Avoid wind, stay warm, find fish near docks and canals 

With slightly cooler temperatures and numerous breezy days, Anna Maria anglers are finding themselves staying inshore to target flats-dwelling species such as redfish and spotted seatrout. Other inshore species such as pompano, black drum and sheepshead move into the crosshairs. 

Live shrimp are the primary bait in these conditions and are a favorite food for species of fish mentioned. 

Fishing around residential docks and canals can be favorable during cooler days in winter, especially when strong winds are forecasted. These areas tend to be slightly deeper than their surrounding waters, creating a more consistent environment devoid of large temperature fluctuations and rough water. Predatory fish will take up residence in these waters where the conditions are conducive to their survival. In fact, you may encounter many species of fish while fishing canals and docks: snook, jack crevalle, ladyfish, and bluefish can be found as well as small grouper, flounder, and snapper. This being said, if you don’t mind being out in the wind and cold, canal fishing may suit you just fine. 

There’s definitely some homework to be done for successful dock and canal fishing. Learning which canals and docks consistently hold fish every year can require some time on the water. But, it also opens the door to some good chances of catching fish in even the hardest days of winter. 

On my Just Reel charters, I’m finding live shrimp is yielding a variety of bites including jack crevalle, pompano, permit and black drum while fishing along the Gulf beaches. In some areas, I’m even finding sheepshead and redfish mixed in the bite. 

On windier days, I am hiding in the back bays casting shrimp under docks for redfish, black drum and sheepshead. Either way, we’re finding some good action and putting a few fish in a cooler for dinner.