Sensitive fish: The blast of cold air that moved through our region late last week put an abrupt end to springlike conditions that anglers had enjoyed for several weeks. In the North Suncoast area, water temperatures plummeted almost overnight. That sudden shock sent temperature-sensitive fish such as snook and pompano running for warmer water.
Snook fishing: Before the cold fronts, passage snook had begun to show up outside the rivers and canals. Most of them were 18 to 26 inches. They were found gathered along leeward shorelines where the bottom was dark and there was direct sunlight.
But as long as the water stays cold, these fish will likely disappear until things get warm. Very cold water can stun and even kill snook, and they usually return to deep inland water as soon as water temperatures begin to fall out of their comfort range.
When the temperatures warm and they move out again, stealthy sight casting with live shrimp using very light leaders and small hooks will produce strikes if an angler is patient and repeatedly crawls a shrimp through the area with snook. It's common to get a bite on a 10th cast to the same fish.
Pompano: Pompano and small permit from miles of grassflats near Tarpon Springs typically seek the shelter of the Anclote power plant when cold sets in. Early reports have been good as the fish begin to appear in the outflow channel. The lure of choice for most pompano pros is a small yellow jig, tipped with a small piece of shrimp and bounced rapidly along the bottom.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.