The holiday season is here and the kids are out of school. This is the perfect time to get them out on the water to enjoy the great wintertime trout fishing on the Nature Coast. Most all of our near-shore grass flats in 2 to 6 feet will produce the type of action that is fun for the whole family. Drift fishing will let you cover large areas and will produce the most action. Small jigs 1/8 to 3/8 ounces rigged with shad tails or shrimp imitations will allow for long casts and are durable enough to catch multiple fish without changing baits. Once you have located a school you can anchor and fish with live shrimp or small pinfish under a popping cork. This method will provide good action and is easy, even for the youngest anglers. Trout make excellent table fare as long as they are cared for properly. To maintain the fish you want to keep, completely cover them in ice with a little salt water added to make a brine in your cooler. This will make them easier to clean as well as provide you with some firm and tasty fillets.
Tips: It is likely you will be releasing a lot of fish. A hook removing tool will help minimize handling the fish and is highly recommended.
Capt. Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.