What's cold: Anglers willing to venture out will find their options limited. Water temperatures are as low as they get, and this has placed many fish species in shock. For most inshore fish, survival is their primary concern. Reports of fish kills have come from all over the bay area, including Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey. In Tarpon Springs, most of the fish killed have been small pinfish, needlefish, catfish and lookdowns.
Snook focus: Researchers have been monitoring the snook population closely. Snook are among the most susceptible to death from cold water, and their numbers are already low. There have been only scattered reports of dead snook. What has probably saved the majority of the population has been the gradual lowering of the water temperature. When the temperature falls slowly, snook have a chance to migrate to warmer areas, such as deep holes in rivers, freshwater springs, brackish lakes and seawall-lined residential canals.
Fishing for snook: Sometimes snook can be coaxed into biting in this weather, but most anglers opt to leave them alone. Snook do not fight well and cannot be kept, and the added stress could kill them.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 944-3474.