Fishing towards the end of 2011 was good! Mild weather allowed for favorable conditions and plenty of fishing opportunities. A few large sheepshead were caught around bridge pilings in Thunderbolt as well a strong bite on some of the near shore wrecks. Fishermen trolling soft plastics for seatrout found success as well. There’s always lots of conjecture on which color to use. In general in dark conditions fishermen are using darker patterns. As light decreases glow plastics can work well. Seatrout are sight feeders. Favorite colors are chartreuse, christmas tree patterns, white and crystal combinations with silver flecks. Big reds on the flats have been scant due perhaps to mild conditions. With colder weather big ocean reds will likely be pushing onto the flats! This is a fun fish to target on light tackle! Over the holidays there were good catches of redfish on structure like dock pilings, the head of creeks and fallen trees! The seatrout bite has been good at times followed by few fish. Fishermen are reporting lots of small seatrout. Small seatrout could be a sign for 2012! With short lived cold fronts pushing quickly then quickly out things look good. Nonetheless, anticipate the seatrout to be inconsistent. Typically seatrout action is scant during the winter. It is possible with mild conditions to have some nice catches. Stripers action has been good! Fishermen targeting stripers are mostly using live baits such as finger mullet and live shrimp as well as pitching white curl tail grubs. For now Adams Bait House still has a supply of shrimp but anticipates to close his shop when customers stop coming. In short if you want a longer supply of shrimp keep purchasing them. Usually Adams will close doors around this time of year and reopen in March. Those throwing cast nets are finding shrimp in deep holes.
When fishing the flats plan your around afternoon low tides. This will allow the flat time to soak up heat from the sun. Reds will push onto the flats seeking warmer water. Fishing a low incoming can be an ideal time to target reds on the flats!
Hope this of interest and help! Fish On!
Capt. Jack McGowan, Coastal River Charters