By: Capt. Dave Stephens
As we move thru December, we should start seeing some changes in our weather. For one we normally start having more cold fronts push their way through Southwest Florida. The cooler water temps will move fish into different areas. The biggest effect will be on our snook fishery, these warm water tropical fish do not like water temps much below 70 degrees. When the waters begin to cool down these guys seek out deeper water for winter. Places like deep water residential canals, and our local creeks and rivers. If our local waters get to cool snook will often not feed for several days. This does not mean that our other fisheries shut down in fact his time of year can be very good for them. The two that benefit the most are probably sea trout and sheep head. Let’s start off with sea trout, the cooler water generally causes these guys to school up in deeper water. Also, deep potholes on the flats will hold good numbers of trout. Generally, shrimp fished on a jig head gets the best results, either on the bottom or under a popping cork. Sheep head are another fish that’s known for great winter action. During the winter they begin to school up to spawn. These guys can be found in many different locations from nearshore reefs to back yard docks. The one thing that is important is hard rocky bottom or oysters with crustaceans. Shrimp is also a great bait for these guys, however if fiddler crabs are available, and they work excellent. You can fish them on a jig head or a small circle and split shot. It’s very important to keep your bait directly on the bottom. Also be prepared to lose bait, these guys are great bait thieves. The winter fishing can be very productive if you adjust your approach. Also keep an eye out for debris, there’s still a lot of junk floating around in the water.
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