By: Eric Henson
Happy New Year! It has been a pretty average winter here so far in Southwest Florida for kayak fishing. Water temps have dropped, and the water clarity is getting better by the day. This time of year, it can become a little bit frustrating for fishermen because of high winds and weekly cold fronts. But, if you can catch it at the right time in between, the fishing can be quite good! Although water temps are lower, some species thrive quite nicely in the cooler temps. The main species that comes to my mind are speckled trout! They show up in huge numbers and this is the time of year to catch a trophy size trout which us Floridians call Gator Trout.
Speckled trout can be found in inches of water trying to warm up and in deeper waters huddled together in schools. If I’m targeting them on the open grass flats, I generally like to use light to medium tackle. They are quite aggressive and ferocious in their attacks. I’ve seen them hit top water lures so hard that they go flying over 6ft into the air! Because they are trying to fatten up for their spawn, they will be gorging themselves. I like to target them with a variety of things like hard baits, soft-plastics, flies, and of course some people prefer live bait as well.
Because the larger trout are females and here to spawn, it is so important to handle these beauties with the utmost care. Wetting your hands to handle them for a quick picture is a great and safe practice as these fish are the future of our fishery for years to come. I Hope everyone has fun out there and does their part in helping our waters flourish. Tight lines and Tight knots to everyone!