As sure as the transition of the first few cold fronts bringing the potential first frost begins to move through the Emerald Coast, we will experience a similar transition in our fishing as well. It’s a great time to be looking for additional ways to improve your fishing knowledge. Many local shops will host fishing seminars. Sessions will focus on specific types of fishing and the methods used for that type of fishing.
Seminars are hosted covering a range of topics from boat care to inshore fishing, to how to tie flies. Each of these sessions are conducted by qualified fishermen who will help improve your skills. These seminars are also a good way to be introduced to a different type of fishing that you have never experienced before. For example, fly-fishing is a growing technique in the Emerald Coast. Locally, fly-fishing techniques can be used to catch bream in the Choctawhatchee River or Tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico. The fishing possibilities are as diverse as beach store options on the Emerald Coast.
Bay Breeze Bait & Tackle will host several fly-fishing seminars throughout the winter months of December, January, and February. These seminars are presented by fly fishing pros and will cover topics such as fly casting, fly tying and fly gear review. The schedule of the seminars can be found through the shop’s Facebook page.
As we transition into these winter months, not only is it a good time to work on knowledge, it also provides a good time to do a personal inventory of your fishing gear. Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you. The physical gears in your reels are the workhorse for reeling in your fish. Be sure to run a maintenance check on them to ensure all of the teeth on the gears are in good shape. Also, make sure the reel has been properly greased and oil has been applied. Several of the local shops have a great reel service department. If you do not want the hassle of taking the reel apart, doing the inspection of each piece, applying oil + grease and putting it back together, take it to your local shop and have them maintain it for you.
In these winter months, surf fishing will still be fairly active. As the fall flounder and pompano run comes to an end, we will begin to see more blue fish and large black drum being caught in the surf. Any cut bait such as whiting, mullet or cigar minnows will produce good results.
Offshore fishing still offers great opportunities in the winter months. Bottom fishing will also continue to be a solid choice, producing a good amount of fish and a chance to have some fun. Squid and cigar minnows appropriated on a chicken rig will provide a great indicator to the types of fish on the reef.
You have to get out and fish! There are great options for cold weather and waterproof gear that will make your fishing experience enjoyable, even in unfavorable conditions. Be sure to take someone with you. Most of what we all have learned is because someone took the time to invest their knowledge into us. Be intentional about investing your time and take someone with you.
May all the fishers end up on Santa’s nice list this year. May your stockings be filled with your favorite Florida panhandle fishing products such as FishGum, SnJ Pompano Rigs, and SORD Fillet Knives. Merry Christmas to all and to all may you catch many fish.