Winter Fishing, Timing Is Everything
As Saltwater Angler Magazine spreads its wings to even more great fishing areas in the South, we’re pleased to announce that we now have contributing anglers in multiple locations in Florida. One of our new additions is Captain Jonathon Moss of Go Castaway Fishing Charters and The Captain’s Log TV Show. Jonathon fishes on both the east and west coast of the Sunshine State, as well as many other locations outside of Florida. Below is his latest contribution that covers how timing is everything when it comes to winter fishing.
Florida is unique to many coastal states on the Atlantic coast, in that there is little or no tide change. This factor works well when it comes to winter fishing, allowing anglers not to be confined to scheduling their fishing trips around the tides. Fishermen can plan their trips later in the day, giving water temps time to rise and fish to become more active. In short, the focus of timing is more towards the water temps than the movement of the water. When the sun comes up and warms the shallow water, fish are prompted to look for food. This approach is completely different from those fishing areas where anglers have to contend with the tides that many times move the fish and baits.
With these changes in the water temperature also come changes in the bait. The mullet is gone and we have to change our bait source and strategy. In the central coast area, both the Atlantic and Gulf side, we greatly depend on shrimp and small crabs for winter baits. The shrimp are thriving during those months and especially so when those cold fronts come through. For 3 to 4 days during and after a good front, the shrimp ride the south wind in big numbers, making the fish more aggressive. If live shrimp is not easy to access, using a shrimp imitation lure will work.
It’s important to add that like many places, most species we fish for in the warmer months have migrated out of our area. Winter fishing here is mainly confined to Black Drum and Speckled Trout, but the fishing is great.
So, as the cool weather comes, remember timing is everything. What you fish with, when you fish, and what you are fishing for is key. Make these small, but important changes and you may be surprised just how successful winter fishing can be.