Cold water: When water temperatures drop into the 50s, fish become lethargic and slow to eat. They will move into deep holes that have a sand bottom and residential canals that have little or no water flow. Look for canals with deep water and old docks. The best docks will have moorings for a large boat, and the water under the boat will be deeper and warmer. The dock will give the fish protection from dolphins that feed in the canal.
Baits: A live shrimp or jig worked slowly along the bottom will draw the most strikes. Cast to the seawall and drag the bait down the side of the dock. Then you'll want to make a few casts under the dock. Work the docks on the sunniest side of the canal.
Pro tip: When we talk about working the bait slowly, we mean really slowly. Turn the reel a few times then stop. Let the bait sit for a few seconds then reel again. The strikes will be soft and hard to feel. When it feels like your bait is stuck on the bottom, set the hook because it may be a fish. The best time to fish is during the warmest part of the day.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.