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Last Updated on February 6, 2019 by Capt. Jason

Winter time and cooler and water temps affects fishing in a very predictable way. If you know what the fish are looking for, and when they will start this transition. It will be a lot easier for you to catch fish during the cold weather months. Here are some tips you can use to be successful when the water temps plummet below 65 degrees. I understand that not everyone can be out on the water 3-6 days a week like I am to watch the patterns change and evolve daily. Read below for some indicators of where the fish should be hiding.

Here is a list of some indicators I use to find and locate wintertime fish.

Find the mullet

Find the Mullet, Always fish the mullet first. If the Water looks devoid of life it probably is. Keep Moving, and fish as far back or as far out as the mullet are.

Search for the birds

On extreme winter low tides I search for Birds. Wading birds next to deep troughs or potholes (with Mullet) inside them. To me this is an indicator that the birds are feeding on crabs and shrimp and the mullet indicate that other game species may be hiding within the mullet schools.

When it get really cold search the mud

Mud Bottom, the colder it gets the further I will push up creeks,rivers and backcountry to find Species of fish that are looking warm up on cold mornings. This can be a great way to sight fish laid up fish with Plugs or Fly placed ahead of them and brought in front of them.


If i’m fishing a new area I almost always have what I would call search baits on. What I mean by search baits. Any baits that allow me to cover lots of water quickly and efficiently. Spoons, topwater, crankbaits, paddletails. these baits allow me to work new areas and keep me moving and learning.

Find the warm Water

I know this probably seems like the most obvious tip I could give. But, Lots of people completely overlook the fact that we’re fortunate enough in Tampa bay to have multiple warm water spots. Think Spring fed rivers and power plants. Anywhere there is warm water, you can almost guarantee some types of game fish to be there.

Time of day

When the water and air temperature are cold. Its anglers perfect excuse to sleep in! the Early bird does not get the worm during cold weather months. Waking up early more than likely will have you staring at lethargic fish waiting to feed until the heat of the day.

Tidal flow

Match the Tides to the warmer parts of the day to find your most success. Plan your fishing trips when possible around big moon phases,Full moon and New moon.

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