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Late fall conditions moved in the past few weeks and the water temperatures are now holding below 70 degrees. While warm water was welcome this late in spring, it’s best now for the water to stay cool for the fish to develop into a natural winter pattern. We have experienced a very mild fall thus far. The mix of warm water and short days created a situation of some fish staying put with the warm water and other fish moving per their biological time clock stimulated by the hours of light to dark ratio. Good cool water (not freezing!) will congregate the fish in typical winter haunts and make finding them a snap. While some spotty patches of scaled sardines are still available, the best bet is to skip the bait catching and go right to work with artificial lures or live shrimp.
The winter trout fishing has gone ballistic. School-sized trout can be found over the open grass flats from 4 to 10 feet in depth. If it’s the jumbo “gators” you want, moving into the shallows around river and creek mouths, cul-de-sacs, oyster bars, dredge banks, and onto the “drops” behind the barrier islands will help you find the fish well over 20 inches. In the shallows, soft jerk baits get the nod. In deeper water, jigs have been working best. While over these deeper flats, one can expect bluefish, ladyfish (“10-pounders”) and Spanish mackerel to occasionally crash the party.
The giant tarpon are all but gone. The juvenile tarpon stack tight in the cooler water and make excellent targets for casting. Your timing has to be exactly right and too, the water not too cold, but they can be the “cherry on top” for an action packed day on a variety of winter species. The giant tarpon will be returning in just a few months. As a reminder, please reserve your time just after the New Year to ensure availability for the best giant tarpon fishing in the world. The 2004 giant tarpon season was one of the best in recent memory once the late cold fronts ceased.
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Last Update 14DEC04
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