Drift Fishing the Shallows
With the changing conditions in Florida, many anglers will adapt with various methods to catch inshore gamefish. One type of fishing can involve drifting a flat to cover more area and find trout and redfish that will stage up in deeper potholes and drop-offs. Throwing soft plastics, bucktails and crankbaits work well and can be retrieved at varying speeds to cover all parts of the water column. The wind becomes a key factor and will determine how fast a vessel will drift and in which direction. Anglers can use buckets or drift socks to slow the drift or angle which way to work across a flat.
Tide can also push boats and will often portray where the fish will setup. A hard moving tide will often push the fish near the bottom to feed, as this becomes the easiest way to ambush. On slower moving tides, redfish and trout will move around in search of meals and will even strike at the surface.
Drift fishing will normally net quantities of fish with a few quality fish mixed in. In cooler conditions, anglers will need to work bucktails, or scented soft plastics to instigate a strike from weary fish. The bite will be subtle and anglers will hook more fish by “reeling” on a bite instead of “setting the hook” on a bite. Once a few fish are hooked , it is best to power pole down and work that area , as there may be a condition, bait or depth that is staging the fish up.
The Speckled Trout bite should pick up as the tide will begin to get higher with each lunar phase moving towards Springtime. This increase in water flow will school the trout up tighter in the skinny waters. The flood tides will also produce big Redfish schools that want to feed up towards the mangroves and among the mullet schools.