Successful winter fishing means targeting low tides, and the lower the better because fish get concentrated tighter in deep pools or pockets. The two best times to fish these exceptional lows are the new and full moon. Such was the case when Florida residents Tom Collins and his dad, Buz, went fishing recently with their friend Steve Lobman from Blairsville, Ga.
Working an extreme dropoff from a barren grass flat, the trio found endless small, undersized speckled trout. The juvenile fish were hanging tight on the edge, and with each cast they couldn't resist the electric-chicken colored jig. But the anglers were seeking dinner. "Come on," I said. "We'll go to another deep pocket where I've been getting some real nice keepers."
At the next spot, we switched to live shrimp suspended under a float. With the water temperature in the upper 50s, we wanted our live bait presentation to be effortless for the fish. It paid off. All three anglers worked a section of water no bigger than a backyard swimming pool that was only 3 feet deep. With the water void from the surrounding area, the trout had nowhere else to go. We landed our legal number of trout, with three over 20 inches. An additional flounder topped the day off.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 510-4376.