Winter time fishing is one of my favorite times of the year to fish. If you are a true Floridian like me, it’s time to break out the winter clothing. Things I like to wear to keep me warm include a nice warm pair of paddling gloves, hats, buffs, and I even knock the dust of the ole waders. But, the number one thing that keeps me warmer than anything is a good windbreaker. You can cut the chill in half with a good windbreaker and they aren’t very bulky, so it's still easy to move around. Although this year has been a little warmer than previous years so far, look for fish this month falling into their winter patterns. Once you learn the patterns of the fish you are targeting, it can be literally like plucking fish out of a bucket.
Fishing will be most productive on the couple of days right before cold fronts and generally a few days after the cold front has rolled in. Fish get extremely fired up right before a front. Even the day as the front rolls in with crazy high winds, I’ve had some of my best days! Just please be careful if you are in a kayak. As the front rolls in and the fish feel the pressure dropping, it triggers them to feed hard. Then right behind that, the pressure will begin to rocket back up with cold high winds and blue bird skies. The fishing will generally be slower right behind the cold front. Then usually 2-3-4 days after depending on the size of the front, the high pressure will let up and the fish will begin the eat more heavily again.
Extreme winter time negative low tides can also give anglers a clear advantage targeting fish. First off, all extreme tides are caused by the full and new moon’s gravitational pull. Fishing as a whole, is generally better on these big tide swings. Also with the heavy winds this time of year, it can blow the water out even more. Think about it like this, less water- less places for fish to hide…(mangrove shore lines, docks, etc.) As the water pours off the grass flats, target nearby creeks, rivers, and boat channels. These will get narrower as well, giving you a better chance with less water to find them. If you enjoy wading, this is a great time to walk the grass flats. Fish holes that you’ve found previously fishing on the higher tides. Sometimes you can find fish stuck in them from the water getting sucked out to fast. Now that's like fishing in a bucket! These extreme low tides can help you learn a lot about the layout of an area for future fishing trips.
So remember to check the weather and your tides this winter and try some of these methods. I promise it will give you an advantage to fishing in the winter months. Stay warm and be safe! Hope everyone’s holidays were blessed and fishy! :) Tight lines and Tight Knots to the New Year!