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Winter or Spring Fishing? Which is it?

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On: Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 9:21AM | By: Captain Ray Markham

John George (L) with Mike Scheid of Kentucky with a 27-inch red caught on a

Judging by the temperature you may never know it’s still winter, and I believe even some fish are befuddled by the ups and downs of the temperature, but for most fish, they have been hungry and chewing, with some brief slowdowns when the mercury dropped on a cold front.

Our cold fronts have been fairly regular in that they have arrived on about a weekly basis, but most have been so mild that little change has been noted with the exception of wind direction and velocity. But that’s not to say that those changes don’t affect the fishing. A look at the change in atmospheric pressure would give more credence to the changes in action and make for logical explanation to why fish were on and off at times.

We’ve not had a trip so far that didn’t end up with fish in the box, despite all the changes, mild or not. A typical example would be last week. A strong front blew in on the weekend, dropping water temperatures on the flats of Terra Ceia and surrounding waters over 10-degrees. The changes were expected and I cancelled last weekend’s trips and scheduled my next trip on Wednesday when the winds had a chance to lay down, water to warm up, and the sun to come out and heat up the water.

When Mike Scheid and John George, of Kentucky stepped on the boat Wednesday morning the water temperature was pegged at 67-degrees in Terra Ceia Bay. My first observation was the cool temperature and the second was an overcast sky with fog, which would slow the warm-up for the day. Keeping an eye on the temperature gauge on my Lowrance as the hours went buy we noted a rise to 68 by early after noon with a very slow tide, but as the tide began to fall later in the afternoon, we moved around until we found some water that was over 70-degrees, also located where water movement squeezed down between some mangrove island, increasing movement and creating a nice feeding lane of sorts.

There was a definite mud going on in the area from mullet and redfish milling around and rooting out food. I could see it from a half-block away. Shutting my Yamaha down, I slipped my Minn Kota I-Pilot down as we slowly approached the area with ready rods rigged with CAL Jigs with Shad tail. To this point Mike and John had done pretty well, landing snook, trout, redfish, bluefish, and loads of ladyfish, but the best was yet to come. As they began fan-casting the approaching shoreline we began hooking up. At one point, three redfish on at a time, then one came unbuttoned. That last hour was golden and made the trip with over a half-dozen or so reds hooked. It took all day for the water temperature to get ‘right’, but it did. The ‘right’ part is likely to be what’s in store for us when our weather season finally decides to go full-time with the spring thing. When it does, we’ll be ready.

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, specializing in light tackle angling with spin, plug, and fly using artificial lures. He can be reached through his website at, via phone at (941) 228-3474, (941) 723-2655 or via email at


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