It’s hard to believe another year is already here! It’s here. Mild conditions has local shrimp are still available. Most bait shops close around New Year’s and open around the 1st of March. Capt. Bo Bowens owner of Bandy’s Bait Shop located at the foot of bridge going onto Skidaway Island has been able to find shrimp and according to Mrs. Bowen their shop will be open except for a few days when she’ll be on vacation. Bandy’s phone number is 912-354-6444. Bait is available but a cold snap could quickly change things.
Fishing this week has taken on a winter pattern. Water is cold and clear and the fish are spooky. Redfish can be found along mud flats. This time of the year it’s possible to see schools of 50 or more fish (or none at all). Even when a fisherman are unable to sight fish due to a chop or perhaps it looks the fish just aren’t there, there are always some fish. Lots of fish might not mean lots of bite. In clear water conditions with little current it’s easy to scare fish. Careful approaches and soft cast can mean the difference between a great day of fishing and frustration. Trolling motors can emit too much noise on some winter days. Sometimes simply anchoring and waiting for the bite can be the best bet. A push pole can be an effective way to reach fish on lower tide stages. Winter fishing can be productive but it can also be hit or miss. Winter fishing is weather dependent. Warm sunny days can bring seatrout into the shallows to feed. Cold snaps can slow the bite send fish to deeper water. Fishing this past week has been slow. There has been some redfish action on the mud flats on flies, plastics and bait. A few seatrout but an inconsistent bite. Few fishermen are venturing out. Most conventional fishermen have had little luck. Those fly fishing, pitching soft plastics or light live lining have done better. Small hard back shrimps can be found under docks. A piece of dead shrimp on a small live bait hook can fool a trout. Expect soft bumps not big bites and you just might pull in some large trout. Striper reports have decreased this week perhaps due a full moon. Likely these light sensitive fish have been feeding at night and secondly they are migratory moving in and out of coastal waters. The striper movement is directly related to temperature. With water temperatures in the low to mid 50’s Capt. Bo said coastal waters are too warm for their liking. Whatever the reason the striper bite has been slow. A few large stripers have been reported. The striper bite has slowed and it’s likely the peak of the striper fishing has already happened. Nonetheless, it’s possible for some good striper action throughout the winter and into the Spring.
Tides for the coming weekend are less six foot. Should be an excellent time to target sheepshead (inshore of offshore) or redfish. Remember redfish this time of year are very spooky to be successful you need to approach these fish more stealth than any other time of the year. Favorite baits on low water are clear or gold DOA shrimp and Bass Assassins red/gold jerk worm. Small white or red and yellow deceivers can work well.
Hope this of help! Good Fishing! Capt. Jack McGowan