Winter is my favorite time of year to chase redfish and spotted seatrout with a fly rod near my home in East Central Florida. Water clarity peaks as colder temperatures kill much of the algae that can thrive during warmer months. As a result, sight-fishing is normally better than at any other time of the year. Reds and trout follow a fairly predictable pattern in the winter; therefore, a general knowledge of the effects that seasonal weather has on the estuarine environment is critical to locating fish. Here are some tips for finding fish and a few suggestions for dealing with the elements during Florida winters. Tip 1 The ambient air temperature has more of an immediate effect on the flats than it does in deeper water. Consequently, large numbers of reds and seatrout leave chilly shallows and seek the warmth of deep water during extended cold snaps. Based on that same tenet, those fish will leave the depths and move back onto the flats as temperatures rise.
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During cool weather, water next to dry land is often warmer than in open shallows more distant from shore. Acting on the same principle as a heat pump, warmth from land is transmitted to adjacent water and helps keep the temperature higher than water further away. The fish will often inhabit the sandy troughs that parallel the shoreline and will also lay in potholes within close proximity of the landmass.
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