What's cold: Approach inshore fishing slowly in cold weather. Water temperatures on the flats in the mid 40s the past week have been the lowest here in 20 years. This has drastically slowed the metabolism of speckled trout and redfish, which need a couple of sunny days to adapt and find warmer shallows to feed in. Use a freelined shrimp to entice them. Patience is key to turning on a bite along the spoil islands of St. Joseph Sound. The eastern sides will warm faster, and the trout will huddle in tight schools for warmth.
What's hot: Sheepshead offer the most consistent action in the cold. Work around older docks back in the bayous and rivers. Scrape off barnacles or oyster shells; the scent will keep these finicky eaters close. Frozen shrimp will work fine. Sheepshead go through a lot of bait quickly. Small hooks disguise the presentation.
Snook help: To help the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Snook Foundation regulate fish kills over the past week, go to snookfoundation.org or call (407) 302-5550.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater, and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 439-9017