What's hot: When the water is cold, fish congregate around different types of structure. Structure offers fish protection and can be a source of warmer water. Docks, seawalls, mangroves, oyster bars, changes in the contour of a shoreline, changes in the depth of the water and natural limestone bottom are all types of structure that will hold fish.
Tactics: Fishing docks along deep residential canals have produced nice catches of redfish and sheepshead. Work each dock slowly, and try to limit your casts. Casting bait repeatedly to one dock will cause fish to become wary and not eat. Present a live shrimp or scented artificial bait as far under the dock as possible and let it sit. If a free-lined shrimp isn't working, try using a small weight to get bait to the bottom. Another type of structure producing big trout has been rocky bottom in the middle of shallow grass flats, as well as rocky bottom adjacent to deeper grass flats. These areas can be fished with live shrimp, artificial baits or a combination. On a shallow flat, use a float with bait suspended just above the grass.
Slow it down: The key in winter is patience. The colder the water, the more lethargic fish will become; slow your presentation. You will be surprised at how many fish you catch if you just take your time.
Seth Leto charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 385-0382.