The unseasonably warm weather in December was a welcome surprise for us backwater anglers. Although the winds were blowin’, they had little to no effect on the Red and Snook fishing. There were more than a few occasions when the winds forced me to duck for cover, which as luck would have it, put my clients and I in position for some epic days of catching enviable numbers of Snook and Redfish. That’s not to say that there weren’t those few days, here and there, where the cooling water temperatures prevailed in confounding both the captain and his quarry.
As we head into the month of January, I expect that mother nature will, as she does every January, be resolute in her transition from a summer like autumn to that of the more predictable “winter” patterns us Floridians have become accustomed (10 days of warmth and blue bird skies followed by the usual 3 to 4 days of cool northerly blows)… and so, with the definitive change to cooler weather patterns we can expect an equally distinct transition in fish behavior.
During December and January, two of my favorite target species, Snook and Redfish, can be found making their way ever further back into the estuary and nearer to areas that have a more consistent water temp such as creeks and rivers. When targeting these backwater bullies in the winter, there really is no need to hit the boat ramp too early, as it takes a few hours for them to become “active”. You will find that waiting it out until the sun has had a chance to heat things up a bit will not only be good for your sanity, but will result in a more productive end result.
If you are one of those anglers who prefer to wake up at the crack of dawn to fish the cool crisp mornings, then you are in luck. While the Snook and Redfish head into their winter haunts, the Trout, Pompano Snapper, Sheepshead and Black Drum move in, becoming the kings of the bay. Although the most favored bait for all is a live shrimp. There are a number of ways in which it can and should be rigged, depending upon which species you decide to target…for Trout and Snapper, rig the shrimp on either a small circle hook or jig head under a popping cork. Pompano are more willing to chew on a small white or pink jig head that is tipped with shrimp while the best method for Sheepshead and Drum, in my opinion, is the split shot rig. All of these methods have been proven producers on my boat.
To learn these and other methods including bait & lure selection or fly and spin casting tricks and tips, give me a shout and book a charter today.
Capt. Geoff is the owner/operator of Chasin’ Tales Fishing Charters and can be contacted at 239-216-0378, or by visiting him at The Naples City Docks, slip #3. For additional information on trips and pricing visit him online @ naplesgonefishin.com or friend him @ www.facebook.com/ChasinTalesCharters