Cold weather fishing: During the winter most local game fish are looking for warm water. We have several areas along the coast that provide such water, such as rivers, deep-water canals and power plants. Most of the rivers have small freshwater springs in them that pump 72-degree water year-round. Sometimes you can locate these springs using a bottom machine with a water temperature gauge. These areas will most likely be the most productive for fishing in the river. Some of the game fish to look for are snook, redfish, trout and juvenile tarpon. You may also locate ladyfish, jacks and sheephead.
Best baits for rivers: You can catch these fish on artificial and live baits. Some popular live baits are jumbo live shrimp, creek chubs and live freshwater shiners. Some of my favorite artificial lures for the river are crankbaits, topwater plugs, and plastic jigs.
Tip: When fishing in these rivers bring both saltwater and freshwater fishing licenses, because you might catch some largemouth bass also. I sometimes go several miles upriver, where it is mostly freshwater. Several times in the past, I have caught a snook on one cast and a largemouth bass on the next.
Happy holidays and tight lines.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.