By Joe Sheafffer
Winter in SWFL is known for beautiful weather conditions. Sure, it is a bit cooler and dry but compared to the rest of the country it can be ridiculously awesome. Beautiful conditions during this time of year can be amazing but fishing can be a challenge. High skies, cooler water temperatures, clearer water and lower tides can make for tough fishing conditions. The cold fronts seem to pass through on a regular basis causing many of our inshore species to shut down normal feeding behavior.
Tough conditions call for a different mindset, thinking outside the box and figuring out different strategies. During these challenging conditions, Spotted Sea Trout can save a day on the water. I’m sure they aren’t crazy about the conditions but they can be agreeable when other species are having a hard time adjusting or we can’t get to backwater areas because of the lower tide conditions. Searching deeper edges along grass flats, channels or passes usually will yield those speckled gems. Usually figuring out the depth is the challenge, sometimes they are feeding towards the surface but many times they are hanging around deeper potholes. Another positive, Trout usually are willing to bite quite a few presentations. I usually have a couple, fishing rods rigged with different sizes jigs and paddle tails. An ⅛ oz jig, a 3/16 oz jig and depending on the current or tide a ¼ oz jig. Natural colored paddle tails work great, whites, watermelon, root beer to name a few. Just the other day, I was fishing with a good friend. We fished different areas, mangroves, points and funnel areas without a bite. We moved out to a deeper flat and focused on deeper holes. We caught plenty of Trout and had a great day. When conditions are tough, Trout tough days can make for a great day on the water. Good luck and keep casting.