Cold water slows down the bite - Ice storm leaves ‘stubborn’ fish in its wake

Larry LaDassor of Minnesota was all smiles as he held up his stringer of mingo and white snapper caught aboard the Destiny with Capt. Chris McConnell.

Since the ice storm a couple of week ago, the fish bite has slowed down, but anglers are still managing to pull in some sizeable fish.

"It's about the worst I've seen it," said Capt. Chris McConnell of the Destiny. "I fished every spot I could between here and Panama City. I don't understand it."

McConnell said they are fishing the same bait as always, cut squid and Boston mackerel, but the fish just don’t want to bite.

"The top was right … but not the bottom," he said, noting that it was a beautiful calm day on the water for his 52 anglers.

They did manage to bring in 14 red snapper and a few mingo, triggerfish and white snapper.

The Destiny, along with the Sweet Jody and Destin Princess, are part of a pilot program that allows them to currently land red snapper and gag grouper.

Capt. Cliff Cox of the Sweet Jody and his crew of 35 were able to find a few fish. His anglers reeled in 42 red snapper and a couple of gags.

"The water has gotten cold and the bite has gotten stubborn," Cox said.

Cox explained that when you stop on a fishing spot, "you don't know whether to go or stay" because the bite is so hit and miss. "You don't have all day to stay on one spot."

The water temperature of late has been in the low 50s.

Cox said after the ice storm a couple of weeks ago, it was like a switch flipped off the fish. Prior to the storm, they were reeling in the fish left and right, now it's a bit of a struggle — but it’s getting better every day.

Karen and Jim Merlitti of Akron, Ohio, and first-time visitors to Destin, brought in a big haul. They had red snapper, big triggerfish and Karen pulled in a grouper.

"It was a lot of fun and a beautiful day," Karen said.

Jeff and Kim Main of Fort Walton Beach had a big stringer of fish filled with red snapper and triggerfish.

"She caught 'em all," Jeff said, noting that the small mingo on the string was his.

The women were having pretty good luck on the Sweet Jody. April Sheffield also pulled in a gag grouper.

Don't let a few slow days on the water, keep you down. After all, a slow day of fishing is better than a slow day at work.

See you at the docks.