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Winter Fishing in Florida


While Florida is known to be one of the warmest states all year round, we do experience winter, our kind of winter. Winter fishing in Florida is all about the weather, and the key to successful fishing is being able to adapt to the constant weather changes that the winter season brings. Fish migrations and feeding patterns change as well. Keep reading below to learn all about species, strategies, and tips for Florida fishing in the winter.

Weather Patterns

Florida experiences cold fronts every other week or so in the winter. The best time for fishing is the days after the cold front moves through. It is generally very unsafe to fish during these cold fronts, but if you are attempting, you may not have as much success. This is due to the strong winds roughing up the ocean, making the water and flats turned up and muddy. After the cold front and winds have moved on, fishing in the afternoon is highly recommended for the most success. The temps are in the 70’s again, the tide has come back in, the water in the inlets and passes have settled and cleared up, and the fish have started to return to the flat resulting in a victorious fishing trip.

Winter Species

Florida fish species have both seasonal and local migrations. Fish can sense when cold weather is approaching, so to prepare, they will head towards the flats to feed before they swim to warmer water.   If you are fishing and can understand these migration patterns, you are more likely to have success. There are many species that make their appearance during the winter months in Florida. A couple of species to keep an eye out for are, speckled trout, snook, redfish, sheepshead, bluefish, snapper, flounder, grouper, and ladyfish.

Pro Tips and Techniques

Some may think that staying inshore and near the flats during winter makes for a more productive fishing trip, but where you will find more fish species is in the channels and deeper holes. Navigational channels specifically are where schools of trout and other fish can be found abundantly. As most fish drop off of the flats, they will form into schools and seek refuge in deeper water. The fish may be a little difficult to find at first, but once they are located, your reward will be plentiful. Passes, inlets, bridges, and docks are prime spots for fish. And if anglers are fishing with live or frozen bait, be prepared for an abundance of catches.

Because of the warmer weather in Florida, anglers are pretty privileged to be able to fish all year round. As winter approaches, we tend to winterize our boats, but the fish haven’t stopped biting. Learning about the weather patterns, fish species and their migration, and keeping in mind the tips from above, you are sure to be triumphant on the water. Don’t be one of those people who hangs up their rod in the winter. Get excited because you know where to catch the fish and find lots of them. If you have any questions about winter fishing, contact us today! We’d be more than happy to help you out.