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Cold Water Brings an Array of Fish

KC Spaulding, Staff Writer

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Two guys one fish

It has been cold recently so here are some fish that adapt quicker than others.

In this cold weather condition, your best bet is fishing the reefs on the offshore side. Yellowtail mangrove and mutton snapper all react quicker to the cold then most others.

The best way to target these species is with light line and chumming the waters on the edges of the reefs. They are very smart fish and will only eat when free lining your bait back with the chum and current.

Another fish that reacts extremely well to the cold are sailfish. These pelagic species usually swim from anywhere from 30 to 250 feet on and over the edges of the reef.

Sailfish can be tricky, but one of the best ways to catch them is to use live pilchards, ballyhoo or any other live bait you can catch. Bump or slow trolling these baits works best just on and over the reef line.

Once the cold weather and wind stop, it is ideal conditions to look for cobia in the shallows. Cobia follow stingrays on the bottom and when found can be in schools up to 50 or 100. They also put up an amazing fight and taste good, too. Cobias’ favorite bait are grunts and pilchards; They have a hard time turning them down.

Now let’s move over to the backcountry side. Fishing in Flamingo National Park is good all year around. But there are better months for certain types of fish.

When the water gets cold back in the park, the snook, trout, and redfish turn on. They can be harder to find, but when you do they’re usually in big schools and love to eat.

The best way to look for the redfish and trout is in mud or on a flat. A shrimp and jig head is the best bait and hook combination when looking for these fish.

Snook are more of a structured fish. They like being in the trees and around emerged logs and stuff in the water. Casting shrimp, pilchards and pinfish on a jig head or weighted hook in these types of structures is the best way to catch them.

So enjoy the cold weather and fishing in it while it lasts.

K.C. Spaulding is a fourth-generation fisherman on the fishing boat Caribsea, a local family-run and family-owned business.

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Cold Water Brings an Array of Fish