© St. Petersburg Times, published February 20, 2003
It feels like the night before Christmas, but we need to be patient with the offshore fishing scene. As always, water temperature is the key, and the gulf still is a bit cool for the good fishing that is just around the corner. In two or three weeks, the warming weather will heat offshore water and perk up the sportfish, including migrating kings and Spanish mackerel.
The most promising sign of the forthcoming increase in action is the abundance of baitfish. Wrecks in 50 feet are loaded with pinfish, blue runners and cigar minnows. The gulf will soon spring to life with hordes of predators seeking to gorge on this food source.
The only consistent offshore action recently has been in 130-plus feet of water. Amberjack, grouper and mangrove snapper are around deep-water wrecks and springs. Be patient and it won't be long before the action moves closer to shore.
-- Mike Whitman charters the Mega Bite out of Gulfport. Call (727) 384-5729 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.