Even though the charters are slower than normal this year I have been fishing several days a week on my own so that I can stay on top of the fishing. We are already experiencing a colder than normal winter and the water temps are already in the 50's. That's colder than some years where the water never dips below 60 degrees. The cold water has pushed a lot of the fish off the flats and into the creeks and canals. Redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead , flounder and pompano are still biting in these areas. I've been using live shrimp most of the time but artificial lures are doing well during the middle of the day when the water temps peak for the day.
I'm not a fan of fishing in canals, so i usually look for depressions on the flats and feeder creeks where the water is slightly warmer. The problem is that if you fishing near any canals at all, most of the fish in the area are going to go in them since a canal is a artificial water warmer. I've found that the redfish are handling the cold water the best and are still holding on the shallow grass flats the best. Speckled trout are more scattered than they were a month ago but if you hit a school of them you can catch them on every cast. Sheepshead are holding in the passes and in the potholes on the flats. However, they are biting best in the passes. I'm catching a number of flounder each day while targeting the redfish. Most are under the slot but I've been getting a few keepers each day.