With the exception of the occasional cold spell that tends to slow the bite, inshore fishing for speckled trout and reds has remained solid over the last few weeks. The recent wave of cold temperatures had the fish stunned a bit. The inshore water temperatures dropped quickly from the high 60s to the mid to high 50s.
When the water temperatures change that much in a short period of time, the fish will generally stop biting. The sudden temperature change puts them in a state of shock and their goal is to conserve energy until their bodies are acclimated to the changes. As a result, they usually stay in one place and feed very little.
Prior to the most recent cool spell, the fish were biting great and we expect that to resume as water temperatures warm later this week. We have been finding some fish in the deeper parts of the inshore creeks. These holes can be anywhere from 5' to 10' deep and are holding fish well, especially on cooler days. We usually target redfish in the creek holes this time of year, but have been finding some nice trout in those holes as well.
On warmer days, you'll find fish roaming the shallow flats at the mouths of these creeks. The fish usually don't roam far though, usually only 100 yards or less from the creek mouths. The fish are in 2-3' water when they're on the flats, so they're easy to see and bite well when a bait is presented to them.
We've been catching most of our fish with soft plastics on a jig head. We're having good success with the Gulp brand plastics in New Penny and any other color variations that include pink or chartreuse. We're not using popping corks this time of year. Rather, we're bumping the jig head and soft plastic along the bottom where the fish are located.
In areas where the floating grass is not present, we're having success with Cotton Cordell plugs for redfish. The grass can be a problem on windy days, but the plug action is hot on calmer days. We've also caught some fish on live shrimp near the bottom, but a limit can easily be caught using only artificial baits if the water temperature is right.
This fishing report is brought to you by Captain Jason Witherspoon of Spoon Fed Charters in Keaton Beach, Florida.