Big changes have been taking place in our inshore waters; last week’s cold front dropped our water temperature nearly 10 degrees, and if dealing with those frigid temps wasn’t enough to keep you inside, the bone-chilling north winds might have done it. Unfortunately, it appears this week we’ll have yet another cold front and possibly windy conditions until late into the weekend.
Speckled trout anglers may want to target those deeper mud bottom areas near to the flats that have been holding trout. When it gets super cold like this the trout will often school up right on the bottom, trying to warm up over the mud. Work quarter-ounce soft plastic jigs very slowly through the area, always remaining in good contact with the bottom, kind of like bass fishing. Dark colored jigs like D.O.A.’s 4-inch C.A.L. jerk shad in the gold and bream or root beer would be good options for the darker water.
Redfish have been more structure oriented, docks especially. Stretches of docks that have good concentrations of mullet are ones to look for. Cast Berkley Gulp! underneath docks and let the baits soak and wait for the bite. Look for those extreme low tides next week to provide some tailing redfish opportunities. Channel edges as well as the outside of the flats (often marked by no combustion motor zone signs) are good places to find the redfish bunched up, waiting for the tide to come in.
Windy, inconsistent weather will keep many off the water this weekend. Those willing to brave the elements should focus their attention to the inland bridges and docks. Sheepshead fishing is in full swing right now and anglers looking to bring home some dinner should capitalize. Scrape barnacles around the bridges, and free-line them back behind the pilings for easy action. Around the docks try live or frozen shrimp fished on the bottom around the pilings.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.