Multiple weather systems have moved through our area bringing heaps of rain, seemingly endless stout winds and downright cold temperatures. Finding fish during a break in the weather can be difficult, to say the least.
What's hot: Speckled trout are stealing the show. Trout don't seem to be bothered by the cold water as much as other fish. While most other popular species are very lethargic, "specks" will feed and cooperate in dreadful weather.
What's not: Just about all other fish. Some days the only thing biting is the cold wind.
Tactics: When targeting winter trout, look for potholes or channels adjacent to grass flats. Water from 6 to 15 feet deep is desired. Winter low tides will force fish into deeper areas. Residential canals can be areas where trout really bunch up. If the trout are not hitting, shrimp fished close to the docks will yield sheepshead and an occasional redfish.
Tip: Small plastic jigs fished with a slow retrieve will entice frigid fish to nab a snack. These types of lures are simple and very versatile. Ultralight gear will add to the fun as well as helping to detect the often quite subtle strikes of winter.
Maintenance: Now is the time to service motors and reels. Repair shops are slow now but will be busy as soon as it starts to warm up. Rainy days are ideal for organizing tackle and oiling reels.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at www.snookfish.com or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.