February 23 Weekend Fishing Forecast

With Winter and the cold weather behind us here in the Northeast Florida region, expect the water temperatures to climb and the fishing to get red hot. The Redfish bite has been extremely good. Target creeks with deeper water adjacent to a flat, look for fish pushing in the shallow water and around oyster beds. Redfish are still running in schools, so the opportunity to boat several fish is a definite possibility.

The bait of choice has been a mud minnow pinned to a jig head bounced or drifted near structure. A popping cork is also very effective around the grass lines on the higher tide. In the early morning, a topwater lure such as a Spook Jr. in the bone or red and white pattern works very well for those who like to throw the artificial bait. Another great artificial bait is a weed-less hook and a paddle tail. This will allow you to search areas that have covers such as grass, shell beds and oyster bars without the constant snag.

Plastic will also help in determining the water column the fish are in.

The Trout bite has been on fire and is only going to get better as we move into the latter part of March and beginning of April. On several recent trips, clients have caught several Trout over 20” and up to 5lbs. A mud minnow drifted up current with an occasional twitch in the retrieve will produce fish. Target trout in moving water around rocks, rip-rap, oyster bars and structure. On the artificial side, the Mirrolure MR 17, 27, and L 30, are great hard baits.

The bigger fish will be in the 8 ft. to 15 ft. depth. If you have electronics on your boat, take the time to study the layout, contours, rock piles and other features in the area you fish. This will help locate potential points, ambush spots, and potholes that Trout and Redfish hang out in.

Get to know your equipment and use it to maximize your fishing potential. Electronics do a lot more than provide depth info. The Sheepshead bite has turned on again. The Jetty rocks at the inlet on the high slack tide have produced several very nice fish. A fiddler crab, pinned to a size 1 hook with 6 inches of leader should do the trick. I prefer to use pinch weights or split shot weights about 8 inches above the hook. This technique provides a little more feel for the subtle bite of a convict. If fiddler crabs are not available, oysters, clams or crab claws will work as well. A medium heavy, fast action rod will be sensitive and have the backbone to pull the fish out of the rocks or away from cover.

Get outside, enjoy the nice weather and fish. I look forward to seeing you on the water. Inshore, Outdoors, go fishing.

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Captain Don Taylor, Jr

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