Things are kinda slow this time of year as far as hunting and fishing go for me. To be honest, January through March is my least favorite time of the year because the deer season is nearly over and it’s too cold to fish for most of my favorite species. I find myself spending my days plotting for times of warmer weather and generally just going crazy.

The next few weeks, however, might prove to be a relief from the lack of outdoors. I’m currently getting a minor in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and one of my classes requires field work (lake work?) on a lake located on campus. Fishing is off limits on this lake and that means there are some BIG bass and bluegill in it. Luckily for me, the field work consists of electro-shocking the water and taking data on the fish that we collect. I’ll be bringing a camera for each outing and snapping pictures of the fish that no one ever gets to cast at.

The second week in February should prove to be exciting as well. My dad and his long time fishing buddy will be driving down and picking me up for a trip to the Everglades. We’ll be kayaking and targeting Cichlids in the canals down there. From what I’ve read, the fishing for Cichlids is best during winter months due to lower water levels in the canals. I’ve only had a chance to fish for Cichlids during summer months, so it will be a brand new experience for me. My dad was nice enough to loan me a 3wt fly rod for this adventure and I’m excited about trying it out on some Oscars and Mayan Chichlids. I hope to not only catch a mess of fish on the fly rod, but also land a spotted tilapia on the fly. I’ve had success catching them on worms before, but they’ve yet to take a fly.

My latest fishing trip landed me on a small lake within Gainesville city limits on a friend’s tandem kayak. I only took the 5wt with me while he fished with a spinner. I fished for hours with top water flies and never had the slightest bump. I finally switched to a bead head nymph and managed 3 nice size bluegill, a small bass, and my first crappie on a fly rod. I failed to bring the camera with me, so you will just have to take my word that the crappie was as long as my arm. My fishing buddy might protest to this measurement, but he’s still delirious from cold and the lack of catching fish.