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Sorry, for the delayed post but I tried to answer this on my cell phone a few days ago and it just wouldn't let me post...



Anyways, I got some bad news for those of you headed this direction this year. If you haven't heard already, the long cold snap we had caused the water to get into the low 40's which triggered a MAJOR fish kill that has taken a huge toll on our snook population. I went out to weedon twice in the past two weeks and have been very depressed each time. First, I was there right after the cold snap broke. We started paddling out thinking the fish would be huddled around the warmer waters of the power plant and they were... Except they were all dead, littering the bottom with countless ladyfish, catfish, mullet, jacks, and many many big snook. There were schools of stunned ladyfish and mullet on the surface, barely alive, and there were at least 4 boats out there with nets just netting the crap out of anything that moved. Called the FWC but I am sure the damage was already done.



Second trip was even worse. The weather has warmed considerably so the fish on the bottom had begun to float and the stink was everywhere. I counted 6 dead snook over 40", many more in the 30's and the rest just blended in with the piles of ladyfish and catfish that littered the shores. We even saw a 80+ lb tarpon floating down the channel. They must have turned off the outflow during the cold snap because I am not sure any snook survived.



The past two weeks here have been nothing but dead snook, and dead tarpon reports. The trout have begun to nibble again and the reds are slowly coming back to life but live snook sitings have been few and far between, and they are not in good shape. There hasn't been a freeze like this since 1977 and this one was longer so it could be years before the snook population rebounds.



If you are still coming, I would suggest targeting reds and trout, and maybe you might get a surviving snook but you will be lucky so handle it with care. Fort Desoto, Outside of Weedon Island, Johns pass, HoneyMoon Island/Caladesi Island, the flats on both sides of the skyway bridge, Cockroach Bay, Bishop Harbor... All these places are great fisheries and would be worth a visit for reds, trout, and maybe snook. If you are looking to hook something bigger, May is the beginning of the tarpon running right off the beach. Just pick a beach (I like Indian Rocks, and Anna Maria), paddle out about 50 to 100 yards and look for the schools of tarpon daisy chaining down the beach. Depending on the water temp there might even be some lingering kingfish.



Shoot me a pm before your visit and I will try and point you in the right direction.
 
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