Blustery north quadrant winds and the recent full moon created exceptionally low tides this past week. This typical winter scenario is both bitter and sweet. The lack of water wreaked havoc on those diehards trying to gain access to their favorite winter holes. At the same time, fishes were left with little to no place to go making finding the concentrations of fish much easier.
The fish have solidified into a consistent winter pattern and have retreated into the creeks, rivers and canals. While you might have had to wait for the flood tide and or the morning fog to lift, a variety of species were on the bite this week. Redfish served as the primary species, followed by speckled sea trout. An array of less glamorous species is being found in the same holes to include black drum, sheepshead and ladyfish. Surprisingly, a few snook obliged to our offerings as well.
Feeder creeks are one of my favorite places to fish after the first persistent series of cold fronts of winter. Nearly every creek of the North Suncoast contains some type of bend or pocket that is significantly deeper than any surrounding water. To reach these holes you may have to slip over the gunwale and wade to them in ankle deep water. A Flote-Rite bait bucket loaded with live shrimp and tethered to your waist is all that is needed to catch all of these species. On the slower sides of current flow, the shrimp are best fished without weight. As the current gains momentum add just the necessary number of split shot weights to hold the bait on the bottom. If you find the right hole, it may be your only stop for steady action and good winter fishing.