This last cold front reminded me why we live in Florida, where we can fish year-round. The silver lining to the cold is that fishing should be excellent this weekend.
Temperatures pushing 80 and wind out of the east should make for perfect conditions. Four-tide days makes for hungry fish.
Start your fishing in 80 feet of water and work your way offshore. Large ledges and hard bottom will be productive. The beginning and ending of the tide should produce the best bite. Make your moves to new areas during the slack tide. Check the lunar tables and make sure you have baits in the water on minors and majors to increase your catch. These tables do work.
Getting live bait has been a challenge this year. We recommend you have a live well full of pinfish. Local tackle stores have live bait in stock.
Springs and ship wrecks are holding amberjack in 120 feet and deeper. They are the big fish this time of year and require 50-pound-class tackle, smooth drags and a fighting belt. The larger the live bait the bigger the jacks you will catch. For increased action, try a porgy rig. Use a 4-ounce sinker on the bottom with two long shank hooks 12 inches apart.
Sea bass, trigger fish and lane snappers are abundant this time of year and can be effectively targeted. Use the lighter 30-pound class tackle; it's easier to fish with and best for kids. Use squid as bait and frozen shrimp on porgy rigs.
Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396 or e-mail him at huffyltampabay.rr.com.