Maximizing your Fall and Winter Catches

Cold fronts are now beginning to cross our area with a more frequency. Many of these early season fronts won’t have too big an impact on fishing. What is the best approach to picking the right winter days to catch fish now and as they get stronger?

Theoretically barometric pressure should not effect larger gamefish such as speckled trout, flounder, and redfish. Even a move of several feet below the surface is a larger pressure change than the change in barometric pressure during even some of the strongest cold fronts. However, we still see an affect on the fish and feed aggression. Post frontal days are almost always a tougher bite.

Early season frontal passages, if you are in the right place, can increase catching. The fish right now are poised to receive bait flowing out of marshes, bayous, and rivers in upper bay systems. If you find this scenario with plenty of bait and shrimp coming out of a mash drain flowing over structure where predators are lurking, you can have an amazing day on the water. Add to this an early, weak or moderate, cold front that pulls the tide lower, reducing the amount of water in the marsh system and further pulling out more and more bait out of the safe confines of the marsh, and it can be extraordinary. Think like a lazy predator; let the water movement bring the bait to you. Where is it coming from and where will they expend the least amount of energy feeding while still having a lair to ambush from, and to have safety. That’s where you’ll find your early fall season fish.

What about as it get’s colder and the fronts become stronger? By the end of November and into December, cold fronts will bring heavier, denser air masses and increased winds. No one knows specifically what these do to the fish. It may only affect baitfish which in turn affects the mood of the fish, but what we do know is that fishing in post frontal conditions (beyond 6-8 hours after a cold front has turned the winds to the north and gusty) is much tougher.

Telemetry tracking of speckled trout has shown that high winds above 25 mph in open water will move fish to deeper areas (greater than 12 feet deep generally). Fish in protected areas tend not to move as much, but still tend to look for deeper water for refuge from cold. Baitfish will push further down into the water column and not readily show themselves on the surface. And fish have no eyelids causing increased discomfort by the super clear bright sunny skies. This scenario tends to frustrate even the most seasoned anglers. Look for fish in deeper areas, that are not in the open bay, and fish the lowest light conditions you can safely.

Tobin created the Trout and Redfish instructional DVD series. Tech Support for Trout and Redfish Anglers.


My Story. Born right on the water in Southern Louisiana, I was fishing with a Snoopy pole while still in diapers. Fished Freshwater until the end of college catching large mouth bass in the 8, 9, and 10lb range. Decided to give the saltwater bays a try and my first attempts I got my 'butt' handed to me even though I was a good bass fisherman with numerous fish over 8lbs. That was 20 years ago. So to say that we understand your saltwater fishing frustration is to say the least. We've been there, and we've figured out what works and what doesn't. I started diving into the knowledge and using my skills from Ecology and testing those hypothesis to find what works and why as it pertained to where the fish actually were, and then also to find them the day of. I was lucky enough to find some great fishing guides along my journey... those that think fishing guides don't have your best interest in mind haven't fished with the guides I know and how quickly they forgot the guides and articles that they learned from. Guides are a valuable collective of people in our fishing community and I feel like finding a couple good ones after use the best learning resources will greatly shorten your learning curve. I know we all want to do it on our own, but there is also something to say for utilizing, and partnering with guys that are on the water everyday, to Maximize your putting that education into practice. With our DVDs you can do it on your own, but you can also learn to do it faster combining the resources of the community. Over the 20 years that I fished saltwater I have fished all Texas Bays and into Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. Not only that but my understanding of how each estuary and bay system works, and how I can simply teach it to you is also something I've been very fortunate, and blessed to be able to deliver to you. I now mostly help you guys and develop new tools for you. I am forever indebted to my customers for the life and chance I've been given. It's something I don't overlook. I don't fish as much as everyone would like to believe, running and making sure you guys come first takes a lot of time and resources. But I still go when I can and when I do I like to go to different areas and fish new water every chance I get.