Fishing cold water: When the water temperature drops into the middle 50s, look for most of the fishing to change. The trout will move to the deeper areas closest to where they were hanging. If you were catching them in 3 to 4 feet, look for areas close by that are a couple of feet deeper. Flats outside of the residential canals that held fish will now have them inside the canals.
Tips: The trick to catching cold-water trout is to slow your presentation. Drag a jig along the bottom and stop it every few cranks. Give the trout time to strike. Set the hook when you start to reel and the rod tip bends. If it's cold and a slow day for trout, target ladyfish. They are not good to eat but will give you the best fight on a slow day. During the past cold front, the ladyfish moved into holes that were 10 to 14 feet deep. You'll want to work the lure in a sharp jigging motion, with an unsteady retrieve. The docks in the residential canals will hold redfish, mangrove snapper, sheepshead and grouper. Chum the area with cut shrimp to get the action going. Use live shrimp and pinfish to catch the fish.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.