Frigid conditions mixed with stout winds have kept most sane anglers in port. Those venturing out have had mixed results with fish and influenza. Those staying warm can be productive from the comfort of their living rooms.
Seasonal tip: This is a great time to service reels and other equipment. While daydreaming of spring, oiling reels and checking line guides on rods is not such a dreadful task, especially while looking out of the window watching the pelicans shiver.
When it comes to breaking down a reel for lubrication, think twice about taking it to a pro. Many reels get taken to the service counter in a plastic bag. Reel parts have a tendency to jump out at you.
A fine cloth such as gauze pads or stockings can be used to detect small cracks in line guides. Even a small burr can cause the line to fray then break during the heat of battle. Bad ones should be replaced before the next outing.
What's hot: Trout and sheepshead are two species that will feed on the cold days. Deep holes by grass flats and some residential canals hold trout on chilly days. Docks are a favorite sheepie hangout.
What's not: Just about everything else that swims.
The future: Warm weather is predicted just in time for the weekend. The mid 70s will seem like a veritable heat wave, welcomed by all, I'm sure.
Spring will be here soon, and temperatures and heart rates will start to soar. Personally, this fisherman can't wait!
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, snookfish.com or (813) 310-6531.