Banana River Fishing Forecast

Sylvia Westergard was “toasty warm” after landing this wintertime redfish on a piece of cut mullet she was using as bait.
Sylvia Westergard was “toasty warm” after landing this wintertime redfish on a piece of cut mullet she was using as bait.

Black drum, trout, and redfish are the most common species anglers can expect to encounter this month. These fish generally seek shelter from the cold winds and water temperatures by hiding in the deeper residential canals of Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, and Satellite Beach. The deeper water will stay insulated from the cold for a longer period than the shallows, and make for a more comfortable place to stay. With the cooler water temperature anglers will want to slow their presentations accordingly. Slow moving lures will more naturally imitate the behavior that these fish are seeing from the baitfish and crustaceans on most days, and therefore should result in more strikes than faster moving lures or baits. Anglers should look for areas with early morning and mid day sun exposure. If these areas also have protection from the cold north winds, it should be a bonus. These shoreline area will generally warm faster and also hold the best numbers of fish. Also remember to use a push pole or drift through shallower areas in the flats that fish move to when they’re seeking warmth from the sun. These fish can be easily spooked by even the slightest noise from a trolling motor most of the time. Saltwater Assassin 4-inch shrimp in the clear, Arkansas Glow, or Drunk Monkey colors, or Trigger X shrimp in the Grey Ghost color usually produce strikes from reds and trout in both the shallow and deeper areas.

Anglers should try the 4-inch Assassin sea shad tails in salt-n-pepper/chartreuse tail, pink ghost, watermelon/red flake, or Violet moon colors. Spray these with Pro Cure or Bang! Shrimp, menhaden, or mullet scent to enhance their effectiveness.

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