What’s Your Favorite Season?

Everett Johnson
If you could pick a season, any season of the year, three months when you could fish to your hearts content with no other responsibility to get in your way, which would it be?

Judging from the crowds at boat ramps and the number of boats I see on the water, most folk's favorite season would be either spring or summer. Now don't get me wrong, spring and summer have a lot going for them but, for the sheer enjoyment of being outdoors and the quality of fishing available, my favorite will always be fall.

Fishing during the fall just suits me better. Gone is the sweltering heat of summer, gone are the weak tides, gone are the days when it seems you can't buy a bite, gone are the crowds (except maybe on weekends), and with shorter days I don't have to crawl out of bed at 4:30 to be hooked up at sunrise.

There is magic in the equinox tide, that beautiful green swell that rises in the bays and laps high along the Gulf beach. Bay waters that grow tepid and stale through the worst of summer's doldrums suddenly become vibrant and full of life. And the fish Hallelujah! The fish love this season.

I can understand how fishing during winter may not be everybody's cup of tea, still it amazes me how many folks stand their rods in the corner right after Labor Day as though it marks the official close of the season. Indeed there is much to do in fall, what with football and hunting seasons underway and holidays before you know it, but I have to believe if those same seasonal anglers were allowed just a tiny taste of the fishing they're missing they'd find a way to weave some fishing days into their fall schedules.

Some of the year's best angling opportunity comes during fall. Pick a spot and a style of fishing - lighted pier - shoreline wading - drifting flats and deeper structure - pass or jetties - along the Gulf beaches or miles offshore; the number of bites and the pleasant weather of Indian summer make for some of the best fishing days anybody could ever hope to experience.

Another great aspect of the fall season is mixing hunting with your fishing. Dove hunting along the coast is some of the best in the state and of course our vast bay systems and coastal marshes are the seasonal home of millions of migrating waterfowl. Cast and blast as we call it can be a spectacular way to pass a fall weekend, mornings in the blind or afield followed by afternoons on the water, still another outstanding angle for getting young people hooked on the outdoors.

If you have never tried a family fishing and camping trip, fall is without a doubt the best season to give it a try. Watch the long range forecast, make a list and get your gear together, then head to a sandy shoreline or your favorite stretch of beach. You can't beat October's weather and the fishing can be awesome. Your family will love you for it.