A recent storm front was loaded with lots of wind and a bit of rain, bringing a considerable change to our surprisingly comfortable winter. Winter storms can create rough sea conditions and make a veritable soup of sand in the water column. The mix of silt stirred from the bottom make it hard for fish to find bait. If you can get out between the fronts, patience will be needed. While the surface might look clear, the bottom might still be cloudy. The best baits are cut sardines and squid; at times, small pieces of squid will do better than anything else offered. A big grouper might grab bait the size usually offered for grunts. Take your time at each fishing spot. It might take a few minutes to get them going. Look for areas with lots of structure that fish seek out to break down the sea conditions during a storm.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit CaptainLarryBlueCharters.com.