St Augustine Offshore
With water temperatures cooling down this month, look for the inshore fishing to heat up. For me, the next few months are the most exciting time of year to target reds on the flats and creeks. I’m hoping for a cold-ish winter this year, as much as I don’t like freezing my butt off, the cold temps will kill the algae in the water, resulting in clearer, sight-fishable awesomeness. Hopefully the rain will let up enough for the tannins that have our water stained right now to clear out a bit as well. It’ll be time to go to your favorite flat, put on your polarized Costa sunglasses and start looking for fish. The creek fishing will be on fire as well. The redfish will push into the shallowest areas of the creeks on the low tides to warm up and feed on small minnows and shrimp. This time of year, you’ll get to sleep in and wait for the sun to be out for a while to warm up the water. Clearer water can mean spookier fish, so downsize your baits/lures for a stealthier approach. On extreme low tides the redfish, trout and flounder will get schooled up in area creek holes. A live shrimp or mud minnow tossed into those holes using a 1/4oz Slayer Inc. jighead can’t be beat.
When up on the flats, look for darker mud and oyster-laden bottom to be holding redfish, trout, and flounder. These areas will warm up faster than others on sunny days; a few degrees can really make a difference. Another benefit of dropping water temps is the redfish will start schooling on the flats. If you know where to look you can find huge schools of tightly packed redfish this time of year. Locate these fish from a distance by looking for “muds” (discolored muddy water caused by moving fish) and/or pushing wakes made by moving fish. Redfish singles and doubles can also be found sunning themselves in the shallows, especially along side and on top of oyster bars this time of year. These fish will be lazy so make sure to present your bait in a slow and methodical manner. When I spot a stationary fish, I like to cast long of him and at least a few feet to either the left or right of the fish depending on which way he’s facing. Then work the bait slowly back to where the fish is (this will help to not spook the fish). Sometimes they will like it moving a little faster and sometimes a little slower. It’s always fun trying to find the right approach.
Trout fishing should turn on as it cools down as well. The overabundance of fresh water the hurricane and subsequent rain storms dropped on us this fall should be moving out and the trout should be liking that saltier water. My favorite trout lure for this time of year is the Slayer Inc. SST paddle tail in pearl paired with a Slayer Inc. 1/4oz jighead. The tail has a ton of thump and the trout just can’t resist it. The jig, jig, pause method works best for me. Target creek mouths, ICW banks, and any type of structure with moving water and you’ll be sure to find some trout hanging out.
Sheepshead fishing should really start to get good this month as well. Target area bridges, docks, and pilings with fiddler crabs to catch the tasty porgies.
Be sure to check out my Daily Fishing Reports online @www.InshoreAdventures.net. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good bite!