The past week brought some nasty chilly weather sent down by "Old Man Winter." When these fronts come through it can really slow the bite down making it difficult to find fish. Fortunately, with a little patience and persistence anglers can still put some quality fish in the cooler.
Continue to target the deeper holes found near creeks and rivers that are fed by the many springs in this area of the Nature Coast. Fish these areas systematically and slow. Shrimp placed on the bottom will usually get attention from sheepshead, mangrove snapper, red fish, and black drum. Pinch off the tail or break the shrimp in half to put some scent in the water.
The trout fishing is still good. Look for these fish in the same areas mentioned above and when we have some warmer weather expect them to move out to the mouths of the creeks. We have had a lot of success on white Zoom jerk baits, white GULP shrimp, and Mirro-dines on recent trips. If releasing a trout, remember to handle them as little as possible. I often grab the hook with my pliers, use a "fish grabber", or wet my hands before handling them to prevent removing their protective slime.
The offshore bite is hot in 50 feet of water. Good numbers of grunt, snapper, and grouper are being caught on frozen thread fins on a traditional bottom rig.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson operates Bulldog Fishin Charters out of Hernando Beach. Reach him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352)238-3581.