What's hot: Even on the windiest days, those with the urge to get their fishing fix know where there's a will there's a way. Piers, bridges, seawalls, docks and jetties offer land-based anglers stability when most boats can't. On Wednesday, with small craft advisories, a check of the Skyway piers revealed fish being caught at both structures. In spite of 20 mph winds (and gusts, at times, higher), we witnessed a 25-pound black drum being hauled over the rails on the north end along with some sheepshead and silver trout. On the south end, with noticeably better water clarity, anglers reported mackerel catches early in the morning and sheepshead later on.
Tips: Though they have abandoned the flats with water temperature in the 50s, at least some whitebait have remained at the south Skyway pier. Pinfish is another option for live baiters. They are resilient and available even in the most frigid conditions. Frozen squid, Spanish sardines and northern mackerel might be equally as effective during these winter months.
Between fronts: The rocky edges of the ships channel inside the Skyway have produced a variety of species when you can get to them. On a trip this week between blows, we wrestled grouper, grunts, mangrove snapper and sheepshead off the ledges. Live shrimp halves provided all of the action on 20-pound tackle.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.