February 4, 2020
Guys, get yourself a woman who loves to fish! There’s no better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with the one you’re hooked on – and that works for both dating & fishing!
My girl, she loves the inshore trips the best. Whether we’re fishing Charlotte Harbor or just off the coast in the Gulf, she’s a fishing girl who has captured my heart. Since February 14 is also our anniversary, we almost always spend the day on the water, and for dinner we cook up whatever we caught that day (if we can).
Here’s what a typical Valentine’s Day Fishing Trip looks like for us… I’m telling you, it’s one of the highlights of our year!
Charlotte Harbor is very close to our home in Fort Myers, and is usually our go-to fishing grounds. If we want, we can head north to the Peace River for a little freshwater action. Especially early-February, the largemouth bass are starting their spawning season and the timing is perfect.
Largemouth bass fishing is very popular in Florida. These lunkers are found in pretty much any freshwater lake, river, or pond in the Sunshine State. You can catch them any time of year as well; but the bite is particularly hot during their spawning season from February until April. For our Valentine’s Day bass fishing trip, we’ll first catch some shiners to use as live bait. Then we’ll focus our attention on the shores and submerged tree roots to find the bass. Within a few hours we’ve each caught and released a healthy amount.
For some of our Valentine’s Day fishing trips we want to eat what we catch. Since we don’t keep largemouth bass (Florida regulations require catch-and-release for this species), for these trips we head to the brackish waters of Charlotte Harbor to try our luck with pompano or red drum. Both are very tasty and make for a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner. The red drum, in particular, is great on the grill. I add a few spices for flavor, but not much; and served with a light salad it makes for a great meal. When we’re fishing for red drum, we’ll only keep the smaller ones (16-22 inches), as those are typically better tasting.
If we’re fishing for pompano, we’ll head close to the mangrove islands at the north of the harbor (near Hog Island) and fish that area. There’s nothing better than fishing for pompano in the winter months. But especially when it’s Valentine’s Day and I know we’re going to have a nice, romantic dinner afterwards? Yep… sign me up.
Other times we venture out to the mouth of the harbor into the Gulf of Mexico and just see what we can catch. Mid-February means we could see redfish, trout, cobia, mangrove snapper, and maybe even a tarpon or two if we’re lucky.
With a boat full of different bait & tackle, we have fun mixing it up a bit and not really caring what’s at the end of the line. It’s like one of those “what do you want to have for dinner” conversations between spouses and you just can’t quite decide? So we’ll just go fishing for the sake of fishing. We typically release whatever we catch and end up stopping for dinner on the ride home. Ultimately it’s the time together that’s important, especially on Valentine’s Day.
Now, some years for our Valentine’s Day/Anniversary fishing trip we like to hire a local guide to take us out. We’ve only done this a few times, and each time we’ve really enjoyed the trip. Since we’re fishing farther out in the Gulf than my bay boat can handle, I’ll find a charter with a center console and a captain who can troll for mahi mahi or tuna. These are super fun trips that provide a different style than we’re used to. And mixing it up in a relationship is never a bad idea!
If you’re like me and have a girl who fishes, then take my advice and plan the best date imaginable: a day of fishing, then preparing and eating what you catch! Whether you choose to hire a local guide or go out on your own, you’re certain to have a great trip.
And if you happen to have a girl that doesn’t love fishing… well, then just prepare her lovely dinner of whatever you catch and drop hints about that new rod you’re looking to get. Or hint about a FishAnywhere gift card and she can give you a fishing trip… it really is the best gift ever! Either way, as long as she’s as much of a keeper as whatever fish you’re reeling in, we wish you the best of luck!
And Happy Valentine’s Day.
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