Pensacola Fl has much to offer in the winter. During these cooler months you can find lots of fish bundled up tight in big schools in small areas making for some serious action. One of the most sought after species during this time is the Speckled Trout. The Trout this time of year are fat and fierce and the chance at catching a Big one is always best during the winter.
This winter and the New Year has had some exceptional days and nights. As of lately Ive been patterning fish around tides, moon phases and weather patterns. What makes this winter different from past is all the warm weather. This has been putting fish in a more of a transitional moving pattern as if transitioning from fall to winter or winter to spring. Its the bait that seems to be most confused on where to go and what exactly to do and like wise the specks are following.
What makes this entire Transitional Pattern special is what happens when winter all the sudden shows up again... and we get those 40 degree nights and 50 degree days. Now all that bait once thinking it was spring is forced back into their winter stomping grounds and the BIG SPECKS are just sitting there waiting to ambush and feed heavy. Not to say you cant get a BIG one during the warmer days, the pre front has also been a great time to target the larger females.
Day or Night? Normally I would say it doesn't matter, just depends on tide and what ITS doing at the time. Although again if you want a chance at a trophy Speckled Trout the night time winter bite is most likely your best bet. Like most fish Specks are opportunistic they want a easy big meal, such as a croaker, mullet, gizzard shad any type of fin fish to fill their belly without exhausting too much energy. I find that its more often to find a Big Trout in an ambush area at night vs day. They seem to be more comfortable and the bait doesn't seem to stand a chance.
Artificial Lures or Bait? On my Charters you can expect to throw lures 100% of the time unless you specifically tell me otherwise. Regardless of skill level I promise you that you can learn and do exactly what I do ( as long as you can cast ) Now as far as what exact lures I'm using.... its a long and extinguished list, but they all resemble a fin fish of some type. Now many say a slow retrieve is necessary to get strikes this time of year. Thats simply not the case especially this year with the warmer water. Lots of limits are being caught mid day all by way of reaction strikes. Find one fish and sometimes you found them all casting into the same spot over and over again until the limit is reached is not uncommon.