Winter is steadily creeping up on us here in East Central Florida. With the colder temperatures come some challenges for those who enjoy fishing year-round. While we may not be drilling holes in the ice like our northerly neighbors, there are still a few changes that need to be made to have a successful day out on the water.

We have compiled a handful of tips and tricks to get the most out of your winter fishing expeditions.

5 Tips for Winter Fishing in Florida

1. Find warmer water

If you can find a pocket of warm water, that will be where you are most likely to find the fish hanging out. Areas with a darker bottom will absorb the heat from the sun, causing the water to be warmer. You can also look for spots where smaller bodies of water, such as creeks and rivers, feed into a larger area. Creeks and rivers tend to be warmer and fish will congregate where the warm water feeds into the cold water.

Deep water tends to resist temperature changes. If you have a depth finder, use it to find deep spots and cast down to the bottom where the fish will be to avoid the colder water above them. Also, use your depth finder to find shallow areas that warm up quickly in the Florida sun.

2. Head out between cold fronts

Keep an eye on the temperatures and listen out for what the local weather forecasts are saying. Cold fronts carrying storms and windy conditions come through in rapid succession during the winter months. Time your next outing for the lull between cold fronts and you will find yourself in the midst of a feeding frenzy. Fish will be more active due to the temporary warm-up and will likely be hungry after not moving much to find food during the cold blast.

3. Start later in the day

Heading out midday is your best bet for optimal fishing during the winter in Florida. Following the theme of the previous two tips, this is because the water will warm up as the temperature for the day reaches its peak. With warmer water comes increased fish activity. We know you are used to hitting the water as soon as your eyes open, but take some time to enjoy your morning coffee and maybe grab lunch at Hawksbill Bar & Grill, Harbortown’s full-service restaurant and bar, before heading out on the water.

4. Use smelly bait

Imagine how much less motivated you are to get moving when the temperatures drop. The fish behave in much the same way. In order to entice them to jump on your line, they will have to think the effort will be worth their while. Using extra scent on your bait will make your offering exceptionally tempting and could mean the difference between a great day of fishing and a great day of sitting on the water.

5. Practice patience

Patience is essential to making the most out of your winter fishing adventure. Taking the time to find the warm spots will help, but the cold weather brings a lower metabolism for the fish. They won’t be as eager to bite, so you may have to let your bait sit longer than you’d like. Just when you think the day is a bust, a simple change in temperature or barometric pressure, could land you the catch you’ve been looking for. If you cast it, the fish will come.

Use these tips for an ideal winter fishing experience this season. For more tips and tricks, stop by the office and ask us! Dock with us at Harbortown Marina – Canaveral this winter and we will have your boat launched within an hour, 363 days a year. A simple phone call or tap of our launch app and you will be ready to go when you arrive. For more reasons why we are the place to be this winter, click here.

Happy fishing! We look forward to serving you and your boat this winter and for many seasons to come.