Winter has certainly arrived early! Cold fronts have been moving into the area on a weekly basis. Water temperatures are trying to stay near the 70 degree range, but it is struggling lately to get there. I am hoping for another mild winter...but we will have to wait and see... You learn over the years to cope with each days challenges and enjoy the fishing!
Kevin and Pete were out with me this past week. They caught a variety of species including redfish, sheepshead, grouper, jacks and lots of others. It was an exciting day on the water. Our redfish have continued to hold under docks and mangroves for us. Try a DOA shrimp fished slowly around these areas. Look for trout in deeper grass flats in the mornings. 3 to 5 feet of water is good to start. As the sun gets higher, these fish will move onto the shallower areas to warm up. I like CAL jerk baits this time of year. Jacks, mackerel and bluefish will be moving into the inlet with the tides. Small shiny lures work best in these areas. Look for black drum and sheepshead to be the prevalent fish around the docks. It's a fun time of year to be fishing!
Fishing changes this time of year. Water temps are dropping and the fish will look for warmer areas. Fishing deeper water can be more productive on cold mornings and moving shallower as the sun warms up the grass flats. A few degrees difference in the water can mean a lot in winter. My magic number is 68 degrees. It will be harder to find as we get further into the winter months. Channel edges, deep holes and areas around the bridges and inlet will be holding lots of fish this time of year. Working your lures very slowly can help coax a fish into striking, while working them fast might miss that opportunity. I like a CAL jerk bait or DOA shrimp this time of year and work them very slow. Fish will still be hungry, but less likely to chase a lure. They get lethargic and will sit and let the tides move food to them. Changing the fish you target can also be more productive. Sheepshead, black drum, bluefish and mackerel are just a few wintertime fish to seek. There will be plenty of action for anglers who change their tactics in winter.
Dress in layers during winter. We sometimes get thirty to forty degree temperature changes and being dressed appropriately will allow you to adjust to the weather easily. It's wonderful time of year...but I still like the warm weather....
As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!
Good Fishing and Be Safe,
Captain Charlie Conner