Wow, has it been warm or what! If not for the low water levels it would be hard to tell it is winter in central Florida. January has been simply awesome weather-wise and fishing wise. I’m afraid to even guess what February will be like.
Assuming (yes, I know all about assuming) our recent weather patterns continue I’m expecting lots more good fishing. With water temperatures in the low to upper 70 degree range our local population of redfish, black drum and spotted seatrout will remain very active. They should also be susceptible to being caught in a variety of ways on almost any type of artificial lure or natural and live bait.
Since it is technically winter our waters will be teeming with shrimp. Live shrimp and artificial lures imitating them like an Exude Shrimp will continue to be an extremely effective choice for anglers of all skill levels. The savvy angler will vary his or her retrieval techniques until the fish give a positive response.
Three retrievals we often employ on my boats are the “slow steady retrieve”. The fisher simply holds the rod tip fairly high and reels at a speed allowing the lure/live shrimp to swim slightly above the grass. The “hop” is simply that, a lift and fall motion. The amount of “hop” the angler employs is a trial and error process. On cold mornings a subtle hop usually works best with a more aggressive hop as water temperatures rise. Finally, try the “drag”. As you might imagine the drag method is just that, slowly pull the bait along the bottom. This is a great method in sparse grass or bare bottom whether sand or mud. Of course, combing retrieval techniques on a single cast is often deadly. I usually start with the “slow and steady” as I retrieve over thicker grass and allow the shrimp to fall to the bottom of the sand hole I casted past. I’ll either slowly “drag” the shrimp or “hop” it through the sand and go back to steady again once the shrimp reaches the near side of the sand spot.