Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Staff Contacts | Home RSS

Slow your retrives for cold snaps

November 14, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Saltwater or fresh, cold snaps can really slow down the shallow water fishing in Florida.

Do the fish stop eating altogether during a cold snap? Some do, some don't, depending on species, severity, and duration of the front.

A front that shuts down snook (temporarily) won't have as great an impact on redfish, trout or pompano or other more cold water tolerant species.

Article Photos

Capt.George Tunison

Bass fishing can be really tough during and especially after a passing cold front in shallow Florida bass lakes.

All inshore anglers fear the high pressure, cloudless, bluebird sky days after a passing cold front when fishing is usually pretty tough. Add a full moon phase to that scenario? My advice is to stay home.

If you are limited as to when to fish, or if you are a guide servicing a client that booked that particular day six months ago, you have to find a way to make it work. Start by slowing down and using lighter lines in clearer, cold winter waters.

A friend catches his share of fish casting a spoon. He has one retrieve speed year round - fast - and won't change. He catches lots of fish when it's warm, not so many when it's cold. Go figure.

As the temps drop so should your retrieve speeds. Reel slowly. Changing from faster straight retrieve lures, such as spoons, to suspending twitch bait style lures like the MirrOlure or Rapala will pay off.

Switching to a lower gear ratio reel can help you slow the pace if you find yourself summer speed reeling. It really is hard to slow down for some anglers. If that's you keep reminding yourself to relax and work on making your lure presentation look just right.

A twitch bait represents a baitfish in its final stages. It's wounded, dying, twitching, then pausing, suspending. An easy meal for a cold predator.

Don't be in a hurry to get the twitch bait back to the boat. Throw it in under the cover and let it rest, not pull it right out of the strike zone again. Now, use very subtle rod tip twitches to make the lure dart and flash, now pause. Many explosions come on the pause, if not, then a few more twitches.

To make these lures really come alive you have to make them look as if they're dying. Subtle, easy, slow motion, pausing and twitching is the key to winter time use of these classic baits.

A big, old, but very cold snook might not chase down a fast moving lure, but a twitch bait slowly dancing in front of his eyes will trip his trigger and he will eat.

Another good cold water choice is the tons of plastic shrimp variants on the market, like the original DOA Shrimp that can be fished slowly through grass beds or around structure. Fish the DOA on a 20-25-pound fluorocarbon leader. Always use a loop knot for these lures and other twitch baits.

Retrieve through a grass bed by letting the shrimp settle into the grass, then with a sharp twitch of the rod tip pop it up out of the grass. Then let it fall back to bottom again all the way back to the boat.

Retrieve in a slow straight line on the surface creating a tiny wake. Then every four feet let it drop to bottom.

Be a line watcher looking for the slightest twitch. Set the hook!

I like hi-Viz yellow braided line with a clear leader for line watching.

Trout fishing is getting better. Reds are still munching on cut baits and spoons around bars and docks.

Kingfish hit on trolled and live baits, and Spanish, blues and lady's under birds.

Find Spanish macs in the harbor during incoming tides. Look for birds to guide you to the activity. Pompano are around shoals in the passes and on grass flats.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web