied with food and camaraderie with friends and family, but tomorrow and Saturday will likely be among the most heavily fished days of the year. As of Monday evening, forecasters are calling for clear weather with highs of about 75 degrees and lows of about 50, with 10-knot north winds and a light chop on inland waters — in short, conditions which should be conducive for targeting any of the following fish.
Grouper, snapper and mackerel are generating the most buzz offshore. Gags must be released until further notice (it has not yet been announced when gag season will again be open in federal waters of the Gulf), but red grouper are open and being caught in good numbers starting at about 65 feet of water. A few scamp, for which the season is also open, are being taken in about 80 feet of water or deeper.
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