Absolute Florida Flats Fishing reports the cold fronts are starting to roll in, so look for a change in fishing patterns. Try to plan your trips the day before, or even the day of, the front and two or three days after for best results. Also, as the water temp drops, plan to start your days a little later instead of those dawn outings; so, sleep in a bit and hit the ramp around 9 or 10 am. Start in deeper water and work your way shallower as the sun comes up and warms the flats. Residential canals will be one of my go-to spots throughout the winter. Start in the middle of the canals early and move to the docks and sea walls that face the sun; they will be the warmest.
Once the sun is up and the flats have warmed, the DOA CAL Curl and Shad Tail will help you find the big Trout in the area. At this time there are still some residential pilchards (white bait) in our area. When the water heats back up after a front, they show up in deep water canals, anywhere the water temperature is 4-5 degrees higher. The predators know they’re around and that seems to be all they want. All the inshore predator species change their diet according to the water-air temps. Sometimes it’s pinfish, sometimes select shrimp, pilchards, etc. This is the time of year to go to your artificial bag as the bait catching can use up a lot of time and bait fish sometimes won’t show up till the middle of these short days. Mirro-lure plugs, jigs and jerk baits, spoons work best for me with experienced anglers, plus you can cover way more turf searching for the honey hole! The Airheads are also a great choice, especially if there is grass on the surface.
One of my favorite baits for dock fishing is the DOA shrimp. Cast the shrimp deep under the docks and allow for plenty of time for the bait to hit the bottom. That’s where the fish will be; don’t make the mistake of making a great cast and then taking the bait out from under the dock before the fish has a chance to eat it.
Remember to be safe and keep an eye on the weather. Fronts can approach quickly and you don’t want to get caught out in front of strong weather.
So there it is; get out and have fun fishing!