What's hot: Unseasonably warm weather has turned back the clock of some migratory fish species. Normally by this time coastal fish such as cobia, kings, and mackerel have departed to the south. In the past week, however, we have found clean water and fall-like activity patterns inshore and offshore.
Follow the bait: The surprise return of threadfin herring and Spanish sardines is a clear signal this is not a typical December. Vast schools have moved in along the coast, with gamefish right behind them. Spanish mackerel and kings are being caught within a few miles of shore. Some kings have been more than 30 pounds. Cobia reports have picked up, too.
Shark action: Some migratory sharks have returned. We put out a few baits Saturday near Anclote Key and caught two 6-foot sand bar sharks, a 5-foot blacktip and a 5-foot tiger shark.
Tips: When loading up the boat, bring gear you would need in October: light kingfish rods, wire leader, sabiki rigs, stinger rigs and a few boxes of chum. Find surface bait or diving birds, jig up a baitfish and put it right back out. There is no telling what may show up during this respite from winter.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.