Fishing after Cold Fronts
We may live in Florida, but cold fronts are going to happen and learning to adapt and overcome as it relates to inshore fishing will keep your trips on the water successful when everyone else has thrown in the towel.
We went out Sunday, greeted by a chilly wind, to check the bays and try and locate the schools of reds we have been watching for the upcoming tournaments. The bay was white capping and rolling waves three feet and above, which made it unsafe for travel. The water was pushed out due to the cold front and wouldn’t have allowed me on the flats anyways.
So we decided to check some mud flats in the bayous, the warmth of the mud flats was holding some lower slot reds and a lot of trout at the drop offs. The reds were sunning in about a foot of water, but wouldn’t eat. Moved to docks and structure, found some reds and a lot of trout. The reds there weren’t that interested in eating, and we had to move and work the bait with a slow twitch method to get the bite.
First, let me say that as an angler I understand that fishing after a cold front can be very aggravating, especially if you fish shallow flats and marshes. Cold fronts can pretty much be the excuse you need to head to the woods to hunt or sit in the house by the fire and watch sports.
The cold front drops the water temperature drastically, especially on the flats and pushes some of the water out of the bay. The wind behind a front will shift out of the north 20 to 30 knots. This will make the tide super low regardless of a high or low tide. Areas you caught fish a few days before will not be accessible. This will force reds and trout in shallow water to seek holding areas in deeper water, or onto dark bottoms where the temperature will be warmer.
Once I find them, I like to use a matrix shad or a gulp shrimp on eighth ounce to fourth ounce jig head depending depth to keep presentation. Calm areas are the easiest to fish on a windy day, and have warmer water after cold fronts push through. Seek out wind-protected areas with a dark muddy bottom, protected shorelines, coves, and creeks to yield the best results.
Please remember, when fishing late fall, winter and early spring cold fronts bring bad weather. You must check the marine forecast the evening before and the morning of before you head out and use your better judgement. No fish or fishing trip is worth destroying your property or putting your life in danger.
The water and weather can be unforgiving.