As we close the book on another fantastic year of fishing, I find myself eagerly awaiting the fishing opportunities that 2018 will have to offer.
The year began with a shot of cold weather but that should help to congregate fish – especially speckled trout – in deep bayous and creeks. Some redfish will also move into those same areas but not in the numbers that trout will. I like to target these fish with small, slow suspending twitch baits, jerk baits and soft plastics jigs. Early in the morning, the fish will most likely be in deep water but as the sun gets up they commonly move on top of shallow, dark mud bottom to warm up. When they get in shallow water, you can catch the bigger fish by slowly working small topwater plugs. I like to “dead stick” the bait every few twitches to give lazy fish a reason to eat.
The hearty redfish is quite comfortable in colder water and will remain on the flats in schools throughout the winter months. Predominant northerly winds and low winter tides give plenty of opportunities to stalk the shallow grass and sand flats in search of tailing redfish. There will also be an abundance of redfish hanging out in deeper water just off of the flats, especially in areas with steep drop offs. Points, docks, bridges and passes are good places to find big schools of redfish in cold water.
Sheepshead will also be congregating in deeper water – especially in the pass where they stack up by the thousands. They are notoriously hard to get hooked but, with a little patience, you will get the hang of how to let them eat. Live shrimp and small crabs are the best baits to use and I prefer a drop shot rig with a bank sinker and small circle hook. The amount of weight you need will depend on the current at that time but I always try to use as light a weight as possible. Even though you can legally harvest big numbers, consider only keeping a few for dinner. They are much better fresh and it’s always important to protect our resources.
As always, 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.