Seasonal shifts will bring significant change to weather and water conditions in Florida, which can often precede a dramatic shift in a fish’s eating habits.
Winter and summer months experience the most extreme temperature shifts, causing fisheries to completely shut down in certain areas and times of the day. For instance, after a solid cold front pushes through during winter, the inshore bite will slow down dramatically. Offshore, rough seas and a chilly wind will turn up the sea heights and turn on a ferocious billfish bite.
As the sun reaches a higher point in the sky during winter, the shallow waters heat up, and the bite tends to “warm up.” Whereas the offshore bite in the early morning is on fire. As we enter warmer and near-equatorial temperatures in the summer, fishing will slow down as the day wears on and temperatures rise dramatically. The fish’s eating habits tend to rely on how quickly the temperatures are changing. Thus, the general rule of thumb is to be up before the sun in warmer months. The back end of a day will yield better results in winter. I save my winters for freshwater fishing.
My favorite seasons to fish are fall and spring. As the weather shifts from summer to fall, there is a marked uptick in shallow water species catches. During spring, usually including a wet warm-up, fresh water is added to a fish’s habitat, thus making our watery friends feisty in all waterways.
During years of stalking the flats and venturing offshore—even freshwater—be aware of what baits are present at that time of year and what the water temperatures are recording, so you can decide what species to target. Fish eat year round, so your chances of catching always increase when you just get out there. No matter the time of year, find your place in or on the water, and enjoy the art of angling.
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