Bottom fishing: Weather conditions are getting back to normal after record-breaking freezes. It's only a matter of days before the action breaks loose. Warmer conditions will slowly bring water temps up, creating more opportunities for fishing. Try bottom fishing in depths of 50-plus feet for a bit more action. Key West grunts and blue point porgies will fill the box for that tasty dinner. Their meat is white and flavorful, making it a bit easier to let go a large grouper (still closed season). Only a few days (April 1) before the grouper will be tableside, too. The fishing will be outstanding when the season opens.
Bait: Pinfish are starting to school a few miles from the beaches. Keep your eyes on the sonar while traveling west. The big schools of pinfish show up easily on the sonar. You can fill live wells with ease once you locate the fish.
Kingfish: Early to mid March should be the start of the kingfish migration, if the water temperature stabilizes above 68 degrees. These mackerel will not come north until the water temps go up. These warmer days in the 70s will expedite this occurrence. They will come in waves and will be quite hungry. Normally there will be hundreds of fish in a school. Less then a month would be a modest guess on their arrival. But if warmer conditions take over, we could see signs of these giant schools sooner.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at jawstoo.com or (727) 439-2628.