We are in the full swing of the holiday season. Thanksgiving just passed and Christmas is right around the corner. That means we are at the end of the year. It’s time to look back and reflect on what 2010 has brought us. We are going to put 2010’s offerings behind us and look forward to a new year and a new start. We already have good news to end the year. NOAA is predicting a warmer and drier winter for Tampa Bay thanks to La Nina. If predictions hold true, we are in store for a very fun and productive few months.
Redfish are not affected by the cooler water temperatures as much, making them a winter time favorite. Areas from Cockroach Bay to the Alafia will hold fish. With sardines getting harder to find as temperatures fall, live shrimp is a good alternative. I like the trusty cork with 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a #1 Daiichi circle hook. Winter fishing is a good opportunity to refine your artificial skills. Spoons, soft plastics and hard baits will produce. As the water temperatures drop, the key is to slow your approach.
Season will remain closed all month, but trout will still offer some nice catch and release. Start the morning off with a top water plug. I like the Zara Spook in a bone color. When the bite slows, I switch to a soft plastic. I like the D.O.A 4” jerk bait. For trout, I like anything white. I like to rig weedless with a 5/0 Daiichi Butt Dragger. It’s a weighted weedless hook. Fish the flats from Joe Island up to the Little Manatee River. Remember, season will remain closed in the Tampa Bay region so try to handle the fish as little as possible and use a dehooker.
This is the time of year us inshore guys look forward to. The grouper have started to make their way inside the bay, making it possible for us to get some grocories. Trolling the ship channel may not be the most fun, but it is definitely the most productive. Manns stretch 30 is a popular plug to troll with. A #4 planner with a white buck tail jig will also produce. If trolling is not your thing, live pinfish, frozen sardines, and squid are sure to score some keepers. There are still some rumblings about grouper closures so keep a look out for any changes.
Best of the Rest
When temperatures really start to get cold, look to our power plant to be a refuge for many different species. The warm water discharge will attract a wide variety of species and people….Sharks, Cobia, Snook, Pompano, Jack’s and many more. Just remember to be courteous of other boaters and the anglers fishing from shore. I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday and a safe New Year!
To book a Tampa Fishing Charter with Tampa fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@Live.com