Happy New Year to all. Old Man Winter is here and the inshore game fish are holding in their winter areas.
Red fish can be found in the creeks and back bays, as well as near warm springs. Live select shrimp rigged with a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook and light 20-pound leader is all you need to hook them. This rig is my go-to set up for all inshore game fish. Fish the incoming and outgoing tide for best results.
Trout will also be in the same areas as red fish and you will find them on the hard limestone bottom and shallow kelp beds. Soft plastic flukes in water melon red, white, golden bream rugged with a 3/0 worm hook are tempting for cold water trout.
Sheepshead migration is here too. We target these fish, also known as striped convicts or sheepies, on the deeper rock piles nearshore. They can be sized from twelve to twenty-six inches and up to twelve pounds. They are great fighting fish and tasty table fare.
What I like to use are two different rigs; a normal 1/8 to 1/4 ounce small shank jig head with a thirty-pound leader is my first option. If the tide is moving hard and you are in deeper water a knocker rig is my second choice. For the knocker rig, use a thirty-pound leader, a 1/0 long shank hook and a half-ounce egg sinker. For both the jig head and 1/0 hook I like to pinch off the tail and thread the hook into the shrimp with the point of the hook coming out by the legs or belly area of the shrimp. Be ready for the bite. Sheepshead nibble then, after a slight pull, set the hook and enjoy the fight.