Weather: Cold fronts are not a bad thing this month. Warmer water temperatures have our ecosystem confused. Last spring when temps soared quickly, early migrations of tarpon showed up along our beaches in early April. By June they were harder to locate. Many had gone offshore and spawned a month early. And there's the evidence of Red Tide in southern Pinellas County. Algae blooms grow quicker in warmer water. So enjoy this cold front that is cooling things down for a bit. It'll help get everything back to normal.
In the mean time: Bottom fishing has been outstanding in shallower depths of 30 to 50 feet. We were catching a few keeper red grouper (season is now closed as of today) mixed in with so many other species. Numerous large grunts porgies and other reef fish are eager to bite, too. All you need is a box of squid to start. It seems every bottom fish will grab a chunk of squid during January and February. Octopus tentacles have also been great bait. No bottom fish can resist the wormlike wiggle of a lengthy tentacle attached to a jig head or circle hook.
Big macks: King mackerel have refused to leave us this winter. We are still catching occasional fish at depths of 80 feet and out.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.