John Kok with an excellent redfish.

By Mike Murphy

With cold fronts moving through every seven to 10 days, finding comfortable fishing conditions can be troublesome. Watching the wind direction is key to having a successful outing. Westerly winds (or winds coming from the east) are going to nice flat times in the eastern bay area fishing areas. Low water conditions are still a concern, so be ever wary of the tide directions when scouring the inside flats for fishing fun.

Fishing has been on fire with numbers of redfish, snook and sheepshead in the backwater and tributaries that feed these areas. Greenback bait is holding on some of the markers in the bay, but shrimp will be key as the water temps begin to drop. Work the flats diligently this month with some pompano jigs to locate trout and pompano. These jigs, along with traditional plastic jigs, work well as a broadcast bait that is a more aggressive method for finding schools of trout and pompano. Redfish are in the backwaters and on the points of mangrove areas during a good moving tide.

Sheepshead are coming in with great sizes being harvested on shrimp and fiddler crabs from both deepwater canals and docks, also from inshore reef areas with rocky bottoms or structure. A large split shot weight in front of a 1/0 or #1 hook is a great setup for catching these elusive fish. Be sure to thread the shrimp on and get as much hook in the body of the shrimp as you can.

Keep your line a little taunt so you can feel the bite and lift slightly and see if they pull back on you. Then, set the hook and enjoy the bounty. Hook the crabs on a similar setup but feed the hook through the leg crease and gently work the hook through the top of the shell; be careful not to crack the shell as it will ruin the integrity of the crab and just fall right off.

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