Shallow water anglers on recent Quiet Waters fishing trips fished waters as far south as Placida and as far north as Tampa Bay. Fly anglers did well sight fishing for snook in Little Sarasota Bay, Blackburn Bay, and Sarasota Bay. Snook were also very active in Terra Ceia ahead of the significant cold front that this area experienced last weekend.
Anglers that were able to fish ahead of the front fared well. Frenzied redfish were taken on flies prior to the front moving in. After the cold air settled in, snook became lethargic and huddled together in creeks and other warm water refuges. Redfish, not nearly as cold sensitive as snook, were a reliable target in shallow water on colder days. Overall, the cold snap slowed fishing down significantly this week. Thankfully, we have warmer weather in the foreseeable future.
Snook fishing has been very good throughout the winter. We’ve found snook to be very active in certain areas throughout the day. This time of year, the snook tend to bunch up. It’s rare to find solo snook in the winter. Solo snook happen occasionally, but it’s more common to find snook stacked together around glass minnows, or in areas that offer protection from cold fronts.
Prior to the front, snook were active. We found success using small glass minnow imitations and shrimp pattern flies. We also took a good amount of snook using surface flies like the bigly floating minnow. Anglers fishing with artificials, did well with paddletails and fluke type soft jerkbaits.
Once the water cooled from the cold front, the snook fishing came to a halt. Their main priority went from finding food to warming up. We found plenty of snook piled together in the warmest water they could find. Even after the area began to warm, water temps lagged behind and snook remained sluggish. That should change soon as we continue to warm up and enjoy some consistently moderate temperatures.
Redfish have been active despite the cold. Prior to the cold front, we enjoyed a couple days of incredible sight fishing. We fed flies to a number of redfish. Classic shrimp patterns were the most effective, but we did have a few reds eat baitfish patterns prior to the cold air moving in.
Redfish remained active even with the colder water temperatures we experienced. Mornings with negative low tides and a lot of sun provided some ideal conditions for sight fishing for redfish. There are certainly schools of redfish moving around, but we’re also seeing plenty of singles or pairs out there as well.
Redfish should continue to be a primary target as our area waters continue to warm up. They are an excellent target for fly and light tackle anglers that enjoy sight fishing. Paddletails and spoons are a great way to find redfish when spin fishing, but if you’re sitting on a school you will need to be more creative with lure selection. Going small with artificial baits made a difference. The 2” vudu shrimp is one of the better small sight fishing baits available.
Since we were primarily focused on redfish and snook over the last few weeks, we did not spend a lot of time targeting seatrout. There were a few days where we took a break from the challenges of sight fishing to drift over the deep grass for class-size fish. But even this action slowed down significantly with the colder water temperatures.
Prior to the cold-water temperatures, we were enjoying a regular bite over the deep grass using mainly paddle tails on jig heads and clouser minnows. While it was still warm, I was able to get my youngest daughter out on the deep grass one afternoon and she had a blast catching seatrout. Fun memories were made.
Looking forward to warmer temperatures,
Capt. Brian Boehm
Quiet Waters Fishing