The rapid drop in nearshore water temperatures has changed the action along North Suncoast coastal waters. Before the last cold front passed, kingfish and Spanish mackerel were just offshore of Tarpon Springs and Dunedin. With the water 8-10 degrees cooler now, the mackerel and kings in this area vanished. The only surface feeders we found were bonito and bluefish.
Gag grouper: The consensus seems to be that the bite is excellent in 40 feet of water. Many have reported limit catches in that depth. Those in extra-shallow water reported a slow gag grouper bite, which is common when the water gets chilly. We spent a few days 50 miles out in 100 feet of water last week and found gags sparse there, too.
Inshore: Big trout are gathering on shallow flats, snook are appearing in brackish backwaters, redfish have been tailing in super shallow water, and bluefish and ladyfish are all over the place.
Bait: Arguably the most temperature-sensitive fish locally are scaled sardines. Keeping track of them can be difficult with rapidly changing conditions.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 944-3474.