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Fishing for spots

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On: Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 4:21PM | By: Merry Beth Ryan

I am not talking about spots as in locations to fish. The spots I am referring to are trout and redfish. This time of the year there is some very good fishing for both of these spotted fish. Both species are open to harvest with restrictions. Before keeping any fish make sure you understand the individual restrictions that are set on each fish. Trout have to be a minimum of 15 inches and no more than 20 inches, keeping four per person per day with only 1 fish over 20 inches. Redfish have to be a minimum of 18 inches to a maximum of 27 inches with a daily bag limit of one per day. Both trout and redfish are very good eating as well. The boat traffic this month may even be less than usual with it being winter which brings cooler weather as well as cooler water temps. Look for trout in areas that have a good tide flow. The darker the bottom the warmer the water. Darker bottom areas collect heat where sandy bottoms will reflect the heat. If you spot pinfish shining below that would be a good place to start targeting trout.

The cool water temps keep the fish concentrated in one particular area a lot of the time. The cooler water temperature push the pinfish off the flats. With the water temperatures cooler this time of the year allow the sun to warm the water up before heading out to target trout and redfish . Most fish are somewhat lethargic when the water is cooler. Trout fishing can be great fun to catch. Once you locate the trout there usually is great action which is a must when fishing with children. Be very careful when releasing trout. They are not as hearty as a red or a snook. Use a hook extractor, you will be extending the life of each and every fish you release by using this simple device. Trout have very soft mouths and pulling too hard when a trout strikes your bait will result in a thrown hook. There is no need to set the hook with the same authority as anglers do with tarpon or snook. Simply reel the line tight and gently guide the fish back to the boat. Both artificials as well as live baits work well when targeting specks as well as redfish. Usually where there are mullet there will be redfish.

The reds will feed on the critters the mullet disturb as they move across the flats in their schools. A lot of times reds will frequent areas where there is structure. Structures hold crabs , shrimp and baitfish. Mangrove roots, piers , docks, and bridges are all good areas to look for ” Mr. Redfish”. On low tides redfish will stage in deeper area waiting for the tide to push in. As it does they will move up to the flats, spread out and feed. Finding fish in these staged areas before they can move will provide you with some hot action before they all scatter out. Redfish are faily tolerable to lower water temperatures but it still takes them a while to move and turn on into feeding mode. This time of the year you can encounter redfish feeding in water that is just out of tailing depth. Redfish will be seen grubbing on the bottom just below the surface. Some are literally standing on their heads feeding. Redfish are in the drum family of fish they are bottom dwellers. They are not striking fish , they do not have the ability to look at what they are eating a lot of the times.

Trout and redfish are both attracted to noises. Any artificial lures that make noise will help to attract these two fish into striking your baits. Redfish crush their baits when they bite it. Redfish have some very strong crushers in their throats. The gold spoon is a very popular artificial used when targeting reds. They can be used with or without a soft plastic tail. Spinner baits are also increasing in popularity when fishing reds. The vibration attracts fish from a long distance away especially in dark water. Top water lures are great in shallow water situations. Soft plastic jigs or buck tails are good in deeper water conditions. Natural baits work well, live and dead minnows, shrimp, crabs as well as sand fleas. Redfish are a very powerful fish. If your looking for a bend in your rod these copper torpedo’s will provide that and then some. Anything they lack in speed they more than make up for with power and endurance.

Trout as well as redfish are a great eating fish. There are many options when preparing these fish for the table. Everyone knows about blackened fish, but redfish can be scaled and baked whole making a great family dinner. Use some olive oil to base the fish then add canned tomato’s , celery, carrots and potato’s seasoned to your liking. Broiling these two fish is another popular method. Lay the fish on foil adding salt and pepper and old bay seasoning under a hot broiler and cook half way a few minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet, then spread mayo or your favorite salad dressing on them and brown. Of course both fish are great pan or deep fried as well. February is a great month to target both these spotted treasures.


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