Capt. John Fischbach longtime fishing guide and fishing charter captain on the West Central Florida Gulf Coast including New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater and Tampa Bay reports with two cold fronts falling down on us per week, the cooler weather has dropped the water temperatures into the mid-50’s to 60*F. these fronts typically move down on us with fierceness, pounding beach’s of the barrier island’s with high wind speeds and bitter air temperatures, shallow water flats get churned into a chocolate milk looking color. These conditions make it tough on anglers and fish, these
conditions call for BERKLEY GULP SHRIMP rigged on a 1/4 oz. jig head or texas rigged with a bullet weight with a granny knot to prevent the lead from sliding on the cast, making it easy for the trout to find their meal due to GULPS’ incredible long lasting strong scent.
The strong northerly winds that follow are cold and prevent all of the water from coming in to the area waters ! Searching deep water canals and rivers, estuary systems that are protected, if you have to get your fish fix, will produce a bountiful fishing trip. Artificial and live bait, mostly select shrimp work best in the winter conditions, jig’s in various weights with paddle tail or shrimp imitations along with some jerk shad are great choices as the Spotted Sea Trout will be hugging the bottom absorbing whatever sunshine they can since bluebird skies generally follow a cold front, work your bait slowly as the fish are a bit lethargic immediately after these cold fronts, as water temperature falls, slow down the action of your jig accordingly. After a couple day’s the fish begin to move back on the flats and if the water remains cool, deep holes and valleys on the numerous grass flats will hold a lot of fish, also broken bottom area’s on the flat. The rocky hard bottom around a grass flat is where convection heating occurs. The sun heats the rock and the fish bed down on the rock to warm themselves along with the sun from above, this also happens over the grass and muddy bottom however a rock will hold heat longer that grass or mud as cold water flows over these areas. 1/2 day charters and 3/4 day charters have been producing limits of Spotted Sea Trout implementing these techniques. Just like a black car will be almost impossible to get into after sitting in the sun, whereas a white car is not as hot, yet still needs ventilation before entering in the summer! When the Trout are moving from back country to open flats, drifting the edges of the flat were the grass and sand meet can be very productive, when you do hook up using this method Power Pole (shallow water anchor) down silently and work the area most likely if there is one trout, there are most likely 20-30 more!