Sight fishing on low, negative tides in clear water is just one of the many reasons I enjoy hitting the water this time of the year. Redfish are cruising the shallows, often exposing their backs and tails to anglers willing to put in the work to get to them. A patient, stealthy approach and accurate presentation are required for success when fishing extremely shallow water where fish tend to be on the highest alert. Small, soft plastic baits and flies have proven to be effective time and time again in these conditions.
While the redfish are still thriving on the flats, specked trout have been making their way to the mouths of nearby bayous where the slightly deeper water offers them more regulated temperatures and congregations of prey. Daily changes in conditions will have fish traversing back and forth between the flats and the bayou. On warm days, you will see big fish laid up on sunny, shallow mud and sand banks but they tend to push into slightly deeper water when the days are cold. I typically target the bigger fish with suspending twitch baits even though soft plastics will usually produce more bites overall.
Flounder season opened back up at the beginning of the month and I have heard a few reports of fish still being caught in the pass. The pass has the highest concentration of fish but I prefer to catch flounder in shallower water as a fish of opportunity rather than a target species. When I’m sight fishing areas with lots of spotty bottom or transitions from grass to sand, I work the edges of those transitions or spot cast to potholes where flounder typically like to lay up. Areas closer to the gulf that contain turtle grass have been the most consistent for me. Soft plastics, hair jigs and live baits are all effective in triggering bites.
Sheepshead are on the move throughout the flats as they slowly work their way toward the pass where they will congregate and spawn in the spring. Nearly every flat I have cruised down lately has had sheepshead all over it. They are one of the most challenging species I’ve ever tried to sight fish on the flats because they often won’t even let you cast a flat-lined live shrimp in close without blowing out. Still, I welcome a challenge and an opportunity to hone my skill on worthy adversaries. Small hooks, light leader and a long cast are requirements for success, as are patience and a heavy dose of persistence. Shrimp and small crabs are the way to go but sheepshead will occasionally bite a jig.
If you have questions about what’s biting, how to catch them or want to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email. Tight lines!