Wind Direction Matters

These cooler breezes cause fish to school in concentrations that make catchin’ easy. Obviously, this is the time of year when we get an occasional cold front sliding down to give us a wind direction change. That direction, more often than not, is from the north. This north wind affects the fishing for several different reasons.

First, when the wind goes out of the north in places like Flamingo and Port Charlotte, it has the tendency to blow all the water out and off the flats. What that means is the redfish, snook and trout are going to be concentrated in the channels and run-offs.

If you’re fishing on the West Coast, in the Port Charlotte area, look for big giant mullet (in the 2- to 3-pound range) sitting in bowls and depressions of places like Bull Bay, Turtle Bay, etc. When you find those big mullet, it’s really simple to get out and wade because of the hard bottom. Use something like a Rapala Twitching Raps in chartreuse. I like the olive and flash ones that look like the pilchards and mullet they’re eating in and around.

Out front of the Flamingo area, you can fish the run-offs with jigs and soft plastics or a shrimp under a popping cork. To rig the shrimp, use a 1/8- or ¼-ounce troll-rite under a popping cork so you can adjust for depth. You can also use Berkley Gulp! and Bass Assassin Blurp soft plastics or trigger raps by Rapala. These all work very well.

100-Fish Days                            

Once you find the fish, no matter what the case is or what region you’re in, you’ll probably find a significant concentration of them. Fish the place early so when you leave you’re sure it’s done. It’s not uncommon to have 100-fish days fishing like this because of the concentrations of fish.

Before you leave to go to a new spot, make sure you fish the spot you’re at thoroughly. If you catch a couple fish in one spot, put down your Power Pole or stake out and fan cast around the area where you actually got the bite. One of the tricks I use when fishing channels or flats is, when I hook a fish, I look up on the shoreline and make a mental note of the general area where that bite came from.

It could be a notch in a tree line, a dead tree limb in the distance or something lying on the shore, just so I can have a general idea of the area and be able to line back up again. If I drift out of the area, I can simply come back to it.

The north wind also will trigger a major trout bite as the trout will school up. Remember one basic rule: When it’s cold, fish gravitate to sandy areas like potholes and channels. When it’s warm, they head for the grass flats. If you catch trout one day and a week later there was a warming trend, they’ve probably moved into the grass if the water’s gotten hot.

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Captain Rick Murphy