Winter finally has taken a strong hold, creating difficult fishing conditions. Hiding from the wind has been necessary to have success. Finding productive areas that are protected has been another challenge, with success varying by location and often requiring creativity. Shrimp has become the go-to bait. As the water temperature drops, most fish turn away from live minnows in favor of shrimp, crabs and other crustaceans. Artificial enthusiasts know that imitations crawled slowly across the bottom can be effective for trout, redfish, snook and flounder. Using live shrimp will add sheepshead and mangrove snapper to the catch. Smaller to medium-sized shrimp often outperform larger selections, so there is no need to spend the extra money. A small weight can be used to hold the offering in the strike zone, but don't overlook the natural presentation of a free-lined bait. Allowing shrimp to swim down on its own will often draw a hit.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 510-1009.