We are in mid December, but the recent weather gives our region a bit of a Summer feel. We had cold temperatures to start the month, but this rapidly warmed. Fishing the shallow waters of our region this time of year will give anglers the opportunity to target a variety of species. It can be difficult to locate fish initially when the weather throws us a temperature curve ball like this.
The redfish bite really turned on before this unusually warm weather settled in. As things warmed back up, we seemed to find mostly under slot reds with the occasional big one mixed in. Good numbers of quality trout are still being caught, but be ready to cover ground and try a variety of tactics until you locate them and find what they want.
When fishing 1-4 feet of water for trout, I like to use a 1/4 oz. jig with a white GULP shrimp or a Lil John jerk bait on it. I usually start with white, but will go to a chartreusse or root beer color if the bite is slow. Be ready to work this bait setup at different speeds and rhythms also to allow the offering to cover the entire water column.
Another one of my favorite baits is the Mirro-lure mirrodine XL. The are a variety of colors that work on these lures because they all have silver reflective sides on them that fish find hard to resist. The XL's cast far which gets the bait to the fish before they can detect your presence. Be sure to work these baits slowly and across or with the current. I will catch fish when working against the current, but I find it hard to give the lure a natural presentation when fighting a strong current.
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.