Chalk up another week to abnormally cold conditions. Consistent low temperatures in the 40s at night and barely breaking the 60s in the day just does not help to increase the water temperatures.
Thankfully, the sheepshead, redfish and sea trout do not mind the cold and continue to be the mainstay of the catch aboard the "Dee Jay II."
Actually, there have been many days when the bite has been off the charts with at least one of the aforementioned species. All of my efforts have centered on bay fishing as of late.
The relentless winds have kept the Gulf of Mexico roughed up and muddy close to the beaches of Manatee and Sarasota counties. Anglers need to run around five miles offshore to find any relatively clear water.
Some of the trout have been running in the mid-20-inch range and have been found in a variety of locations from the open bay waters to canals and bayous. The presence of glass minnows is a tipoff for where to fish, as the trout are primarily feeding on them at the time. The sheepies, reds and drum have still been holding tight to heavy structure, although there are quite a few really big redfish cruising pretty shallow water, but they have been a tough target.
We are a month away from the vernal equinox. The length of daylight is increasing and will trigger many pelagics to start moving. Usually, spanish mackerel are the first to start migrating north. They begin to show hereabouts around the first of March but the water temperatures need to rebound by at least 10 degrees and clear up substantially before anglers can expect any really big action with the spanish.
Good luck and good fishing. Be careful out there.
Capt. "Zach" Zacharias
Docked on Palma Sola Bay at Parrot Cove Marina/Sunny Shores
115th Street West and 36th Avenue, Cortez, FL 34215