The wind and cold weather have kept most boaters off the water. The waters have been churned up for the past week, pushing many inshore species to deeper channels and backcountry bays and canals. These conditions are challenging but not impossible to fish in. If you are eager to get a line wet, try live shrimp pitched under the deeper docks holding large boats in the back of a canal. Many times sheepshead and redfish will eat an easy meal while seeking the warmth of dark bottom, and deep-water docks offer good depths throughout any tide. Artificial shrimp patterns work also, as long as you mimic the slow motion of a shrimp. Slow presentation is paramount in cold water. Lately I've seen the most success from wade fishermen stalking the far reaches of bays and creeks, sight casting at snook and redfish. Remember, very slow movements will get a strike. Fishes' metabolisms are slowed by the low water temperatures, but sheepshead, black drum, redfish and ladyfish are less affected are most likely to eat this month.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.