Sight fishing for redfish and spotted sea trout has been phenomenal this month with cold fronts really putting them into their winter patterns. With the water temperatures being consistently in the 60's, the water clarity is becoming much better allowing for some really good sight fishing days this month. With the way things went this past summer, it's awesome to see everything flourishing!
Fishing around cold fronts can be a little tricky and knowing when to go can be the difference between a good day and well...frustration. When sight fishing in our area, we need either sunlight or a really high tide and typically we get both on either side of a cold front.
-Pre-frontal conditons bring a south wind that starts light and increases gradually and combined with a strong incoming, it can push an excess amount of water, more than predicted. We are fortunate to have black mangroves that border our shorelines and they can reach a height of over 15 feet. These trees provide an excellent "backdrop" and even on overcast days, can make sight fishing possible. These conditions can last all day when timed right.
-Post-frontal conditions bring a stiff north wind after the front passes but the skies following are what dreams are made of. Without a cloud in the sky, visibility can seem unlimited some days but a stealthy approach is always a necessity. The second day after is when the winds start to lighten and the fish are starting to become acclimated. Afternoons are going to bring the water temperatures up slightly which can stimulate some hunger in our slimy friends.
Fly fishing for redfish has been really good this month! Our redfish can be really spooky and even having the proper leader setup can play a huge role during the next couple months. On average, I prefer a 12 foot leader and will cut to retie it after it shrinks to 10 through changing flies, catching fish, etc.. Constructing them of three sections with the last two being fluorocarbon will help the fly settle quicker before the fish approaches. The last piece attached to the fly should be between 12-15 pound. Crustacean patterns tied in olive, tan, brown, and black that are no bigger than a nickel work the best but they have to have enough weight to remain on the bottom when in motion.
Spotted sea trout are pushed up shallow and concentrated heavily over hard bottoms. When sight fishing them, a cast in their general area usually scores better than one directly at the quarry. They're a different critter when shallow and their senses are much more acute making them an awesome fly rod target. Bend backs or puglisi's work really good for shallow water trout and a long leader is also a must!