Patience has long been the key to successful fishing, and waiting for better weather is just another part of the process. For those with the urge, however, there are some ways to get around the often inclement winter weather.
Because of the makeup of our coastline, it's hard to hide from northerly and southerly winds. Our area passes, including Clearwater, John's, Blind, Pass-a-Grille and Bunces, offer shelter from the wind and provide fishing opportunities along the jetties, docks and natural shoreline.
Sheepshead, trout, redfish, pompano, snook and a host of others often will gang up in these areas to ambush baits being flushed in and out by the tide.
Strong westerly wind will keep most anglers out of the Gulf, but the backside of barrier islands from Honeymoon Island to Mullet Key will remain relatively calm and, at times, offer outstanding flats fishing.
Other bay and inland waters, including residential canals, will be less choppy and a safe haven particularly for small boaters.
Easterly wind is the most doable. With miles of natural hard bottom strung along our shoreline in the gulf — much of it within the comfort of a mile or two from shore — the opportunities are endless.
Some time ago, Pinellas County Utilities began building beach nourishment reefs along Indian Shores and Sand Key. In 2006, the project was completed, and there now are 29 mitigation reefs from 100-900 yards offshore in only about 15 feet of water.
These reefs provide a home for many species and are easily accessible. Pinellas County Utilities has provided a reef guide showing all of the coordinates.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.