Winter is a favorite for many shark anglers in Florida, particularly in the central to southern portions of the state. The sharks will be fairly easy to find, as they concentrate towards warm water in the estuaries, where they can be targeted using natural or artificial lures.
Where the Fish are in the Winter Months
Since many of our sharks love warm water, many of them will be in the deeper temperature-stable areas inshore, such as the channels, pools, and backwaters.
Catching Sharks in the Inshore Channels
Sharks love the deep inshore channels because they’re full of bait and temperature-stable water. Use cut natural bait, such as a Striped mullet, Bluefish, or Jack Crevalle, and drift the channel during the moving tides.
Catching Sharks in the Backwaters
The backwaters of estuaries, particularly in south Florida such as in the Everglades, hold many sharks throughout the winter. Many are juvenile, but many are not. It is not uncommon to run across mature bullsharks, lemon sharks, or other large species in just three feet of water. Since the backwaters of estuaries are often very dark from tannins and sharks don’t see well anyway, use cut natural baits during moving tides to get the scent out there.
An Overview of Catching Sharks in the Wintertime
Many coastal sharks move south during the winter, spending the months of December through February either well offshore or inside the estuaries and lagoons. Look for them in the deeper waters such as channels (especially shipping channels) and in dredge holes or backwaters where freshwater brings warmer water. Live or cut bait works best in the deep channels and in murkier waters, however winter in the backwaters is also the prime-time for using artificials and flies because the sharks are in pretty shallow water.