February Tides-January Fishing Report for Hibiscus By The Bay
Make it a GREAT 2014 On The Water!
This is the first fishing report for 2014. January fishing was a little chilly and windy for most. I like the cold weather, especially if the fish are biting!
I was able to find some trout and redfish once I started thinking differently on where and when to look for them. Last winter I went through a long dry spell in catching both winter time trout and redfish. Due in part because I hadn’t changed my thought process enough on figuring out where the fish want to be in the winter time.
I have learned a lot since then and have changed my approach on where and when to try and locate them.
The changes I have made from last winter to this winter when trying to locate trout and redfish are:
- I pay a lot more attention to the water temperature as displayed on my chartplotter. If I can find a place where the water temperature is 3 or 4 or more degrees warmer than other water that is a good sign.
Usually when you find warmer water you will also find the small bait fish along the shorelines or some mullet working an area and that is another positive sign.
- Next I look for not only moving water but locations where there might have been moving water. If I find such a place I look for places where the tide might have naturally slowed to let the nutrients or fish food make an easy meal for something larger. 🙂
- At the same time I look for depressions or holes where trout because of the location’s warmer water temps might want to school up and get an easy meal. I don’t think they will so much be where there is current but rather where the current slows and lets them eat without having to work for it.
- I am learning and getting more comfortable fishing the low or lower tides. When I first started fishing the low tides I didn’t care for it. I would get a little frustrated because with my boat I could not get to places I wanted to because there just wasn’t enough water. I have learned I just need to anchor up and get out of the boat! Especially in the winter.
- I am getting better at ‘reading’ the water. Looking for the smallest wake or movement. Something the more experienced and successful redfishers are adept at.
One pretty cool January day in a backwater marsh I found a spot with warmer water, a slow current, a hole or depression about 30 feet across, some small bait fish along the shoreline and there were fish periodically jumping out of the water. At first I figured it was mullet but after watching more closely I later learned to my surprised, it was trout feeding enthusiastically on the very small bait fish. I looked at my artificial lures and tried the one that most closely matched the bait fish profile. You can see the lure in the photo above. Well…yup I started catching trout and nice size ones to boot. 😎
For those of you that might have an interest in this information Capt. Tim Cutting from GA recently wrote a very good article on how your winter trout fishing tactics can be adjusted and ways to fish the tides for winter trout. Read Capt. Tim’s article here.
Our neighbors Shawn and his wife Laura Smith were able to get out and do some fishing together.
Shawn really likes to kayak fish so what he does is he loads his kayak on his boat. His boat becomes the mother-ship. They will boat to an area and then he will anchor up and take the kayak into the waters he wants to fish. On this occasion he and Laura found some tailing redfish. After figuring out what the redfish were feeding on which he said were white worm like critters, he said he put on a DOA white shrimp for Laura to cast out. Well it paid off and Laura caught her first redfish!
For the near-shore and off-shore fisherman:
Starting Jan. 24 2014, Florida anglers will no longer be required to have and use a venting tool when fishing for reef fish such as snapper and grouper in Gulf of Mexico state waters. Removal of this rule means anglers will have the freedom to determine how to best maximize survival of released reef fish using devices they feel are appropriate, depending on the circumstances.
This rule change makes the state and federal rules consistent with each other.
FWC Reports-Reminder: Gulf grouper recreational season will not close Feb. 1
This is a reminder that the Feb. 1 through March 31 closure that would have affected several species of grouper in Gulf state waters has been removed and will not occur as it has in previous years. This closure was removed at the September 2013 meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
A similar closure was also removed in federal waters shoreward of the 20 fathom line, or about 120 feet (excluding waters off Monroe County). To learn more about the federal closure, visit the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office at Sero.NMFS.NOAA.gov and click on “Fisheries,” “Gulf Fisheries,” “Reef Fish” and “Gag and Shallow-water Grouper Framework – Recreational Season.”
The closure would have applied to the following species: black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind.
The closure did not apply to gag grouper, which has its own season and opens April 1 through June 30 in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties; and from July 1 through Dec. 3 in all other state waters of the Gulf (excluding Monroe County, which is managed under the Atlantic season).
More information regarding Gulf grouper fishing regulations is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”
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Mike and Vivian Foate – The GOOD life on the water. Live happy! 🙂
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