As I reflect on the many challenges we faced in 2018, I find myself feeling fortunate just to be able to share my passion for fishing with you. I hope the New Year brings plenty of opportunities for you to get out on the water and catch some fish.
Due to excessive rain over the past few months, there is a lot of fresh water pouring into the bays from the Intracoastal Waterway. This can make staying on schools of shallow water fish a little tougher because the water is dirty and the fish are hard to see. Instead, look for signs of fish – nervous baitfish, wakes, water boils, pelicans working an area or egrets congregated on a shoreline wading for baitfish. Any of these can be signs that fish are feeding in the area or cruising around looking for food.
Since the air and water temperatures have been so mild lately, the fish have remained fairly aggressive. You can throw topwater baits to locate fish (and you’re likely to catch a few on top) but once I get a few blowups, I throw a jig or sub-surface plug and go to work on them.
In the St. Andrews pass, there is a good redfish bite along the jetties wherever there is moving water. You can use jigs to catch them but, since you’ll have to work them very tight to the rocks, you’ll no doubt lose a few. It’s just the price we pay to play. I like to position myself slightly down current of where I want to fish and cast up current. This allows the jig to get down in the water column and drift with the current through the strike zone. Ideally, you will be able to keep the line tight enough to feel the jig bouncing off the rocks and feel the strike when the fish eats. If the water is moving too fast, you may have to change tactics and move up current and feed a live bait back to them.
Live shrimp is a great bait to use right now since the sheepshead are starting to show up. You want to use the lightest tackle you can to get the job done. I generally use a 7 foot medium-light rod, a 3000 sized reel, and 15 pound braided line. The speed of the water will dictate the amount of lead but, again, use as little weight as possible.
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.