Friday, April 20, 2018
Outdoors

Captains corner: Adjust your target species for the cold conditions

What's happening: Because of the drop in water temperature, especially close to shore, you'll need to go farther offshore to catch fish. Fish are cold blooded, so their metabolism will slow after any drastic change in water temperature. Even with warmer days in the forecast, the bottom of the gulf will take much longer to warm than the surface.

Offshore: A solid stretch of sunny, warm days will eventually wake things up. Anglers traveling offshore (30-plus miles into the gulf) will find the fish are less affected by the cold weather. Amberjack are the perfect targets for the next few months. They are hardy and can handle winterlike conditions better than many of our gulf species. Both jigs and live bait will get their attention, even in the harshest conditions.

Inshore: There are a few species of inshore fish that can handle the cold water much better than offshore fish. Red and black drum are a good example. Even after the cold blast, these fish still are willing to eat a shrimp or crab. Speckled trout and silver trout are other inshore species that can adapt to cold water. They should be available in decent numbers along our beaches for the remainder of winter. Their size is not impressive, compared to amberjack, but with light tackle, anglers can produce nonstop action. Drifting within a half mile from the shore is our favorite approach for these fish. Tipping small jigs with shrimp is one of the best tactics for these fish.

Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.

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Comments

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