Water temperatures plummeted into the 40s with this past week’s Arctic blast. The shallow flats were devoid of any life as fish retreated to the rivers, creeks and canals where deeper water acts like an insulating blanket .Despite a warming trend forecasted well into next week, do not expect the fish to go far from their winter warm-water refuges.
The Catch All
The new moon will create negative low tides and make these pockets of deeper water easy to locate. A live shrimp with just enough weight to reach the bottom is the Nature’s Coast most popular and preferred winter rig. One should remove the tail fins from the shrimp to prevent it from spinning. This also allows for further casting. Tail-hook the shrimp with a #1 live bait hook. Once cast, the key is to provide just enough tension to keep your line tight.
Areas with a southerly exposure, rocks, oyster bars, dark bottom and seawalls all retain heat. While just a few weeks ago the primary movements of fishes were related to foraging, their movements now are predominantly related to finding warmth. “Sunning” fish are not necessarily eager to feed, but with a properly rigged shrimp and applying your efforts late in the day, eventually they will eat.
Capt. Robert McCue can be reached at (800) 833-0489 or through his website www.GiantTarpon.com