Frigid water temperatures have thrown a cold blanket over inshore fishing. With flats temperatures in North Pinellas dipping below 50 degrees at one point, virtually everything left the shallows. We spent Monday looking for speckled trout in grassy lagoons and came up empty. We did not even see a trout all afternoon. Several of the flats near the Anclote River were littered with dead jack crevalle and snook, all casualties of last weekendís freezing temperatures. We also saw stunned snook slowly wobbling around on the surface, hopefully recovering from the worst part of the cold. These fish wonít bite, and theyíre barely clinging to life, so we prefer to leave them alone and not cast at them. There are few options right now. Redfishing around docks in deeper canals water can be decent. Using live shrimp on the bottom with minimal weight can produce small- to medium-sized reds. Quite often black drum and sheepshead will grab your bait and can help make a good day out of it. Power plant fishing near Anclote is not what it used to be. The outfall water is not as warm as it was a few years ago and therefore does not stack the fish up as much. There has been some decent trout action in the west end of the outfall canal for anglers drifting live shrimp near the bottom. If temperatures begin to climb, look for fish to gradually move back out onto the open flats. Until then, fishing will remain rather slow, with the best action in protected waters.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected]