Fishing in southwest Florida changed dramatically over the past week or so as the mild days of fall fell way to our first real winter cold. On many of the days the weather was just too miserable (cold, wind, rain, fog) to attempt fishing, but we are gradually returning to a better weather pattern.
The drop in the water temperature gave a big boost for catching sheepsheads, big fish have moved inshore with the lower temperatures. We are catching nice fish and sighting many over five pounds. Look for fish hanging around structure, including dock and bridge pilings, rock jetties along the beach and on oyster bars or deep oyster bottom creeks. Most anglers opt to use shrimp, me included; however some of the real sheepshead experts that target only big fish catch their own bait including fidler crabs, tube worms, or sand fleas. A few black drum have also been mixed with the sheepsheads. The colder the weather the better for catching sheepsheads.
Prospects look really good for the reopening of trout season the first of the year. We have been catching nice trout around oyster bars and deeper creeks while targeting redfish. We have caught plenty of redfish in Matlacha Pass but almost all are running under the eighteen inch minimum, but still a blast to catch.
Now that fish have adjusted to the cooler water temperatures the bite should pick up going into the holidays and the New Year. One good thing, there is no need to hit the water at daylight; usually the best fishing happens during the warmest part of the day.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas
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“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell
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