For starters, the American and hickory shad are my preferred winter freshwater fishery as they move up the St Johns River on their annual spawning run. Both water conditions and numbers of early arriving shad are looking good. These species are easy to catch and great fun on light tackle, both spin and fly, and the fishery is very accessible especially on those windy days. Included with these species are sunshine and largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, brim and bluegill, and channel catfish.
On the Mosquito Lagoon, redfish, sea trout and black drum sight fishing improves as water levels drop and the water clears up. Cast past and in front of the fish, reel quickly along the surface, drop the bait in front of them and wait. Twitch only once. In general, slow down lure presentations during cold weather to increase success. When water temperatures are low, it is best to fish later in the day when the flats warm up. These species will be feeding on crabs and shrimp, so adjust your lure and bait selection accordingly.
Along the beach out of Port Canaveral look for good numbers of pompano, ladyfish, and jacks located just outside the breakers. Use small jigs tipped with a piece of fresh shrimp. Also, January is the month when the breeder size redfish move into the passes and feed in the mouth of the inlets during the last part of the falling tide. As the tidal currents slow down, the large redfish push up to the surface chasing baitfish. These monsters are brood stock, so please handle and release them with care.