It’s time for Christmas shopping and Winter fishing.
We have enjoyed great weather and fishing recently; but cooler temps are here this week. Thanksgivings was beautiful. We shared time with family, friends, and fine folks on our beautiful Venice and Englewood waters. We even caught some fish, more than we could eat.
November offered Spanish and king mackerel, cobia, sharks, tripletail and many more migratory species. December means the Hurricane season is over but also our dependable mild temperatures. With unusually cold nights and New Moon low tides, the water temps will be dropping fast now. We can even collect a few fine Charlotte Harbor oysters.
It’s time to settle in for cold water, winter fishing now. Minnows will be gone or not worth the effort. Pinfish are good baits when we can cast net the smaller ones. Shrimp and frozen baits are the ticket now. I stopped in to Fisherman’s Edge near home today and noticed that Jim has anise oil in stock. I add some to my frozen minnows. I cut them up, before my trip, and let it soak in. this strong sent seems to help. Redfish are in season all year, and speckled trout reopens on New Years Day. Some mackerel could hang around for awhile depending on exactly how much it cools off.
Pompano are over due but not dependable yet; they could appear any day now. We have enjoyed good passing migrations the last few years. We caught a bunch just before Christmas a couple of years in a row; we’ll see how this year goes. Whiting and sheepshead will pick up thru February. I use the metal jigs, “Doc’s Goofy Jigs”, ¼ to ½ ounce and add a small tasty treat of fresh shrimp for scent. Concentrate efforts around the passes and current eddies. I like clean waters for pompano and mackerel but have enjoyed mixed results after the fronts stir things up sometimes. Fish will drop into the passes as the waters churn up and feed back outside as seas calm down to clear up. Move a lot and put in the time because pompano are great eating and very strong fish to tangle with.
Sharpen the hooks on the artificials and hone your casting skills. We will enjoy some hot fishing, just not every day. Lures can be productive if you have faith and patience. Select a few and master them, most of us are simply too impatient. Soft plastics are easy to use. Cast em out and carefully retrieve. The trick is simple; maintain contact with your lure. Take the time to consider what you want to cast to, where and why. Look for edges, pot holes, point and oyster bars for better odds of a bite. Top water works in shallow waters. Heavy jigs will get stuck in shallow grass. Lighter jigs with soft plastic tails are perfect for productive grassy flats. Just consider the situation and match the presentation to the situation. Lures catch plenty of fish in skilled hands! It’s not hard to learn but does take practice. Your lure is intended to mimic a crippled baitfish; take it slow and even slower on cold days!
Christmas shopping time is here. Gifts are part of it now; spend more time and thought, so we don’t waste money. Select gifts that will be used and enjoyed for the long haul. One idea to ponder, gift certificates to select stores insures that your loved one gets something they want and will use. If you know their fishing habits well enough you can pick and choose some tackle or a destination they would enjoy. Guided trips and charters are great gifts for several reasons. First your loved one gets all the fun and no work. Second it can be a special learning experience as well as fun adventure. Also you may even get included and spend the day with them. After all time with friends and family are important as we celebrate the birth of Christ. If you select something different it stands out in our memories. God Bless us all and warmer Spring fishing is not that far off. Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard at www.captvan.com for more info.