When the rest of the country is bundling up, down here in Venice, LA, we’re just getting started with some of the best fishing of the year. Winter on the Gulf of Mexico is something special, and I’m here to take you out where the fish are biting, no matter the season.
With my years on these waters, I’ve learned where the fish like to hide when it gets a bit cooler. So, don’t let the calendar fool you; winter charter fishing can be some of the most productive fishing you’ll ever experience. Let’s get ready to reel in some big ones.
Why Fish with Me in Winter?
You might wonder what’s so great about winter fishing. First off, there’s less competition. Fewer boats on the water mean the fish are more likely to bite. It’s peaceful too – just us, the open water, and the sky.
The cooler temperatures bring in a migration of some big game fish, making it the perfect season for a trophy catch. Plus, the fish are hungry and less lethargic than in the summer heat, so they’re more likely to give you a good fight.
But it’s not just about fishing. The Gulf is beautiful in the winter and you’ll get to see it in a way few others do, with clear skies and calm waters.
So, if you’re up for the adventure, winter fishing can be unexpectedly rewarding. There’s nothing like feeling that tug on the line on a crisp winter day.
The Fish You’ll Be Chasing
Winter on the Gulf isn’t your average fishing trip because some of the most sought-after fish come to play during the colder months.
First up, we’ve got the Yellowfin Tuna. These beauties love the cooler waters and they get pretty hefty, which means you’re in for a serious battle. Then there’s the fast and fierce Wahoo. Winter is prime time for catching these speedsters.
Don’t forget about the Redfish. They’re around all year, sure, but winter is special. They tend to school up more, and that means you’ve got better odds of hooking into a big one. Plus, the cooler water makes them even feistier.
And for those who like variety, there’s plenty more – like the hard-fighting Amberjack and the elusive Grouper, which are both more common when the water gets chilly.
Whether you’re after a trophy or just some good action, we’ve got plenty of targets. Gear up, get on board, and let’s find your winter prize.
Winter Fishing Essentials
In the winter months, the right gear and bait make all the difference. You don’t need a mountain of equipment—just the right stuff.
We’ll start with rods and reels. For those big Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo, you’ll want a heavy-duty rod with a good backbone and a reel that can handle the fight. We’re talking high-capacity reels spooled with 50- to 80-pound test line to stand up to these powerful fish.
Now, bait. Live bait can be king if you can get it, especially for those Redfish. Think mullet or live shrimp. They just can’t resist it when the water gets cold. But when live bait isn’t on the menu, you’ll want a selection of artificial lures. For tunas, deep-diving plugs and vertical jigs can be real winners. And for Wahoo, high-speed trolling with lures like heavy spoons or bullet head lures can do the trick.
And let’s not forget about tackle. Strong, sharp hooks and heavy leader material are a must, because these winter fish aren’t just bigger—they’re also smarter and won’t be fooled by flimsy gear.
Remember, winter fishing can be rough on your equipment with the salt and cooler temps, so make sure everything is in top shape before we head out.
Techniques and Tips for Winter Fishing
Fishing in winter calls for some savvy techniques and a few tips up your sleeve. Here’s how we stay ahead of the game when the temperatures drop:
First off, slow down your retrieve. Those fish are moving a bit slower in the colder water, so a bait that’s not in a hurry can be more tempting. For Redfish, a slow drag with pauses can make that lure irresistible.
Next, let’s talk about timing. Early mornings can be quiet, so use this time to scout and plan your spots. As the day warms up, so does the bite. That midday sun brings fish up to feed, so be ready.
For Tuna and Wahoo, we’ll switch it up with some trolling. We’ll keep those lines deeper and vary our speed. Sometimes a sudden change in pace can trigger an attack from a following fish.
Chumming is another ace to have. A steady stream of chum can bring the fish right to us, and it’s especially effective if the fish are a bit lethargic.
And don’t forget about structure. Wrecks and reefs can be hotspots for Amberjack and Grouper in the winter. We’ll drop jigs or live bait right down into their hiding spots.
Here’s a pro tip: Keep an eye on the surface activity. Even in winter, birds working the water can point us to where the fish are boiling underneath.
Remember, patience is your friend in winter fishing. Give the fish a chance to find your bait, and you’ll be rewarded.
Winter Fishing with Care
Out here, safety isn’t just a word; it’s our way of life—especially during winter. The waters can be unpredictable, and the weather can change in the blink of an eye. Here’s how we stay safe and within the rules:
Firstly, always check the weather before we set sail. Winter storms can come out of nowhere, and it’s better to be onshore wishing you were fishing than out at sea wishing you weren’t.
Dress in layers. It might not be snowing, but the wind can bite harder than the fish. Waterproof gear is a must to keep you dry and toasty.
Life jackets are non-negotiable. I don’t care how good a swimmer you are; in winter, the water’s cold enough to take your breath away. Literally.
Let’s talk about fishing regulations. They’re in place to protect our fish stocks, so future generations can enjoy fishing as much as we do. This means size and bag limits are strictly followed, and some species might be catch-and-release only.
We’ll also respect the no-take zones and seasonal closures. They’re there for a reason, and as responsible fishermen, we stick to the rules.
Finally, keep an eye on each other. If someone’s looking unwell or the cold’s biting too hard, we’ll head back in. No fish is worth risking our health.
So, we’ll fish hard, but we’ll fish smart. With our gear checked, our respect for the ocean, and the law in mind, we’ll have a safe and enjoyable trip every time.
When it comes to winter fishing down in the Gulf, dressing right can make or break your day. Here’s how to stay comfortable so you can focus on the fish:
Layer up, folks. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep the sweat off your skin. Next, add an insulating layer, like fleece, to keep the warmth in. Top it off with a windproof and waterproof shell to fend off the sea spray and breeze.
Don’t forget your extremities. A warm hat and gloves can be a game-changer. They need to be snug enough to handle the gear but also give you the flexibility you need.
Good boots are worth their weight in fish. You want something with grip for those slippery decks and insulation to keep your toes warm.
If the sun decides to make an appearance, be ready with sunglasses. Glare off the water can be fierce, even in winter. And yes, you still need sunscreen. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the sun won’t burn.
Finally, if it gets real nippy out there, don’t be shy about throwing on a neck gaiter or a balaclava. Keeping the cold off your neck and face can make a world of difference.
Dress like this and you’ll be as ready for the weather as you are for the fish.
Book Your Winter Fishing Trip with Captain Troy
Thinking about testing the waters this winter? It’s simple to get hooked up. Jump on my website, find the ‘Book a Trip’ section, and choose the best date for you. Winter days are popular, so snag your spot early!
If you’ve got any questions or there’s something special you’re looking for, just drop me a line. I’m here to help tailor the trip to your needs, ensuring you have a memorable experience out on the Gulf.
Booking with me means you’re set for success. I’ve got all the gear, bait, and licenses covered. Your job is to show up ready for an adventure. Bring your friends, your family, or come solo – there’s a spot on my boat with your name on it.
Now’s the time. Don’t let another winter slip by without feeling the rush of a big catch. Whether you’re angling for a trophy or just want to tell a fish tale that’s actually true, I’ve got you covered.
Ready to cast off into a winter fishing story you’ll tell for years? I’m Captain Troy, and I’m waiting to welcome you aboard. Let’s fish!