Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Midwinter fishing tactics dictated by the weather

The weather dictates where the best fishing will be this time of year, so success comes to those who pay attention to what the weather will be, as well as what the weather was.

If conditions are mild and consistent for a few days in a row, the fish may be roaming their normal locations.

When the water temperature plummets, savvy anglers adjust to the conditions. Among the most crucial adjustments is selecting the fishing location. Water on the open flats can get cold, so the canals, rivers, creeks or the outflows near power plants become better target locations. The rule of thumb: Find areas with warmer water and you will find game fish.

Also important is when to make your fishing trip. Most of the year, just after sunrise or just before sunset are the ideal times. However, in the middle of winter, particularly after nights with low temperatures, fishing later in the day is more productive. The sun heats the water a few degrees by mid morning and the fish become more active. Overall, the tides are more important than the position of the sun. Moving water will usually translate to excellent feeding activity.

The next part of the equation is getting fish to eat. Trout, snook and redfish all hit lures, but when the water temperature drops, they often won't chase down a lure if it is moving at a steady to fast speed. Slow the retrieve or go natural — shrimp is the most versatile bait. A lot of the inshore species feed on crabs and shrimp this time of year. A medium to large live shrimp with the fan of the tail pinched off works extremely well, but fresh dead shrimp kept iced down will also get devoured. Use a 1/0 hook and a single split shot. It becomes a simple matter of putting the bait where the fish are and patiently waiting for the offering to be eaten.

Knowledge of the varying species' wintertime habits makes a difference as well. Redfish are not as sensitive to the cold as most people think. There are plenty of redfish in their normal warm weather locales. Choose a low tide and the rising tide that follows. A kayak is ideal for accessing these shallow water areas. Redfish collect in the pockets on the outside of the flats and move up on the flat with the rising water.

The same pockets of deeper water that hold redfish on the lowest tides will hold large trout when the water reaches the middle part of the rising tide.

Snook also feed aggressively on these rising tides. To locate snook, search the areas away from open waters such as those creeks, rivers, and canals. Bottleneck areas with good current flow are feed stations for snook.

Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at (727) 692-6345.

Midwinter fishing tactics dictated by the weather 12/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, December 18, 2008 8:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Smith's takeaways from Thursday's Lightning-Blue Jackets game

    Lightning Strikes

    While Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov grab the headlines, don't sleep on their linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is far from a third wheel, with eight points in eight games. "He might not have the names the other two have, but he's as pivotal and vital to that line as the others," coach Jon Cooper said.

  2. Lightning journal: Derrick Brooks helps J.T. Brown make a difference

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown's decision to stop his anthem protest began to take shape just a few days after he raised his right fist before the Oct. 7 game against the Panthers in Sunrise.

    J.T. Brown, above, met with Bucs Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks for help in forming a plan to make a difference in the community.
  3. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7

    College

    Duke has been tabbed the preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' basketball poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.
  4. Bucs journal: Jameis Winston to test hurt shoulder in practice Friday

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs QB Jameis Winston still wasn't throwing at practice Thursday, but he'll test his injured shoulder today as Tampa Bay keeps its options open for Sunday's game at Buffalo.

    Defensive end Robert Ayers, who played against the Cardinals on Sunday, is on the injury report with a knee issue. He was limited in practice.
  5. Durant's Cameron Myers now one of the state's elite RBs

    Footballpreps

    There will come a day when Cameron Myers is stopped, when opposing defenders gang up to prevent him from breaking off big gains.

    Durant senior Cameron Myers recently set a career high in rushing yards — tallying a whopping 393 last week vs. Plant City.