Winter weather has certainly found a resting place on the Treasure Coast this week. The latest cold front brought some nights in the 30's and 40's to the area. It appears that we are going to get our share of cooler weather this winter, along with lots of windy days. Water temperatures are going to take a big dip for several days, but there are plenty of good areas to enjoy some fishing. The incoming tides will bring warmer water in from the ocean. Try to find where the water is a few degrees warmer than the surrounding area. When the water is cold, it's not necessary to be out there at first light. Sometimes the bite is better later in the day. Just make sure you bundle up good.
Deeper water has been very productive for a variety of species the past several weeks. On windy days, you can find areas like the turning basin in Fort Pierce that has a large variety of fish. Lots of mackerel, snapper, sheepshead, jacks and blue runners can be caught in the channels around the inlet in 8-15 feet of water. Small shiny lures work great on all these fish. I would expect colder water this next week, so areas like this will be the most active spots. Docks will be holding black drum, sheepshead and some redfish. As the sun rises, you will find fish moving onto the flats to soak up some warmth and get active later in the day. Trout and redfish will sit in the sand holes to warm up and feed. Try artificial lures like CAL jerk baits, Deadly Combos or DOA shrimp in the sand holes of the flats as the sun is higher. Work your lures or baits very slowly for your best chance. Fish will be lethargic now and not willing to move quickly. They are trying to save energy and warmth and aren't as likely to strike. Try drop offs where the water is deeper along the channel edges. Mangroves can also be warmer than the flats. Fish those that are deeper to find fish hanging under them. Fishing in winter can be rewarding for those who are willing to work at it. I have had some of my best redfish days in the middle of winter.
The surf has been alive with whiting, croakers and some pompano this past week. Anglers there are catching them in good numbers. Look for more pompano and bluefish to be showing up in the river now. They like the cooler water conditions. Some flounder are being taken off the south jetty in Fort Pierce this week. Look for lots of fish filtering into the inlet on the incoming tides. Fishing is good this time of year if you change tactics or target wintertime species. Have fun and enjoy the fishing!
Remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!
Thanks and Good Fishing!
Captain Charlie Conner