St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Improving your winter catch...

Now is the time of year when cold front after cold front will come bearing down on us.  Naturally, the nicer days between these fronts can often yield spectacular catches. The only problem, of course, is that these perfect conditions present themselves less and less as we head into January, February and March.  Understanding the patterns of trout and redfish during the colder months is not that difficult.  Both of these fish will eagerly eat during the coldest of periods. 

Speckled trout seek many different habitats during the winter.  Two common factors however, is that they tend to school up very tight this time of year, and seek deeper water.  On of my favorite methods of catching winter trout is to seek out smaller tributaries at low tide.  When I'm in these systems, I will constantly check my depth finder looking for the deepest holes.  Often these holes are on the outside bends of these smaller creeks.  Work these spots thoroughly and slowly.  This is the time of year when I really enjoy throwing soft plastics.  The size of the trout are generally lower slot fish, but easy limits can be had once you find them.  Generally, groups of trout may migrate considerably further inland during these months.  I tend to use the same methods with low tide and deep water being the common factor further up the rivers as well.  Further inland also offers many lay downs, docks, bridges and other features that can add to trout habitat.  Once you find a winter trout, fish the area thoroughly as there are certain to be more nearby.  Naturally, your shrimp presentation needs to be deeper, and the traditional float rig may be more desirable than the popping cork.  Adjust your cork so that you are within 12" of the bottom.  I have found in the past, the larger trout seem to be furthest from the inlet this time of year.  Don't be afraid to switch to large, diving, suspending or slow-sinking artificials and you will often be rewarded with a true gator this time of year. 

Redfishing this time of year is one of my favorite things to do.  Upper slot and over slot reds will school up in large numbers.  My favorite scenarios are days with mid-day or afternoon low tides.  The tried and true method is fairly simple.  Enter a creek system very quietly with your electric motor or push pole.  You will be looking for larger mud flats with 2' or less water on them.  The darker the bottom, the better.  The redfish will seek these warm water refuges.  The problem is that they are very spooky--and you may not see them until they spook.  This is okay.  You have now found a spot that will more than likely hold these fish the entire winter, under the same conditions.  I can guarantee, there are quite a few of these spots near the areas you are now fishing.  Put away the corks and heavy sinkers and make as light a presentation as you can.  These fish will eagerly eat a plastic as well as a live shrimp, mud minnow or finger mullet if you can find one this time of year.  Move your bait very slowly and methodically.  I prefer 10 lb. braid with a 18-30" flourocarbon leader tied with a double uni or a surgeon's knot.  Soft plastic jerk baits (e.g. ZOOM Superflukes) rigged on a weighted worm hook will cast a mile and make very little disturbance when hitting the water.  If I'm using a live shrimp, I prefer to break off the tail and run a jig head through the back end of the shrimp.  This will accomplish two things: it will disburse more scent; and give you more casting distance with the head being forward.  This combination is usually deadly in this situation.  The same presentation works excellent with a 3" Gulp Shrimp. 

The areas around Cumberland, Jekyll and St Simons Island all offer outstanding winter fishing opportunities. 

Tip of the week:  If you're not already using flourocarbon leader underneath your floats or tied directly to the main line, now is the time to start.  The water during the winter becomes extremely clear, and the low visibility factor of flourocarbon will definitely make a difference. 

Don't let the cold weather stop you-you won't know if you don't go...

Capt. Tim Cutting
Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters
St Simons Island

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