The winter winds have definitely helped to heat the fishing up along the Nature Coast. Redfish, Sea trout, Mangrove snapper, and Tarpon have all been target and landed within the last few weeks. However, the best action has occurred before and after the fronts. I’ve been fishing between four and six times weekly, but lately it seems that when the barometer begins to drastically fluctuate the fishing really begins to heat up.
On a recent trip out of the Crystal River, I made one particular drift and managed to pick up an 18 and a 23 inch redfish, a 22 and a 23 inch trout and I even jumped about a 45-50 pound tarpon. This type of pattern has been consistently lately, which has lead to many interesting and fun fishing days. Where in Florida are you going to find more exhilarating action? The key when fishing this time of year is to follow the warm water. Considering the Crystal River and Homosassa area is spring fed, the water temperatures can fluctuate depending on the tides. I like to fish the flats during after noon outgoing tides and the rivers during low incoming tides. By doing this I am able to fish a consistent water temperature which holds fish.
What ever species is target this month the key is to be patient and be slow. When fishing either lures or live bait, the best retrieves are slow and steady retrieves. The water depth and temperature should determine what color and what size bait is used during this time of year. I like to use smaller flashy baits during this time of year, mainly because of the clearer water, different changes in water temperatures and the abundance of bait in an area.