With cold temperatures in the forecast for at least the next several days, chilly water temperatures will continue to present challenges for anglers intent on fishing.
“It’s pretty nasty out there from what I was looking at earlier, and it’s only supposed to get worse temperature-wise,” said Capt. Mike Gallo, with Angling Adventures of Louisiana.
He recommended anglers give the Hot Water Canal area near Chalmette a try, and said he noticed a significant water temperature difference there on the day after Christmas.
“I was looking at 49 degrees at the Shell Beach buoy on my phone, and I was seeing 53.5 degrees on the temperature gauge on my depth finder at The Wall,” Gallo said. “That’s a huge difference for a fish.”
Gallo said 50-degree water temperature is a benchmark he uses when considering whether or not to make a trip.
“I can count on one hand the times I had good success catching fish in the high 40s,” Gallo said. “Once, maybe twice. But very seldom.
“At 49 degrees, you’re fishing slow on the bottom, almost sitting still with a soft lethargic bite,” he said. “But at 53 degrees, you feel a tap. Not a heavy tap, but a noticeable tap.”
And when water temperatures reach the mid-50s, a popping cork becomes an option, he said.
“The popping cork is such a good producer because it’s calling them from a long distance away. At 20 feet or so, they’ll hear the sound and move over to it,” he said. “When it’s cold and they’re really lethargic, they might not move 20 inches, so you’re going to almost have to put it on top of them and move it slow.”
On the day after Christmas, Gallo had success working the drop-offs on both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway.
“That was the only consistent thing,” Gallo said. “Fishing up the drop-off. We casted out into the middle of the channel in 40 feet of water and worked the lure up the drop-offs. Color didn’t seem to matter.
“It was a relatively slow presentation working up the drop-offs, as opposed to down the drop-offs.”
In colder temperatures, he recommended keeping your bait close to the bottom, and working it slowly.
“Throw it, let it sink and try not to hop it straight up from the bottom. Pull your rod parallel with the water,” he said. “Take a low hop instead of a high hop.”
Presentation-wise, slower is better, especially if water temps are in the low 50s.
“I’m going to start off slow, and I’m going to work more slow than fast,” he said. “If I start off slow and that doesn’t work, I’m going to go slower before I try to speed it up.”
Gallo likes Deadly Dudleys in a variety of colors, including shrimp cocktail, blue moon, opening night and purple demon.
Redfish-wise, he recommended bouncing a plastic jig on the bottom in the Biloxi Marsh, and in the marshes along the Intracoastal and Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.
“Redfish don’t get sluggish until the water temperature is 45 or 46, so they’re not lethargic at all,” he said. “That’s my preferred method this time of year. With just a plain jig, I can catch a variety of fish, including flounder or speckled trout.”
In areas where grass might still be a little thick, he rigs a plastic worm just like a bass fisherman, with a bullet sinker and an offset worm hook.
“I use a Texas-rigged plastic worm will go right through that grass and redfish gobble it up,” he said.