Cold fronts, wind, and the holidays have kept me off the water this week and now that time is available another cold front is invading the area. This one looks like it might produce some colder water temperatures.
Winter has officially arrived, but so far the water temperatures are remaining in the 70ís. However, as the water temps begin to fall you might want to consider changing some of your fishing strategy. One of the first things you hear from many of the pros, is to just go ahead and sleep in a little longer. There is no real advantage to being on the water early if the temperatures are in the low 60ís. Your best bet is to let Mother Nature warm the water with her natural sunshine before you start your day.
Bait is getting a little harder to find and it is always one of the signs you look for when prospecting for the predators. On cold mornings the bait seems to run deeper and you do not see them disturbing the waterís surface. When you donít see the bait, you seldom see the fish you are after. As the water temperatures rise, so does the bait. You will begin to see swirls and jumping mullet more often as the day goes on it the sun is actually warming the surface.
Then, after you start seeing the bait, you are more likely to begin seeing the fish. Prospecting can be tedious business, but if you spend some time searching different areas until you find some obvious bait/fish activity you are more likely to hook up.
Youíve heard it a thousand times before, when the cooler weather comes, you really have to slow down your presentation. The fish just seem to slow down themselves and you have to match the slow down as you fish. Slow, slow, slow.
In the winter time I like to use the Rip Tide Realistic Shrimp fished slowly along the bottom. I am usually fishing deeper water to begin with and then moving in to more shallow areas as the day goes by and the surface water temperature rises. The Rip Tide Realistic Crab is another good winter choice. In fact, shrimp and crabs are the more abundant natural bait for the trout and reds in the winter time.
If I donít need weight to cast the Realistic Crab, I will simply pin it on to a 3/0 to 5/0 circle hook and work it slowly along the bottom. If I need some weight for more casting distance I will use a ľ ounce jig head. Turn the crab over, belly up. Insert the hook on one side of the crab and pull it all the way through to the other side. Now, simply rotate the jig head so the hook points up when the crab is lying right side up. This additional weight will give you much more casting distance and a good ďfeelĒ for working the bait.
If the approaching cold front does what I expect I will be using some of these winter tactics the next time out on the water.
Other Notes of Interest
Donít forget that snook season is closed. The winter closure is December 15 Ė January 31.
Spotted Sea Trout are closed now and wonít reopen until January 1, 2007.