Cool Water Pier Fishing

When the water starts to cool off here in Florida one of the most popular spots to fish is from piers.  They offer protection from the cold water and the structure attracts fish.  Here are a few tips to help you catch more fish from piers in the winter.

121110-drumandsheepUse Larger Baits

The cold water causes fish to be less energetic and they start to ignore smaller prey items.  They prioritize their energy expenditure for larger meals.  If you use small shrimp normally, upgrade to large or even jumbo.  If cut clams are your bait of choice, cut the pieces about 25-50% bigger than normal.  These larger baits may cost more, but the investment is worth it, they will attract many more fish than the smaller baits.

Find the Warmer Waters

Most large piers will help warm the water up around the pier.  Their pylons absorb the suns heat and pass it to the water.  Even small differences can attract fish.  Find the areas that have depressions in the bottom and multiple pylons in the area.  These areas will be slightly warmer than the surrounding area and will attract fish.  Drop a large bait in the depression and wait!

Start Later in the Day

Most times when fishing Florida’s shores the early bird gets worm, but in the winter that is not always the case.  The water temperatures are at their lowest right before dawn.  As the sun rises it starts to slowly warm the water.  Starting before 10am is unnecessary.  The fish will be much more active as the water warms up, and will remain active through out the warmest parts of the day, unlike summer when the stop moving in the heat of the day.

Target Cool Water Species

There are some fish that feed consistently in the cool water and you should be targeting those species.  Fish like Snook and Tarpon tend to either move south or become highly inactive in cold water, so targeting them would lead to a long day of potentially unsuccessful fishing.  Fish like Sheapshead, Black Drum, Whiting and Bluefish are active feeders in the cooler waters!