FISHING THE COOLER DAYS

Wintertime fishing is always a roller coaster ride of cold fronts, mild days, high winds or sometimes no winds. You always have to be prepared for every scenario if you are going to maximize your time on the water. I always like to bring a variety of baits. In the winter time live bait is usually going to be shrimp or pinfish. Artificials will include shrimp mimicking lures, also soft plastics such as long jerk worms or short paddle tails. Top water plugs are fun to use, but don’t get as many hook ups. Gold spoons are in the arsenal, as well as bucktail jigs. In most cases, only a few of those choices will get used in a day of fishing, but it always pays to have several options for different scenarios. If the water I am fishing is very clear one day, and the next is murky due to a change in the wind direction, different colors of soft plastics will come into play. A general rule of thumb is darker the water, darker the bait. Clearer waters will call for a more translucent color. Trout are most likely found in the clear waters of St. Joseph Sound, so white with chartreuse jigs can be deadly. But as the silt is churned up by winds, I will switch to a root beer colored jig and get just as many hook ups when worked close to the bottom with a slower retrieve. Redfish are suckers for a gold spoon so target mullet schools moving along the flats and you are sure to find a few reds willing to chase the flashing spoon.