Despite a rather frosty start to the new year, the flats fishing – particularly for redfish – has been hot!
The water temperature has dropped considerably throughout the bay, with the average hovering right around 50 degrees. The passage of more cold fronts in the coming days will likely make the water cool even more. While this will make redfish a little more lethargic, they will still be out cruising the shallows in big schools and foraging on whatever they can find to eat.
Submerged oyster beds on dark bottom are always productive areas when it’s cold outside and food sources are limited. Lately, we have been catching good numbers of very large over slot redfish on plastic worms in 2-3 feet of water right on the edge of big sand flats. Although these bigger fish have only shown up as singles or alongside a couple of other fish, it has been an extremely productive pattern. If you get the bait in front of them, they are going to eat.
Speckled trout, especially the slot-sized fish, are far more sensitive to cold water and will search out deeper bayous and creeks where the water temperatures are generally a couple of degrees warmer. This also happens to be where the majority of the finger mullet have been schooling lately, so there should be no shortage of food for them to eat. It also means that sub-surface and suspending twitch baits or jerk baits are going to be effective during the winter because you can fish these baits very slowly and give even the laziest fish a solid shot at eating. Look for a lot of the bigger fish to move out of the deeper water onto shallow, dark colored, mud banks early in the afternoon to warm up in the sun.
It’s difficult to catch these big fish when they are laid up like that, but it’s a good time to test your sight fishing ability. I’ve had good luck with lightly weighted eel patterns. The key to successful hookups is letting the lure do the work. Make a good cast, let the bait settle in, work it just enough to get the fish’s attention and then let the fish search out and find the bait.
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.