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24 Jun

Winter….Best Time For Inshore Scouting

December 27, 2023

With cool weather here and colder weather on the way we don’t need to give up on pursuing our fishing preparation for the coming season. This means taking the time and  effort to scout out the potential fishing hot spots that can make your fishing season a bigger year than last year. Captain Lee Parsons of Topsail Beach, NC is a master at scouting the creeks, bays and waterways for positive signs of warm weather fishing potential. Here’s what he had to say.

First you want to take a note pad with you. Making clear and concise notes will make sure that all those great spots and details are remembered. Thinking you’re going to remember locations and all the important information about them in a few months is a mistake.

Winter is the best time to do your preseason scouting thanks to the clarity of the water and less boat traffic. Look for places that fish are holding. Just because the fish are not biting doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. Many species like Redfish and Speckled Trout remain all year. The colder water just makes them feed less frequently and less aggressively. The fish are there and at this time of year you can now see them. Also look for underwater structure that may be great hiding places for bait. This will be the first places you want to return to when warmer weather returns.

Next look for a live bottom. That’s a bottom that has active growth. This growth will also attract bait fish and therefore the fish you’re trying to catch. Without a live bottom, bait fish will be scarce and the bigger game fish will be fewer in numbers. Also look for healthy oyster beds. This will indicate clean water and fish love clean water and will commonly school in those areas.

Be sure to look for above water structures that you may not have fished before. These can be new locations that you may missed. Areas around docks and pilings make great habitat for bigger fish and this time of year they will likely be there in the shallows trying to keep warm. It’s all a matter of slowly looking and making detailed notes. When warm weather hits, you’re set with a whole new list of hot spots and you’ll be the envy of all your fishing friends.

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