Sara Devein of Merritt Island holds a couple of mangrove snapper she hauled in during a recent 39-hour fishing trip out of John’s Pass.
The Thanksgiving Day cold front will change the complexion of the game for the next two months. Sixty-degree water temperatures will most likely be the norm until we warm up again mid-February.
Post-cold front fishing has been extremely tough; reminiscent of the punishing October fronts the past two years. The fish have been really slow to respond. It’s been a hard pill to swallow, considering how good the fishing just before the front.
As for the bait situation, now that the pilchards have left the area, it’s time for inshore anglers to switch to artificial lures and or shrimp. For offshore anglers, bottom fishing will change a bit with the closure of gag grouper. Red grouper fishing has been great all fall and should continue to be good within 15 miles from shore as long as the water doesn’t get too cold. As for the kingfish and Spanish mackerel, well they go where the bait goes and that isn’t anywhere around here.
Speckled trout fishing has shown improvement recently and even directly after the front we managed to get a few nice trout.
Free-lining select shrimp along outer edges at low tide worked great for ladyfish, and the occasional trout and small redfish. This will undoubtedly be the go to pattern in the weeks to come. December is when we start to see the negative tides on a regular basis, factor in a dominating northeast wind and there’s a good chance you’ll be looking at exposed flats a lot this month.
Structure fishing such as on docks, jetties and bridges also will produce good catches this month. Everything from redfish, flounder, sheepshead and black drum can be caught around structures. Shrimp, preferably live, however, frozen will work, will attract all of these fish and when it’s windy tucking behind some structure always sounds like a good idea.
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.