What's hot: With cold fronts becoming more common, we turn our focus toward the back country for inshore species. Winds blowing from the north often hold the predicted tides out and make low tides lower. Strong winds combined with cooler temperatures often move fish to areas with less exposure to the elements. At lower tides, look for deeper holes along inlets to bayous and creek mouths. Drop-offs and cuts along a channel or mangrove island offer refuge for fish.
Tactics: Often, several species share terrain. Snook, redfish, trout, sheepshead, amberjack and mangrove snapper will gather in a large depression or hole on a low tide. In residential canals, docks with larger vessels often have enough depth to hold fish seeking a structure. As tides rise, work along the mangroves and seawalls lined with oyster bars. Use sardines, pinfish and shrimp as bait. As fronts push in and live bait thins out, use artificials. Shrimp imitations and jerkbaits worked slowly will get a strike.
Tip: On cool mornings, seawalls and oyster bars facing the sun warm quicker and attract more fish. On windy days, position yourself with the wind at your back to ensure a long cast and stealthy approach.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.