I've never been a fan of the weather the month of January gives us and this past month did nothing to change my mind about that issue.
Some weather watchers said it was the worst cold snap to visit our area in over 80 years.
Now, I normally wouldn't mention last month's weather in a current fishing forecast but the weather this January was so sever that it will impact our fishing for months to come. It moved many species out of the area, at least temporarily, and killed many others. Due to a significant fish kill, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Department elected to close our snook season to give this species a chance to rebound and I, for one, think that is an excellent idea.
While we must release all snook, we can still catch them and there are plenty of other sea critters in our area of southwest Florida that don't mind the cooler water and that are willing to provide plenty of action and some make excellent table fare as well.
Most notably, the spotted sea trout and it's smaller cousin the silver trout. Many good catches of both these species have been reported and this should continue through the month. Also, the black drum have moved into the deeper holes in the back country and these big boys can offer up some tackle busting entertainment and while the cold snap moved the pompano away from their normal feeding grounds, this month can offer some of the best pompano fishing of the year.
This week, while fishing with Don Knott and John Mueller from Isles of Capri we landed dozens of silver trout ad some spotted sea trout as well.
Don and John's Silver Trout
Silvers tend to school tightly so when found, you can produce big catches but remember to take what you can eat and always practice conservation.
Also this week, Jeff Collins from Buffalo, New York (he didn't seem to think our weather was too cold) caught some nice spotted trout.
Jeff's Sea Trout
All in all, southwest Florida is bouncing back quickly from the cold weather and there is plenty of action in the backcountry.