Winter fishing on west central Florida’s Gulf Coast waters is not as tricky as some may think! Good fishing year round is available, there is an abundance of many species in any drop off, channel, relief, warm water run off, in protected bayous from cold winter winds with nearby springs along the West Coast. What species? Well it all depends on the location of these “Holes”. Spotted Sea Trout, Redfish, Flounder, Pompano, Permit, just to name a few. Great year round fishing is available to those who put some thought into where they decide to wet a line. Having knowledge of the bottom composition helps a lot in the productivity of your fishing trip. 3/4 day (6 hr.) charters have been producing limits of the species targeted. It’s a great family bonding time of year to be on the water. In between cold fronts water temperatures rise and the sun shines, it is then that concentrating right on the edges of these deeper areas is best. The fish will move up to the shallow edges of the grass flat to soak up the sun and forage around. While they’re up top, a live shrimp or pinfish on a cork works best in this situation. Slowly working a jig rigged with your favorite bait, I prefer a 3″ Berkley Gulp shrimp or crab, or tipping the jig with some fresh dead shrimp gets the nod when the fish are off the shallow edge enjoying the horizontal thermocline in warmer water on the bottom. Putting the jig in front of the fish is the key, fan casting in these deep holes, will find the school. After a few fish are pulled out, move on just as the rest of the school did.
Capt. John Fischbach
ABSOLUTE FLORIDA FLATS FISHING