The water temp thing is confusing for me too and especially this year.
It seems like the water up the rivers and the bay is higher than the CBBT right now, which was 42.3 all day Saturday. There was a good bite all day at the 3rd island, but in previous years at 42.5 there would be no bite at the CBBT. To add to the confusion, some times in the ocean there is no bite at 39.5 in the am, but in the afternoon it hits 40.5 and thing lite up.
Any other experience or theories would be interesting reading?
Satterly I think slower but still play with speed. One thing that I think makes a difference especially in the river is to go to smaller test leaders. I like 20lb in the river and have fished 15 lb trolling. I know Rockfish aren't supose to be line sensative but when the water temp get low I found I catch better with smaller lines and I fish smaller lighter baits. My favorites are 1/8 -1/4 oz bucktails tiped with plastic grubs.