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Weather conditions are forecast to improve dramatically by the weekend. For those who can't wait until then to fish, refuge from the wind can be achieved by utilizing residential canals.

The mantra of winter fishing in Tampa Bay is canals and potholes. Dock fishing is somewhat difficult and can be frustrating for the angler who just wants to relax. For catching fish on the worst of days, this approach is consistent. Live shrimp pitched under docks will yield redfish, sheepshead, flounder, black drum and an occasional snook.

Dead-end canals are best. Water flow is restricted in these areas. Even subtle temperature changes will concentrate fish. Canals that have murky water can be the best.

Deep pockets adjacent to grass flats will hold speckled trout until water temperatures increase. Small, soft plastic jigs fished slowly will keep anglers busy. There are ladyfish in the same spots. They can fill in the slow times with some high-flying action. Downsizing gear will make fishing more productive but also provide more enjoyment for the angler.

For those looking for an easy fish fry, the cut leading to the Weedon Island power plant is loaded with silver trout. Anywhere in the channel is fine. The same jigs used for speckled trout work equally as well on the "silvers." A small piece of shrimp put on the jig hook will increase strikes.

Fish on the bottom, and fish slowly. Tandem jigs can quicken things dramatically.

_ Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at