Make no mistake about it, winter without a doubt has arrived. After what has been the best fall in recent years, itís hard to complain. A trifecta of weather systems will converge on us by mid-week producing rain and near gale-force winds, but perhaps worst of all will be the drop in water temperature. I think itís safe to say we can say goodbye to seasonal bait stocks.
This is not all doom and gloom, however. Plenty of good fishing happens around here in the winter. Lucky for us we have one of the best trout populations anywhere in the gulf and if youíre like me you get pretty excited about the arrival of the gator trout to our shallows. Using an artificial lure, these large sea trout will take soft plastics and hard baits alike. For those wanting to start the day off with live bait, itís most likely time for live shrimp.
Having good weather for fishing when itís convenient for your schedule becomes much less reliable over the next two months. Fish in general receive less pressure and if you do make it out on an in-between cold front day it can be fantastic. However, the reality is that youíre going to miss some time on the water. This is the time to get yourself ready for better days ahead. Iím as guilty as the next one when it comes to neglecting my vessel. Anyone who owns a boat will agree there are some things that need a little TLC around what is most likely their prized possession. However you go about it, top to bottom or bow to stern, surely youíll find enough projects to keep you busy. Confidence comes with preparation and there is something to be said about knowing the inter-workings of your vessel.
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.