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January has been a great month to fish as long as the weather cooperates. The cold fronts have about a 3-5 day spacing and usually provide 1 or 2 good days following. The strong north wind along with our big low tides that come with a new/full moon can provide some of the best sight fishing for redfish and trout we get all year. Redfish have been in large schools and will continue to primarily eat crab and shrimp imitations this time of year. Our water is abnormally clean these next couple months so dropping down to a 12 or 15 pound fluorocarbon will help get you more strikes. It's important to let the fish make the approach and strip your fly slow, NEVER allowing it to come off the bottom. Approach is everything this time of year because it seems all the fish have a para scope watching our every move. Visibility is the most important variable when targeting redfish. So in the morning, pick flats that have you looking to the north-northwest (putting the sun directly behind you). The afternoon would be completely opposite but still looking to the north. Our winter sun has a southern tilt and projects to the north. The second most important variable is your displacement. Which way is the tide carrying my sound/displacement? This is commonly over looked and can make the difference between getting into range and blowing the school. Big trout will be up shallow these next couple months, especially on the super cold days and will school up before their spawn in the spring. I've seen them feed on adult mullet this time of year but their diet primarily consists of shrimp, pinfish, and needlefish/ballyhoo. They aren't easy when they are shallow so long casts and long leads are necessary for these under rated gamefish.
The cold fronts have begun and the temperatures are dropping which helps with water clarity, making sight fishing the next few months some of the best times to go fishing! Redfish absolutely love the cooler temperatures and will begin to feed primarily on shrimp and crabs as we get deeper into our Florida winter. Fly anglers have the advantage with a soft presentation to these sometimes spooky fish. Using flies such as a tan over white clouser minnow can't be beat during these months and crab patterns which are no larger than a nickel won't be turned down with a proper cast and presentation. Big Speckled Sea trout push up shallow during these months and are a ton of fun to sight fish with a fly rod. These fish become extra wary in the shallow water, so a weightless fly is imperative for these fish. I like to have my anglers place their fly about 5-8 feet in front of the fish when stationary. If the fish shows no reaction, then proceed to cast closer to the targeted fish. Stationary fish laying on the bottom must be approached quietly as they are extra aware of their surroundings. Around the moon phases, it's not uncommon to find large groups of fish in the hundreds. Tripletail have made their way south this fall and will be around for the next month or so. They can be found around any floating debris or structure. These fish aren't the most energetic and needs to be fished accordingly. The artificial or fly angler has to swim his bait/fly within about a foot to guarantee a strike. Spanish Mackerel were here earlier in the month and my guess they won't be back until next spring. It's hard to beat a blitz with fly anglers. They can provide non stop fun for everyone. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to the next few cooler months ahead!!!