Cold Water Presentation

Florida Winter is in full swing and the water temperatures all along the coast are falling.  This change in water temperature brings along a needed change in bait/lure presentation.

 Fish are cold blooded, and because of this, their energy levels are highly affected by the temperature of the water they live in.  Fish that are accustomed to water in the upper 70’s slow down quite a bit when the water reaches the 60’s.  Because they slow down so much, it is important to change the presentation to suit the target’s energy level.

Larger Baits

When water temperatures fall, one thing that can entice a reluctant fish to bite is a larger bait/lure.  Because of their reduced energy level, fish tend to conserve and only attack prey that is deemed easy and valuable.  Larger prey is high up on the value list and will often times get hit much more readily than smaller prey.  Use a lure/bait that is bigger than normal, but still small enough to fit into the targeted fishes mouth.

Slower Retrieve

When determining if a prey item is worth the effort needed to catch it, the speed of the prey is taken into account by the fish.   A slower prey item is more attractive to a fish because it takes less effort to run it down and capture it.  Slowing the retrieve of a lure/bait will increase the amount of hits by cold water fish.  A rule of thumb is “if you think you are retrieving slow enough, slow it down just a little bit more”

Subtle Movements

Cold water affects prey items just as much as it does the game fish.  Bait fish slow down and move with more subtle movements when cold than they do in the winter.   A rapid, sudden jerking motion that would work in the spring/summer may not work as well in the winter (fish tend to notice if something is acting highly unnatural), while a slow gentle upward swing of the rod may entice a bite from a reluctant fish.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule.  Fish like Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel almost always prefer fast moving flashy baits, no matter the water temperature.  When targeting these fish, be sure to vary your presentation, including fast, rapid movements!