Winter finally has arrived. For months, weather conditions have been above normal, allowing anglers to have extended periods catching king mackerel and other species. Normally those fish are long gone or hiding under a rock. That's changing with the extreme cold coming down from the Arctic. Temperatures have dropped toward 60 degrees. In my opinion, do anything but fish today and Monday. Strong winds from the north will keep the bravest anglers from heading west into the gulf for a few days. Water temperatures will teeter toward the 50s nearshore, causing even inshore species to act differently. If you can't sit still, there will be sheepshead, speckled trout and redfish available. The trio seems nearly impervious to cold. There are alternatives once the wind subsides. Anglers will head offshore. The farther the better since water temperatures are warmer. When cold air comes down, it chills the shallow waters throughout the water column. When traveling offshore, there's more distance between you and the bottom, which allows temperature changes and warmer pockets of water. Since fish are cold-blooded, this dictates their appetite. After a cold snap like this, anglers will want to travel to at least 50-foot depths before dropping a line. From there you'll be able to find the ones you want. Red grouper season is open for the rest of this month. Anglers have been consistently catching their share from 50 feet out. They were plenty of kingfish to be had last week but can't promise any action like that this week.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.