Cooler Water Temps

By: Capt. Billy Norris

Cooling water temperature in the backwater and Gulf mean that the fishing is hot!  As the water cools down, we are beginning to see the arrival of our wintertime migratory fish.  Large schools of bait have shown up along our beaches.  These massive aggregations of bait fishes include pilchards, herring, glass minnows, skip jacks, blue runners and others.  As is expected, predatory fish are in and around the schools of prey, making for outstanding days of nearshore fishing.  Big jacks, spanish mackerel, and kingfish have been common when targeting game fish around the schools of bait.

In the backwater, redfish, snook and trout have all been actively taking baits.  Pilchards have been the go-to lately, but as we move into fall and winter the backwater fish will also readily eat pinfish.  Once the water temperature drops a little more, in a few weeks, we should see the arrival of larger sheepshead.  Look for them around dock pilings, sea walls, and anywhere else where there tends to be an abundance of oysters, barnacles, and other crustaceans.  The snook will start to push further into the backwaters as winter creeps in.  Targeting them in shallow waters and rivers can produce some quality fish this time of year.

Offshore, the wrecks and reefs have provided a steady bite.  The grouper bite has remained hot, of all varieties.  We have been consistently catching reds, gags, and goliaths.  Make sure that you are regularly checking regulations, because the state likes to shut down seasons on fish without much warning throughout the year.  Currently, both red and gag grouper are closed.  There have also been plenty of cobia around this month.  This is the time of year that we usually expect to see them show up in large schools, and so far, they haven’t disappointed.  cobia are a migratory pelagic fish, which means that they are nomadic.  They will migrate great distances and may show up in your fishing spot on any random day.  It’s always wise to have one rod rigged up with a large jig head ready to pitch at a surprise cobia.

Fall is here, and the fishing has been great!  As we move into winter, get prepared for sheepshead, kingfish, cobia, and what should be a great winter fishing season!  It’s beautiful out on the water this time of year so get out there and catch some fish!