With the temperatures finally beginning to rise, spring time fishing will be in full swing before we know it. Water temperatures are ranging from low to mid 60's, which should be turning on the highly anticipated Cobia, Spanish, and Pompano bite. For Cobia, scan the sandbars for "floating" fish, or fish hiding under crusing rays or turtles, armed with a cobia jig, live eel, or live pinfish. The Spanish Mackerel won't be able to resist anything with erratic action or flash. Local favorites tend to be a silver Gotcha, a size 0 Clarkspoon, or any derivative of a casting spoon. The few Pompano being caught have been fooled with sand fleas, ghost shrimp, or FishBites.
Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Sheepshead are going to be the more sought after species in the bays. Your more reliable bites are going to be based off either structure, mouth/openings to bayous, or drop-offs. If you throw soft plastics like D.O.A. Shrimp, Z-Man plastics, or Gulp, you will most likely trigger a bite from redfish or trout. Just about any and all species may be caught on live shrimp lightly weighted with a split-shot or suspended underneath a popping cork. For Sheepshead specifically, use a long shank J-hook (Mustad, O'Shaughnessy size 2) while fishing structures like docks, bridges, or jetties.
Due to few party boats going out this winter, the bottom fishing has been very reliable, however, it is a good idea to review MyFWC.com to make sure your harvest is legal. Your closer to shore wrecks have been producing ample White Snapper, Vermillion Snapper, and some sizeable Grey(Mangrove) Snapper. Triggerfish season has opened in the Gulf of Mexico from March 1st through May 31st and will re-open August 1st through December 31st with a bag limit of one fish per harvester and minimum size limit of 15" fork length.