On The Edge

By: Joe Sheaffer

This winter has been quite cool in Southwest Florida this year. Low water, cool water temps, cool air temps and as usual breezy to say the least are the norm. Many anglers like to fish in creeks and canals where water temps can be warmer. Unfortunately, many like myself are limited because our boats just can’t get into shallower areas. Instead of being frustrated I try to focus on the positives. I have a boat and I have many different fishing opportunities near where I live and most of the time I can fish when I want. During the cooler months I like to focus on places that are near where I launch my boat. I’m close to a couple of passes to the Gulf, which creates plenty of current. With close access to the gulf there are many channels that provide waterways for boats to the passes. Channels that are adjacent or close to different types of structure can be very productive. I like to focus on the grass flats that create an edge along the channel. Fish like to be close to deeper water, many channels provide water depths that help fish feel comfortable especially during the cooler times of the year. I power fish in an area covering water quickly, looking for a sweet spot or key area holding fish. Once I get a bite or catch a fish, I slow down and spend time working that spot. Many times, a specific area will hold many fish, making for a great fishing day. These productive areas can be solid areas for future trips. I typically will use a slow steady retrieve with a swim bait to look for active fish. Once I get a bite I change to a much slower presentation, like a jig paired with a plastic Shrimp or Shad lure. Many times, fish may be relating to the bottom and the slower action will entice a bite. Focusing on shallow edges along deeper channels have been very productive for me and hopefully for you. Good luck and keep casting.