What's hot: Cool waters on North Suncoast flats have drawn permit and pompano toward the Anclote power plant. These members of the jack family are usually scattered across the vast grass beds off Tarpon Springs and Palm Harbor. When water temperatures fall, these fish concentrate around the warm-water outfall canal.
Where to look: When surrounding waters are at their coldest, fish move up into the manmade discharge canal (provided the plant is operating and producing warm water). Floating barrels limit how far up the channel anglers can go. But you can cast over them. Due to the many game fish crowding the headwaters of the channel, there is little food there. As soon as the nearby flats begin to warm up, pompano and permit move to the adjacent grass flats to feed.
Tackle tip: Arguably the best lure for winter pompano is a small jig with sparse hair, or a small lead-bodied jig. The saying goes, "Any color will work, as long as it's yellow." Pink will work in a pinch. Add a small piece of fresh shrimp to the jig to give it a scent. Monofilament line is preferable to braid.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.