December 21st is officially the first day of winter. The morning now are cold, not frightfully cold but cold nonetheless. Fishing despite the cold and wind has been good if not exceptionally good! Large schools of large redfish on flats. When fish aren’t disturbed its been possible to pick off big numbers of large fish. These fish are hungry and on the prowl for food. With cooler temperatures fiddler crabs, which are a typical sight along mud banks, are no where to be seen. These crustaceans have burrowed deep into their muddy caverns seeking warmth. Bait fish another common sight have all but vanished except on occasion to those keenly looking for bait. Fiddler crabs and bait fish comprise the red drum’s diet. As food diminishes red drum are more aggressively feeding. Despite cold air water temperature along the coast is relatively mild, in the low to mid 50’s, allowing for a very favorable redfish bite. This will continue as long as water temperatures remain relatively mild and fish are able to find a food source. When the food source vanishes or water temperature drops the bite will change to a slower more subtle, less frequent bite. Until then enjoy the hot bite while it lasts! This bite as dramatically as it turns on will turn off just as quickly. How long will it last? Who know? For now the redfish bite is on! Seatrout action has been good! Most of the fishermen targeting seatrout are using soft plastics. Clear and crystal patterns have been favorites. During the winter months look for seatrout back in the grass. Normally fishermen associate seatrout with current, not necessarily so during the winter. As water temperatures drop seatrout will conserve energy by staying out of the frigid currents and literally hanging in and along grassy areas. These seatrout are looking for finger mullet. Pitching any soft bait that will resemble a finger mullet can be effective.
Those who enjoy bait fishing can do well on live or dead shrimp, finger mullet as well as mud minnows. Seatrout in most instances prefer a live bait or artificials. For best chances of good action concentrate on marshy area rather than fishing rips and currents. Look for fish that conserving energy. There is still some shrimp on the flats but shrimp in the shallows is becoming scarcer by the day. Don Adams, Adams Bait House, says he is planning on staying open until New Years then it will be one day at time. If the weather remains mild and Don is still able to find shrimp he’ll stay open a little longer. Your best bet is to call ahead to see if he’s open and has shrimp. If the weather is fowl trust me bait shops wont stay open. Adams Bait House phone number is 912.898. 1550. Don’t underestimate the lowly mud minnow. It’s a great bait and catch plenty of fish provided there are fish to be caught where you are fishing. Anticipate as water temperature drops the bite will be slower. Concentrate on marshy areas out of direct current or try trolling soft plastics or fish deep.
A few stripers being caught. Mostly smaller fish on plastics, a few on the fly. Vast amounts of fresh water coming to the coast will likely mean a good striper bite in the coming weeks. So far a few larger reported but not a lot of action.
Hope this of help!
Capt. Jack McGowan