How To Fish Shallow Backwater Creeks [Real Time Example from St. Petersburg, FL]

By: Luke Simonds on January 28, 2019
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inshore fishing in backwater creeks

Fishing Shallow Backwater Creeks

One of my favorite ways to target redfish, snook, and seatrout is by fishing shallow backwater creeks during the winter months via kayak or paddle board.

This type of fishing is what I believe is the perfect combination of an exploration adventure and fishing fun because many of these creeks have very little human contact so you just never know what animals you’ll see out there.

I’ve come across hogs wading out in the water, an endless variety of birds, and all sorts of marine wildlife.

Best of all, the fishing can be surprisingly good in many of these backwater creeks too.

Even in creeks that get super narrow like this:

backcountry fishing for redfish

But even on the creeks without much fish, the adventure aspect of the trip takes the lead in ensuring that the trip is still a fun time.

Here’s one such trip that was an absolute blast even though the creek system that I was exploring did not hold many fish and I faced a series of navigational setbacks.

Note: At the end, I’ll explain 3 important things you need to do if you plan to fish shallow backwater creeks.

Creek Fishing Report From St. Petersburg, FL

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Equipment Used This Trip

Here’s a list of the equipment that I was using this trip in case interested:


Fishing shallow backwater creeks via kayak or paddle board can be an absolute blast.

But you must make sure to take proper precautions when going on these types of trips because there is an added element of danger given that you’re going off the beaten path into areas where there is little outside help in case something goes wrong.

Be sure to take the following safety precautions above just having the typical safety equipment:

  1. Tell family members and friends where you will be going and how long you plan to be there
  2. Bring a fully charged cell phone and keep it protected from water exposure
  3. Spend time in the pre-trip planning phase to make sure you know the routes and print out maps for any complex creek systems

Note: If you’re new to kayaking or paddle boarding, I do not recommend going on these types of trips… get plenty of practice in more open areas before pushing back into any remote creek systems.

Here are links to some other fun creek and hidden lake trips in case you’d like to see more:

The “Hidden Lake” Fishing Trip [Exploration Fishing]

Catching Snook & Redfish In Hidden Lake

How To Catch Snook & Redfish In The Winter

Want To Catch 5X More Redfish This Year?

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Tom RussellLuke SimondsDan KellyTom WildmanEric Bardes Recent comment authors
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Thomas Russell

Luke, thanks for the interesting post. I am just setting up my L2fish, and have a question: are you fishing without the fins on the bottom?

Dan Kelly

Congratulations on an honest report. Most things you see from other sources are “perfect trips” where there are no mistakes, fish on every cast, perfect boat positioning, etc. You guys show it the way it really is, the way most of us fish, a mistake here and there, a funny situation. Keep up the good work!!!

Tom Wildman

You had me chuckling through this video. I’ve been there so many times with not much going right for me. I always have a charged cell when I go out as well as a compact cell phone battery pack that I can rely on so I always have connectivity. They are about the size of a 1/2 can of sardines. You do need the correct cable for your phone to get recharged. They hold a charge for quite awhile so you can keep it with your tackle for several weeks.

Eric Bardes

Hey Luke. Try installing the Navionics app on your phone. Using this you can leave a track on your screen and you can always find your way home!

Frank Bray

Enjoyed real world presentation. Great teaching tool.

Samuel Borgert

Nice adventure with great reminders for exploring! I appreciate you sharing the mistakes as well…..nice to know I am not the only one.

Richard Fiorentino

Nice video. Hey Luke- have you ever tried Sufix 832 braid?


Great job Luke,
Good to see some kayak, paddle Board, exploring.

Springer Springer

Great video, Luke! I love exploring new areas like this and your video does a great job of reinforcing how important it is to take the proper precautions in a way not possible by just talking about safety.

Clay Whitmire

Luke, I am so happy to hear that the bad stuff happens to someone other than me. I discovered that going into the creek at low tide and squeezing through the low overhangs leaves a much tougher route out. The path out is much smaller! I thought sunset would catch me! I also ran out of phone power. I bought a new phone and have it fully charged whenever I go on the water. I use the app Glympse to let people know where I am – just in case. As always, you have provided great information.

Dave Otte

That looks like a really cool place to have behind your house to fish when the water is up. Is there a chance you’ll get the house?

Allan Horton

Luke – enjoyed the backwater creek video. I used to do a lot of that and something I learned is that if you can find such a creek draining out of a golf course, try it for sure. I don’t know why, but I’ve found that such creeks adjoining or penetrating a golf course can be practically virgin territory for fishing. And, most golf courses have a dam or some sort of saltwater barrier structure to prevent tides from sending high water into/onto the fairways, even the edges – and at the spillway, there is nearly always one or more snook lying at the foot of the structure. If you cast a lure right at the downfall break of the structure and retrieve away from it, you’ll quite often find a fairly hefty fish just waiting for your lure. Sometimes a course official will get on your case claiming trespass, but so long as you’re on your board – and you haven’t crossed under a bridge – you’re probably on public water.

Allan Horton, Sarasota

Matthew Stillwell

Have you herd of Find Me Spot It is a cell service locating device that you take out with you and someone can check on your location via online internet. The device also has safe and distress call buttons that will tex and/or email a pre made message whomever you have selected. I used this system at work when we go out sampling on lakes. So long as you turn it on, it works good lol. I highly recommend it as much as yall get out and about. Thank you for all the great advice!

Guy LeVeille
Guy LeVeille

Luke….you da man!!! Backwater creeks look like a ton of fun! But, with only a little over a year of paddling under my belt…I think I’ll stick with open water and canals! Ha ha. I appreciate your frank analysis of what went wrong and how to avoid it. Solid stuff there! After nearly 30 years in the Army, I’ve learned the value of “after action reviews” and the good feedback and learning that comes from them. I’ve also learned “safety first, last and always!” I’m thinking a really good first aid kit might be a necessity on an adventure like that too, for that “uh oh!” moment!
Appreciate all of your videos and lessons! Glad you got out of there in one piece! Keep em’ coming! Tight lines!

Bradley Peterkin

Great info … as Usual 🎣🎣

Greg and Cindy Batchelor

Great information, Luke, even if I am not a paddle boarder. Thanks for sharing, every mistake just makes you stronger. Fish on!


Great video Thanks Luke!

Roy Noblin

i have a garmin etrex 20x and a subscription to garmins birds eye. less than 150 bucks if you look, for both and a must on my boat.. i like to explore and when i launch from a new place i mark it. then it just lays there and very seldom used. i could leave on and record path but that’s what my fishfinder does and the etrex is for when it fails me. now getting used to these smarter than me phones but have found no cel service in areas and have battery go dead. my etrex has never let me down –i just goto where i marked at launch and the imagery shows open paths to get there. but then i also have a ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ 406 Buoyant Personal Locator Beacon on my life vest just in case i can’t get out on my own — it ain’t cheep but hey, i want to be found 🙂

Randy Lovoy

YEA! I have asked others in the community about this very thing recently. I read that term a lot…backwater creeks… but didn’t really know exactly what they meant. So glad you put this together. Thanks Luke!!