Warmer weather awaits: It appears we will have a stretch of warmer weather over the next week. Last week's frigid temperatures and windy conditions were worse on anglers than fish. Water temperatures dropped dramatically at night but warmed during the day so fish were not in danger. It also helped that the lowest tides of the day coincided with the lowest temperatures, because the fish were already forced into the deeper water. The tides were low enough to get heat transfer from the sun onto the sand bottom of the flats and the black mud bottom of backwaters, which warms fish as the tide rises. My point is that it is not all doom and gloom when we get cold weather.
Trout update: This week look for the trout bite to get back to where it was before the front. We were having some great trout catches, but they occurred during closed season. The trout caught during the inclement weather have been smaller on average and much less aggressive. The season is now open and under new laws will stay open year-round. We have been using live shrimp under a float but have gone to soft plastics on a ⅛-ounce or quarter-ounce jig head. The best color pattern has been something natural and not exotic. Most trips that targeted trout also resulted in a flounder or two. Sheepshead is also on the brink of a fantastic bite.
Ric Liles can be reached at (813) 601-2900, via email at CaptainRic@msn.com, or at ReelSimpleFishing.com.