Well fellow anglers for me it’s time for long johns and jig heads, must be winter time. No the long johns are not some hot new secret lure. Their main function is to keep this Florida boy warm. To me there’s nothing I hate more than being cold while I am out fishing. Jig heads come into play for me during the colder winter months when shrimp become the bait of choice.
The two key factors for me when selecting the proper jig head are the species of fish I’m targeting and the type of structure I’m fishing. I prefer to go as light as possible, but on some occasions you have to go bigger. In deep water with very good tidal flow I will use a 1⁄4-1⁄2 oz jig head. When I’m fishing shallow water that tends to get crystal clear this time of year I prefer the lightest I can find with a good strong hook. As for color, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you have a color that you have confidence in then I recommend that color, but don’t be afraid to change things up from time to time.
The cooler water temperatures have really turned on the Trout bite. Catching as many as 50-75 fish this time of year can be done. Locating winter Trout can be a little tricky. Most fish will be in deeper water such as residential canals, deeper creeks, deeper troughs around flats and sand bars and also in the rivers. Shrimp is the bait of choice, fished on a jig head or just free lined in the tidal flow. For you artificial guy’s out there a chartreuse DOA shrimp is hard to beat. I can fish this bait slow and deep or on the shallowest flats. Again color preference is in the eye of the beholder.
The redfish fishing has been very good as well. There are fish in just about any type of structure you can imagine. I have been catching excellent numbers of fish around docks, deeper troughs, river bends, also on the flats and mangrove shore lines during the higher tides. The open flats can be a little tricky with the water clarity. Putting yourself in position to make a cast to an open water redfish takes a little patience. The key is to be as stealthy as possible. Down- sizing bait or lure size will help as well. Deeper water Reds tend not to be as spooky, however I don’t recommend running up to your spot and seeing how far you can throw your anchor out. And yes I have witnessed this before.
Sheepshead will be schooling up around deeper structures and docks. These well-known bait thieves put up a very nice fight when they get up to 15-20+ inches and are very good table fare. Crustaceans are on their menu so shrimp, fiddler crabs and sand fleas are the preferred baits when targeting these black and white stripped boogers.
There are many other species that are willing to take a plump juicy shrimp during the winter months. Such as mangrove snapper, black drum and snook. So don’t be surprised if that fish of a lifetime bites a half of shrimp fishing for sheepshead.
When you get ready to experience some of southwest Florida’s finest fishing give me a call or send me an email, and we will customize a charter that best fits your party’s needs.