The Florida Panhandle is rebounding slowly but surely, and through the winter, redfish in the area will still be on the chew. But now, cold water conditions demand a change in tactics.
“Wintertime redfishing is about being slow and subtle,” states Myers. “Reds are super spooky in winter and will hear everything and anything this time of year, so it’s necessary to be ultra-quiet. Instead of a trolling motor, use a push pole or Power Pole to maneuver around and root down when plying the shallows.”
Myers searches out subtle differences in the flats that attract reds to congregate. ”Reds want to bunch up in the winter, not necessarily because they are feeding but they are all searching out the areas to warm up, which could be a flat, a hole or where the sun is hitting the water at the right angle. Reds are rarely roaming solitary during the winter.”
Myers may drift over 10 to 15 holes before he finds the right one. “Generally a 1 to 2 foot change in depths is enough to attract redfish and when we find them holing up.”
The key to winter redfish success is to dial down the speed and size of the lures. Myer’s will tie on a 3 to 4-inch Shiner or Shrimp to mimic a shrimp or minnow; two main Florida gulf winter baits. The rubber bait is lanced on a 1/8 to ¼-ounce leadhead, enough weight to cast, but not too much where its sinks to the bottom too fast. A properly weighted jig will be twitched, then slowly drop through the strike zone.
As most winter redfish average in the 5 to 10-pound bracket in the Panhandle area, Myers uses medium action 7 to 7’ 2” Phenix Feather rods matched with Shimano Stradic 3000 reels spooled with 8 to 10-pound braid. “You need to go with thinner braid for more casting distance in Florida as the fish are way more spooky than in a place like Louisiana where I would make shorter casts with 40 pound braid. Stay as far away as possible from the school, while still being able to reach them with a cast.”
Slow, subtle, and silent - the three tactical advantages of a successful winter redfish angler.
Photo Courtesy of What the Fin.