Winter is here, temperatures are dropping and fishing patterns have changed. So let’s talk about where and when to catch fish.
Cooler air temperatures cause our water temperatures to drop. This change in water temperature plays a vital role in our estuary as cold water kills the brown algae that is thriving in our warm lagoons. Remove the brown algae and the water clears up. Additionally, because of the clear water, sunlight is able to penetrate the sea grass, which aids in grass growth through photosynthesis. Sea grass and pot holes (sand spots within the grass) provide a place for crustaceans, like shrimp and crabs, to hide from predator fish. It’s during the winter months that our redfish begin to feed primarily on crustaceans, therefore making these grass beds a “go to” when looking for feeding fish. As you approach the flats, do so with stealth and focus. Clearer water means these fish can see an approaching angler, so move quietly as to not draw any extra unneeded attention. Be on the lookout for fish in or on the edges of pot holes. These fish are staged to ambush and feed. Tailing redfish can also be found on the flats. These fish are actively looking for and pinning their meal to the bottom. Oh, what a sight to see!
Colder air and water temperatures also mean a later start time for anglers. On cold mornings, I’ll begin my fishing charters several hours after sunrise. Making a later start allows the sun to rise higher in the sky and water temperatures to warm up. Even a change of just a few degrees in the water temperature can make all the difference. Remember that shallow water will warm up more quickly than the deep. The same goes with deeper water taking longer to cool off than the shallow. Therefore, as the sun sets and both the air and water temperatures drop, the fish will move out into deeper water. In the morning, as the sun rises and the water warms up on the shallow flats, the fish will move in to warm up. This needs to be taken into consideration when planning out your next fishing trip.
Pictured is Aaron who recently booked a fishing charter with me on the Indian River. He caught several nice speckled sea trout and the trophy in the picture on a D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad Tail rigged weedless with a 3/0 1/8th oz. Owner Twist Lock hook, using a Temple Fork Outfitters 7-ft. Medium Inshore series spinning rod and Florida Fishing Products Osprey 3000 spinning reel with 15 lb. braid and 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader.
Capt. Jonathan Moss
Go Castaway Fishing Charters