January 2016 has brought some chilly weather after a super warm December. In December and into early January I was out on the beaches hammering big grunts, snapper, few flounder and getting slammed by big grouper bites, but this bite tends to shut down for me once the temps dip below 65.
With the gulf temp dipping well below 60 degrees, my trips are restricted to residential docks and intracoastal grass flats. This definitely doesn’t mean any less action.
On windy cold days, the best option is to find shelter in the residential canals chasing sheepies, drum, reds and snook. The sheepshead and drum have been chewing hard on all trips, making up for the slow red and snook action.
This most recent cold snap has put the snook into their winter hiatas. My best luck with bigger fish is working artificial lures that mimic the bait fish that roam the canals.
Using the kayak to stalk the docks is by far superior to boat fishing. Boats can’t get the angle on the docks and castability that kayaks offer. When approaching a dock, the kayak is by far quieter than boats with trolling motors and the kayak pushes far less water then even the lightest flats boat. This is a big game changer for holding the fish on the docks and being able to make tight casts up under the docks where the fish are holding.
I love getting out on a cold winter day hoping from dock to dock pitching shrimp under the shadows. Usually a good cast will get rewarded with steady bites.
As the cold weather continues, the trout action should heat up to, with hitting grass flats and drop offs using artificials. Usually trout is not a fish I target outside of the cold winter months in hunt of the big gator trout that push into our area. Trout are called weakfish for a reason, not putting up much of a fight, but fish that push over 20 inches will definitely pull some drag and seeking out that coveted 30 plus inch trophy is always a winter goal of mine.