Our mild winter is beginning to become punctuated with passing cold fronts. These frontal patterns tend to shuffle the deck, changing bait locations and moving fish populations. Water temperature does not fluctuate as rapidly as air temperature, so fish do not feel the drastic change in a short period of time that we experience. Overall, wind has hampered fishing more than temperature. When conditions have allowed short runs into the gulf, both king and Spanish mackerel fishing have been productive. Large threadfin herring have been devoured by mackerel almost has soon as they were set out. These species are considered a bonus to be available this late into December. Mangrove snapper fishing throughout the bay has remained good at almost any high-relief structure. Live shrimp presented on a knocker rig has been productive. If windy conditions continue, trout fishing will become the primary focus for most inshore anglers. Artificial lures worked moderately slow through areas of thick sea grass and scattered sand holes will locate trout. Once a concentration of large fish is found, switching to the old-time favorite combo of a live shrimp rigged under a popping cork cannot be beat. Trout tend to bite best on days when the wind is coming from the south before an approaching cold front.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at email@example.com and (727) 510-1009.