Contributed by John Wayne Peacock
Fishing for trout during the fall and winter months here in Florida can produce your biggest catches of the year. Here are a few tips and techniques to help you during your trips.
Let’s start with your rod and reel selection. I prefer a 7’6 or 8′ 8-17lb rod. With a 3000 class reel and 10lb braid. The longer rod combined with the lighter reel and line will allow you to cast longer and have more feeling in the tip while using soft plastics.
As far as leader goes I won’t use anything heavier than 20lb while flats fishing. I have found if you have your drag set at about 9lbs or lighter you won’t get broke off but still be able to fight a decent fish.
Lure selection for me is simple soft plastic shrimp or jerk baits. A 4″ jerk bait is my go to lure while flats fishing. Reeling it slow and steady with erratic jerks of the rod tip will allow your lure to dance above the grass beds. When fishing shrimp let it fall to the top of the grass and pop it up threw the water column.
When fishing early mornings start out in about 6-7′ of water and fish near the bottom. The fish hold up in the warmer water until the sun gets high. In the warmer parts of the day move to 3′ of water fishing sand pockets in the grass or drop offs. Allow your bait to fall right in the middle of these pockets. Trout will sit in the grass and ambush prey as it swims across.
Last but not least is stick with it. Trout school up so don’t get defeated if your not on fish early. Often when you find one fish more will be in the same area. Hope this will help you on your next trip out on the water.
Tight lines my friends