Blistering Heat = "Good Fishing!"
"Air Conditioned Holes are the Comfort Zone for Fish"

by
Allen Applegarth

Allen Applegarth
author1@gte.net


Allen Applegarth is the author of the recently published book, Florida Fishing. He lives and writes in St Pete, Florida
When the summer heat rolls into Florida’s waterways, many fishermen find themselves catching more sun and less fish. This is indeed enough to postpone tomorrow’s hopeful trip. Fishing in Florida waters can make the best of fishermen agitated at times—while the scorching heat only adds to the frustration. Nevertheless, the water is even too hot for us at times. As a long time flats fishermen and a huge fan of summer fishing, I love mother natures' tactics. The immense heat pushes many inexperienced anglers off the water and into their air conditioned homes. While it has this effect above the surface—a mirror image goes on below as well. The mid-day heat drives the fish into nestled coves, holes, deeper water, and swift moving currents—‘almost giving us a heard of cattle!’
A few weeks ago, my fishing partner (Byron Kennedy) and I was out running the flats of Tampa Bay, in search of concentrated fish. We began the day around noon, equipped with no more than thermometers, notepads, and a dozen or so markers. As we searched the majority of the bay, we noticed many sun-burned anglers packing up fairly early-‘empty handed—beaten by mother natures bag of tricks.’ As we continued rooting out the deeper holes on the flats as well as under mangrove overhangs, we marked the temperature and depth changes on record and by our floating markers. We recorded only the spots that had the greatest differences from the surrounding area. One particular spot stood out and received two markers—it was a hole up under overlying mangrove branches, nearly two and a half feet deeper than surrounding water and about seven to eight feet in length. The temperature dropped from 92 degrees in nearby water to an eye-opening 88 degrees. Assuming our next trip would prove worthy, we continued our quest to find the "air-conditioned hideouts."

The following day we returned to our private ‘air conditioned’ holes—fully equipped with small white bait and a limitless supply of sun block. Making our first appearance at the two and a half foot hole, now known as "heavens hole" we tossed in a small pinfish and slowly worked it to the edge of the hole. The water immediately boiled from the wake of a 19 pound snook. Very surprised to see this monster snook seeking refuge where we expected to use very light tackle, we tossed another pin in and hooked another snook weighing 9 pounds. At days end—fishing the remaining marked holes, we managed to catch and release several snook over 10 pounds, and an abundance of snook under 10 pounds. Other fish included; a few keeper size reds, one cobia, and a whole mess of trout.

As my grandfather once said—"Know your fish, think like a fish, be a fish—and you’ll catch the fish!"

Allen Applegarth, Author Florida Fishing

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