by Capt. Greg Stamper
We’re jumping straight into our two coldest months, and fishing will be good. We’ve had such a great December I’d have to think good fishing will only continue. Having a good Summer with minimal red tide affecting things, allowed for everything big and small to get through just fine. We’ve still got nice bait in the bays as well as schools of mullet. There’s a ton of bait moving nearshore and it’s got predators right behind it.
The back bays will give anglers lots of options. Paying attention to water temperature variances from day to day will tell you what to target. For example, drastic water temperature drops over a one- or two-day period can make fishing for some species tough. Snook, tarpon usually of the juvenile size, and permit will probably not eat when it’s cold. Species like sheepshead, trout, pompano, black drum, and jacks don’t mind the cool offs as much, and become main targets for those cold days.
The nearshore waters will be a great place to start especially during the low Winter tide time frames. Tripletail, bonito, kingfish, mackerels, and lots of bottom dwellers will fill plenty of time. Shrimp can be one of the best baits for most of the fish you’ll run into. Using them on jigs, popping corks, or just flat lined will work for about anything. The best part off having cold water means the shrimp you purchase will be bigger.
The offshore guys will have to pick the days to go out, as we can get some windy days. The days it’s not blowing hard, they’ll be going out for sure. Grouper will be in closer than normal as well as snappers. The snapper bite will be at its peak in another month with fish found in as shallow as 50 feet. Kingfish considered an offshore species, can be targeted from within site of land out as far as you want. The boats that get out past 120 feet will run into African pompano, groupers of all varieties, and giant snappers, porgies, and amberjack.
Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
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