This time of the year offers some of the best sight fishing opportunities ever! My clients love the bright sunny afternoons paired with clear & skinny water; these conditions afford them the chance to hone their sight fishing skills, presenting soft baits to tailing redfish and monster seatrout.
Some of my favorite “go to” baits for sight fishing this time of the year are the Z-Man Shrimpz, Pogyz, and Fattyz rigged on a 3/0 keel weighted rigging hook. All of these profiles can be worked slow and subtle to incite a strike from a foraging redfish. It’s normal for me to employ about a 30″to 36″section of fluorocarbon leader (Ohero 15lb) for this type of fishing because the fish are very wary of their surroundings. In addition, I will add a little Pro-Cure shrimp or crab scent to these offerings making them irresistible and easy to find in the grass.
Now that the water temps are consistently cold, larger trout have been pushing up shallow in the mid-day periods. These “gator sized” seatrout are looking to eat a bigger bait in this scenario so try tossing some surface walking or slow suspending plugs for some explosive bites! My top producing lures by far have been the Paul Brown Original (Floater) and the Paul Brown Devil…. cold water monster trout love them. Another good plug choice after a few warm up days would have to be the new C-Eye Pro Series Top Dog worked slowly… with a stop and go retrieve around the mullet activity. On all these presentations, I employ a shorter fluorocarbon leader (Ohero 25lb) primarily because the water is so shallow. Keep in mind, long leaders drag treble hooked lures into the grass creating annoying fouling issues.
Flounder have been a good secondary target on the flats adjacent to deeper channels. Again it’s hard to beat the Z-Man Shrimpz on a jig head or the reliable buck tail jig in the sandy holes along the grass flats for some decent sized flounder right now. I’ve even caught a few sheepshead with this technique lately! A lift, lift, fall retrieve will produce best in those pot holes.
My snook bite has been spotty at best. We catch them on the warming trends poling some of the muddy bottom back waters swimming a dark colored jig like the Z-Man Minnowz in the Gold Rush color. If it’s windy or overcast, try the MirroMinnow or C-Eye Mirrodine these hard baits get gobbled up quick by backcountry snook on warming trends!
Please, always practice conservation ethics because catch and release ensures we will all have healthy fisheries to enjoy in the future.
That’s all I’ve got for now folks. If you are interested in doing an all-artificial Flats Class Charter, please shoot me an email at flat...@gmail.com and we will get you booked for a great sight fishing adventure!
PS: The all new Flats Class Workshop is coming to Mosquito Creek Outdoors on January 18th near Orlando! There are still some seats left so reserve your seat now by emailing me at Flat...@gmail.com
Report by Capt. C.A. Richardson
Capt. C.A. Richardson
Flats Class TV