tampabay.com

Captain's Corner

By Troy P. Sapp
Published January 9, 2008


Cool water: The last cold front brought major changes for both the inshore and offshore anglers. Gulf and bay water temperatures have fallen to the low 50s and left many inshore species in a state of shock. Offshore anglers will notice the lack of bait and pelagic species that remained in the area.

What's ahead: The week will provide for some recovery but water temperatures will be slow to rebound and the best fishing will occur both inshore and offshore in areas that provide stable or warmer conditions than surrounding waters. Deep water springs will be sure to hold vast numbers of bottom dwellers offshore and dead baits such as cut ladyfish, mullet or sardines will likely be the most productive.

Inshore, canals, rivers and area power plants will continue to provide warmer waters and a variety of species will be available for those fishing shrimp and slowly working deep-water artificial baits.

Tips: The snook have congregated around warm-water refuges. They are closed to harvest until March 1. It would be best to give them a little break and don't disturb them until they have some time to adjust to this sudden drop in water temperature.

Troy P. Sapp at Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.