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Captain's Focus

Considering the weather we've had, and what we're about to get, fishing in Florida may seem like a much better deal. However, it's not always a piece of cake down there even if it's warmer. My nephews, Bob Correll of Bay Head and Todd Correll of Fort Lauderdale, just finished up two Florida sailfish tournaments. The first was the Ocean Reef Tournament in which kites couldn't be used. Todd has become expert in kite fishing, so they joined friends down there and didn't do a thing fishing standard techniques. Then they returned to Fort Lauderdale for a yacht club interclub contest that Todd had won last year while his son Connor took the junior angler award. Just as last year, Todd ran 77 miles north to the Stuart area to find sailfish, but it was a lot rougher this time in his 39-foot Sea Vee center console with quadruple Mercs. The wind was howling over 30 mph along with rain from the south, and it was virtually unfishable with even gale force kites until there was a slight drop-off on a switch to northwest that happened just in time to get the kites up for six sailfish releases that tied for first. Connor missed out on his award only because he had grown out of the under 16 age group. It was a successful day, but the crew paid the price in those winds that are all too common in Florida during the winter. Todd ran the boat from the tower, and you can imagine how much fun that was with waves coming from every direction. One way to get out of those conditions while also enjoying winter sun and warmth is to head much further south. Panama provides near perfect conditions every day in their dry season, and if some wind comes up there are plenty of islands to provide a lee -- with the result that no day is lost to weather. Several openings have come up on the Pesca Panama barge that provides access to a great fishery for everything from roosterfish to black marlin and yellowfin tuna. Contact Teri at 800 946-3474 for info on openings from April 26-May 1; May 17-22; and May 31-June 6.  The Big Jamaica from Brielle has joined the ranks of party boats that have hung it up for the winter. They'll resume fishing in April.

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