Clearwater, FL United States
Gulf of Mexico (FL) Fishing Report 01.10.11
Submitted by Capt. Brian Caudill Inshore Fishing ChartersSubmitted on 01/10/2011
Happy New Year everyone! It's going to be a great one! I just hope that our roller coaster ride of cold fronts dipping into the sunshine state, are fewer than last year. So far we have had some pretty strong fronts come through. I keep hearing about the mild winter they forecast so let's hope for the best. The fishing has been pretty good in between the windy and cooler days. I have focused on a fish usually left alone by many, Sheepshead! Let's look at what all we've been doing out here.
Trout fishing is our staple activity through winter. They are here but not yet in great numbers we expect to see in late January into March. There are pockets of larger numbers but you really have to work to find them. I have been using jerkworms from Pumpkin Jigs, turtle grass colored, to help locate a few fish. Then, I may anchor and bomb large live shrimp, either under a cork or freelined depending on the terrain. If it is cold, I like to put them right on the bottom. The cold water keeps the Trout from wanting to come up to eat one under a cork. Pinfish can be merciless though, so bring plenty of shrimp. Shallow water flats have held some of the biggest fish. 24 plus inches! Our spoil islands in Dunedin are starting to see a few Trout as well, you just need to move around a bit to locate them. Higher tides will push them up tight to the islands. Don't underestimate how close these fish get. I've seen them in just a few inches at times.
Redfishing has really improved lately. However, most of the fish are on the small side, typical of winter fishing. Some oyster bars have held several Reds, 50 - 100 and more! We don't catch them all, but it is fun trying. Sometimes we get one over 18 inches but most are undersized. Some larger Reds have been caught under deeper water docks. I use a split shot, down to the hook, with the largest shrimp you can find. You will get picked on by pinfish and Sheepshead but the reward can be worth it!
Speaking of Sheepshead, some of you may have seen me on 'The Average Angler' TV show on Brighthouse Networks. We had a cold day to catch something so I decided to do some Sheepshead fishing. They are typically around oyster bars, under docks and around larger rock jetties. Their diet is mainly crustaceans, shrimp, sand fleas, mussels etc. On a quiet night, you can even walk on a dock and sometimes hear them crunch the barnacles on the pilings in search of food. Really! I've done that! Once located, I will pinch a shrimp into two pieces, thread a 1/0 or smaller hook through the meat to hide the hook, place a split shot about a foot up and cast towards them. You really need to find your patience and DO NOT set the hook with every little bite. They will eventually get the whole piece in their mouth. You will feel the heaviness of them pulling away, start reeling along with a light hook set and you should have a nice tussle. We caught a dozen or more on that episode using this technique. The meat on these fish is very good, often overlooked by many. Be careful handling them though. Large dorsal spines can do some damage as well as their large teeth!
Well that's what is going on out here and I am looking forward to a great season! I would like to thank all of those who fished with me last year, even through the dreaded oil spill tragedy. Even though the number of trips were way down, luckily we didn't get any oil here. I have a great base of clients and am anxious to meet many new ones this year. I hope to get you out on the water, having a great time. Let's go fishing!