It has been a fairly mild start of the winter so far, with a few strong cold fronts coming through. We have been fortunate to only have to suffer a few cold days then back to high 70’s, low 80’s. What this does for the fishing is change things briefly and then back to more of the standard. A few keys are barometric pressure, water temperatures and clarity. wind direction and where the hell am I going to get bait today. With all these factors changing the fish will move and feed differently and the bait will be a guessing game as well, not only where to catch it but what to fish with. Sanibel winter fishing can be tricky but very rewarding, just to be able to catch snook and redfish in January and February is special.
When the water temperature drops shrimp can be very effective although I prefer to use it as a last resort because everything eats shrimp. So you can be harassed by pinfish, snapper and other bait thieves. If the water stays around 70, even into the high 60’s i’m hoping to have a well full of whitebait. Anyway watch the conditions and be prepared for all different situations this time of year. For example after a strong front I like to fish shrimp on a jig for redfish but as soon as it warms a bit it seems to fall off and little snapper are taking over so you have to adjust.
Sanibel winter fishing report for me has been one of many fish but not as much quality on a consistent basis. The snook population is in great shape with a lot of small to medium size fish and some bigger fish as well. The redfish was better for me up to December and has fallen off which is not uncommon, lately I am catching quite a few undersized fish with a few legal fish mixed in. Trout is pretty typical for winter where you can catch a lot of small fish and pull some keepers out as well. In short catching lots of fish and that is what we are supposed to be doing. However we are always working hard to find those quality fish as well.
Captain Clarence Reed