Here we are again, another season of cool winds and cold water. Looks as if our first real cold front of the season is upon us now!
I used to hate the winter time, because of the consistent breezy conditions. Being a fly fishing fool that I am, I hate the wind, but its the days in between the fronts that can be superb!
With the winter comes the wind, but less rain, which means clear water. The start of gin clear water for excellent sight fishing in the 10,000 islands. As well as negative low tides, all great ingredients for sight fishing.
Red fish steal the spot light this time of year! Reds tolerate the cold better than the snook or tarpon. Reds will be stacked up on all the outside points as well as the back country bays in search for the darker bottom to retain extra heat from the sun.
Early starts are not necessary, and the mid-morning and afternoon bite can be phenomenal as long as you’re in between fronts. The blue bird skies indicate a high pressure which for me are a dead give away that fishing will be tough, you need scattered clouds.
My fly of choice for reds is either a red fish candy in browns and tan(shrimp colors), or a crystal shrimp in a yellow and olive tones. All with a little weight for the eyes, I like the non-toxic plastic eyes. Reason being, it’s enough weight to make the fly hop on the strip, but not enough to get that springy feeling when you cast, and doesn’t land hard on the water spooking fish.
You presentation needs to be slow in the cold water conditions. If you have the visibility, lead the fish off by two feet and hop the fly slowly letting it hit the bottom every time. If the red see’s the fly you will see the fish light up and charge the fly. Usually I’ll taunt the fish making him work for the fly, not out strip him but make it look like the prey is hopping for his life. Once the red see’s that he’s on it, and will not let his food get away. Sight fishing at its finest!
As well as redfish, the winter brings alot of northern visitors as well. Out on the beaches and passes, you can find all sorts of willing contenders for the fly. Blue fish, ladyfish, mackeral, kingfish, jacks, and pompano. I suggest pink clouser for the pompano dragged slowly on the bottom, and any shiny white bait fish pattern for the rest!
There are plenty of opportunities for the fly fisherman in the winter as long as the wind is not howling. Work your flies slow and your sure to find some cold water action.
Thank you for taking the time to read my little article, and I hope you find it useful.