Thanksgiving has passed and anglers in this area of the Nature Coast can still give thanks for the fantastic fall fishing. The "skinny water" bite continues to be great across the entire region. Big trout, red fish, and the occasional snook are feeding best on both sides of a high tide. The only thing that seems to slow the bite down is when a passing cold front moves through. These fronts can give the fish a case of lockjaw, but the fishing is usually very active before and after the front.
I find the best bite to be just before the windy and rainy conditions of an approaching front arrive. This 24-36 hour window is when the fish seem to really be on the move and feeding. Still, plan your trips around the most favorable tides to increase your chances of putting fish in the cooler.
Once the front settles in, it usually takes a few days for the fish to start feeding again. A good sign is when the mullet become more active.
Finding fish after a front can be challenging at first, but I like to start with the obvious. Mullet are a great indicator that other species like trout, red fish, and snook are nearby. Target structure like rocky bottom, grass, mangrove shoreline, and saw grass. Work systematically through these areas with "search baits" like a 1/16-1/8 oz. jig, a gold spoon, or even a top water plug like a skitter walk. These lures are effective because they cover a lot of ground quickly. When I locate fish, I quietly anchor down with my power pole and work that area thoroughly.
As we move through winter, the air and water temperatures will drop. Look for fish to push further back into the creeks and closer to the many springs in this area of the Nature Coast.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson owns Bulldog Fishin Charters, operating out of Hernando Beach. Contact him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352)238-3581. He is on Facebook as Bulldog Fishin' Charters.