N. Indian River Lagoon

Capt. Mark Wright

Happy New Year, fisher folk! As we progress into Florida’s version of winter it will be important to adjust our fishing techniques a bit. Cooler water temps trigger a mass exodus of our remaining silver mullet schools and indeed most of our other common baitfish of the shallows. Yes, some will stick around and of course our common mud minnow population will be unconcerned with cooler water temps.

Shrimp will become the most sought after food supply of our shallow water predators. Crabs, clams and snails will also be high on the menu list for redfish and black drum. It’s true these shellfish are eaten all year, but it’s in the winter months they become a staple food source.

Think small when using lures. I tend to throw soft plastic three or four inch shrimp and three inch minnow baits; by Z-Man of course! Work them slowly and vary your retrieve between slow and steady and stop and go.

Obviously, a live shrimp is a fantastic choice to offer tailing redfish and black drum. I typically tail hook them on a 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook. The shrimp does not need to be huge. If I’m able to cast them I’m happy with their size.

However, if targeting a gator sized trout laid up in the sand or trophy redfish you’ll be hard pressed to find a shrimp too large.

Capt. Mark Wright