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The cold weather the past two weeks has put a damper on flats fishing along the coast. Water temperatures have dropped to the mid-50s. If you are a true diehard, your best bet is trout fishing in 4-6 feet of water off Honeymoon Island and Anclote Key. The action is slow, but catches are averaging 3-5 pounds. The best bait has been a \-ounce jig with a root beer tail. With the cold water, use a slow presentation. The fish will not want to chase their prey too far.

Remember, as of Feb. 1 trout season is closed north of the Anclote River. Be cautious when handling trout; their slimy scales are protection. If you remove these scales the fish may die.

With all this cold weather and the slow fishing, it is a great time to prepare for spring. Why not get your fishing tackle serviced? It also is a good time to do your yearly boat maintenance. Great spring fishing is right around the corner, so be prepared.

_ Mike Manning charters out of Port Richey. Call (727) 848-0795.