Florida Fishing - Cold Weather on the Big Bend

December 03, 2019
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Cool waters this week will shift inshore fish, with trout moving from bays and flats to coastal creeks or rivers. Redfish, blackdrum, and sheepshead are cold-tolerant, so use live shrimp on holes. Snook are now catch and release. Mangrove snapper is a reliable fish in rivers, with live shrimp being the best bait. Offshore gag grouper bite may be slow, but use live bait and patience.

Article Summary

  • Inshore Fish Movement: Discusses how cold weather impacts the movement of inshore fish like speckled trout and redfish in Florida's Big Bend area.
  • Targeting Different Species: Provides techniques for catching redfish, black drum, and sheepshead in colder temperatures, using live shrimp and specific lures.
  • Snook Fishing: Addresses the current catch and release status of snook.
  • Mangrove Snapper: Tips for catching mangrove snapper in the rivers, including bait recommendations and size regulations.
  • Offshore Gag Grouper: Advice for gag grouper fishing offshore, focusing on water depths and bait.
  • Tides and Fishing Timing: Information on how incoming high tides affect fishing, particularly for this weekend.
  • Homosassa Region: Specific mention of Homosassa, highlighting its unique fishing opportunities.

Florida's Big Bend is a true angler's paradise, offering a rich variety of fish species and unique fishing environments. As a fishing enthusiast and SEO expert, I've come to appreciate how the colder weather can dramatically reshape the fishing landscape in this region. This article will explore the nuances of fishing in Florida's Big Bend during cold weather, focusing on popular species like speckled trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, and more.

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Cold Weather Impact on Inshore Fish

Speckled Trout and Their Movement

When the temperature drops, speckled trout, also known as speckled sea trout, adapt by migrating from the bays and flats to coastal creeks or rivers. This movement is a response to the changing water temperatures. Shallow waters, which cool down quicker at night, become less hospitable for these trout. However, during the day, when sunlight warms these areas, trout often return to the edges of these warmer waters.

Redfish, Black Drum, and Sheepshead Tactics

Unlike speckled trout, species like redfish, black drum, and sheepshead are more tolerant of the cold. Anglers targeting these species should focus on the deeper holes where these fish tend to congregate. A recommended tactic is using live shrimp as bait at the bottom of these holes. As the sun warms the shallows, switching to an unweighted soft plastic or a suspending hard bait can be effective for targeting trout.

Special Considerations for Snook and Mangrove Snapper

Snook: A Catch and Release Species

Currently, snook are under a catch and release regulation. This conservation effort ensures the health and longevity of snook populations in Florida's waters.

Catching Mangrove Snapper in Rivers

Mangrove snapper, a reliable species in the rivers, responds well to live shrimp as bait. The minimum size for keeping a mangrove snapper is 10 inches, a regulation that helps maintain sustainable populations.

Offshore Fishing: Gag Grouper

The gag grouper bite might slow down with cooler water temperatures. For successful offshore fishing, especially in depths of 18 to 30 feet, patience and the use of live bait are key.

The Influence of Tides on Fishing

Fishing success can be significantly influenced by the tides. This weekend, the incoming high tide will be mid-day, which is an ideal time for anglers to head out and maximize their chances of a good catch.

Homosassa: A Unique Fishing Destination

The Homosassa region, a part of Florida's Big Bend, offers a diverse and abundant fishing experience. Known for its inshore fishing opportunities, Homosassa is a must-visit for anglers looking for a variety of species, including the ones discussed in this article.

Florida's Big Bend, especially the Homosassa area, is a dynamic and rewarding destination for fishing enthusiasts. Understanding the behavior of different fish species during cold weather and adapting your fishing techniques accordingly can lead to a fruitful fishing experience. Whether targeting speckled trout as they move between warmer and cooler waters, angling for cold-tolerant species like redfish and sheepshead, or pursuing the elusive snook and mangrove snapper, there's something for every angler in this region.

Remember, the key to successful cold-weather fishing on the Big Bend is adapting to the changing conditions. Monitor the water temperatures and tides, and be prepared to switch tactics as needed. Use live shrimp for species congregating in deeper waters and lighter lures for trout during warmer periods of the day.

Finally, let's not forget the importance of conservation and respecting the fishing regulations. Adhering to size limits, catch and release policies, and being mindful of the ecosystem ensures that future generations can enjoy the same rich fishing experiences that we do today.

Captain William Toney In The Spread, Instructor
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