Updated Nov. 22, 2017
The latest cold fronts have not packed that much of a punch. Just a cool day with breezy-to-windy conditions.
The newcomer to the inshore bite, besides trout and red fish, has been sheepshead. Sheepshead usually gear up on the near shore rocks some time around Christmas, but my clients and I have been catching them on rocky points while targeting red fish. I believe this is a pre-spawn ritual where sheepshead will school around structures like docks, rocks and ledges.
When I target red fish in the Chassahowitzka area I will use a cork and shrimp on a 1/8 0z. jig head. The jig head will let the shrimp stay vertical under the cork with a fast moving current. A shrimp on a hook will sometimes “ski ” behind the cork in fast moving water not allowing it to stay in the strike zone.
When a sheepshead bites on a cork rig, the cork will slowly sink, sometimes just below the surface. This is the time to set the hook. If you miss the first time, reel up your bait and inspect it. If the shrimp has been bitten off in chunks, it’s most likely a sheepshead, but if the legs are missing, it’s most likely pinfish. If you find that the bait is been bitten off in chunks, then immediately cast it back to the same spot. A hungry sheepshead will come back to finish the shrimp.
The trout bite has been good in the rock grass and hard bottom patches in two to three feet of water. The best baits have been bourbon or watermelon red flake MirrOlure LIL’ Johns or glow gold rush belly D.O.A. CAL Shads and 5.5 jerk baits.
The near shore rocks are producing big spanish mackerel, grunts and gag grouper. Incoming high tide will be early morning this weekend.