Channeling Good Winter Fishing

Channeling Good Winter Fishing

No matter the type of channel odds are anglers can experience outstanding fishing during cold winter days.

Story and photography by Danno Wise

December has dawned and finally, at last, the end of a year most people would just as soon forget is within sight. For fishermen, December is usually a time of distinctly different fishing patterns. However, it can also be a period of very productive days on the water for those anglers adept at identifying the winter patterns and adjusting their techniques accordingly.

With temperatures dropping – both air and water – fish will begin adjusting their routines as well as the areas they spend the majority of their time. Although a variety of areas can be productive under the right conditions during winter months, the most consistent catches from December through February usually come from channels and the water adjacent to them.

Channels….  There are all types of channels found along the Texas Coast – residential canals, open bay channels, marsh drains, the Intracoastal Waterway to name a few. Some bay systems are home to several different varieties while others have a singular channel. Each type of channel can be productive – it is generally relative to what is available and the prevailing water temperatures.

Every angler in Texas has access to the biggest channel in the state – the Intracoastal Waterway. Running from Brownsville through Beaumont before continuing on along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the ICW runs through or adjacent to every bay in Texas. In addition to the various water depths found in and adjacent to this state-long “ditch” a variety of different fish attracting features are also found along ICW. Depending on area, a given stretch of the ICW may have rip-rap, bridges, docks, pilings, buoys, channel markers, locks, fishing shacks, reefs, breakwaters or spoil islands. Beyond these obvious fishy features, anglers should also look for areas where the channel wall is irregular or otherwise different than the surrounding area.

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