Dainel “Dano” Russo’s Best Tips for Freshwater Fishing
Florida offers a diverse fishing experience because of its endless saltwater fishing opportunities to the east, and on the interior, there’s always a freshwater hole with a bass or panfish waiting to be caught.
The water management areas of Martin County and the surrounding counties offer a variety of freshwater fish. Some of the species are even non-native, like the peacock bass, clown knife fish and snakehead. In saltwater, the lionfish hogs up all the headlines for its invasive nature and altering of habitats. When tropical fish are introduced into subtropical waters (fresh or saltwater), they can and will establish quickly. Fish are incredible at adapting to new environments, though. Their appearance can certainly offer up an extraterrestrial sighting of sorts. Believe me, there are creatures lingering in our local waters that will give you pause for a head scratch when caught.
On the flip side, the catch of these non-native species can offer a great angling experience. Some are real aggressive fighters. For instance, the warm, fresh waters of Florida provide the perfect breeding and living conditions for the peacock bass with its brilliant mix of yellows, greens, sharp stripes and bright colors. The peacock bass hits are explosive and have a freight train-like pulling action.
As you head from the purely fresh interior waters and move east toward the coast, the water will become more brackish—a mix of freshwater and saltwater. This water brings a wide variety of fish that can tolerate different levels of salinity. Snook, tarpon and largemouth bass occupy the same waters. For instance, the spillways—if accessible—can offer a wide variety of saltwater and freshwater fish commingling. Both fresh and saltwater fish will ambush a bait fish, lure or plastic with the same ferocity.
I like to keep a traveling rod and reel setup in the trunk of my car (think Ron Popeil pocket fisherman infomercials) so I can always be ready to cast. When in Stuart, there is always a beautiful pocket of water within eyeshot.
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