The winter weather is finally here! We've had a consistent cooling pattern over the last week with day temps staying below 65F and water temps in the high 50s. The extended forecast looks like we should continue with cooler weather over the next couple weeks, which is great news for redfish and trout fisherman in the Big Bend area.
The consistently cool weather has pushed the fish into the creeks where they should stay as long as temperatures remain cool. If we were to get 4-5 days of temps in the 70s, they might exit the creeks temporarily. But once it cools again, they'll be back in the creeks. On the cooler days, the fish won't move much as they're hunkered in the creeks trying to preserve their energy and seek as much warmth as they can.
Fish can be found in creek holes near hard bottom with oyster bars and shells. During low tide, this hard bottom will absorb a significant amount of heat from the sun. As the incoming tide rises, the water near the hard bottom will be warmer and the fish will seek these warm areas in the creeks.
You'll want to fish on the incoming tide this time of year. Get in the creeks at low tide and fish the incoming water. The fish will tend to scatter more at high tide, so low tide is a great opportunity to find them in bunches. The "holes" in the creeks are usually around 4-6' at low tide and prime for catching a quick limit once you find the fish.
When the water temps are cooler like they are now, you'll want to significantly slow your bait presentation. These fish aren't moving much, and so they're unlikely to chase a fast-moving bait. They're also hugging the bottom, so topwater lures aren't usually that effective this time of year.
Our favorite lure this time of year is a Catch 2000 Mirrolure Suspending Twitchbait. These hard baits suspend halfway in the water column and work great when retrieved slowly. Take your time to slowly twitch these baits through the water and you should have great success.
Other great bait options right now include non-weighted soft plastic shads and jig heads tipped with shrimp. The non-weighted soft plastics will suspend in the water column and work well when retrieved slowly. The shrimp are in the creeks as well, so shrimp is a solid bait choice to bump along the bottom with a jig head. Gold spoons for redfish is another solid option this time of year.
Except for days with heavy rains where large amounts of freshwater is added to the creeks, the fishing will be excellent during the next couple months. You might have to hop between different creeks and holes. But once you find the fish, it should be pretty easy and you'll generally catch more than one in a good spot. Just remember to slow your bait presentation to match the slow movement of the fish.
This fishing report is brought to you by Captain Jason Witherspoon of Spoon Fed Charters in Keaton Beach, Florida.