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Winter Pattern Falls In
Itook a short hiatus in Tucson last week for the holiday. We enjoyed absolutely beautiful weather, hiking, golf, and horseback riding in the valleys and canyons by day and warm fireplaces, spas, great food, sprits and the aroma of mesquite burning in the desert by night. Often I am asked where people go for vacations that live in Florida. That is one place we definitely enjoy at this time of year and is one of the countrys best-kept secrets.
The timing of the trip was perfect (for a fishing guide) as Florida experienced
some harsh conditions all of last week. The day prior to our departure saw a cold front passing in the morning. The temperature was dropping but the fish continued to feed throughout the trip. While I was away the temperatures continued to drop and the water temperature on flats fell into the low 50s. Not much more needs to be said when you take tropical and neo-tropical cold blooded animals and drop their body temperatures some 20 degrees.
While the cold weather offered a major blow to the fish, this was only a temporary set back that by this writing has much improved. It takes several days if not a week for the fish to acclimate to such conditions. We are now past that point and a winter pattern is now to follow.
Trout, redfish, pompano, permit (the little guys), jacks, juvenile tarpon, bluefish and ladyfish will make up the primary targets. Those who are willing to commit time in the upper reaches of area rivers will take snook. Artificial lures such as jigs, soft body jerk baits, and slow sinking plugs get the nod. Live shrimp will serve as the artillery for fish that have been definitely located, yet remain temperamental.
Lower than mean water winter tides will find reds in the holes behind the barrier islands, on the flats just outside of bayous, creeks, springs and rivers. Docks in residential areas that feature dark bottom, deep water and that are adjacent to flats, which feature rocks or oyster bars, are sure to hold redfish.
Trout will be found around the mouths of the rivers, canal systems, and on the flats. Warmed flats miles from the powerplant and those insulated by deep water adjacent to the Intercoastal, spoils and barrier islands will be place to check as well. These fish are often great travelers. Be willing to move to find them when they are not where they were yesterday.
In addition to trout, the ditch and the surrounding flats of the powerplant will offer pompano, permit, bluefish, jacks, cobia, snook, and anything else that has found this winter spa. Passing fronts will see the fish in tight to the warm water. For the days in between, these same fish could be found 3 miles on either side.
The key factor the next few months will be finding water that is slightly warmer. Top spots will include the shallows around rocks and bars, freshwater runoffs, dark bottom, and deeper insulated water. Find the right spot the action is often hot and continuous.
Screaming drags and tired arms!
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