Just Reel Fishing Charters Anna Maria Island Fishing Report December 28, 2022

Extreme cold snap slows hot December fishing action


 As Anna Maria anglers rush out to test the new fishing tackle they received for Christmas, they are being faced with extreme cold weather and strong winds. 

This being the case, targeting fish in our local waters is going to require some patience as well as some warm clothing. 

Most anglers are opting to use live shrimp as bait now winter is settling in. 

Targeting sheepshead, black drum, redfish and pompano is on the agenda as all of these species readily eat shrimp and they’re also quite tolerant of cooler water temperatures. Fishing residential canals is advantageous as many species of fish will migrate to these sheltered areas to find slightly warmer water. Species such as spotted seatrout and snook can be found as well as most other inshore species as they find refuge from the cold. 

Live shrimp as bait is a good bet in these wintertime scenarios, but don’t forget about artificials such as soft plastics on a jig head or the ever famous DOA shrimp. Casting these lures around docks and seawalls can result in some surprising results. 

Just remember, in cold conditions the metabolism of the fish slows down, which makes them less apt to chase a bait. Slow down your presentation and be ready to feel the slightest tap on the rod when you receive a bite. These fish may not be as aggressive as normal so you need to pay attention so you don’t miss a strike. 

On my own Just Reel charters, I’m using live shrimp as bait, as well as an assortment of DOA Cal jigs on a jig head. When using live shrimp, I’m finding redfish, sheepshead and black drum accommodating. Casting these baits on a 1/4-ounce knocker rig under docks, and around sea walls is yielding the best action. 

Drifting the flats and casting soft plastics on a jig head is producing plenty of action on spotted seatrout with the host of other species mixed in including pompano, bluefish, ladyfish, and jack crevalle.

Lastly, fishing structure in the Gulf of Mexico is producing mangrove snapper and sheepshead.