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Winter or Spring Fishing…Which is It?

John George (L) and Mike Scheid showing off their redfish caught on a CAL jig with a Shad tail.
John George (L) and Mike Scheid show off a redfish they caught on a CAL jig with a Shad tail.

Judging by the temperature here in Florida, you may never know that it is still winter. I believe that even the fish are befuddled by the ups and downs of thermometer, but at least they have been hungry and chewing with some brief slow downs when the mercury drops during a cold front.
Our cold fronts have been fairly regular in that they have arrived on about a weekly basis, but most have been so mild that little change has been noted with the exception of wind direction and velocity. But that’s not to say that those changes don’t affect the fishing. A look at the change in atmospheric pressure would give more credence to the changes in action and make for logical explanation to why fish were on and off at times.

This year, we haven’t had one charter trip so far that didn’t end up with fish in the box. A typical example would be last week. A strong front blew in, dropping water temperatures on the flats of Terra Ceia and surrounding waters over 10-degrees. The changes were expected so I rescheduled some fishing trips until the winds had a chance to lay down and the water had a chance to warm back up.
The day that Mike Scheid and John George of Kentucky stepped on my boat, the water temperature was pegged at 67-degrees in Terra Ceia Bay. My first observation was the cool temperature and the second was an overcast sky with fog, which would slow the warm-up for the day. Keeping an eye on the temperature gauge as the hours went by, we noted a rise to 68 by early afternoon with a very slow tide, but as the tide began to fall later in the afternoon, we moved around until we found some water that was over 70-degrees, also located where water movement squeezed down between a mangrove island, increasing movement and creating a nice feeding lane of sorts. There was a lot of mud going on in the area from the mullet and redfish milling around and rooting out food. I could see it from a half-block away. Shutting my Yamaha down, I slipped my Minn Kota I-Pilot down as we slowly approached the area with ready rods rigged with CAL Jigs with Shad tail. To this point, Mike and John had done pretty well, landing snook, trout, redfish, bluefish, and loads of ladyfish, but the best was yet to come. As they began fan-casting the approaching shoreline, we began hooking up. At one point, we had three redfish on at a time! That last hour was golden and made the trip with over a half-dozen hooked reds. It took all day for the water temperature to get ‘right,’ but it did. The ‘right’ part is likely to be what’s in store for us when our weather finally decides to go full-time with the spring thing. When it does, we’ll be ready.