Well fellow anglers Mother Nature has brought us some cool weather that has dropped the water temperatures. Don’t worry, Charlotte Harbor still has plenty of great fishing.
The last couple of weeks we have changed up our approach and have been putting a lot of fish to the boat. Shrimp and soft plastics have been the baits of choice, and the fish have been responding well to them.
The trout have begun to school up with the cooler waters. The biggest issue we face is the swing in temperatures. For a few days we might see a high in the low 60’s and then see highs in the upper 70’s for a week. Locating fish after those cooler days may take a little time. Water cools from the surface down, so starting deeper is the best choice. After a front passes fish will move to the deeper water to stay warm. On those nice sunny Florida days look to the shallower flats. Shrimp has been the bait of choice on the cooler days. When I have been fishing water depths over four feet, a shrimp on a jig head has been the big producer. My personal choice is a 1/8oz chartreuse jig. Honestly I believe whatever color you like will work. As the water warms, I start changing things up. Soft plastics and shrimp under a popping cork has been doing great. The warmer water moves trout in the shallower water and they become more active. Z-Man’s Minnow-z have been very productive during these times. Over the grass the darker patterns are working well. Lighter colors have been doing well over sandy bottoms.
The Redfish bite has been doing well in the deeper cuts in the mangroves. Most of these fish have been running under the 18” minimum length, but the numbers have been good. The bars and pot holes along the mangroves have been holding bigger fish. Shrimp has been the bait of choice. I have been fishing them on a jig head on the bottom. Low incoming tide seems to be when the reds have been most active.
The Sheephead are also beginning to school up. Winter time is when they spawn, so this is the time for big sheep’s. Big structure is the key for these guys, docks and rocky walls will be holding good numbers of fish. Look for the oldest crustiest structure you can find, and they will be there. If your local tackle shop has fiddler crabs, get a few dozen. I highly recommend getting more than you think you might need. Sheephead are masters at picking your hook clean. A small circle hook with enough weight to hold the bottom will work. Don’t let the cooler weather keep you off the water, we have plenty of fish to keep you busy.
If you would like to experience some of southwest Florida’s finest fishing, give us a call or send an email. All of our charters are private too fit you and your party’s needs.