The Tampa Bay Times

Winter low tides are one of my favorite times to find new areas to fish even when the tides move up and begin get higher. The low water will expose small highways and funnels off of a flat, forcing fish to follow those paths to deeper water. Bait fish must also follow those trails allowing redfish, trout and snook to forage while seeking the shelter of deeper water. Artificial baits such as shrimp mimicking lures or small tails on an 1/8 ounce jig head can be deadly for catching high numbers of fish once located. I like to use root beer color tails when fishing darker or muddy waters. If there is a lot of turtle grass in the area, I’ll switch to a dark green color. Moving stealthily is key. Wade fishing is a good option however the bottom texture is extremely soft and muddy in north Pinellas. I usually try to position my boat in at least 2 feet of water, casting towards edges and openings of the flat. Often times, one large hole of water can produce several species. Once the bite slows, I’ll quietly move down to the next hole looking for the same opportunity. Live shrimp is also a great option for this time of year. Most fish will take a shrimp but especially redfish and sheepshead. The black and white striped sheepshead are a species we can keep and are very tasty on the table despite their appearance.